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A political tale of the last McDonald's burger in Iceland that just won't rot, even after 10 years



The burger looks the same hour after hour.

Looks like 10 years old this week.

Purchased hours before the corporation withdrew from the country in 2009, after the devastating financial crisis of Iceland, McDonald's last surviving burger turned into much more than a burger. For some, that means greed and excessive capitalism, which "created an economic meltdown that was so bad that even McDonald's had to close," says 43-year-old Hortur Smarasson, who bought the fateful burger in 2009. For others, the ominous fresh look the 1

0-year-old diet served as a warning against excessive fast food consumption.

McDonald's tried to dispel the myth that his burgers did not decompose, claiming that there was a scientific explanation for the never-decaying Iceland burger.

"Without sufficient moisture – either in the food itself or in the environment – bacteria and molds may not grow and therefore decomposition is unlikely," the company said. (McDonald & # 39; s did not respond to a request for comment.)

The company may have debunked the myths about the burger fresh look, but after 10 years, the political symbolism of the corporation's departure from Iceland and the last remnant of its past appear there current than ever.

Clouds over Iceland's economy

After a painful recovery, Iceland's economy was again troubled this year when the national airline's WOW budget went bankrupt. Overnight, the decisive factor in Iceland's recovery – the tourism industry, which now accounts for about 10 percent of Iceland's gross domestic product – faces a sudden drop in visitors. About a third of them traveled to Iceland by WOW Air. At the same time, China-US.

Ten years after the devastating crisis, some Icelanders had a deja vu which brought them back to the days when around 300,000 nations witnessed the failure of all major private banks. [19659002] But in the months since, Iceland's economy has surprisingly recovered; travel reservations remain largely stable as other airlines fill the gap in WOW Air.

"The economy is doing much better than expected," says Erna Björg Sverrisdottir, chief economist at Iceland's Arion Bank, which lends to the central bank and lower debt, among other factors.

The long sought after arrival of the fast food giant

Iceland was in a completely different situation in 1993 when McDonald's opened its first restaurant in the country. Instead of focusing on sustainability and government intervention – as has been the case since 2008 – Iceland has laid the groundwork for what would bring the system to ruin for two decades.

It has embraced the ideals of the free market like few other countries. The economy is booming.

As free-market capitalism led to staggering worldwide growth, the outlook of world leaders opening McDonald's restaurants became somewhat symbolic of capitalism's victory over socialism, just years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. [19659002] In Britain, then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became known as the outspoken fan of the corporation.

Meanwhile in Iceland, images from that time indicate that the country's prime minister, Davir Odsson, was cramming into a burger on the day the company celebrated its first opening in Iceland.

"It was a very fun moment," says anthropologist Christine Loftsdotir, who studied the company's history in Iceland. The reasons for the country's enthusiasm are deeply rooted, she said.

"Iceland has long been very anxious about its role in the community of nations," Loftsdotir said. With a population the size of a small American city, Iceland feared there would be no place for it on the mass of mature nations in the post-Soviet world. McDonald's arrival, she said, seems to indicate a new chapter: Iceland is modernizing and becoming "part of the global community," Loftsdotir said.

This success story began to unravel as the financial crisis began in 2007, Iceland was on the verge of an economic disaster. But it took two subsequent collapses to understand the Icelanders how deeply they were in crisis.

The first was the collapse of the country's banking system.

But that took away

The operations in the country were too expensive as a result of the crisis: the currency collapsed; inflation has jumped.

But for some of them, the chain felt discarded by the international community for which they worked so hard to be part of it, Loftsdotir said.

For his book Crisis and the Coloniality of European Countries: Creating Exotic Iceland, Loftsdotir interviews a number of witnesses to the crisis in 2008. For many, closing restaurants was not so much a story for a company that fired its employees. but rather about the collective failure of the nation.

"We can't even work with McDonald's," Loftsdotir recalled, as one annoyed. a source summarizing the widely shared sentiments at the time.

Burger forgot on a garage shelf

On October 31, 2009, marketing consultant Hortur Smarason was among McDonald's latest clients in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. He waited in line at the restaurant with other Icelanders who wanted to buy their last McDonald's food.

But Smarasson had not come to eat. He had read online rumors of McDonald's never rotten burgers and wanted to put the myth to the test. He bought a cheeseburger with french fries, went home and left the box on the shelf in his garage.

Three years passed when Smarasson forgot about souvenirs from a bygone era. He had other problems to worry about.

It was hit hard by the financial crisis. "I lost all my savings," he recalled. "My clients went bankrupt. I was trying to hang my house.

When Schmarason was offered a lucrative job in Copenhagen three years after the purchase, he decided to move to Denmark. While he was about to move, he came across McDonald's food in his garage.

"I was worried about what I was going to find," Smarasson said.

When he opened the box, he was shocked, but not for the reason he expected. Contrary to the rotten remnants for which he was prepared, he discovered that it appeared to be completely intact food.

Smarasson felt he was holding a historical artifact. He reached the National Museum of Iceland, where the dish was prominently displayed thereafter.

In the years since some visitors consider it fresh food. Some potatoes are missing.

The remains are now being displayed at a small hotel in southern Iceland where they continue to attract tourists, Smarason said.

He still visits the burger regularly. The last time he saw him, he looked "as fresh as ever."

Only the paper in which it was wrapped began to look a little yellow.


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