Norway is widely admired as a nation with a high quality of life and robust economy. Now it might become the first nation that reflects upon its past, present and future from an evolutionary perspective.
As part of its focus on quality of life, the Evolution Institute has decided to focus on Norway as a case study of cultural evolution leading to a high quality of life. The project is headed by EI co-founder Jerry Lieberman and resulted in a workshop that was held in Oslo on October 23 2013. The reception was highly positive and resulted in an invitation to speak at the annual conference of a Norwegian think tank called the Manifest Center for Social Analysis, which is closely allied with Norway’s labor unions.
Labor unions played a key role in Norway’s development as a nation and remain a strong political force, unlike their waning influence in the United States. My challenge was to communicate the relevance of evolutionary theory to the concerns of a largely non-academic audience.
There is no reason why evolutionary theory in relation to human affairs can’t become part of mainstream discourse of any nation or culture. It is certainly easier to understand than economic theory. Jerry Lieberman and I look forward to continuing our collaboration with Norwegian colleagues to understand why Norway works so well as a nation and how to navigate its future.