It’s hard belonging to a small nation, independent in name but so completely dependent on others. From this morning’s radio news:

  • Though Norway said no to the invasion of Iraq, we also just happened to supply the US with weapons for the invasion.
  • Though Norway said no to joining the EU in a referendum, we sort of signed up for the EEC along with Iceland and Lichtenstein, which means we get to do what the EU says without having much of a vote. Now we’re redesigning our car licence plates, and it turns out membership in the EEC means we have to add the EU flag to our licence plates. But we’re not members! We said no!
  • The American dollar is lower than it’s been in 20 years, at just 6,40 NOK. It was 9 a few years back. Sounds good? Well, apart from my x-mas shopping, no, because Norway’s pension funds are all in American dollars. And Norwegian oil and shipping companies do business in American dollars, so actually, we’re leaking money due to the dollar. Why the dollar’s down? Well, mostly the ever-increasing deficit in the US economy, which is mostly due to the war on Iraq, which Norway said no to but still kind of slipped weapons to.

How the heck did the world get messed up to the extent that we’re this dependent on elections in places where we don’t even have a vote? This is where anti-Americanism comes from. News like this, powerlessness like this, every morning.

11 thoughts on “edge of the world

  1. Eirik

    Actually, I think the term you’re looking for is “globalization”. What’s more, it’s been like this for ages. Remember how Norway was affected by the outcome of the German Parliamentary elections in the early 1930s?

  2. Jill

    Oh, I know it’s been like this for ages – and before globalisation too, what was colonialism if not a system that made smaller nations on the outskirts dependent on more powerful nations?

    Anyway, it stinks, and I have no idea how one could change it.

  3. lisa

    With the election just a week away, a lot of us are holding our breath. It’s possible the world community can see that most of us didn’t really choose George Bush and his policies in the last election, but if we elect him for real this time, then we’re in bad shape. He is possibly the worst, most damaging US president in memory.

  4. Jill

    I guess the problem is that we’re independent in name only – our government does everything to play with the big kids. What, the people turn out in peace rallies against the war? OK, then, we’ll not join in. But, uh, let’s give em some weapons. The people voteed against the EU? Well let’s basically sell our souls without getting power then, through the EEC (I actually think we should join the EU outright, I’m not anti-EU anymore) – and oh, our oil fortune (which is ethically suss in a world with so much poverty, but I guess I’ll be happy when I’m old) we’ll tie that to the US dollar.

    We might as well just sign up and join one of these superpowers. The EU’s closer and saner. Slightly.

  5. Francois Lachance

    Ever consider approaching the question of “dependence” as one of “interdependence”? If a whole bunch of capital investments were withdrawn from the national economy of the USA and transfered to say, Chinese interests… diversified portfolios gets complicated fast cuz those Norwegian investments in USA companies may also be helping China.

    Mark Lombardi : Global Networks

    quote}}Explore the work of American artist Mark Lombardi (1951–2000), whose unique drawing practice charted the labyrinthine relationships between key, often shadowy, players in world political/financial events.{{quote

    There is a fairly extensive body of work on ethical investment practices. There is also a quite extensive research network examining options for clean and portable energy sources such as hydrogen cells. Put those developments alongside some trends in corporate culture highlighing the power of storytelling — the work of John Seely Brown among others [Do a search “corporate + story + storytelling” at an online bookdealer] There is hope. _Investment Energy Story_ make a nice title for an anthology *grin*

  6. Matt

    I’m not sure what the point about (possibly unwanted) EFTA market harmonisation rules (which would mean I could, er, legally drive your car, should you ever want to sell it to me) has on the US question, other than it’s an example of a globalising force, which are everpresent. I think we desire that global forces are balanced and transparent rather than bullying and anti-democratic. Removing global forces per se is impossible (it has been tried – e.g. Japan – never with ultimate success).

  7. Jill

    It’s not the market harmonisation rules. It’s the symbolism, the open display of the illusory nature of our “independence”.

    Imagine that Britain (or insert your country: Australia just signed one) signed a free trade agreement with the US. Then, ten years later, when British (Australian) licence plates are next redesigned, the US insists that the free trade agreement requires that any newly designed licence plates for cars must display the US flag, not the British flag. No, you don’t get a vote, but this is the flag you have to show.

    Wouldn’t feel that great, would it?

  8. Matt

    Oh yes I take your point there, a bit. It *is* a bit cheeky having you carry the symbols around, but you *do* still have the country code (NO?) on the plate don’t you, and it’s not like the EU is a state or anything, it’s a, er, Federation er no it isn’t, um Superstate … shhhh ! Our (UK) passports are now required to be machine readable for entry a certain large country, and there’s a little bit of stink now because some recently issued UK passports now don’t pass muster.

  9. Jill

    I guess the main point is that the people said NO to the EU in a referendum, and we still have to put the flag on our cars. Bit of doublespeak going on there, I reckon.

    Yeah, the passports. It’s a losing battle… We were colonised long ago.

  10. bicyclemark

    Oh tell that country to just join already and stop pretending they’re not in Europe.

  11. Jill


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