HT 1-1994


The tithe as the source of growth in production

This article deals with the use of early modem tithe accounts as means of tracing the development of the production of grain, stockfish and dairy products. The article takes tithe accounts from Nordland in Trondhjem diocese as a starting-point. Several problems arise when using tithe accounts in this way, and sixteenth century tithe accounts in particular create the greatest problems. It seems that many parishes at this time had converted the 10% tithe to a fixed, almost symbolic, annual amount to one or more of the tithe recipients.

In the seventeenth century, tithes had a tendency to increase, thus creating an impression that production was also growing. However, in several cases it can be proved that this growth was just an effect of more efficient collection. Cheese tithes seem to have been collected in a haphazard way, and increasing cheese tithes in the seventeenth century have very little to do with an increase in production. In the last decade of the seventeenth century there are also indications that corn tithes rose by 33%, because authorities began to demand a 10% tithe instead of a 7,5% tithe. Traditionally, peasants had been allowed to keep 2,5% to he used in alms-giving ("the pauper's tithe"), but during the late seventeenth century the authorities began to demand this part of the tithe also.

Ragnhild Høgsæt

"For Norway, Heroes' Native Land". Norwegian complaints and identity 1770-1773

The article represents some preparatory research for the volume dealing with the period 17201814 in the planned four-volume history of Denmark-Norway, 1380-1814. The literary title is a quotation from the introductory line of a patriotic song from December 1771 by Johan Nordal Brun. The subtitle indicates the double structure and scope of the article: an analysis of the Norwegian complaints about Norway's position in the Danish-Norwegian state, based on pamphlets published from 1770 when censorship was abolished by the absolute monarch, until 1773 when freedom of the press was once again curtailed, and a search for expressions of an early Norwegian national identity contained in these complaints.

The Norwegians complained vehemently about the subjugation of the economic interests of Norway under Denmark - and particularly under Copenhagen which was supported by privileges and monopolies according to traditional mercantilist doctrines. They further complained about Norwegians being kept out of the central administration of the state. And they demanded a university and a bank of their own.

The analysis of the complaints demonstrates that all except one of the Norwegian pamphlets were published in Copenhagen and, furthermore, that complaints were only in exceptional circumstances printed in the Norwegian newspapers of the time. Those who complained seem mostly to have been younger men with university education who either lived in the capital or who had come to Copenhagen in order to apply for posts as parsons and local civil servants in Norway. They strongly identified themselves with Norway and with the Norwegian nation as a whole - notjust with a particular social group. What bound them together was a strong emotional attachment to Norway's glorious past and to her rugged mountains, which they believed fostered superior physical and moral qualities in her inhabitants.

Ole Feldbæk

Monetary reform and economic regulation

The German occupying power financed its activities in Norway during the war by means of direct withdrawals from Norges Bank (the central bank). The amount of money in circulation during the war years consequently multiplied, creating latent inflationary pressures.

Preparations for a major operation aimed at withdrawing notes and eliminating excess demand began a long time before the liberation. A proposal was introduced for a sharply progressive one-off tax on wartime wealth increases. The plans were warmly supported, particularly in industrial and liberal political circles, because the elimination of excess demand was a prerequisite for removing regulations and reestablishing industrial and commercial freedom of action. In June 1945, the liberal economist Gunnar Jahn became Minister of Finance in the new coalition government. Under Jahn, the Ministry of Finance prepared a Bill along the lines drawn up during the war. When the proposal was made known, it soon drew criticism from two sides. Young economists who were adherents of Keynes's economic theories were opposed to its foundations in monetary theory, while industrial organizations began to baulk at the large-scale withdrawal of money which was beginning to come into effect. It would seem that their courage failed them when it emerged that what had looked like a more abstract "monetary reform" in practice took the concrete shape of a record-high tax.

