Saturday, November 2, 2013

Creation myth

God: There you go.
Norway: Oh. Ok.
God: Is that all?
Norway: What do you mean?
God: What do you mean "What do you mean?"? I mean that a bit of thanks might be  nice, for all that lot.

Norway: Allright, I know. I said thanks. I'm particularly grateful that you've blessed us with the bounty of a lot of whatever is going to be left over from the anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms...
God: Oil.
Norway: Right. Oil. Though I'm not sure what people are going to do with that, to be honest.
God: They'll think of something.
Norway: Really?
God: I think it might burn really well.
Norway: Oh. Ok. that it?

God: Oh come on. You'll be the second happiest country in the world.

Norway: "Second"? 
God: Yes, second.
Norway: Who's first?
God: Let's not go there. But you'll also be the richest country in the world five years in a row. Your GDP will outstrip everyone's. You'll be blessed with incredible natural resources, oil and gas in particular. What more could you want?
Norway: Well...
God: Yes?
Norway: Is it that it will be of the Norwegian that we are to be speaking?
God: Yes.

Norway: Ah. 
God: What?
Norway: Well, it's just that it'd have been good if our language was the adopted default language of international business and commerce. Music and cinema too.
God: I see. Anything else?

Norway: Well, maybe we could share a single land border with an affluent neighbour ten times our size as one of the markets for our products? That would give us the best of both worlds, I feel.
God: Right.
Norway: And maybe we could have a brand identity, recognised the world over as a mark of quality in a range of sectors like fishing, food and agricultural produce, manufacturing and engineering, textiles and the like?
Norway: And it'd be really good if you could make everyone in the world drink Glacial Vodka rather than, say,
some specific kind of distilled grain spirit.
Norway: And could we have a world-renowned education system, top-class universities (five in the top 200 would be good), a thriving life sciences industry, an image around the world that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, a huge financial services industry, a large maritime transport and shipping industry, a vibrant creative sector that exports to the world (a specialism in the computer games industry would be good)? And oh... 

God: Yes?
Norway: About the stuff that's going to be left over from the anaerobic decomposition of buried dead...
God: Oil!
Norway. Right, right. And as I say, it's not that I'm not grateful, it's just that...
God: Yes?
Norway: Well that's going to run out eventually, isn't it?
God: In 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%) plus another 100 or so, yes.
Norway: Well. There you are then. Could we have 25% of Europe's potential for renewable energy? For when the ...em
God: Oil!
Norway: Oil runs out?
God:  In 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 109 years ± 1%) + 100 years time? 
Norway: Right.
Norway: Also...
Norway: Even before it runs out, we're going to be awfully reliant on it, aren't we? Not as much, I know, as some. But I'd expect the ratings agencies (which I presume you are going to create) will set a benchmark for being "over reliant" on a particular industry... 
God: I think I prefer the term "excessively concentrated" .
Norway: Fair enough. I'm sure you know best. Anyway, I'd expect the benchmark to be...oh I don't know...
God: 20%?
Norway: That sounds about right to me.
God: I'm so glad.
Norway: Yes. So. If I've done my sums right, the oil sector will account for about 29% of our GDP in 2010
God: How did you work that out so fast?
Norway: Calculators. Remember?
God: Oh yes.
Norway: So could you give us just a bit less? Maybe...say...16% of our GDP
Norway: Not too much, not too little. [Laughs] The Goldilocks amount of oil, you might say!
Norway: That would be perfect.
Norway: Yes.
Norway: Look. It's a kind of "eggs in one basket" concern that I have.
God: So you want a hugely rich, diverse economy supplemented by just precisely the right amount of oil? Enough in the way of natural resources to give you vast wealth but not in a way that you come to depend upon?
Norway: Yes please. 
Scotland: You're too late.