Finding a buried treasure of black gold has been a blessing for some and a curse for others. For Norway, a blessing so far. But there are clouds on the horizon as politician promise more and more while using the Norwegian Oil Fund as collateral for more and more debt. See in Washington Times, VITENBERG: Norway’s shame: How a nation squandered its oil riches. Excerpt:
Some 50 years ago, Njord, the mythological Norsk god of wealth, smiled on the hardworking fishermen and lumberjacks, and presented Norway with the gift of oil. In financial terms, this was a handsome gift indeed, currently translated into a natural bounty worth $740 billion.
Successive Norwegian governments pledged to save this wealth for the welfare of future generations. Yet, half a century after this windfall began, questions increasingly arise of whether Norway’s handling of its oil wealth has even withstood the test of the past, much less the future. ...
First, the oil fund is a mathematical artifice. At three-quarters of a trillion dollars, the Norwegian Oil Fund appears to provide plenty for a country with scarcely 5 million citizens. Yet the country has accumulated a foreign debt that, at $657 billion, is almost as massive. Subtracting the debt from the fund’s $740 billion leaves a balance of only $83 billion. In other words, there is a treasure chest, but it is almost empty: Njord’s prize for future generations is only a little more than 10 percent of its putative value.
Actually, to be fair to the politicians, party-like-there's-no-tomorrow is more or less a trend among most governing bodies. So they are simply following the herd, if that can be claimed as a defense.