December 9, 2022

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Using the oil fund for humanitarian purposes is immoral

Using the oil fund for humanitarian purposes is immoral

Many have called for the oil fund to be used for humanitarian purposes because we make money from high energy prices.

We who hold the power over the oil fund today must understand once again what moral obligation we have to our children and their children. Managing the Oil Fund is one of our most important ethical obligations, and the Fund should not be used to give ourselves a clear conscience today.

Walid Verevik

Walid Freik (Photo: Exclusive)

The most important objective of the Oil Fund is to secure the future of the Norwegian economy and thus allow future generations to enjoy the oil wealth. The Fund gives young people living now, and future generations, an opportunity to meet the challenges of the future.

If managed properly, it can last forever. The fund probably exists so far in the future that most people don’t know where the money originally came from.

This topic hits the heart of the self-portrait of our economic history. In Norway, we have a long tradition of exploiting natural resources such as fishing, forestry and hydropower. These renewable resources have formed the basis of our prosperity. We have managed to take care of the fish in the sea, and we have only cut back the growth in the forest.

Over hundreds of years, natural resources have been managed so that future generations, you and I, can also enjoy them. If we continue as before, we can use the resources in the future.

In the last 50 years, we have become an oil and gas kingdom. However, these are non-renewable resources that will eventually run out.

However, the Oil Fund has made oil and gas more than just a renewable financial resource. We have decided that we cannot use the money we put in the fund. We are only allowed to use the return of the fund. The return in the oil fund, as Jens Stoltenberg said, is the same as the increase in the forest. This way, the fund can last forever.

However, many advocated using the oil fund to cover costs today, in order to clear their conscience. And it’s all the more unsympathetic when this comes from the generations who have been part of the greatest growth of wealth in history, and who are also witnessing their descendants taking over a world marked by climate crisis and economic decay.

Perhaps many of the “born” have a guilty conscience. In addition, they feel very guilty that the oil fund is growing strongly as a result of the war in Ukraine. So it is easy to refer to the oil fund when we want to contribute to crises and wars.

But withdrawing money from the oil fund or creating side funds to fund humanitarian actions is shortsighted and unethical.

Michael Hoyle and Steinar Ström at DN on September 16 proposed the creation of a separate Ukraine Fund within the Oil Fund to support Ukraine. In addition, others advocated using the oil fund to help refugees and fight one evil after another.

It is noble to desire to help others, but there is nothing noble in clearing one’s conscience at the expense of the resources of future generations. If we want to help in a crisis, there are other mechanisms in our policy.

If we believe that our contribution is not enough, we must increase the contribution in other ways, such as prioritizing differently over the national budget. There could certainly be room to contribute more. But we have to pay this bill ourselves, and not pass it on to our children.

If more people want big successes in the oil fund, the possibility of eternal exploitation of the oil and gas venture disappears. In addition, it creates a precedent that the oil fund can be used to cover expenses that today’s generations do not want to pay for themselves.

We have the ability to donate huge funds that can help the unborn population. It must be remembered that this part of the population has no opportunity to protest the cuts to the oil fund.

We are constantly struggling against changes in the world that we do not want to experience in ourselves. Therefore, one of our most important moral obligations is to protect our children’s future rather than purge our oil-stained conscience through a fund primarily intended for our children and grandchildren.

It is likely that many “baby boomers” have a bad conscience (…) that the oil fund is growing strongly as a result of the war in Ukraine


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