Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 259

259 Arctic Yearbook 2014   daily commuting between settlements. This implies that the Greenlandic economy is not coherent, but can be characterized as a number of interconnected island economies. One of the major results is that there exists only little trade between the settlements. Only around 15% of ship cargo is transported between Greenlandic settlements, while around 50% are imports from Denmark, and approx. 35% are exports to or through Denmark (Hendriksen 2012). For both individual settlements and Greenland as a whole, the traditional exploitation of marine living resources increasingly has been moved from locally-based fishing and hunting, to large, oceangoing trawlers with some processing and freezing on board selling directly to ports outside Greenland, or landed in Greenland ready for export. Most of the raw materials are today exported unprocessed. This means that the impact on employment and thus value for the communities where seafood processing still exists is modest, and that the settlement’s localization in reality is de-coupled from its sources of income. Only a small number of settlements still exist where the primary economic base is linked to the exploitation of marine living resources and where the vast majority of the inhabitants and workforce is of Greenlandic origin. For major towns, the primary income base has become the maintenance of society’s basic operations, including administration, health, education, retail supplies, telecommunication, construction, etc. (Ibid.) Policies of Centralization In the government commission reports from the 1950s and 1960s on economic and social development, policies for centralization were evident in their emphasis on economic developments based on private business activities. After WWII the traditional trade monopoly of the Royal Greenland Trading Company was cancelled while its duties of provision were continued. The goal was to provide a ground for private businesses to make the Inuit society independent (self-sufficient) concerning economic incomes and supply. At first fishing and fish processing were identified as the new core industry, in combination with increased utilization of the mineral resources in Greenland (Grønlands-kommissionen 1950). There were no customs and import restrictions and government taxes were kept low (Boserup 1963). Some new business activities started in this period, but the owners were primarily persons from Denmark and they concentrated on supply activities taken over from colonial Royal Greenland. Realizing that private business could not deliver the needed industrial development in Greenland, the Danish government began in the late 1950s to stimulate this through massive investments in the fish processing industry. In parallel, massive investments in public schools, education, public housing and health care were funded through Danish subsidies (Grønlands-udvalget 1964; Boserup 1963). In the wake of these investments that placed fisheries as the core business activity, policies were set up to centralize the population in larger cities with harbours and fish processing industries. But unfortunately the mono-culture based fishing activities did not continue to grow and private fish processing industries went bankrupt or were taken over by the government. The privatized growth strategy had largely failed. The only private economic actors that survived were those involved in Mineral Exploitation & Development in Greenland