Iceland’s long night

By Felix Salmon
December 7, 2009
Iceland, where GDP shrank 5.7% in the third quarter, with no expectation of a bounceback until 2011. And for all that Reuters's PR guru Jolie Hunt and others might love to go there on holiday, I don't think the tourism market is going to be particularly big so long as there's only 4.5 hours of sunlight per day. Meanwhile, Iceland's enormous geothermal value seems to be accruing mainly to Alcoa rather than to the country's citizens. The long night looks as though it's going to last well past the March equinox: sunrise seems further away than ever.

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If you’re wondering how well a country can function in the absence of a working financial system, it might be worth taking a look at Iceland, where GDP shrank 5.7% in the third quarter, with no expectation of a bounceback until 2011. And for all that Reuters’s PR guru Jolie Hunt and others might love to go there on holiday, I don’t think the tourism market is going to be particularly big so long as there’s only 4.5 hours of sunlight per day. Meanwhile, Iceland’s enormous geothermal value seems to be accruing mainly to Alcoa rather than to the country’s citizens. The long night looks as though it’s going to last well past the March equinox: sunrise seems further away than ever.

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Comments
3 comments so far

Get set for twisted logic to make its entrance once again as immigration — preferably from the Third World — is touted as the solution to Iceland’s woes.

Posted by Mega | Report as abusive

I think they could make a good case for (vetted) immigration from the _first_ world: no crime, good institutions and infrastructure, self-sufficient in energy, etc. Icelandic finance might be trashed, but the society has a lot to envy.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Felix, I am sure you realise that what goes around comes around: long nights become long days.
I vacationed in June: http://sunrisesunset.com/calendar.asp?co mb_city_info=Reykjavik,%20Iceland;22;64; 0;0&month=6&year=2010&time_type=0
21 hours of sunlight.
We played footy until well past 11pm.

Also, has anyone else noticed that this new Reuters format TOTALLY SUCKS.
I had to recreate my identity and my screen name had to include both letters and numbers… WTF?
Yeah – that makes sense.
Way to rebrand pointlessly Reuters.
Your pages take far longer to load too.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Posted by TinyTim1 | Report as abusive
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