The small Scandinavian country of Norway often has to get thrown out of international comparisons of various indicators because it’s such an outlier. But another way of looking at it is just that Norway is a super-successful country, a nation that’s been able to beat the “resource curse” and achieve unparalleled prosperity through a mix of collective ownership of the means of production and a generous welfare state. So it’s certainly interesting that Representative John Carter of Texas—a Republican no less—is a big fan of the Norwegian social model:
The thing is we don’t know — we all speculate to some extent — but I think it’s [a] pretty easy commonsense position to take that the more supply we have with the demand — we are the demand capital of the world on burning gasoline and diesel. We outshine anyone else on the face of this globe in the use of those products. And we have relatively cheap prices as compared to other countries — especially countries that have no production. They can get very expensive very quickly. Until very recently, there was no oil or gas at all to amount to anything in what we now call Western Europe. Today there is. They have found it offshore, they have found it on the land in Holland and Norway and other places. Norway’s one of the — something like the third biggest producer of offshore oil in the world now. They’re doing extremely well and running their economy in a very frugal manner. Very smart people. And they should be commended. We should do so good.
Now as Matt Finklestein points out, it’s a bit strange that Representative Carter completely forgot to mention the part where “the Norwegian oil industry is owned primarily by the state.” Many progressives have been pushing for a change to the tax code to remove subsidies for oil and gas producers, which is a good idea, but to really do so good as the Norwegians what we need to do is nationalize the companies.
After all, it’s worth noting that the United States actually produces much more oil than Norway:
Of course full-scale socialism would cut against the grain of American political culture and may be a bad idea for other reasons. But surely we can agree that if the Norwegian model works well it makes sense to take a baby step or two in that direction by ensuring that these companies pay their fair share of taxes.