In spite of the oil-adventure in the North Sea, it’s childhood wisdom for a lot of Danes. That’s why we need to live off of our education and what abilities each person has. Since the first public school law 200 years ago, in the year after the state bankruptcy and the defeat in the Napoleonic wars, it’s been a mantra in Denmark that has made us a rich nation. But over the years, the word education was joined and then replaced by the word knowledge. From the mid 1980, after the Cold War ended and with the increased globalization of production, the education was replaced by the new mantra of knowledge. We were now to live off of selling knowledge to the rest of the world. But is it true that we’re making a living off knowledge and what are we going to live off of in 2030?
What are we living off of today?
There are a lot of people working in Denmark, who have many different tasks they do in their jobs. That could for example be the many important tasks that are being done in the public sector. But the public sector doesn’t contribute a lot to the earnings in the country – if any. We can cut each other’s hair, offer all sorts of services, have a large public sector and produce food and other goods for our own consumption, but the most important thing in the Danish economy is in regards to other countries. What do we sell to other countries and what do we buy? It’s all about the balance of payments – did you forget about that term? It went out of fashion when the balance became positive in the start 1990s.
But what do we actually earn in Denmark? The following list shows the net profit on the balance of payments for the most important sectors. In other words, these are the sectors that Denmark lives off of:
• Export industrial goods 68 billion (medicine and medico 39 billion, machines 19 billion, furniture 5 billion, instruments 5 billion)
• Export agriculture (70 billion)
• Sea transport (52-60 billion)
• Goods-attached services (17-18 billion)
• Goods-attached services, merchanting (16-19 billion)
• Salaries across borders (10-16 billion)
• Aerial transport people and goods (10 billion)
• Royalties and licenses (3-4 billion)
• A few engineering services (2-4 billion)
• The rest result in deficits – we spend more on tourism abroad, for example, than we make on foreign tourists in Denmark.
So we’re a nation living off of agriculture, industry and shipping and who get a substantial contribution to our earnings from servicing windmills, mining facilities etc. (goods-attached services) as well as retail abroad such as JYSK, Netto and Bestseller as the most important ones (goods-attached services, merchanting) as well as salaries abroad from air- and freight transport. Royalties and licenses are pure knowledge and the sales from this only gives around 3-4 billion kr. per year. There are intervals on the amounts because they are viewed over a slightly longer time period and fluctuate from year to year. How does that align with globalization?
Published here 2017