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Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Global Justice: An Exchange

From the Ethics & International Affairs Website

January 24, 2014

Oil rig in a Norwegian fjord. CREDIT: Shutterstock

Dozens of countries have established Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in the last decade or so, in the majority of cases employing those funds to manage the large revenues gained from selling resources such as oil and gas on a tide of rapidly rising commodity prices. These funds have raised a series of ethical questions, including just how the money contained in such funds should eventually be spent.

Chris Armstrong's article in the winter issue of Ethics & International Affairs (Vol. 27.4) engages with that question, and specifically seeks to connect debates on SWFs with debates on global justice. Just how good are national claims to the great wealth contained in SWFs in the first place? Using the example of Norway's very large SWF—derived from selling North-Sea petroleumhe shows that national claims are at least sometimes very weak, with the implication that the wealth in many such funds is ripe for redistribution in the interests of global justice.

We invited four experts to respond to Professor Armstrong's argument. To read their comments, go to the Ethics & International Affairs website.  

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