Re: Immortality and Resources

Eivind Berge (
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 04:31:45 +0100 (MET)

J. de Lyser wrote:

>I am to some degree the product of my environment. But i do think they are
>getting less socialistic, even if maybe more authoritarian.
>The last decade they have started to privatize many former state
>institutions (railroads, phone companies, postal services, etc) you can't
>deny that. Even though taxes may have been raised, they have cut many
>social institutions (education !, health care, welfare and pensions,
>subsidies to agriculture etc.)

In Norway, we are in the process of spending billions of kroner on forcing
all six-year-olds into school. Social democrats have always wanted the state
to raise the children, and that is the only reason for doing this. They even
half admit this, in making the extra year largely like kindergarten. There
is virtually no opposition to this reform, the only complaint being insufficient
funding (decreasing the quality of the whole school system). Before school,
the ideal is to attend public preschools, and those who choose otherwise are
sanctioned economically. In preschool and school we are indoctrinated with
the holy principles of social democracy and environmentalism.

As to health care, public spending on it has not declined in Norway, but some
more private clinics have come into being. But those few who can afford to pay
instead of waiting for years in the public system, are being looked down on and
considered unsolidaric. One newspaper compared private clinics to prostitution;
"We know they are there but we can't do much about it." But the fact is that
the few private hospitals offer a narrow range of procedures, and you are very
unlikely to have any money left for them after taxes.

The national budget has a surplus of many billions because of the oil, and
these are being saved to ensure pensions in the future. The man in the
street would rather send this money to Third World countries than reducing
taxes, in fact, tax reduction would not even cross his mind and is not an
issue at all. One should think that when the government collects more money
than it uses, at least some of the people would reason that it then collects
too much, but this is apparently too hard for someone raised as a social

I don't see much privatization, but private companies are allowed to compete
with the former monopolies to a greater extent, who then fight back. For
example, when a commercial national TV station finally was allowed, the
public broadcasting created a second channel and is going to raise the TV
tax (a tax for *owning* a TV set). Until 1992 there was only one TV channel
available to everyone, and it has been controlled by the Labor Party and has
been instrumental in normalizing the population as social democrats.

Now the big discussion is whether stores should finally be allowed to be open
on Sundays.

>I have always been thought that a more Socialist Europe was necessary in
>the cold war era, to suppress revolutionary elements, being so close to the
>communist states, regionally.

I have never heard this, and wouldn't think it a very good argument.
Anyway, the "revolutionary elements" from the '60s and '70s are now the
ones in power, and their ideals have IMO been implemented, democratically.
If we had had a revolution, and a real communist system for a while, the
future might now have looked brighter. People do get dissatisfied under
communism, and then we could overturn it and introduce anarcho-capitalism.
NO ONE disagrees with social democracy, so it will never go away.

However, I'm not going to stick around and be pathetic. I will emigrate
to the US ASAP. In the worst case I will have to go to college here
first, though, since it is free.