Tyndmyr wrote:Bluntly, a good bit of wealth is due to natural reserves being exploited for export. Location of these reserves isn't a result of social positions.
In short, your economy doesn't seem ALL that different from ours, the same things that hit us hit you. You simply get to spend a little more carelessly because you've got natural gas to sell.
Exactly! It's not as if the US is the largest oil producer in the world or something...
Absolute numbers are kind of garbage.
The US is about net neutral in terms of oil imports/exports, and petro products make up a fairly small percentage of exports anyway, whereas the Netherlands are a major exporter for supplying all of Europe. There's a major difference there in economic impact.
elasto wrote:The US is insanely resource-rich, so don't think that really explains it.
Countries like Norway have simply kept a greater proportion of resource wealth for themselves instead of letting private companies profit from it on the cheap.
(Beaten to the punch, but, yeah)
What does "insanely resource-rich" mean? Sure, we're not a particularly poor country. Others are way worse off than us. However, we're very heavily into services, manufacturing, stuff like that. Our economy does not center around the extraction of raw materials. Places that do are not wealthy places. A logging town, a mining town, etc generally provide primarily blue color jobs, and the wealthy areas are urban ones focused on knowledge services and so on.
Yeah, in absolute numbers, we have a lot of things compared to far, far smaller countries. But that's seriously apples to oranges if you're not looking at proportion.
Mambrino wrote:Sweden manages without gas. On the other hand, we currently quite don't, but then most countries have wider industrial base than wood-products, mobile telephones and 'cheese' that only we and Russians like to eat.
Don't know that much about the current state of welfare state in Denmark (and even less about Germany, who is probably a special case anyway with mini-jobs and particularly strong economy.)
Germany is usually not held up as a socialist example. Now, granted, they're still left of the US in some regards, but so far as Europe goes, they're not all that exceptional in terms of leftism.
Anyway, petro exports make up about the same percentage of exports for Sweden as they do for the US. However, they are MUCH more export focused than the US. They run a positive trade balance, us a negative. When you consider it in terms of exports/person, it's clear than Sweden is exporting a great deal more petro products than the US.
Granted, petro isn't the only natural research, it simply happens to be a big one because power is huge. But, despite Sweden being not particularly rich in petro chemicals compared to Norway/Netherlands, it doesn't do so bad with them in an economic sense. The level of hydro production probably doesn't hurt.
On the flip side, the US does have a ton of coal. Even when considering the size of the country, we came out ahead there. However, a lotta folks seem to want to not exploit every bit of that. There's some tradeoffs there. This isn't quite the same as saying "the US is poor" or anything. It's mostly that a lot of rankings put the US so high due to size. They act as if we have limitless wealth, when really it's more about different tradeoffs.
RCT Bob wrote:To compare, the Dutch government will spend 74.6 billion euros per year on health care, 78.1 billion euros per year on social welfare, 34 billion euros per year on education, 9.9 billion on justice and police departments, 7.5 billion on national defense including military. The natural gas is some form of income, but it's fairly minor compared to tax incomes.
One figure really stood out for me in that list: The Dutch spend 10x more on healthcare than they do on national defence. The US spends 100x more on its military than the Dutch do.
This is another valid tradeoff. Can't maintain the US military on a dutch military budget.
But, I don't think the US, in general, want to go to a dutch military. Even those who would cut generally prefer more modest cuts, because we're playing the rule of superpower, so we have different threats to consider.
Erm... so this just happened.
The Democratic presidential candidates were asked to name the enemy that they are proudest to have made during Tuesday night's CNN debate.
"I'd have to say the enemy soldier that threw their grenade that wounded me," Webb said. "But he's not around right now to talk to."
Okay, Jim Webb is hilarious. I'm going to have to look up more info on him. Jim Webb's "proudest enemy" is a dude he literally killed. I don't think I was expecting to hear this kind of joke from the Democrat side at all.
Yeah, this amused the hell out of me. Props for at least some divergance from the usual talking points, I suppose. Political debates can be a little...predictable at times, stuff like this livens it up.