2007-08 John Kenneth Galbraith Lecture in Public Policy
Small Country, Big Results: The Case of Iceland
Tuesday, April 15th,
Inco Innovation Centre Lecture
Memorial University of
Newfoundland, St. John's, NL
This session was webcast "live".
Click here to view the
Mr. Geir Haarde, Prime Minister of Iceland
The Icelandic people currently enjoy one of the highest standards
of living in the world. Iceland ranks number one on the
Transparency International Index measuring the level of corruption.
It ranks seventh on the IMD World Competitiveness Index, fourteenth
on the Heritage Foundation Global Economic Freedom Index, is one of
the most active economies for new businesses according to the
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and topped the 2007 list of the UN
Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, literacy,
education, standard of living and GDP per capita for countries
worldwide. Various international surveys attest that Icelandic
businesses operate in one of the most competitive and free business
environments in Europe.
All these indicators point to a robust economy that supports a
thriving population. The economy is highly advanced, wealthy,
strong and flexible, and has noticeable characteristics that should
be the envy of many Western countries, namely favorable
demographics, a fully-funded pension system, strong government
finances with hardly any government net debt, and proven economic
flexibility. How did Iceland become such a success? Did the
energetic, free and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes both
the working population and the business community have anything to
do with it?