The Nordic countries are often dismissed as boringly stables but right now they are staggering through a nasty financial crisis brought on by sour real estate loans and a vicious recession. The Swedish and Finnish governments have been forced into costly bank bailouts. But the crisis is most acute in Norway, where Christiana Bank, the country's second-largest, is likely to be nationalized as part of a broad rescue for the banking system. The bill for the government: $2.8 billion. That may seem small, but it is $700 per person--the equivalent of nearly $200 billion for the U. S.

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