Send in the Vikings?

The AlaskaDispatch.com columnist Scott Woodham suggests considering Norway's Statoil as a possible replacement for BP on the North Slope, citing the excellent record of this largely government-owned company. Earlier in the oil spill crisis, Charles Perrow author of Normal Accidents, has cited Norway as a model of best practices in deep-sea drilling.

The spill, plus Norway's independence of the Euro (indeed, non-membership in the European Union) and frugal use of its North Sea oil bonanza have made it intriguing as a fiscally conservative welfare state, as shown in this new Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article on "Crisis Winner Norway" via Google Translate. (Still a few rough spots, but the meaning is clear.)

Norway isn't paradise on earth, as the American expatriate critic Bruce Bawer has observed here and here. But it's pragmatism, not socialism, to recognize that (non-military) state organizations can sometimes do things right.

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Edward Tenner is a historian of technology and culture, and an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center.

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