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Editorial: 1.000.000.000.000

Reflect on that number for a while. One thousand billion kroner. It is equivalent to a couple of Norwegian national budgets, one million times the NorWatch budget, or a handful of Norwegian national Oil investment funds - with or without ethical guidelines. It corresponds to more than fifty per cent of the total value of Norwegian industry and commerce; it is the value of what the Norwegian State and the Norwegian local authorities owns in Norwegian Industry, if information from the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and the Norwegian Bankers Association, is correct.
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
Reflect on that number for a while. One thousand billion kroner. It is equivalent to a couple of Norwegian national budgets, one million times the NorWatch budget, or a handful of Norwegian national Oil investment funds - with or without ethical guidelines. It corresponds to more than fifty per cent of the total value of Norwegian industry and commerce; it is the value of what the Norwegian State and the Norwegian local authorities owns in Norwegian Industry, if information from the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and the Norwegian Bankers Association, is correct.

The size of that number is mind-boggling, and makes the debate on wheter or not to have guidelines for the national Oil investment fund a petty one. And the suggestion to siphon out a small portion of the fund to make an ethical 'mini-oil-investment-fund' even pettier. Among the most important of Norwegian public property are companies like Statoil and Norsk Hydro - companies with extensive negative records on environmental and social issues.

So we need to ask how the State acts out its different roles. What is the difference between our international policy on trades and commecre on one hand, and our foreign policy on the other? Who defined the goals of INTSOK, if not the oil companies? And how come the state owned oil company chooses side in conflicts pertaining to international law where the government is silent? Is it too hard to resist temptation when the government sees an opportunity to adapt their foreign policy to make economic profit for its companies?
It seems there are one thousand billion good reasons to assume the answer is yes.

Norwatch Newsletter 9/98