2. Sep, 1999

Trade for Gain

This is my fifth volume of essays in Icelandic. It was published in September 1999 with Heimskringla, the University Press of Language and Culture, the largest publishing house in Iceland. My latest collection of essays, High Time, came out in 1995.

The 36 essays in the new collection are divided into six parts. The first part is entitled Economists. There Jón Sigurðsson, our independence hero, is portrayed as a free trader and Iceland’s first economist.  There is also a long essay on Icelandic economists and their ways of thinking in addition to other material on foreign economists, including Adam Smith. The second part, One Law, deals with the experience of several countries in South-East Asia, South America, and Africa, the point being that the principles of economics are everywhere the same independently of geographical location. Rivers run downstream wherever you are. The title of the third part is A View from the Stands, which provides a further discussion of some Asian countries, especially Hong Kong and Thailand, in addition to Ireland and Sweden, in an attempt to direct the reader’s attention to the implications of different economic policy regimes and  of the different pace and pattern of economic reforms in different places, with references here and there to the experience of Iceland. In the fourth part, Education and Culture, which differs somewhat in content and tone from the preceding material, the reader is offered various thoughts on some problems surrounding education in Iceland as well as on the economic and cultural life of the nation. In the fifth part, Land and Sea, the lens is focused on fisheries and agriculture in the context of other aspects of economic life in Iceland and economic growth prospects in the coming century.  This part includes “Nature, power, and growth”, which will appear soon also in English, as well as an essay on the “Prospects for liberalization of trade in agriculture”, which was published recently in the Journal of World Trade. The sixth and last part, Work, Revolution, and Growth, deals with employment issues, economic reforms, and growth in Iceland and elsewhere.  It includes, among other things, a short piece called “Am I a revolutionary?” The book concludes with about 80 brief biographical sketches of the cast of characters who appear in the essays, from Idi Amin to Oscar Wilde.

The book is 359 pages.