When the coalition government was succeeded by a Labour Party government in November 1945, the young economist Erik Brofoss took over from Gunnar Jahn at the Ministry of Finance. Brofoss was among those who believed that the proposed monetary reform was based on outdated monetary theory. In his view, and in that of his advisers, any effect of demand on inflationary pressures was, at most, marginal. Inflationary pressures would diminish, they argued, when the supply of goods returned to its customary pre-war level. Consequently, the new Minister of Finance had no objections to complying with the industrial sector's demand that Jahn's Bill be withdrawn. The protests from the big industrial organizations had also had an impact in political circles. The Conservative Party (Høyre), the dominant opposition party, had in the light of the protests abandoned the original idea of a large-scale wealth tax. This left the Bill prepared under the liberal Jahn without any strong support.

In the summer of 1946, the Storting (the legislative assembly) adopted a different monetary reform proposal. The resulting taxation was so modest as to have no significant impact on taxpayers' purchasing power. One consequence was certainly that the extensive system of price controls had to be retained longer than would otherwise have been necessary. The decision not to remove excess demand has traditionally been associated with the entry onto the political and administrative scene of the new generation of economists. The available material shows, however, that the leading champions of reform in the early stages - industrial and conservative political spokesmen - were quick to turn against the proposal. It should therefore not he necessary, in accounting for its fate, to invoke the opposition of the economists.

Einar Lie

Technical research and industrial policy - The breakthrough for technical research in industrial policy

After World War II the Norwegian Labour party introduced a political offensive to modernize Norwegian industry. The main element in the policy was large-scale production based on natural resources - wood, fish, ore and water power. 1 have called this policy the "Labour and Capital Strategy". The politicians of the early postwar period had only a vague idea about what objective technical research could fulfil. In spite of this the Norwegian parliament founded a technical research council in 1946 - The Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Central persons within this council and other technological research milieus made plans for an alternative industrial policy based on technological achievement. This strategy I have called the "Science and Technology Strategy".

In the early 1950s the "Labour and Capital Strategy" dominated Norwegian industrial policy. In the late 1950s this gradually changed: politicians put stronger emphasize on technical research in industrial policy. The reasons for this were many: concern that Norwegian industry would lose market shares because of the newly established economic organizations in Europe (EEC and EFTA), decreasing growth rates, new economic theories that stressed the significance of technology for economic growth, and the Sputnik shock.

The 1960s represented a breakthrough for the "Science and Technology Strategy" and a shift in industrial policy. The "Science and Technology Strategy" gradually became a part of the industrial policy at the cost of the "Labour and Capital Strategy". This breakthrough involved a closer interrelation between science policy and industrial policy.

Stig Kvaal

HT 2-1994

Criminal Law Practice in Norway at the End of the 17th Century: Differences in Treatment on the Grounds of Economy

The way in which personal economic status affected Norwegian men's (and women's) legal liability and risk of punishment in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is discussed. Those who were well-off were able to avoid harsh physical punishment. According to Christian IVs Norwegian Law Book of 1604, most crimes were to be punished primarily by fines. With some exceptions, the rule was that only those who could not pay the fine, had to suffer more corporal punishment. In 1687 the law concerning theft was changed in this respect, making it more equal for everybody in terms of means. But other chapters in the law made it possible to charge the thief for less serious crimes, and this, it seems, was frequently done in the case of the more well-to-do. Thus poorer thieves still faced the harshest penalties. Prosecuted persons had to rely on their own economic means in other matters, too. Juridical help, such as a barrister for the defence, was normally not offered to criminals. (In regular cases of theft, the accused was not even allowed to be represented by a lawyer.) The third instance of injustice based on economic means was in the case of mercy. To make a petition was free, but to receive pardon was expensive, and often one even had to make a charitable gift to the hospital or the church. Finally, the financial problems involved in conducting a private prosecution are discussed. Remarkably, many criminal lawsuits were raj sed by the offended party. If the costs could be transferred to the defendant, there was no problem. In the case of a poor criminal, the costs of the process, as well as of the punishment were to be paid by the prosecutor, who in private lawsuits was the offended party. This represented a considerable obstacle in summoning thieves before a court and in having them sentenced.

