I often say things and they're so outlandish that people immediately dismiss me and couldn't care less.
"There's a Dotcom bubble."
"There's a housing bubble."
"There's a problem with Asian currencies."
Of course if you say enough outlandish things and they come true you start to get some credibility and so allow me another outlandish "crazy" prediction.
Norway will become more capitalist than the US in a very short period of time.
The reason I say this is simply, because it's true (remember, I have no opinions or skin in any game, I'm just concerned about fact). And the fact is Norway is progressively becoming more and more capitalist while the US is becoming more and more socialist.
Now I have a group of friends, who despite knowing me for all these years, still dismiss me as some "crazy" capitalist-fascist-economist who just "doesn't get it" and does this economics shtick as some kind of attention-getter. As if this were a gimmick to attract attention. But, as is always the case, I have data to prove it and will instead tender it to my reading public.
Government expenditures as a percent of GDP is hands down the authoritative, single statistic to measure of "capitalist" or "socialist" a nation is. The higher this number, the more socialist a country is as the government accounts for a higher and higher portion of economic activity. Now some will contend it should be government REVENUE as a % GDP, but if you think about it, it should be expenditures in that if you run a deficit, it's only future taxation that will not only finance, but pay for those expenditures. Ergo, spending as a % of GDP is the true measure vs. revenue.
Regardless, I was shocked to find out that pretty much right now, the presumed "capitalist" US and the presumed "socialist" Norway, spend practically the same percentage of GDP on the public sector.
Of course this will wreak all sorts of identity crisis havoc upon ideologues;
1. The left's star child is trending DOWNWARD in it's taxation that it now has comparable tax rates to the US. HOW could this possibly happen? Additionally, will they still support Norway as it (presumably) continues its trend BELOW US tax rates? Will they still cheer Norway as a "socialist utopia" when in fact it is more capitalistic than the US?
2. Will not the US lose it's reputation of being an evil bastion of capitalism and earn a reputation more inline with it's socialist taxation levels? Not to mention, if it's already on a Norwegian level of taxation, won't Obama push it beyond that? And ergo, will not the leftist forces start cheering for the (GASP) US o' A?
and of course;
3. Will the left ever admit Norway more or less owes its premiere position in standards of living due to that accursed commodity known as OIL? Or since it's in state ownership, then it's all good (like Hugo Chavez, Amadijonmustard of Iran and other similarily minded-American-haters?)
Besides the hyperbole, I would be really curious to hear from any Norwegians about this. These numbers are not bunk, Norway is seriously about to become more capitalist than the US (not to mention Canada).
Anybody from Norway have any commentary on this?
Post script - there has been much discussion about oil and so forth and how it affects Norway. I, with great intelligence and foresight, wrote this quote some time ago.