Skip to main content

 Iceland was last in the news when they throwing corrupt bankers in jail for 3 to 5 years, while making them pay millions in personal fines.
  This is, of course, a far different approach to justice than Eric Holder's method in which bankers are Too Big To Prosecute and federal regulators turn a blind eye to abuses.
   Instead of bailing out bankers, Iceland forgave homeowner debts.

  So what has this non-neoliberal approach done to the Iceland economy?

 While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime MinisterSigmundur 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 percent -- to under 2 percent, which may sound strange to most other western countries, but Icelanders aren’t accustomed to unemployment.”
During the 2008 collapse, Iceland's stock market fell 90% and its GDP shrank 10%. Unemployment peaked at 9.3%.
   Because of popular protests, the government refused to bail out the banks at the expense of the general economy.
 Policy makers overseeing the $14 billion economy refused to back the banks, which subsequently defaulted on $85 billion. The government’s decision to protect state finances left it with the means to continue social support programs that shielded Icelanders from penury during the worst financial crisis in six decades.
 Iceland set aside around 43% of its budget with the Welfare Ministry last year, around the same percentage as before the crisis.
  Iceland will be writing off up to $32,600 of household mortgage debt, around 13% on average.

  Britain and Netherlands are suing Iceland again for reimbursements on failed deposits.

 "I wouldn't say we are concerned about this," Gunnlaugsson said. "It is unlikely they will get very much out of this because there is no state or government guarantee."
“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”
  - Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimmson

  That's last statement is not totally true. Iceland's capital controls has in effect limited their access to global finance. Thus Iceland was forced to impose modest austerity measures.
   It is those austerity measures, combined with Social Democrat's interest in joining the Euro, that caused the ruling government to get voted out last year.

8:17 PM PT: Besides prosecuting bankers, it also has another distinction.

 Iceland is the only country in the world to have launched legal proceedings against a politician for presumed involvement in the financial crisis. The country’s courts were asked to rule on whether Geir Haarde, the former prime minister, could be held responsible for the financial crisis. Haarde was acquitted on three out of four charges against him, but was found guilty of breaking the law on the responsibility of ministers.

Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 9:05 AM PT: I believe that the issues that some people here have with my diary isn't anything I've written, but is instead what they think I've said.