Bodil Chr. Erichsen

"Economic democracy" in Norwegian Politics, 1945-1970

Proceeding from contextualist rather than model-building assumptions, the author examines various attempts to extend the traditional "political" democracy in Norway during the post-war years up until 1972. He identifies three main phases in this development, the first spanning the years 1944/1945-1952. This phase was initially characterized by a dynamic and ambitious labour movement, whose aims seemingly were to establish a new economic-political order on a (<corporatist-democratic" basis. Confronted with growing opposition from "bourgeois" political parties and interest groups, who were suspicious of detrimental "socialist" experiments, the labour movement gradually retreated to a more moderate, accommodating position. In the second phase, 1953-1960, the governing Labour Party therefore proposed an "economic democracy" of a more limited type, defined as employee representation on the boards of big industrial companies in the private sector ("styrerepresentasjon"). However, on this issue a split arose between the Labour Party and the Trade Union Organization, the latter preferring an atmosphere of cooperation with the capitalist owners rather than taking an antagonistic stand. It was not until the third phase, dating from the beginning of the 1960s, that a sufficiently wide political consensus gradually emerged - not only within the labour movement, but including also the so-called bourgeois parties - leading to the passing of a law by the Storting in 1972, thus establishing a "styrerepresentasjon" on the lines initially proposed by the Labour Party twenty years earlier. The owners were opposed to this democratic reform. They did, however, maintain real control, since the employees only obtained a minority position on the boards.

Taking the period 1945-1972 as a whole, five central dimensions in the debate on "economic democracy" are pointed out. First, the conflict between democracy instituted by law or by voluntary agreement between labour and capital. Secondly, the question of democracy from above vs. democracy from below. Thirdly, the connection between democracy and socialism on the one hand, and democracy and efficiency on the other. Fourthly, the primacy of politics after the Kings Bay crisis in 1963 is emphasized and, finally, the whole debate is placed within the context of a political system which was itself of a democratic nature.

Paul Knutsen

Norwegian Growth in an International Setting during the Postwar Period 1950-88

During recent years the question 'why do growth rates differ among nations?' has again come to the forefront among economists. This renewed interest in growth has undoubtedly a close connection with the post-war growth success of Japan, although the persistent growth differences among the other OECD countries, and among the industrialized countries on the one hand and the traditional agrarian economies on the other also play a role. The pioneering work by Angus Maddison and, more recently, by the UN growth project has been the empirical basis for this new interest. On the theoretical level, the discussion takes as its point of departure the fact that the standard neoclassical model, the Solow-Swan model, cannot explain long-run growth rate differentials among nations without relying on differences in exogenous technological progress.

In part one the main features of the growth climate among the OECD countries during the post World War II period are discussed in light of the new empirical evidence, and the changing position of the Norwegian economy is studied. It is shown how the relative position was fairly stable during the 1950s and 1960s, but that toward the end of the 1970s and 1980s the growth of the Norwegian economy rose to well above that of the OECD average. As a result, only 3-4 countries among the 24 OECD countries had a higher level of GDP per capita by the close of the 1980s.

Part two of the paper analyses factors explaining growth differences among the OECD countries during the period 1950-88. Contrary to the Solow-Swan model and the recent 'endogenous growth models', uneven growth is seen in light of a world-wide process of diffusion based on the dichotomy between the technologically advanced country (countries) and those that follow behind. It is shown that this technology gap model explains differences in GDP growth per capita fairly well. Moreover, the regressions reveal that predicted growth is well above actual growth for the Norwegian economy during the 1950s and the 1960s. One possible interpretation of this result is that the productivity of the investments in Norway was well below the OECD average during that period.

