Sunday, 2 March 2014

sovereign wealth or statlig investerings

Always a good steward of her natural resources and forward-thinking, Norway's petroleum fund which reinvests proceeds from oil profits, and is edging towards a trillion dollars, translating into a tidy $165 000 (en million norsk kronen) pay-out for each of the land's five million inhabitants, seems to be having a bit of a crisis of conscience that I wish might plague other public pensions well.

Though every Norwegian man, woman and child is a stakeholder in this fund, these outrageous fortunes are a deferred windfall, as the country aims to provide the same level of social services to future generations and when the oil has ran out, recursively, the biggest return on investment, a safe bet, has been in returning to the petroleum industry itself. Despite being the fund's bread and butter, there is debate among the government, in a position of public trust, whether it is ethical, as something ultimately unsustainable, to deal in a dirty business rather than taking a luxuriously responsible stand and partner with initiatives that will ultimately make their work obsolete—putting it in an oil museum and shifting away from its seed account.