Category Archives: finance

The High Price of Tourism in Iceland

We need more rust in Reykjavik! This lovely old antique shop in Reykjavik is now a restaurant. Heck, every building downtown is either a bar or a restaurant, or a coffee shop, well, also a gift shop.

The price of this form of industrialization is history. Reykjavik is now a place where tourists go to  rub shoulders with other tourists. For an industry based on sincerity, that’s dangerous.

More rust, please. Please. Save the glass for the burbs where the Icelanders live. They deserve the light.

Iceland, the Do-It-Yourself Data Hub


1100 years of improvisation beats out the competition any time.

Too Many Clients to Have Time to Update Webpages!

But, don’t take it from me!

“Iceland is a highly competitive location for operation of Data Centres. Iceland has specialized in storage and disaster recovery for foreign companies offering a unique low-cost location for large International Data Centres low corporate tax and highly skilled IT labour. Iceland has built up a large-scale infrastructure that is very well-suited to meeting the new technological requirements of enterprises. This infrastructure has undoubtedly served as a major support for fast growth in the ICT industry and the fast adoption of technological solutions throughout society.”

http://www.made-in-iceland.com.cn/it/

Yeah, like that.  In Iceland, the whole country is wired.

Low Cost Solutions Abound!

” Iceland is a highly competitive location for operation of Data Centres. Iceland has specialized in storage and disaster recovery for foreign companies offering a unique low-cost location for large International Data Centres low corporate tax and highly skilled IT labour. “      http://www.made-in-iceland.com.cn/it/

Yeah!


Don’t let an economic collapse stop you. Just do it!

What Does Icelandic Politics Look Like?

The same as anywhere else. You channel a river system through a hydroelectric dam to power an aluminum smelter for the industrial and economic elite, and deposit the water in the next valley, claiming that all environmental standards have been met… … kill the sacred lake, the birthplace of Iceland’s country and the modern state. This is, of course, called progress. These images were taken in Hallormstaðir, the Town of Rowans, a sacred place a couple hours by foot from Gunnar’s house. It’s a good thing he’s not there to see it!

Why No One is Arguing for a National Park in Fjaðrárgljúfur

This globally precious land in a country that claims to be an environmental leader is about to be sold for tourist developement. Perhaps this image shows why it is not being made into a national park instead, which would be the responsible, wise course to meet tourism and environmental goals together.
Note the catastrophic lava field that obliterated the original farms in modern memory, the excavator digging gravel out of the river, a forbidden practice in many countries but likely under government subsidy here, to enable farmers to stay on the land, and the farm up on the poorly-productive high country, away from that lava gick. This is a story of survival by harnessing energy to an austere, hierarchal system of political order. The fear is palpable, but the land…

… is palpable, too. Environmental laws mean nothing if this land is not protected from crass development. The soul of the nation is here. Development is inevitable, and in true Icelandic fashion, it will be industrial and in place, and it should be. Restraint, though, is also Icelandic, and it is sorely needed here.

This land, rich in spirit, is as fragile as Iceland. The response to the offer of sale of this land should be as robust as iceland, which means putting some teeth into environmental legislation. The alternative is to become a laughing stock. It’s not desirable, and it’s not necessary.

Nationalism in Iceland

A pretty pastoral scene in Hvaljördur, right?

p1400354Saubæjarkirkja

The barren hills are caused by the sheep that make a nation possible here. The birches in the churchyard would have been all over them 1100 years ago. More trees would be desirable, but lamb is already $35 a kilo. That’s a hard practical choice. The church is a symbol of many things, including the parliament of 999-1000 that made Christianity the country’s public religion (without denying private paganism), the loss of nationalism to the Norwegian Crown a half millennium ago, the power of land-owners to collect church tithes, and the cementing of Christian values (and at times oppression) in communities of itinerant labourers, almost serfs, in continual movement around the country. The forest behind the church is part of the late 19th century and early 20th century movement to re-settle the land and reclaim nationalism from Denmark. The long distance transmission line is part of the support network for the American aluminum plant behind me when I made this image. The reservoir that supplies these lines with power drowned some of Iceland’s most beautiful wilderness, yet, arguably, provides the funds that allow Iceland to remain independent. The green field crop represents the heavy industrialization of agriculture which enables a people, in love with the power of American urban values and who have left to land, to eat off the labour of 4500 people. The ditches across the field, for drainage, allow for increased yields for this industrialized agriculture. Everything you see here is a technology for survival. Everything is a carefully calculated choice. Nothing is frivolous. So, yes, if you call that pastoral, this is. Gunnar Gunnarsson would have said it was. I do, too.