Anders Skonhoft

HT 3-1994

The Norse Immigration to the Hebrides in the Viking Period and the Later Fate of the Norse Settlement

A significant discovery, made by chance at Valtos on the Atlantic coast of the island of Lewis in 1915, was that of a pagan woman's grave probably dating from the late 9th century A.D. and containing artefacts of both Norse and Celtic provenance. This might suggest that the meeting between the native Hebrideans (Picts and Dalriadic Scots) and the Norse was not wholly violent. This leads to the more general question: What happened when the Norse immigrants met the natives, and what happened after the former had settled down in the islands?

An almost impenetrable mist surrounds the early history of these islands. A little contemporary information can he gleaned from neighbouring regions; and Hebridean personages and events find some mention in the Icelandic sagas. But scholars are mainly dependent upon environmental sources, archaeological material, and place- and personal names for any knowledge of social and cultural development in the Hebrides during the Norse period (c. 800-c. 1300).

It is generally accepted that the Norse settlement in north-west Scotland comprised a considerable movement of population into the Outer Hebrides and other islands north of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and a smaller one with a shorter life into the southern Hebrides. In addition, there was some minor immigration into the adjacent mainland littoral. In recent years, however, the character of the encounter between the two ethnic groups has been hotly disputed. lan Crawford, for instance, concludes from his study of a site in North Uist that "the message is one of compulsive dispossession or expulsion" of the natives, whereas a fellow-archaeologist, Anna Ritchie, deduces from her examination of a parallel situation in Orkney that "some form of social integration between Pict and Norseman existed at least in the 9th century and probably into the 10th century". All that is certain is that in the late Middle Ages the Hebrideans were linguistically Gaelic. In the absence of any historical monograph of the region as a whole, we are dependent upon what can be inferred from specialist researches in different localities. These indicate that the raids which began in the later decades of the 8th century gave place after some decades to the epoch of settlement. The earliest Norse graves date from the period 850-900; and of the 34 graves where the sex of the interred can be determined, 15 are female burials. The excavations on the Uists show that the newcomers settled preferably on the same type of fertile shoreland (machair) as the Picts and Celts before them.

For further light on the Norse land-taking in the Hebrides we depend upon the study of place-names. Although such names only give a limited possibility of quantifying the size of the Norse immigration to any particular area, they can at least indicate the extent of such settlement throughout the western isles of Scotland. Moreover, the density of Norse place-names may serve as a pointer to localities of more concentrated Norse population.

In the light of these preliminary considerations it is tempting to offer the following threefold hypothesis:

1. The Pictish and Celtic population did survive, but it was reduced to a minority among the newcomers.

2. The Norse settlement had its centre of gravity in the northern islands, but even the southern and inner Hebrides had a relatively numerous population with a Norse background.

3. The integration process, affecting the Norse, was chiefly of a cultural and linguistic character. It was effective throughout the entire Norse period, but it became more pronounced in the 12th and 13th centuries. Thus there is no evidence during this period of a mass-immigration of Gaelic-speaking people from mainland Scotland or Ireland.

Concerning the first point, British archaeologists, as we have seen above, appear to be divided, but support for some sort of integration comes from the written sources. Some Norsemen from the Hebrides were Christian when they moved on to Iceland around the year 900, and others who arrived there, seem to have been of Gaefic-speaking descent. Gaelic personal names from the Hebrides occur in the Orkneyinga saga.

The second point of my hypothesis finds considerable support in a study of the rich material of Norse habitation names. This study, an MA thesis, written by one of my former graduate students, David K. Olson, involved the mapping of the medieval and later settlement names in three districts of the northern and two of the southern Hebrides. He analysed three different classes of farm-name generics - staðir, setr/ærgi and bó1staðr. He found that farm-names with the generic staðir did not mark chiefly the primary sites of the Norse settlers, as had been suggested by the Scotch place-name scholar W.F.H. Nicolaisen. He also pointed out that the generic setr, which usually implied a shieling, was primarily confined to the northern islands, whereas tergi (an Old Norse loan-word from the Gaelic airigh) had a similar meaning and was used extensively in the southern Hebrides. The bó1staðr generic, of which Olson has registered 106 names, even including some from the mainland littoral, figures extensively in north and south alike, the derived element bost (Kirkibost) predominating in the former area, and the elements bus/bols in the latter. An important fourth generic is boer/býr, not examined by Olson. This habitation generic is especially significant, as it may mark out the primary sites of Norse settlement. Farm-names of this class are not too frequent in the Hebrides, as such farms were early split up into lesser units.

