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View Diary: Tip of the iceberg - politics in Iceland today (update) (188 comments)

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  •  Smelters (6+ / 0-)

    There were already smelters in the country - though much smaller. My understanding... the east of Iceland had asked over and over for industry. So, Reyyjavik gave them industry - hydro and a smelter. But no one actually wants to work there, hence foreign workers.

    The smelters today belong to Alcoa.

    There's much more of course and this is one of the topics I'm hoping to cover.

    •  interesting (3+ / 0-)

      this i find very weird. What´s the bonus for Iceland in there? is it the taxes Alcoa pays? it seems to me they are inviting problems with such a policy. They make themselves much more susceptible to external economical ups and downs that are completely out of their control (all the Al will have to go to export and be dependent on the economy in Euro or US). And if it´s foreign workers, is that what they want? Al smelters isn´t seasonal so will they have Polish immigration? When Alcoa goes belly up (something Iceland couldnt do squat about), will they expel the Poles or will they be allowed to stay? I find this funny (weird) as a policy especially as you tell us that the Icelanders feel strongly about their independence. It would be a different thing if it provided work for Icelanders but if not, is it really a good deal?

      •  Smelters (3+ / 0-)

        Part of the problem is generational - older Icelanders see 'industry' or manufacturing as a good way to make a living. Put simply - fish factories. Everyone in Iceland, even as children, used to work in the fish factories. But now the younger generation wants to exploit knowledge - inventing new industries that might not necessarily rely on manufacturing in the old sense of the word.

        That's a quick overview. The subject really will require its own diary.

      •  Similar stories in other places (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susie dow, Land of Enchantment

        that are on the economic margins.

        Back in the '40s, during WWII, a steel-making industry was built in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Now, you need three main raw materials to make steel: coal, iron ore, and limestone. Cape Breton only had the coal, the rest had to be shipped in. (There was also an excellent harbour and a large available workforce.)

        In wartime this sort of economic inefficiency gets glossed over. But in peacetime the fundamental lack of viability became obvious, and after decades of political infighting, subsidies, environmental degradation and heartache, the industry finally died, leaving a legacy that haunts Cape Breton still.

        -8.38, -7.74 "Keep it confused. Feed it with useless information. I wonder if I have a television set handy?" - Doctor Who (1967)

        by Wreck Smurfy on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 04:47:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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