Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Icemen Cometh

It's beautiful, but the climate is vile. Resources are few and history books tell of dismal poverty. Yet tourism booms, the capital swarms with the international clubbing crowd, housing prices are soaring and economists talk of a new "tiger" of Europe. Ireland? Nope. Iceland. Just last week, the Swiss International Institute for Management Development rated Iceland the most competitive economy in Europe. Despite its diminutive population—293,000—Iceland has been busily shedding its cod-and-Viking image for more than a decade. Since the mid-' 90s, the country's center-right government has pushed free-market reforms. Companies now pay just 18 percent on profits, down from 50 percent. The country has focused on such sectors as high technology, where the brainpower of a highly educated work force compensates for distance. (How better to spend those long winter nights than surfing the Web?) Along the way, the capital of Reykjavik has become home to a slew of niche companies selling their expertise to the wider world in arenas from software and pharmaceuticals to prosthetic limbs. And if Iceland is short on conventional resources, it's rich in geothermal energy—think volcanoes—and untapped hydropower, a big draw for energy-hungry industries.


At May 25, 2005 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does you make somewhat skeptical about the supposed need for giant-sized multinational superstates like the EU. If tiny Iceland can make it without direction from Brussels what possible use does the EU apparatus serve?

At May 25, 2005 7:14 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Fjordman...Iceland is the Baron's dream vacation. He's talked about going there for years. Sorry to hear it's so crowded!

OTOH, they all speak English...a break for me.


PS Heavens, don't let the Irish hear you say the climate is 'vile.' Someone could brain you with their shillelagh while bellowing, "Your soul to the devil! That is not rain, you cretin, it's mist."

Or words to that effect.

Now I suppose we'll have to settle for Iceland during the off-season.

At May 25, 2005 11:39 PM, Anonymous ik said...

OT - NK you were talking about this on LGF

The book is free at those links and has full details about a case against the quran

At May 26, 2005 2:11 AM, Blogger Zach said...

The more I learn about Iceland, the more interesting it seems.

I have been reading this book

which I strongly recommend. It seems that early Iceland developed a fairly strong civil society with a very decentralized, yet robust governmental structure during the first few centuries of its existence.

Anyway, I hope that Iceland has the good sense to avoid the H-1B visa problem like we have here in the US.

At May 26, 2005 2:43 AM, Blogger Tim said...

I lived in Iceland for a year ('74-'75) and I LOVED it. It is a wonderful country. One thing though - there are hardly any trees!


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