Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just been on the phone to the council where I come from in the UK to get on their council housing list. I can apply online apparently. If my son wants to live with me permanently (he's old enough to decide in 6 months), I have to get permanent right of residence somewhere and, as I think I have said before, I still don't have that in Norway and can't apply for another 4 years. I suppose there are many definitions of the word "visit" but the Norwegian State's definition of the word "visit" doesn't match mine. I have never been able to work out which part of the Norwegian State decided the only home on the planet I've ever owned is a "holiday home" which I merely "visit". This suggests I "live" somewhere else and my son is just visiting me at a house I own and visit. It also means my tax returns assume I am in Norway for about 6 months a year when I am, of course, in Norway for more than that and have been for the last 15 years. Since UDI refused to renew my residence permit 6 months after my son was born (because I didn't need one because my work took me out of Norway therefore I wasn't in Norway for more than three months at a time and as an EU citizen I could come and go between Norway and wherever freely as long as I didn't stay more than three months). You can spend 360 days a year in Norway but still not be in Norway for more than three months at a time.

Apparently I can wait 8 years to get a council flat in the UK.

It doesn't really matter what Norway's future is like, it's not my future. I have no right to die here but I AM struck by a few things regarding Norway.

Out of a population of 5 million, apparently 1.2 million are on some kind of benefit and 1.5 million are working. To me, that makes democracy a waste of time here. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and people doing nicely out of a benefit system and civil servants working for one of the biggest and most expensive governments (pro rata) in the world will vote for whichever political party will look after them. It's a bit like "gerrymandering".

Many people seem to think Norway has a bottomless pit of money upon which it can draw and that reminds me of rich dynasties that have disappeared, empires that have crumbled and rich people who have lost everything. The most massive wealth can be spent if you go at it hard enough and if enough generations have lost the work ethic and / or not bothered to learn any skills they can sell to the rest of the world. The future is bleak. The illusion of "riches" merely encourages profligate behaviour and laziness. I can't help thinking Norway has got itself into a bit of mess. The productive foreigners have other places they can go, Norway's own potential for growth is doubtful unless it's built on ever increasing amounts of debt, foreign investment follows growth, should Norway invest its "oil fund" in Norway (risking overheating the economy) or where there is growth happening at an impressive rate abroad?

Wealth needs "storing", like energy, water, food. Weath can be stored in currency, resources .... I don't know how much of Norway's wealth is stored in ways that are sustainable. If Norway is buying bonds paying 5% interest over 10 years issued by governments controlling currencies that are declining in value by 15% over 10 years, that's not a great way to store wealth but what are the alternatives?

Like someone who thinks they have put enough money aside for their old age and discovers their pension is paid in a currency that has lost its value, Norway may find its oil fund isn't as much of a prophylactic against poverty as it imagined especially if extreme weather gives the country's infrastructure a sever kicking with greater frequency.

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