Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9401105:

The North Sea Lotto 28 8, 1:01am

Actually, while it is true that Norway once was one of the poorest in Europe, and now is one of the richest, it's not true that the oil reserves were the primary driving force behind that, although it is a commonly believed myth. Obviously, they helped, but Norway was already rapidly moving up the economic charts before they discovered oil. The effects of WWII had the biggest impact, given that Norway, despite being occupied, was relatively unscathed in its infrastructure (although deeply scarred in its psyche), a fate shared by the rest of Scandinavia and the US. The second biggest impact was the wise political decisions to invest in human capital, something that was shared by the rest of Scandinavia. That's the reason why all Scandinavian countries, with or without oil, are now among the top 20-25 or so in per capita GDP (depending on which measure you use), as those advantages were shared by all. The small relative difference between Norway and Sweden/Denmark is likely due to oil, but that's a small part of Norway's economic growth. Many countries, including the US (even in oil alone, the US is number 3 in production, but the big US advantage is that it's near the top in almost every single important natural resource, especially in nominal terms, although even in per capita, it's usually way above the average), have more natural resources, but lag far behind Norway in income/wealth.