Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson discusses the Ten Commandments that have ensured that Norway's oil wealth is preserved for the benefit of citizens. But it's particularly worth contrasting Norway's philosophy surrounding non-renewable resources against the frenzy to extract everything today at any price (which of course currently dominates western Canadian politics):
Norway was in no rush to develop their oil resources, and determined that it would only be on their own terms with a clear benefit to Norwegians. So strong was this sentiment that an all-party parliamentary white paper itemized "10 commandments" (see sidebar) for oil development, later enshrined into the Norwegian Petroleum Act.
When global oil prices shot up in 1974 after the Middle East oil embargo, the Norwegian government decided that a major tax increase was needed to ensure that oil companies would not realize windfall profits at the expense of the Norwegian taxpayer.

Professor Einar Lie at the University of Oslo researched the history of this period and describes how the government used the newly formed Statoil to gather intelligence on how far they could push foreign companies.

"The Norwegian civil servants wanted to squeeze this lemon to the maximum but they did not want to foreign oil companies to leave. So they talked extensively with Statoil, which had a lot of informed contacts with the other oil companies to find out just how much they would be able to take without the foreign companies leaving Norway. They were extremely pragmatic on how to get the maximum taxation."
- Karen Foster points out the gap between the reasonable expectations of younger workers about their ability to retire after putting in several decades of hard work, and the public policy direction set by the Cons and others to ensure that retirement is delayed and rendered less secure.

- Common Dreams documents how workers in the UK have been placed on a private employment blacklist based on suspicions of citizen activism.

- And finally, neither Thomas Walkom nor Craig McInnes buys the Cons' spin that a decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline will be anything but a political calculation by an oil-soaked government.

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