Remaking a Form of Life

  • Jakob Meløe
Part of the Swansea Studies in Philosophy book series (SWSP)


A friend of mine, Ottar Brox, wrote a book a few years ago: Ta vare på Norge — that is: Take care of Norway. What he asks us to take care of are the laws and the political and economic institutions that were built during the forty-year period ranging from the mid-thirties to the mid-seventies. Brox names that period ‘the period of social democracy’ and, trying to formulate the guiding motive behind several of those laws and institutions, he comes up with: make it difficult for people to live off other people’s labour. In this paper I shall introduce you to one law, Råfiskloven of 1938, that does just that. That is, I shall tell you about the situation of our coastal fishermen before 1938, and enough about it for you to see how the fish merchants were able to make themselves rich off the fishermen’s hardships, how the fishermen worked to better their lot, and how that law of 1938 did alter it, radically. (‘Råfiskloven’ may perhaps be translated as ‘The Raw Fish Act’, if ‘raw fish’ is taken to mean not just not cooked fish, but fish that has not been processed in any way — that is, salted, dried, smoked, etc. When the fisherman sells the day’s catch to the fish merchant, that catch consists of so much ‘fisk’.


Fishing Ground High Bidder Fair Price Fishing Boat Labour Party 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Jakob Meløe

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