  I've never said things are "rosy" in Iceland. For some reason people want me to paint a complete picture of Iceland.
   I didn't do that, nor did I intend to do that. My intention was only to focus on what Iceland did right concerning the banks, and what the fallout has been because of those specific decisions.
   In that context I have seen nothing to show that I didn't present the facts correctly.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (203+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, Burned, One Pissed Off Liberal, dopper0189, Preston S, dance you monster, corvo, Dallasdoc, SeaTurtle, antirove, oldpotsmuggler, mslat27, monkeybrainpolitics, blueoregon, andalusi, side pocket, turdraker, Tool, NonnyO, Paul Ferguson, old wobbly, wxorknot, Bulldozer, Alumbrados, Azazello, rapala, DavidMS, BlueJessamine, run around, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, ctsteve, jamess, Hellstrom, davehouck, dharmafarmer, greycat, cslewis, waterstreet2013, Simplify, sobermom, 3rdOption, terabytes, drdana, HeyMikey, kevinpdx, Involuntary Exile, Aunt Martha, Shockwave, grrr, Publius2008, jbsoul, Siri, eeff, Egalitare, exNYinTX, shortgirl, Major Kong, eru, Panacea Paola, camlbacker, BlackSheep1, DEMonrat ankle biter, Chi, Jim P, OLinda, Sylv, IndieGuy, countwebb, Bisbonian, tofumagoo, jasan, Kentucky Kid, CharlieHipHop, SouthernLiberalinMD, Galtisalie, VirginiaJeff, ozsea1, rbird, Yosef 52, New Minas, Aunt Pat, Pablo Bocanegra, GeorgeXVIII, blueoasis, OldDragon, ichibon, Going the Distance, tegrat, dicentra, dskoe, Risen Tree, ek hornbeck, unclejohn, newpioneer, p gorden lippy, NoMoreLies, gerrilea, Odysseus, poligirl, bobswern, kenwards, ORswede, Danno11, renbear, annominous, carpunder, fixxit, psnyder, HedwigKos, srelar, Ironic Chef, pyegar, buckstop, Skennet Boch, MartyM, Meteor Blades, solesse413, Aaa T Tudeattack, David PA, Brian82, RUNDOWN, jayden, reflectionsv37, wu ming, yoduuuh do or do not, LaFeminista, Liberal Of Limeyland, where4art, La Gitane, Habitat Vic, limpidglass, ask, marleycat, onionjim, Blueslide, dkmich, rat racer, Skyye, cybrestrike, Grandma Susie, banjolele, owlbear1, emmasnacker, StrayCat, gulfgal98, Aureas2, ATFILLINOIS, artisan, LSmith, wayoutinthestix, maryabein, WattleBreakfast, allenjo, inclusiveheart, Wreck Smurfy, zerelda, middleagedhousewife, RFK Lives, justme, rmonroe, Lily O Lady, MrJayTee, joedemocrat, Nulwee, Youffraita, P E Outlier, Santa Susanna Kid, TX Unmuzzled, Laconic Lib, Plox, splashy, Byblis, ammasdarling, lcrp, dksbook, eyesoars, tle, cpresley, Leeloo, Capt Crunch, sc kitty, Cofcos, Flint, leonard145b, Robynhood too, SpecialKinFlag, on the cusp, MarkInSanFran, Sunspots, markdd, Jackson L Haveck, Curt Matlock, pickandshovel, SteelerGrrl, hyperstation, opinionated, Villabolo, martini, ladybug53, slatsg, FarWestGirl, amyzex, greenearth

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 02:25:14 PM PST

  •  Astounding what a NON-CORRUPT democracy (40+ / 0-)

    can do.

    Let's push this in the face of every attempt to foist continued moral bankruptcy here:

    1.  Bailing out banks
    2.  Trickle Down
    3.  Not paying a living wage
    4.  NO JOBS programs
    5.  Pathetic infrastructure
    6.  Pathetic free school system
    7.  Profiting off our college student indentured servitude program (e.g., student LOANS at HIGH PRICES while banksters pay only .75%)

    and so on!

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 02:47:36 PM PST

  •  Iceland has a total population... (11+ / 0-)

    ...of 300,000 people. Much easier to get outsized employment results when your entire country is smaller than many small US cities.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 03:28:43 PM PST

  •  Tell me (11+ / 0-)

    why on earth I should be a good little boy and follow the rules while I witness the destruction of the middle class and the heinous war on the poor?

    If I, or anybody else here on Dkos were to pull the shit that the banksters pulled, we would be in jail and have every penny taken from us in fines.

    Between the health insurance companies, big pharma, bankers, and big business, we the little people keep having our money and life savings ripped from our souls as we wait to perish.

    Everyday in every way the poor and middle class suffer more and more as the "haves" laugh all the way to their waiting limo.

    Thanks, I feel a little bit better ranting, but the point remains. When will enough be enough.

    They did something in Iceland and they listened. Meanwhile in America...

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 03:45:34 PM PST

    •  What did people do in Iceland (0+ / 0-)

      Become the IMF's new poster child? Reelect the parties that led us into the crash to begin with?

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:15:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Britain bailed out their banks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban, waterstreet2013

    I too think it would have been better if we could have relied on economies a couple of orders of magnitude greater than our own to save the global economy.

    •  Britain had somewhat different laws in effect. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      Iceland had no compulsion in place to do such a dumb thing.

