Norway's got it so great, even its problems aren't that hard to solve. Norway is sitting on a cash reserve equal to $140,000 a person, and it has a GDP of more than $100,000 per capita. The issue? Norwegians don't think they need to work, and it's causing an increasingly serious labor crunch:
Wage costs are up 63 percent since 2000, about six times more than in Germany or Sweden, while the employment rate, adjusted for part time work, is 61 percent, below rates anywhere in the Nordics and even below Greece, the central bank says.
Still, unemployment is a barely visible 3 percent as more prefer part time work.
"Why should I work more when I don't have to?" said Elise Bakke, 36, who recently cut her work day at a major telecom firm to 6 hours.
"Maybe it's luck, maybe we earned it, it doesn't really matter. We have the money to live the Nordic life: go to the cabin, ski, bike, spend time with the children."
The government recently warned that unless working hours are increased by 10 percent over time, the state will eventually start eating into its savings. The central bank also warned that the welfare model is simply encouraging people to leave the labor market.
"The number of working hours for full time employees in Norway have fallen by 270 hours a year since 1974," says Jostein Hansen, director of employment policies at Norwegian Hospitality Association. "Norwegians should follow Iceland's example and work 100 hours more a year."
So hey, why illegally immigrate to the US when there's a way richer and plusher nation that is actually begging for people who want to work?