A few days ago, I read Sally McGrane’s excellent profile of Reykjavik’s new mayor, Jon Gnarr, a comedian and musician, whose Best Party captured 34.7 of the vote in the recent elections and is now governing in coalition with the Social Democrats:
With his party having won 6 of the City Council’s 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire.”
A sandy-haired 43-year-old, Mr. Gnarr is best known here for playing a television and film character named Georg Bjarnfredarson, a nasty, bald, middle-aged, Swedish-educated Marxist whose childhood was ruined by a militant feminist mother.
The profile would have done well, however, to link to this Best Party campaign video, which is priceless on its own terms:
Reykjavik is a funny place—a national capital and center of government and culture and all the rest. But it’s tiny. The metropolitan area has about 200,000 residents, on a par with Fargo or Yuma or Racine.
At any rate, I asked ace intern Ryan McNeely to look up how Iceland’s doing economically compared to the other big crisis hot spots. In GDP terms, they’re doing terribly, almost as bad as Ireland:
But in labor market terms, things look pretty rosy:
Does currency devaluation explain the difference? Or maybe some direct labor market interventions?