Concerning the third point of my hypothesis, the process of cultural and linguistic transformation, the crucial period must have occurred in the 12th century, when the Hebrides were exposed to great political turmoil (the establishment of the Somerled principality in the southem Hebrides). At the same time the Hebridean church with its centre on Iona was reorganized and its missionary activity renewed with support from the Irish church. The Norse language was now giving way to the Gaelic and reduced to local dialects still spoken in the High Middle Ages.

The cultural intermingling which the 9th century gravefind from Valtos in Lewis bears witness to, was possibly the beginning of a long and complete transformation of the Norse settlers. Tbey gradually became totally imbued with different cultural and social values. The key to understanding this process is to be sought in Christian monastic centres in Ireland, and above all, on Iona.

Per Sveaas Andersen

Calculating the number of agricultural units in the high middle ages

Comparative studies of material from the 17th century and from the Middle Ages give reason to believe that the bygsel units in Norway in the 17th century to a large extent have their origin in the agricultural units existing in the period immediately preceding the Black Death (bygsel is a form of lease). If this assumption is correct, we should, by analysing the material from the 17th century, be able to obtain a more accurate estimate of the number of agricultural units (bruk) in the first half of the 14th century. Certainly, bygsel units owned by farmers in the 16th and 17th centuries were unstable, and bygsel units could disappear when several agricultural units originating from the same farm were the property of one owner, and some farms never came into use again after the Black Death. These circumstances, however, do not seem to have any considerable effect on the applicability of the method.

Knut Dørum

Exile-Norway and the Jews during World War II

The inter-allied St. James Declaration of 13 January 1942 made the punishment of war criminals one of the main aims of the allies. At the same time Germany was bringing the persecution of Jews up to a new level of savageness, which became the prime motivation behind the United Nations declaration of 17 December 1942, when the allies confirmed their resolution to punish war criminals. On 26 October 1943 the United Nations War Crimes Commission had its first meeting. Thereupon the London Agreement of 8 August 1945 between France, Great Britain, the USA and the USSR established an international military war crimes tribunal as well as a new criminal concept: "crimes against humanity".

In the middle of August 1942 the exiled Norwegian government in London received a message from its representative in Bern about reported German plans to put to death the whole Jewish population in Poland. The message even stated that a large number of the Jews from Holland had almost certainly already been killed by gas or poison. Only a few days earlier the British Foreign Office had received a similar message as well, the famous Riegner telegram, from its representative in Bern. This is the earliest authoritative information to the outside world about the mass-murder of Jews in German-occupied territories. It seems obvious that the two messages have a common source.

Two months later the Germans struck against the Jews in occupied Norway. Of the 1800 Jews living in Norway at that time, around 750 were rounded up and deported to Poland and Germany, where most of them were put to death within a short time. The remaining 1000 survived by escaping to Sweden or by going into hiding. At the very same time as the Jews in Norway were arrested and deported, the Norwegian foreign minister Trygve Lie received a second message, this time from the British section of the World Jewish Congress, dated 27 November 1942. After rendering a strikingly accurate description of the fate of Jews at the hands of Hitler Germany, the message ended by suggesting that radio broadcasts to Norway should include appeals to the population to resist by all means "the deportation of the Jews for mass slaughter". The foreign secretary replied a few days later that such an appeal were not needed in order to urge the population to fulfill its human duty towards the Jews in Norway.