      "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

      by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 04:25:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Precisely. (5+ / 0-)

        European banking law required that bank accounts be insured. Most governments insured them with government backing. Iceland required the banks to pay into a private insurance fund. The problem was that after the crash, the fund went bankrupt. This required that the secondary insurers - the British and Dutch governments - had to cover their citizens who had accounts. The British and Dutch governments first tried to pressure Iceland to pay them back, and then later sued Iceland in the EFTA court, arguing that Iceland had implicitly backed the accounts (making some really dumb arguments in the process, as well as being ridiculously provocative, such as seizing Icelandic assets under an anti-terrorism law). They court came down hard on them, total loss. Their latest attempt is not only hopeless, but rather petty.

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:25:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This really isn't generalizable to the US. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban, kck, Aquarius40, erush1345

    From what I understand, most of Iceland's banking assets were investments from foreigners. That's why Britain and Netherlands are trying to sue.

  •  I have heard claims though (0+ / 0-)

    that wages remain low and that the housing market is badly underwater. I have also heard that Iceland had to quintuple their debt to bail out the Central Bank there not to mention that the EU is likely to refuse to do business with Iceland till their debts are paid back.

    I've been trying to find out more about all of these claims but my results have been mixed. I was wondering what you thought/knew about these claims.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 04:22:23 PM PST

  •  Ugh, another stupid 'Iceland ra ra ra' diary (13+ / 0-)

    from someone who knows nothing about Iceland.

    Let's tackle the basic premise first. 2% unemployment in Iceland is normal.  Iceland has always had unusually low unemployment (excepting around the crash), generally in the 1-3% range. There's a wide range of factors, but let it suffice to say, things won't be "back to normal" until we get down there again.

    The whole "Iceland threw the bankers in jail" meme is tired and largely wrong. Only a few higher-ups went to jail, and only for explicit fraud - the same sort of stuff the US jails people for (your Bernie Madoffs, your Ken Lays, etc). In the case of your linked article, the Al-Thani issue (so well known here that there's a song about it) involved basically giving a sheik a free share in a company in exchange for pretending to invest in it, so as to create the perception that it was a viable investment when it was really junk. It's outright fraud. And that's illegal in both Iceland and the US, and both get prosecuted when discovered. But in Iceland, just like in the US, it's not illegal to ruin the world economy to line your pockets. And by and large, most útrásarvíkingar ("outvasion vikings", aka, banksters) got away scott free. Ask, for example, Björgólfur Þór how much he's suffering these days.

    The "forgiving homeowner debt" thing... it's not that at all. A certain type of loan which had caused all kinds of problems and which doesn't exist in America - foreign currency indexed loans, which doubled in debt after the crash - was ruled illegal by the courts. They never should have been given out in the first place. The government could have, of course, simply decided that everyone who had such loans was off the hook. They didn't. They had them converted to regular loans (the types used in America) at higher rates.  And when I say higher rates, I mean typical home interest rates here are about 4-5% higher than in the US. So yeah, that's still better than having your principle doubled, but it's not at all like the foreign press made the policy sound.

    Don't tell me how wonderful the Icelandic economy is. Have you seriously not looked at a graph of our exchange rate? Hint: it's still just as much in the toilet as it was after the crash. Ever heard of currency exchange restrictions? Yup, still in place, keeping people from pulling their money out of Iceland, aka, hiding the problem. The housing fund crisis? Still looming over us. And on and on. And given how deep we fell and how early we fell, it's amazing we haven't recovered more than we have.

    "Popular protests" stopping the government from "bailing out the banks"? Sorry, but the new post-protest government continued the previous government's policy of trying to negotiate a settlement with the British on the Icesave case. After losing the referendums, they still pumped in tons of money while the banks were in receivership restructuring their debts and buying toxic assets. Fat lot of thanks that got us from the British.

    Yeah, their latest lawsuit is even more stupid and pointless than their previous. What they're doing is the equivalent of taking a case in the US to the supreme court, and then after losing, trying again in small claims court.

    Oh, please, quoting King Ólafur? He was the best friend of the útrásarvíkingar up until the crash, wherein he did his best step-turn to pretend to be a populist who hardly knew them. He also worked against the new constitution.

