Unemployment? If Iceland can do it?

Business:

Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save.

Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2% unemployment into a realistic goal.

The tiny elite of multibillionaires, who could fit into a single train carriage, have accumulated fortunes (a total of $1.7-trillion) equal to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5-billion people, report shows.

While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25% in Greece and Spain, only about 4% of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime Minister Sigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high.

“Politicians always have something to worry about,” the 38-year-old said in an interview last week. “We’d like to see unemployment going from where it’s now — around 4% — to under 2%, which may sound strange to most other western countries, but Icelanders aren’t accustomed to unemployment.”

I seem to recall Australia had 4% unemployment in the 60s and that almost brought down a government. The government, by the way, had been conservative for some years, under Menzies.

Here are a couple of reasons from UK fora as to why there was close to full employment here in the 50s/60s:

§ The main reason for full employment in the 1950s and 60s in Britain was the massive surge in the construction, aircraft, steel and shipping industries. House building was going on on a massive scale all over the country. Whole new towns were built to accommodate those who had lost their homes during WW2.

§ Britain was one of greatest manufacturing nations – coal,cotton,woollens,light and heavy engineering. The demise of these industries was due to cheap imported,inferior goods.

Combine that with the demands of unions which, for example, virtually shut down Liverpool and there is the crisis in one. Add indiscriminate mass immigration, social engineering, fecklessness of welfare state residents, bankster scamming, fat bureaucracy, debt mentality and many other factors and the reason it ended was pretty clear.

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