The line taken by the Norwegian government in London was that of not treating the fate of the Jews as a special case and to avoid including crimes committed against German citizens, Jews or others, into the definition of war crimes. The Norwegian representative in the United Nations War Crimes Commission kept strictly to this line and argued well and energetically to this effect against those who wanted a broader definition of the term "war crime" and thereby a broadening of the very mandate of the commission. However, during 1943 and 1944 a split arose between the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice at this point. The Secretary of Justice, Terje Wold, felt that the legal means at hand were inadequate to deal with atrocities of such a scale as those committed by Hitler Germany. He found support in Roosevelt's radio message on 24 March 1944, in which the president assured on behalf of the United Nations that no one who took part in "the wholesale schematic murder of the Jews of Europe" would escape justice. The disagreement between the two Norwegian ministries led to the resignation of the Norwegian representative in the War Crimes Commission, Erik Colban, in December 1944.

The disagreement between the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign Ministry can partly be explained by the quite obvious fact that the Norwegian Foreign Ministry had to have foreign policy considerations in mind before acting. Among other things, it eagerly sought to act in harmony with the British, who seemed to be more reluctant than the US to commit themselves to any broadening or redefinition of the concept of (<war crime". Besides, there was a reluctance in many quarters - even among Jews - to encourage propaganda that this was a "Jewish" war. The Ministry of Justice had few such hesitations. The main task was to establish judicial means to deal with crimes unheard of until now.

To those murdered by Hitler Germany the various legal and political skirmishes among the allies were of no consequence, of course. Nevertheless, out of it sprang a new legal term of some significance: "crimes against humanity".

Ole Kolsrud

The Norwegian historical culture. On coherence and fragmentation in Norwegian historical research

The article refers to the striking growth of the Norwegian historical profession in the last generation, and problematises the increasing diversity in topics and approaches. How does this affect the unity of the profession and the body of scholarship?

The state of fragmentation in some European countries and the USA is surveyed, and two suggestions for overcoming the situation are presented; the insistence on common standards of quality (Theodore Rabb) and the proposal for a certain plot ("The making of public culture") as a starting point for making syntheses (Thomas Bender).

For Norway. it is argued that the forces of coherence are stronger than those of fragmentation. This cannot be explained solely by the fact that Norway is a small country.111cre are almost 500 Norwegian professional historians who have a fairly similar education, and possess relatively common standards, corresponding to Rabb's demand. There is a strong tradition for writing <~total history", either as academic local histories or as national syntheses. The "New history" approach has a long history, and has seldom clashed with more traditional historistic scholarship.

Nevertheless, fragmentation concerning topics as well as methods is being experienced as a rising problem. A debate on synthesis is emerging. Most debaters are calling for syntheses in the sense of organising the story (analysis) around a dominating plot (argument). F. Sejersted's argument is that meaning may best be achieved by concentrating on institutions, particularly political ones, not very different from Bender. It is argued that studying institutions in the wide, sociological, sense of the concept may offer a fruitful way of retaining and developing synthesis, meaning and coherence in Norwegian historical scholarship.

Jan Eivind Myhre

HT 4-1994

The undermining of the French nobility's intellectual hegemony in the eighteenth century

This essay is based on a thesis that explores the development of the aristocratic ethos in France from the late 17th century to the Revolution in 1789. The nobility's view of its function in society is a central issue, and aristocratic attitudes towards work are given particular attention. The main point of the essay is to elucidate the effects of the political and scientific rationalism of the Enlightenment and the materialism accompanying emerging capitalism. It is argued that these developments undermined both the interest for and the belief in the idea that the nobility conveyed indispensable spiritual values to society.

In the treatises on nobility from the late 17th century aristocratic self-consciousness shines through. The supremacy of the nobility was legitimated partly by their warrior function and partly by the idea of descent from conquerors. It was also legitimated by the conviction that the nobility, through its honourable family traditions, upheld values that were indispensable to society at large: courage, selflessness, generosity, broadness of vision, capacity of government. There was also legitimation of a more cosmological sort, rooted in a mystical view of man and society. This view is reflected in the appreciation of the importance of ancienneté in noble families, and in the idea of the mystic body of the monarchy.

