Europe is struggling with how to cut spending, but not Norway in fact it now is considered to be the world’s largest wealth fund, estimated to be worth $1tr (£0.6tr) by 2020. $1,000,000,000 a week passes through the fund’s office in the Norwegian Central Bank building in OsloTheir mission, by government mandate, is slowly and carefully to build up wealth to help fund this country long after the oil and gas reserves run out.
In Norway’s case money makes money. Profits and taxes from the oil and gas industry give the government oil fund $1bn a week.The fund holds on average 1% of the world’s shares. In Europe it owns more than 2% of all listed companies.
Norway is one of the richest countries per head of population. Europe’s debt crisis feels very, very far away in this affluent corner of the continent.At Norway’s Business School in Oslo however, the professor of asset management, Bruno Gerard, believes the fund must be changed.
Some say the fund holds too many shares, and argue at least some of the profits would be better spent on infrastructure or research and development in Norway.But whatever they decide, while most of Europe grapples with how to save, Norway is well ahead.It is focused on making sure that even when the oil does run out, the money doesn’t.
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There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.
Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity. According to Brandt:
I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.
The rest of the haunting images follow and they feature in Brandt’s book, . Or, you could go and visit for yourself—but keep a safe distance from the water, please.
All images via © Nick Brandt 2013 Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY