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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD (PART 33: #3 Norway)

The following continues my serialization of the final chapter from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:


#3: Norway

Archaeological findings indicate people living in this region for 12,000 years. The Vikings of Norway explored the Americas way before Columbus. In 1349, the Black Death killed half the population. Norway peacefully separated from Sweden in 1905.

Norway has not joined the European Union and has no plans to do so. There is a kind of superiority complex exhibited by this country because of their fossil fuel resources, and independence remains, by a small margin, the prevailing sentiment. Yet, they comply with most of the requirements anyway, and would probably gain by converting to the Euro.

The Kingdom of Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Depending on the report, either Norway or the U.S. has the second highest GDP/capita in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. Luxembourg is #1. The cost of living in Norway is 30% higher than the U.S, another disadvantage of remaining non-EU. With a relatively small population of less than 5 million, Norway is well endowed with petroleum, natural gas, hydropower, minerals, forests and fisheries.

Why then with so high a cost of living and truly cold temperatures is Norway rated #3 as the best place to live? Easy:

o      #1—Global Peace Index by the Economist.

o      #2—in the 2007 Human Development Index (life expectancy, literacy, standard of living, etc.) by the United Nations, but #1 the previous six years.

o      #1—Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.

o      #1—State of World’s Mothers by Save the Children.

o      #2—Environmental Sustainability Index by Yale University/Columbia University.

o      #3—Worldwide Quality of Life Index by the Economist.

About ten percent of Norwegians are immigrants from 200 countries, accounting for more than half of the country’s population growth. There are various internet portals on how to immigrate to Norway.

Their foreign aid is cunning. They don’t just give money away to needy nations. They have tended to invest in the disadvantaged, but even developed areas, in a manner which might utilize local brainpower to create joint efforts, thus linking that country to future investments and trade agreements.

With all the above, why isn’t Norway #1 as the best place to live?  Too cold, for sure, and their cost of living is quite high. Yet, opportunities abound and I can highly recommend trying Norway first because they seek immigrants (not as much today as in the past with some welfare problems and Muslim unrest), while the U.S. is not as accommodating.

My latest trip to Norway last year was as expected, but a tad surprising.  Expected because it was cold, in November, but surprising because at just about every block on their main street, Karl Johans Gate, there was a beggar.  I did, though, have my best dinner on my Fall 2010 around the world adventure, Julius Fritzner in the Grand Hotel Oslo, where I stayed.  That's Patrick O'Toole to the right, the chef, and his specialty, elk.  He is from Minnesota.  Watch out for the taxi ride from the airport to town, for I paid around $150 each way.  Everything is so, so expensive here.


THE TWO BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD TO COME.

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The Dow Jones Industrials shot up 148 today to 12,040, the first closing above 12000 since June of 2008.  The U.S. stock market is hot because the world is in general disarray, and America appears to be the only safe investment haven, although world markets all went up, many much more significantly that the Dow.  Gold increased $2/toz to $1339 and the NYMEX oil is up to $91/ barrel, but the Brent Spot for March is $102/barrel.  However, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange price of petroleum for December 2019 is only $101/barrel.

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Tropical Cyclone Yasi is at 145 MPH, and will tomorrow devastate anything between Cairns and Townsville.  Gusts will almost approach 200 MPH and could destroy cyclone proof homes.  THIS COULD WELL BE THE MOST POWERFUL STORM TO EVER STRIKE AUSTRALIA!!!



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