    The reality is that half of our shortfall was made up through austerity - about a third cut off of the government budget. Hardly "moderate". And now that we've got a right-wing government again, they're cutting even more. Their latest hits is to gut the national hospital and nearly eliminate public broadcasting to fund a stupid "debt relief" program and pay for eliminating the tax on the wealthy fishery owners.

    There's about twenty reasons for the last election result. Heck, it would have been pretty much a draw if only the left hadn't been split into nearly a dozen parties with the right nearly unified behind two. While most people are against joining the EU, most people were also against the right's policy of terminating the negotiations. And its not a top issue right now. The most notable factor in the polls was Framsóknarflokkurinn's brief but perfectly timed huge spike in the polls from their Santa Claus-style policy talk ("We'll give you this, and this, and this, and nobody will ever have to pay for it!"), along with reminders about their being on the right side in the Icesave case (the fact that they helped bring on the crash in the first place being conveniently ignored)

    I really wish people who knew nothing about Iceland would stop writing about it. The foreign press coverage of Icelandic issues is usually terrible to begin with, but thats nothing compared to after bloggers get ahold of it.  :Þ

    The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

    by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:07:01 PM PST

    •  i really wish (16+ / 0-)

      people who know nothing about economics would stop writing about it.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:25:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we can't have that (7+ / 0-)

        otherwise a bunch of dearly cherished ideas would burn in the sun like a 60s vampire.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:52:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, TheLizardKing

        Although not in the way you probably intended..

        Seriously, I correct the facts, and your response is...?  Are you actually disputing any of my corrections? Do I need to elaborate even more?

        Here, let's pick a random topic - the praise of Ólafur as though he's some sort of anti-bankster socialist hero. I'm sure all of those  articles you've read probably didn't mention this (one example among tons) (I'll translate):

        In a letter from Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to Björgfur Thor in the summer of 2002, which has now been published on the front page of the prime minister's office, the presient (Ólafur) says that Björgólfur and son are an exceptional example for other Icelanders who are trying for success overseas. Ólafur Ragnar had then been in a public visit to Russia and Björgólfur Thor, who was a state counsel in St Petersberg, be on hand for the visit.

        Ólafur lauded Björgólfur Thor in the letter and thanked him heartily for all the assistance and "warm reception" which Björgólfur THor had showed the president in the visit to Russia. The president visited likewise the famous Bravo factory which the father and son sold for 400 million dollars and Landsbankinn purchased for a portion of the proceeds at the end of 2002. The father and son had, to that extent, begun to push for Landsbankinn at the privatization committee. In the previous year they had also been involved in the lawsuit against Ingimar H Ingimarsson, their former business associate, about ownership of the Bravo factory

        The president says in the letter: "It was memorable to come to that wonderful factory with you two in St. Petersberg and get to see with my own eyes the bold buisness accomplishments which you have achieved with building up their operations. The perseverence and determination which showed in your operations in the Russian business environment, sometimes in troublesome times, is an exceptional examaple for all the young people who are trying for success in economics and business." said the president in the letter to Björgólfs, but their businesses in the country had long been highly suspect, as was covered in a series of articles by Halldór Halldórsson in DV recently.

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:07:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  by refusing to bail out the banks (8+ / 0-)

          iceland saved itself. while imposing austerity to pay off the banks has devastated economies across europe. as many of us have been writing for years. do you dispute that?

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:12:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You keep repeating that (5+ / 0-)

            But repeating it doesn't make it true. Iceland DID impose heavy austerity, and they're still doing it, and I know people who lost their jobs because of it. Don't tell me that it's not happening here. They cut a freaking third out of the federal budget and they're still chopping away.

            And no, we didn't pay money we didn't owe. But who is paying money that they don't owe? If you want to argue that people should stop paying money that they do owe, Iceland is not your example - we've always honored our debts, and heavily indebted ourselves to not go bankrupt. And we pumped a good chunk of money into helping the banks get back on their feet in receivership, as well as helping some smaller ones that didn't go into receiversship.