The dérogeance-regulations, which penalized nobles who indulged in unsuitable activities such as retail, partly had the purpose of upholding the spiritual qualities of the nobility. This is clearly illustrated by some of the reactions that met the repeated government efforts to loosen up this prohibition. The policy of the centralizing and mercantilist Bourbon state undermined the aristocratic ethos in other ways as well. While Louis XIV reduced the political and administrative power of the nobility, he increased its ceremonial and, as it were, decorative status. He also turned this status into a commodity (to a much wider extent than his predecessors had done) by the sale of titles of nobility. Hence the connection between the exterior of honour and its essence became precarious.

Aristocratic claims to superiority partly hinged on a spiritualism that was threatened by a rationalistic and analytical approach to society. This approach is exemplified by thinkers such as Locke, the national economists (physiocrats and Adam Smith) and even that great defender of the nobility, Montesquieu. The material contribution to society of each individual or class of individuals was more explicitly measured, and vague spiritual qualities were less appreciated or even exposed to ridicule. The heroic and mystical view of man and society confronted the materialist and rationalist view in the debate on the "noblesse commerçante" in the 1750s and 1760s.

The development of the function of representing or incarnating supreme virtues can be followed in the contemporary manuals on the education of the nobility. In the latter part of the reign of Louis XIV the focus was on mastering court life at Versailles. Education was more a question of learning to display the inherent qualities of nobility than of developing them. In the decades preceding the Revolution, the confidence in inherent qualities gave way to a much greater stress on the necessity of education. The ambition was to give the nobility solid knowledge. This was accompanied by frequent strictures against traditional aristocratic attitudes and values, which were envisioned as impediments to self-improvement. The ideal noble, as he appears from the manuals of this period, seems like a bourgeois in every way except for his title. The representative function and social elevation of the nobility were exposed as little more than a sham. The self-criticism of the nobility was meant to form the basis of its regeneration, but in the process it forwarded arguments for the annihilation of hereditary nobility. Thus, in spite of their opposite intentions, both educational moralists and nihilists, such as Sade, reflected an aristocracy that no longer believed in its sacred superiority.

Kai Østberg

Econometric history: Observations on the Development of the Discipline in Norway

There has never been much interest in New Economic History among Norwegian historians. The debate on the discipline - which from time to time has been intense internationally - has not received the same attention in this country and the research activity in the discipline has never flourished. However, attention is perhaps greater than most Norwegian historians are aware of, mainly because most of the research has been carried out by economists, or at least by researchers who are closer to economics than to general history.

The purpose of this article is in part to define the discipline, which we today will call Econometric History rather than New Economic History. The article introduces the key elements in econometric research techniques, and reviews the main trends in the international development and debate concerning the discipline. The main objectives, however, is to review the research in econometric history in Norway over the years. We find that most of the research is carried out within the framework of neoclassic economic theory. Both the methods and topics in most works are closely related to international trends in the discipline, e.g. macroeconomic analysis of growth, monetary questions, analysis of demography, technology and the labour market.

We conclude with the hope that the article will encourage further dialogue between general historians, economic historians and econometric historians in Norway, and put the argument for more research in econometric history in this country which has good, available and reasonably manageable statistical series on its economic history.

Bjørn L. Basberg and Ola M. Grytten

Ecological-historical Observations on Nature and Informative Material

Based on an analysis of the British policy for the Nile Valley and for Nile water utilization in the period 1889 to 1956, this article discusses influential social science theories regarding the relation between nature and society and the concepts of "region", "place" and "locale". It is argued that the established tradition, based itself on a clear dichotomization between nature and society, makes it difficult to understand how changes in the social construction of nature (the River Nile) may affect the ways nature influences political developments (the British Nile Valley strategy) and the social formation of regions, places and locale (in this case; the Nile Valley).

Terje Tvedt