Posts Tagged ‘Iceland’

Icelandic Volcano a Blow to Trans-Atlantic Business Travel

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Eyjafjallajokull strands business travelers and vacationers on both sides of the Atlantic.  Business travelers and vacationers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean recently were stranded by the spectacular eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull Volcano that created an ash cloud so large it covered significant portions of Europe and disrupted air travel.  Although the flight delays were the result of an act of God, employees concerned about retaining their jobs in a tough economy resorted to transcontinental technology to try and keep up with their work loads.

The use of the internet, remote e-mail access, Twitter and Skype are reported to have risen since the volcano blew.  One Londoner reported a rash of “volcano-ash-out-of-office messages”.  Regus, which rents office space and meeting rooms, has reported stranded travelers booking space to work remotely or teleconference.  Although the travel crisis has cost airlines more than $1 billion, IHS Global Insights notes that the “impact on business should be limited by the fact that many affected companies can hold international meetings via teleconferencing; and of course, many meetings can be rearranged.”

In a bizarre leap of illogic, conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh linked the volcanic activity to Congress’ recent passage of healthcare reform legislation.  According to Limbaugh, “You know, a couple of days after the healthcare bill had been signed into law, (President Barack) Obama ran around all over the country saying, ‘Hey, you know, I’m looking around.  The earth hadn’t opened up. No Armageddon out there.  The birds are still chirping.’  I think the earth has opened up.  God may have replied.  This volcano in Iceland has grounded more airplanes — airspace has been more affected — than even after 9/11 because of this plume, because of this ash cloud over Northern and Western Europe.  It’s got everybody just in a shutdown.  Earth has opened up.  I don’t know whether it’s a rebirth or Armageddon.”

Deep Freeze of an Unregulated Economy

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Iceland’s economic collapse, the result of a reckless government and a lack of financial regulation, is an object lesson to Americans who fear increased — but necessary – markets oversight.

Icelandic debt is 10 times the country’s GDP!  In the United States, our debt would have to be close to $100 trillion to put us in the same position.  Icelandic banks were deregulated during the mid-1990s, after which the economy was run like a giant hedge fund; following the economic collapse, citizens lost most of their savings and are saddled with debt and mortgages they can’t afford.  Inflation and unemployment are skyrocketing.  Is it any surprise that the neo-liberal government whose policies put Iceland into a financial vise fell following protests by infuriated citizens?deep-freeze1

So vast is their debt, Iceland’s insolvent banks may be forced to declare bankruptcy a second time.  When their own economic crises left the United States, Britain and the European Central Bank unable to bail out Iceland, the country turned to Russia and the International Monetary Fund in hopes of a financial rescue…maybe a miracle.

The interim government, a coalition of the Left-Green Party and Social Democrats, wants to rewrite Iceland’s constitution.  The goal is to “enshrine national ownership of the country’s natural resources” and to “open a new chapter in public participation in shaping the structure of the government”.  This marks a 180-degree change from the free-wheeling policies of the past where market regulation was non-existent.

Ever since American credit markets froze last fall, it’s become clear that a well-regulated economy equals a healthier one.