This is Part Two of a series; see Part One here.
Along with Ro Marth, CEO of Kuokoa, I have been invited to go to Iceland.
We want to find out how Iceland went from being a developing country in the 1970s to one of the most productive countries in the world today. With fishing, geothermal and hydro, they have food and fuel in abundance.
While Iceland is a highly developed country, until the 20th century it was among the poorest countries in Western Europe….
In 2007, Iceland was the seventh most productive country in the world per capita (US$54,858), and the fifth most productive by GDP at purchasing power parity ($40,112)….
Renewable sources—geothermal and hydropower—provide effectively all of Iceland’s electricity and around 80% of the nation’s total energy, with most of the remainder from imported oil used in transportation and in the fishing fleet. Iceland expects to be energy-independent by 2050. Iceland’s largest geothermal power plants are Hellisheiði and Nesjavellir, while Kárahnjúkavirkjun is the country’s largest hydroelectric power station.
If it’s true that an increasing energy supply due to oil is mostly responsible for the work that goes into manufacturing things – in other words, the world economy – then declining oil supplies will result in less manufacturing of stuff.
For the last 20 to 30 years, the world has been using twice as much oil as it’s been finding, and this trend will likely continue. Since the world’s oil supply is declining, rather than increasing, we cannot expect to rely on government grants, because governments rely on growth to get their revenues. This raises the question of how Hawaii State and County governments will balance their budgets.
We will have to tax the people who cannot bear the taxes when the economy is not growing. Or we need to grow the economy. Growing the economy is clearly the best alternative. But how?
I’m very interested in seeing what they are doing in Iceland.