Norwegians - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Prior to World War II, the economy was based on timbering, fishing and whaling, metal production (i.e., aluminum, copper), agriculture, and the merchant marine. Since World War II energy production (gas, oil, electricity) has played an increasing role, and the service sector of the economy has grown. A mixed-subsistence base of wage labor and the primary occupations of fishing, farming, or animal husbandry was not uncommon, but it is becoming less prevalent with relative depopulation of rural areas. A typical diet consists of bread, butter, cheese, fish, and meat. Potatoes, cabbage, and carrots are the most common vegetables, and local berries (lingonberry, cloud berry) are supplemented by imported fruits as sources of vitamin C.

Industrial Arts. Many people, especially in the rural areas, produce crafts, such as knitted or woven goods and various wooden crafts (utensils, bowls, furniture). Regional costumes are a widespread manufacture.

Trade. Open-air produce markets supplement established stores in the summer months.

Division of Labor. The complementarity of female and male roles is a fundamental presumption of Norwegian social structure and is reinforced by a pattern of strong spousal Solidarity. "Feminine" and "masculine" behaviors are not strongly distinguished, and decision-making authority is often shared in families. Informal social networks of males and females are, however, substantially segregated. The public/private division of labor is operative in rural areas, with the women performing the majority of domestic duties (i.e., baking, washing, weaving) while the men hold the primary responsibility for such tasks as chopping wood. Farm labor such as making silage, harvesting potatoes, or milking cows often is shared by the entire family.

Land Tenure. Traditionally the small single-family farm was the prevailing type of landholding in rural areas. Gradually the size of these holdings has increased with rural depopulation.


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