Send in the Vikings?

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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. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center and holds a Ph.D in European history. More

Edward Tenner is an independent writer and speaker on the history of technology and the unintended consequences of innovation. He holds a Ph.D. in European history from the University of Chicago and was executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press. A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows and John Simon Guggenheim fellow, he has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton and has held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy. He is now an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center, where he remains a senior research associate.

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