Mont Pelerin in Iceland

by John Q on March 16, 2009

A reader has pointed me to this fascinating site showing the impact of the Mont Pelerin Society on Iceland. According to the material prepared for its 2005 conference in Reykjavik, the Society’s intellectual influence directly guided those responsible for making Iceland what it is today.



Paul 03.16.09 at 9:01 pm

Iceland is a unique country in many ways. On the down side it does have a substantial rate of alcoholism from what I gather. That in itself might indicate all is not well in the society.


bert 03.16.09 at 9:18 pm

I like the photo of the young Geir Haarde alongside Hayek, enjoying the spring weather.
Nicely clears up any potential confusion with Keir Hardie.


John Emerson 03.17.09 at 2:57 am

Readers of Trollblog knew much of this four months ago: How did Iceland go Bankrupt. But that’s OK!

Does anyone have access to the archive of the conference? It’s password-protected, but I bet the real dirt is there.


“I come from a country where, from the age of 15, you drink a litre of vodka, every Friday, straight from the bottle. I watched my grandparents doing that and it’s been my pattern, just like it has been my family’s release for a thousand years. Alcohol is how people in Iceland lose themselves, switch their conscience off and run riot. It’s the same for me with my music – to me it stands for freedom.”


John Emerson 03.17.09 at 2:58 am

I’m looking forward to Mirowski’s Mont Pelerin book. I’ll probably even pay the new price instead of waiting for it to go down.


MH 03.17.09 at 2:59 am

Well, at least Iceland knows what to do with mixers.


ejh 03.17.09 at 8:32 am

another on ”The Monetary Order” where he outlined his idea of competitive monies

I wonder – did Hayek ever operate a cashdesk? How many compartments did he think one had?


Hidari 03.17.09 at 2:07 pm

Are we finally at the stage yet when, faced with the usual ‘free market’ drones objecting to the ‘socialism’ of Obama (and Brown) we can finally respond…’oh yeah well…if you don’t like it why don’t you go and live in Iceland!’.

Actually no because according to no less an authority than Mr Gissurarson Iceland has now turned to the ‘hard left’. So it just goes to show.


Paul 03.17.09 at 4:24 pm

I am all for freedom but to “run riot?” Well you can have it. Alcohol has killed more people than any other drug and make no mistake it is a drug. If you remove the water molecule from alcohol you have ether !!


John Emerson 03.17.09 at 5:25 pm

False, tobacco is worse. And who cares if it’s a drug? (And ether is a nice buzz too!)

If you remove the sodium ion from table salt you have a deadly poisonous gas.


MH 03.17.09 at 5:45 pm

So, should I just put pure sodium on my eggs?


John Emerson 03.17.09 at 8:04 pm

I believe that pure sodium catches fire easily and might harm you that way, though it’s not poisonous the way chlorine is. But two wrongs don’t make a right, and NaCL is just wrong! wrong! wrong!


MH 03.17.09 at 8:54 pm

Given that water will start sodium on fire, I’d say it is as poisonous as chlorine, if in a different way.


Cryptic ned 03.17.09 at 9:19 pm

Fire isn’t really “poisonous”.


John Emerson 03.17.09 at 10:06 pm

These are important distinctions. Words have meanings. MH is a relatvist moral equivalence heretic of the first water. I say stone him — the Bjork way, with ancient Norse vodka.


MH 03.18.09 at 12:31 am

Yes, let us be sure to separate substances that, when swallowed, will generate lye, hydrogen, and heat from those substances that are poisonous.


Eyja Brynjarsdóttir 03.18.09 at 8:29 am

The point of the original post about the influences on Davíð Oddsson and his cohorts is spot on. But I’m having a bit of a hard time wrapping my mind around the tone of some of the comments; not to mention the point of the Björk-quote. It can’t be possible that people are actually taking her fruit-filled statements about anything seriously, can it? Yes, binge drinking is much too common in Iceland and has been for the past 50 years or so, but that’s where the accuracy ends.

I suppose I’m just sick of encountering that “look-at-them-weird-Icelanders-oh-what-an-amusing-novelty-thing”. Oh, and please don’t send any neocons our way; we already have more of them here than we can handle.


jackd 03.18.09 at 6:35 pm

Re NaCl, a friend once said of his sister-in-law that the two of them were like sodium and chlorine – either one was harmful alone but if you put them together you’d get an explosion.


John Emerson 03.18.09 at 11:42 pm

Eyja is a self-hating Icelander, alas.


MH 03.19.09 at 12:30 am


There isn’t much seriousness in this thread, so please don’t mind us. Best of luck for you in your country’s current difficulties.

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