Business: Norway's Chill

Faith, hope and austerity

When oil and gas were discovered under their harsh, frigid waters in 1969, Norwegians felt confident that North Sea energy riches would give them the means to create a perfect society. Even before the money came in, they started spending it to enhance an elaborate social-welfare system that has given them one of the world's highest living standards. But the state budget crept up, until today this system takes an astonishing 54.9% of the gross national product. Belatedly, Norwegians discovered that they were living well beyond their means.

Unrealistic oil production and revenue...

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