There is nothing wrong with the CEO job at Norges Bank. But what can be the options?
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
The debate is raging in many circles about who should be our next central bank governor.
There are many who have opinions here, but one thing has puzzled me about this debate. So far, no one has asked the question: What could a leader with Jens Stoltenberg’s unique experience choose to focus on when the NATO job is over?
What can be Stoltenberg’s alternatives to the prospect of a top job in the Norwegian bureaucracy, a job whose main purpose is to help make small, rich Norway even a little richer?
Unique experience and competence
In a world that is affected by increased polarization and growing economic and social inequality, many people look to the Nordic countries for inspiration and learning.
Stoltenberg had the job as Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Minister of Finance and for two periods Prime Minister in an era that historians may call the “golden years” for the Norwegian growth society.
Here he gained unique experience and expertise in areas that are today at the top of the agenda for most of the world’s governments: Climate crisis, energy transition and inclusive economic growth.
This applies, for example, to the debt-laden countries in Africa, which are now being hit hard by both climate change and the corona crisis that the rich countries have inflicted on them.
The job as Secretary General of NATO for eight years has also given Stoltenberg insight and international contacts at the head of state level, which only very few have benefited from.
Western democracies are not only threatened by increased polarization from within.
In their own way, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping threaten what we believe were universal rights. There is a great need for trust-building initiatives and processes that can prevent destructive conflicts between old and new world powers.
Climate and energy. Peace and security. Economic and social development. These are just some of the challenges the world community must solve, where it is natural to think that a capacity like Stoltenberg can make a difference now that he is soon released from his formal responsibilities in NATO.
Blair established think tanks
As an example, it is interesting to mention the experiences of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Minister of Finance Gordon Brown.
The former established the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. It is a think tank that assists political leaders and authorities in Europe and Africa, among other things, in dealing with new challenges such as digitalisation, extremism and covid-19.
Brown has spent much of his time since retiring to promote education specifically for women, including in the role of UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
But by all means, there is nothing wrong with the job as head of Norges Bank. Jens Stoltenberg probably has good reasons to apply for a job as a top bureaucrat in Norway.
Still, it is surprising that not many people wonder how Stoltenberg’s expertise could be used to make the world a little safer now.
Now that he has the opportunity.
This is an edited version of a post Terje Osmundsen first wrote on his Facebook page.
Terje Osmundsen is CEO of Empower New Energy and has a background as Chairman of the Board of Caritas Norway and Executive Vice President of Scatec. He is writing this post as a private person.