Public Transparency in Norway
Norwegians are supposedly quite reserved, and guarded of their privacy. Yet Norway is in many ways one of the most open societies in the world. For instance, every October, the tax authorities publish the tax returns of all tax payers, which means everyone that has any kind of income or owns assets. Citizens used to be able to go down to the local council office and check it out, now it is on the internet.
But it doesn’t end there. Walk past a house you like, want to know who owns it, when they bought it and what their mortgage is, just look it up on your smartphone. Got cut off by an aggressive driver during morning rush hour? No problem, send a text with the registration number to the Road Authority, back comes the owner of the car.
It is a culture of public openness and fairness on the one hand, envy on the other, as epitomized in what Norwegians refer to as “Janteloven” – The Law of Jante, a Scandinavian peculiarity in opposition to individualism.
It may not be a principle that Marius and his protagonists adhere to, but they sure take advantage of it!