I think that's so true of so many things. In the US context, what you're talking about also applies to university; how can we expect literal children to choose for themselves the path that will lead them to meaning and financial independence, when they don't have the life experience to really know what they need or want?
In terms of your move to Norway, I'm not very surprised to hear that your experience is so different. Both the UK and the US tend to have very large organizations with a great deal of what I would term, "power distance". For example, here in many organizations (large or small) the people at the top, never meet the people at the bottom, or even in the middle. Different levels tend not to interact with one another much, except through very established channels and contexts.
Here's a real shocker: these kinds of organizations tend to have less potential for upward mobility and as organizations tend to reflect the communities and populations that they're embedded in, they also tend to reflect societal dynamics. In societies with very little social mobility (like the US) we see less internal promotion and more bringing in upper level people from the outside. Further, "chain of command" type org structures tend to have notably higher rates in turnover, which means that they spend a shitload on hiring and trying to establish pipelines to draw on talent. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, for whatever reasons, the customer keeps demanding the cure and wondering why they can't cut costs.
It's not healthy.