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Svalbard, Norway – Unemployment is illegal

As governor of Norway’s northernmost territory, Odd Olsen Ingero commands a police force with just six officers and a single detention cell for an area twice the size of New Jersey. Even that is overkill: Nobody has been locked up here in the capital of Svalbard since last summer. And that was for just two days.

It is not just that there are not many people — fewer than 3,000 are officially registered as residents — or that what are elsewhere run-of-the-mill crimes like car theft are an exotic and very risky business in a place where there are no roads out of town to escape on.

The key to Svalbard’s status as probably Europe’s closest thing to a crime-free society, according to the governor, is that unemployment is in effect illegal. “If you don’t have a job, you can’t live here,” Mr. Ingero said, noting that the jobless are swiftly deported. Retirees are sent away, too, unless they can prove they have sufficient means to support themselves.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  A Harsh Climate Calls for Banishment of the Needy – NYTimes.com.

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