What Nordic states can teach us about investing mining wealth


The great pit

The Nordic states have less adversarial politics and a longer-term vision on mining wealth. Australia could learn a lot on tax structures, a new book argues.

The Nordic nations have much less adversarial political cultures than Australia, and this brings major long-term policy benefits.

This lesser adversarialism exists in part because, in Norway, like Sweden — but unlike the Australian Parliament and most parliaments in the world — seating is arranged according to the geographic constituencies which the members of parliament represent, not according to their party affiliation. Thus, parliamentarians from the same regions, but from different political parties, sit next to each other in the legislative chamber in Norway and Sweden.

This arrangement reduces the tendency for all members of one political party to just congregate together and barrack, in a mindless way, against their opponents. It therefore makes it less likely for politicians to artificially exaggerate differences with opponents for short-term advantage. The parliamentary seating arrangement, instead, encourages discovery of areas where there might be agreement.

The persistence of influence by independent public service personnel has also entrenched certain long-term policies in the Nordic nation which have been much more controversial in party-political terms in Australia. An important example of this is Norway’s management of its natural resources compared to Australia.

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