Moneymaking is a wondeful thing

From Vittorio Musca, Voss



Probably some of you know this quotation. That’s the title of a Skin’s song.
I want to be honest. I wasn’t so enthusiastic of the idea of coming to Norway. I’m more a “city animal” and the idea of living in Voss, surrounded by mountains and isolated from the rest of the world didn’t cheer me up. All that nature, that loneliness, the “not-so-open minds” of Nordic people. As I wrote all this prejudice felt down while I was still sitting on the plane, approaching Oslo. The only two reasons that pushed me to come (besides “friends” who wanted me to leave so much that I started thinking I annoyed them in the last 3 years) were the fact that in 2 years I couldn’t find a job in Italy and that I knew I was going (I didn’t get my first salary, so I just hope at the moment) to earn a lot of money.
Actually I was trying my best not to come. I was scared. I was thinking that living I would have spent more than I could have earned, but my “boss” (bosses here are so friendly that’s hard to call them bosses) told me: “We would never make anyone come from another country if we were not sure he can earn enough to live in Norway”. Later on, when I registered at the tax office, the woman working there added “We want people here to work and to enjoy their life. First of all the dignity of a person and of a worker must be respected here in Norway”.
(I guess that’s also a way to reduce criminality. When I came here I read that the worst thing that can happen in Norway is that someone steals a bike on Friday night when they are drunk, and probably, not cause they want to, but cause, being drunk they just took someone’s else bike instead of their own ones. When everyone has enough to live, a marxist would say, why should someone steal something to someone else?)
Anyway, I started to think: “Ok, they will pay me really good money, but probably I have to work harder then I was used to do in Germany. They are both protenstant in the end”.
I don’t know if any of you ever read Max Weber’s “The Protenstant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”. He basically says that Protestants developed a capitalistic spirit due to the specific logic of their Ethic: they wanted to improve their income to prove their faith, while Catholic wanted to save what God gave them. Well, Norwegians are Catholic Protestants I’d say. Bars and shops are closed (at least in small municipalities), since Monday on the main topic is what will we do next weeked, etc. Now I come from one of the laziest village in the South of Italy and still, bars open at 5 cause there are farmers who go to work at 6, we do not plan our weekend on Monday cause during the week we are too busy with complaining about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday…and on sunday we start to complain about Monday already.
But how can it be that Norwegian people are, apparently so lazy and at the same time so active? Well, they got oil of course, and water to produce electricity and tourism, and they are too little for such a big country but there must be something else. I think this additional part is respect, for nature and human beings. Nature gave them so much, in spite of the weather conditions, that just respecting her they are rewarded (though maybe something in this sense is changing).
When I arrived in Oslo I was told that it’s sad that Communist Party in Norway is weak cause they could help people not to be focused on money as much as they are. But, what I’m experiencing is that people here are not so focused on money, or at least they are not stressed because of that. I heard that new generations (people who can study more than their parents or grandparents) are more interested in becoming lawyers or doctors or engineers, etc., but still it looks like that people work to live and they do not, most of the time at least, live in order to work. They work some hours just to warm up before going to kayaking or hiking or playing football, they do not do these actives to release all the stress of a 8-hours shift.
Maybe life in Oslo is different. I experienced it shortly and only for few hours in the early morning and at night, but in Bergen for example, I got energy from everything surrounding me and I felt like I wasn’t working enough to use all the energy I was receiving from the world around me. I would like to work more actually cause (maybe cause 21 hours of sun everyday are too long) I could not stand all this wonder around without throwing myself some energy inside this energy.
One more thing I want to say about ethic and capitalistic way of working. Here it looks like lawyers can talk freely with peasants and butchers with doctors (which sometimes is almost the same), or plumber withs engineers. Money isn’t used to create a social differentation, but to respect, as the tax officer told me, the dignity of each person. Working is just something Norwegian people do, not the most important thing of their life. Their life is the most important thing in their life. A job is just a strategy to be happy, not rich (most of the time).
Norway is exactly the opposite of a Weberian philosophy. Not moneymaking is based on ethic, but ethic on moneymaking. That’s why probably both of them work.

Torggata Blad er et kompromissløst uavhengig blad og nettmagasin – en humoristisk, systemkritisk og informativ utgivelse som sparker til venstre og høyre, oppover og nedover og midt i balla.

Pr. 2023 er Torggata Blad et forum for en fargerik forsamling av bidragsytere med varierende interesser og orientering. Det er en rar og forhåpentligvis skjærende stemme i koret av norske magasinutgivelser.

Torggata Blad ble grunnlagt i 2007 av
Bror Wyller (forfatter og lege)

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