You couldn’t quite hear it, but I’m sure that’s what the Prime Minister was chanting late last week. Either that or I can’t understand what all the controversy was about. Let me back up a bit.
Several times over several months, I had seen a picture of a fighter jet on Aftenposten’s website accompanied by some text about “USA.” Finally, I asked my fiancee what was going on. She replied that she hadn’t opened any of the articles, but it was some silly debate about whether to buy fighter jets from the US or Sweden.
I couldn’t (and still can’t) wrap my head around why anyone actually cares. Isn’t this exactly why we have representative governments? To avoid situations where the masses are analyzing competing bids between Lockheed Martin (USA) and Jas Gripen (Sweden) on replacements for Norway’s F-16 fleet? What are the odds that anyone you stop on Karl Johan’s Gate actually has any idea about the requirements necessary for new jets, the quality of each company’s bid, or even the overall budget for Norway?
(Is that enough rhetorical questions yet?)
The only thing I can really come up with for why the public cared so much about this decision is either the standard anti-American sentiment or pro-Scandinavian sentiment. Some have mentioned ethical arguments, but arguments for the existence of an ethical warfare company are stretched at best. In the end, Norway chose Lockheed Martin’s bid, saying that it was the only one that fulfilled all of Norway’s requirements and it was cheaper. Not mentioned, but a likely factor is that Norway was a partner in the jet’s development, contributing $122 million.
Score one for pragmatic decision making.
After posting on its homepage that it would have a stand at an upcoming job fair in Reykjavik, the western state of Sogn og Fjordane has been flooded with calls and emails for Icelandic job seekers.
Although the slowdown in the economy has also hit Norway, there is still a shortage of engineers and health workers in this country.
A recent survey showed that every third Icelander wants to leave Iceland to find work in another country.
These two facts indicate that Norway will likely receive a bunch of Icelandic workers. Before the financial crisis, Iceland’s cost of living was as high as Norway’s, so it didn’t make sense for an Icelandic person to come here to work. With the Icelandic Króna down over 50%, however, that is no longer the case.
Just as Swedish workers are infamous for taking temporary jobs in the service industries in eastern Norway (because of Norway’s higher pay), Icelandic workers might soon be infamous in western Norway. So your next Norway in a Nutshell tour might soon have an Icelandic ticket taker and captain. Just an excuse to brush up on your Old Norse.
Side note–At least the Icelandic workers won’t have trouble adjusting to the Norwegian flag.
Or at least it’s not as bad as it is in other countries.
Norway (1) leads the world in closing the gender gap between men and women, according to the overall ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2008.
The Report measures the size of the gender gap in four critical areas of inequality between men and women:
1) Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2) Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher-level education
3) Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4) Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio
According to the report, Norway has closed over 82% of the gender gap between men and women. In other words, I still can be 18% thankful that I’m a man in Norway.
In regional news, Norway was once again able to stick it to its Nordic neighbors, as Finland, Sweden, and Iceland rounded out the top 4. Denmark lagged behind in 7th. At the other end of the spectrum, Yemen continued its aggressive affirmative action program for men.
My own country improved to 27th this year. Thanks Sarah Palin!
Posted in rankings
Tagged affirmative action, denmark, finland, gender, iceland, nordic, sarahpalin, sweden, US, women, world economic forum, Yemen
As I was walking past a Deli de Luca today, I noticed a sign out front that said, “Ben & Jerry’s: Endeldig i Norge,” which translates to “Ben & Jerry’s: Finally in Norway.”
Ice cream is my favorite dessert and Ben & Jerry’s is my favorite ice cream. Needless to say, I darted in and picked up a pint of this guy:
They could have charged me 200 NOK and I wouldn’t have complained (actual price: 59 NOK).
It’s funny, just last week I was wondering about Ben & Jerry’s and I checked their website:
- Sweden. Check.
- Denmark. Check.
- Finland. Check.
- Iceland. Check.
- Norway. Nope.
I remember wondering if Norway some how lost the Nordic ice cream lottery. I mean, Iceland? Really? Iceland doesn’t even have a fully paved interstate!
All is good now though…even if they don’t know how to name the flavor properly.
Don’t believe me? According to some smart guys with PhD’s who probably did a lot of research on the matter, Norway ranks #3 in a list of the world’s “greenest, most livable places.” Take that, Sweden!
The top country without a Nordic Cross flag is Austria at #5.
In the city rankings, Oslo checked in at #2 (behind Stockholm).