As noted here and here, North Dakota’s economy is doing remarkably well — low unemployment, budget surpluses, growth — compared to the rest of the country, and the chief cause is its well-balanced energy sector.
So now we turn to the ancestral homeland of many North Dakotans to see how one Scandinavian country’s economy is doing. NPR had a report on today’s Morning Edition, “Frugal Norway Stays Afloat Amid Economic Crisis.”
While most nations spent during boom years, Norway saved. Today, housing prices and consumption are rising, interest rates are low, and frugal management of income from Norway’s huge oil and natural gas reserves have helped the country build one of the world’s biggest investment funds.
NPR also highlights the restraint and regulation of the financial sector as contributing to Norway’s strength.
Of course, prosperity also breeds its own problems: An astonishing 11 percent of the Norwegian population is out on disability. (Wow.)
In any case, on two continents, in two nation, we have similar stories of economic growth and fiscal success, the common characteristic being a strong energy sector.
Well, that and lutefisk.
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