Monday, 1 October 2007

Answers About Scandinavia (Norway, at Least)

Dear Shane.

I am sitting here with my fellow norwegian and flatmate helene. i read your post out loud for her, and her immediate reponse was; "i don't get the people who don't understand why they have to pay taxes! norwegians i mean!" and i do share her opinion. but, then again i probably wouldn't understand if i wasn't from norway, this country where taxes are just a part of what you have to deal with, and so you do it. i mean, what can we do about taxes? yeah i guess it sucks to pay them, but then again they are the reason why our country was ranked as the no. 1 place to live by the UN (a couple of years ago, i think).


1. it might be right that people pay up to 56 % tax, though i'm not entirely sure. you pay taxes based on your income and "general wealth", ie. your shares and money in the bank. (not the ones under your pillow). it works like this; you start paying taxes when you start earning more than about $5000 a year. from then on you pay 10%, but if you start earning a lot more, your taxes get calculated in accordance with this table that shows what income gives what tax level. oh and you don't start paying taxes until a year after you've earned over $5000, because the tax level is based on your income from the year before.

2. as i said, i think the level of taxation doesn't really need justification anymore, because it is such a well run institution, inherent to the norwegian society. so people just have to deal with it. but then again, i am writing this from the point of view of a socialist, and there are plenty of epople in norway who vote for the blue parties, just because part of their agendas are to lower the taxes. and, we all see that taxation works, and everyone does benefit from it, whether they are aware of it or not.

3. well, this sounds slightly shallow, but why did i work? because if i hadn't worked i wouldn't have gotten any money at all. yeah, it sucked to work double the hours of last year, only to receive the same amount of money, but then again, this is just a fact of life that i have to deal with. plus i like working in the fish market.

4. there are rich norwegians and normal norwegians and poor norwegians. there are beggars on the streets. but i guess the standard norwegian would be rich in almost any other country in the world, just because the wages are higher, be it taxated or not. i don't know. but i think that there are so many opportunities in norway. education is free, even university, so maybe that's why most norwegians are normal, not poor. because most of them are well educated.

5. baards civil service was not something he got from the government, it was something he did for the government. what do we get? well, free healthcare, free dentist, (though both of these are only for under 18's) our farmers are subsidised so we don't have to pay $3 for milk, because farming is a dying activity, the government pays them to keep going, and hmm what else do we get. clean(ish) streets, fairly well run communal transport. many things. but there is so much room for improvement.

6. i've never had a sun lamp, but according to my flatmate helene, who's brother lives in tromso' "everyone" sits in front of this sunlight provider about 30 minutes every morning. hmmm... they get the northern ligh sometimes though, maybe that's special enough to keep them going for ages. and, according to wikipedia, the country with the highes suicide rate is lithuania, norway being ranked 44.

ps. i don;t think we are more highly evolved.

pps. even though this post seems to be portraying norway as some kind of heaven, i moved out of the country of a reason.

dear shane, i hope you can raise your hand the next time your lecturer speaks about scandinavian greatness.

much love.

oh by the way, i just went to an open mic and i sag john wayne gacy junior (sufjan) with my mate louis. helene said it sounded nice.

1 comment:

Shane said...

you know, i raised my hand anyway and made lots of relatively uninformed comments, including one about the population of norway. (i said four and a half million, which is only slightly off the real figure of 4.6 million. the professor contradicted me and said 8 million!!! liar liar pants on fire.) hehe. now i can direct people to the blog whenever scandinavia comes up.

i guess baard's civil service deal was something he did FOR the government, but the compensation was amazing is what i was trying to say.

how awesome about the open mic!!