Elon Musk, Oil Fund | Nicolai Tangen does not become a leper from having dinner with Elon Musk

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Online to the point These are comments written by Nettavisen’s editor-in-chief.

The last week has been hectic for oil fund manager and art museum donor Nicolai Tangen, but it is not the art that has provoked people the most. SV politician Kari Elisabeth Kaski reacts strongly to Nicolai Tangen inviting Tesla founder Elon Musk to a private dinner and podcast.

– It could weaken the legitimacy of the fund internationally and in Norway because it is an incredibly controversial and dangerous man, says Kari Elisabeth Kaski to Dagens Næringsliv.

The oil fund has shares worth around NOK 75 billion in Tesla. Whatever you think about Elon Musk’s views on unions and Israel’s war in Gaza, he is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important and innovative business leaders.

It would be a dereliction of duty if the manager of one of the world’s largest investment funds does not keep himself in with such people.

Aftenposten’s commentator Theres Sollien criticizes that Nicolai Tangen’s podcast conversations are not revolver interviews, and she suggests that the friendly approach means that Nicolai Tangen and Oljefondet will refrain from throwing out shares that do poorly for the sake of the guests.

Read it here: Oil fund managers should not fall head over heels for Elon Musk

It’s probably conspiratorial. As a fund manager, Nicolai Tangen was world-renowned for his meticulous review of the shares the fund held, using investigators and his own investigations. He would not have hesitated for a second to throw Tesla out of the AKO portfolio, if it was smart.

In Oljefondet, Nicolai Tangen does not make individual share decisions. It is the Ethics Council that decides which shares one should not invest in, and the general guideline is to invest broadly and achieve approximately the same return as stock market indices.

Nicolai Tangen neither buys nor sells shares as a result of a guest becoming upset or complaining about the food.

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Nordlys’ normally good commentator Maja Sojtaric believes that Nicolai Tangen’s wag is embarrassing, and that his “billion-dollar camaraderie” should be inedible for the Labor Party and LO.

In her comment, Maja Sojtaric warns that the oil fund manager “…sends political signals with his podcasts and dinner parties, where few critical questions are asked of the companies that de facto benefit from our investing in them”.

Read it here: Embarrassing wag for Elon Musk

Network building and dialogue

Unfortunately, there is nothing particularly Norwegian about wanting to take the microphone from someone who expresses views we don’t like. Woke and deplatforming are a weed that has spread from the US to Norway. The problem is that the opinions do not disappear because they are not violated against other opinions, and that deprives us of the opportunity to hear what the other party really means.

Nicolai Tangen is a network builder who talks to people, and he is known for dinners with both NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Gro Harlem Brundtland’s son, fund manager Knut Brundtland.

If the choice is between an oil fund manager who has diplomatic skills and who can listen on the one hand, or a political activist on the other, then I want my money to be managed by a person with broad vision and a wide network of contacts!

Criticism for talking together

The red-green government and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre have been criticized for their talks with Hamas and the Taliban because it allegedly legitimizes terrorists. The predecessors’ thawing of relations with China was equally criticized.

For others, it is at least as illegitimate to speak confidentially with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In my world, Elon Musk is not on the top 1000 list of people you can’t talk to, even though he has extreme opinions on Israel/Gaza and Ukrania/Russia and fights unions.

Oil-fired double standards

The belief that Norway – with less than one per thousand of the world’s population – will have an international impact with value mission is naive. An oil-fueled climate activist with one of the world’s largest investment funds built up with oil money is struggling to be taken seriously.

Then there is significantly more strength in speaking with your feet – that is, speaking clearly about bad business ethics or extreme management bonuses when selling the shares. The oil fund should use ownership where it makes business sense.

I look forward to hearing Elon Musk at the Oil Fund’s investor conference next year, and think it is entirely possible to listen to a podcast between Elon Musk and Nicolai Tangen without getting dirty.

An open debate is a prerequisite for having an enlightened democracy and we have to tolerate people we disagree with not being allowed to speak.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Elon Musk Oil Fund Nicolai Tangen leper dinner Elon Musk

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