            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

            by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:20:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  wow (4+ / 0-)

              heavy austerity? do you even know what that means? here's a hint: try greece.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:24:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here's a hint: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                duhban, TheLizardKing

                try a third of your federal budget being cut away.

                Why do you have so much trouble accepting that that's serious, painful austerity? Are you so obsessed with the myth of "Anti-Capitalist Iceland" that you can't deal with what that means for people here?

                Anyway, it's nearly 3:30, I have to sleep. Go on, make up whatever you want about Iceland while I'm gone

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:27:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  i'll leave it to krugman (7+ / 0-)

                  to krugman:

                  Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.

                  So how’s it going? Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph.

                  And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:30:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Looking at Iceland's austerity (7+ / 0-)

                  I'm still looking for hard numbers, but I found this.

                   recent budgets have included a mix of spending cuts in sectors other than welfare, and tax increases have focused on higher income groups.
                     In terms of real living standards, public spending cuts in Iceland have affected higher income groups more than vulnerable and lower income groups. This was achieved through increases in minimum pensions for old age and disabled pensioners, the minimum wage, social assistance allowances and the universal flat rate unemployment benefit have all seen (though wages in general remain
                  unchanged).
                  You know Rei, I was going to defer to you on this subject, but your attitude forced me to check your data, and now I'm not sure how much to believe you.

                  None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                  by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 08:24:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well here's something for your consideration (0+ / 0-)

                    Der Weg ist das Ziel

                    by duhban on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:01:16 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit, Laconic Lib, duhban

                      for yours.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:55:59 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  thank you (0+ / 0-)

                        But I was familiar with the bill and the reasons why the debts there did not have to be paid off by the Icelandic government.

                        That said that doesn't really address the fact that Iceland has at least in the past engaged in austerity measures and so far I've not seen any counter to the claim that it is also reducing it's budget by roughly a third.

                        Der Weg ist das Ziel

                        by duhban on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:56:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  it was voted down (0+ / 0-)

                          what was engaged was vastly different than what was initially proposed, and vastly different than what was engaged in the countries that bailed out the banks and imposed severe austerity. the safety net was protected. unemployment, poverty, and all manner of social dysfunction didn't skyrocket. right wing extremists weren't enabled and emboldened.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 05:27:49 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I have been searching for things to back (0+ / 0-)

                            your statement up and so far am not finding anything. That said even if you're right it goes back to another statement I made about Iceland having an actual functioning government.

                            Der Weg ist das Ziel

                            by duhban on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:18:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  all the linked articles (0+ / 0-)

                            in the post and by me back it up. because of amendments that weakened it, icesave 1 was rejected by the british and dutch. icesave 2 was rejected by iceland's voters 98/2%.  icesave 3 was rejected 60/40, and then the british and dutch went to the efta court, and lost. meanwhile, unemployment is so extreme in the piigs countries that young people are emigrating by the tens of thousands each year, while in iceland almost as many people are immigrating as emigrating.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:57:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh give me a break. (0+ / 0-)

                            Before the financial crisis, Iceland had double the per-capita GDP of Greece. Over a quarter of Greece's pre-crash population was declared at risk of extreme poverty. It's absurd to now point to Greece's poverty compared to Iceland's, and say, "See, the difference is about Iceland's (mythical) war against banksters!"

                            The exact same thing applies to immigration. 3139 Icelanders moved away last year but only 2298 moved back. The reason the net migration was positive was because only 3175 non-Icelandic immigrants moved away but 3932 moved to Iceland. These are relative to a total population of 320k, so the magnitude is pretty great. As a general rule, most the Icelanders moving away are educated people or people with special experience seeking work in other countries, primarily Denmark, Sweden, and particularly Norway. As a general rule, the most non-Icelanders moving here are from poorer countries and coming as unskilled labor. The brain drain keeps continuing.

                            The simple fact is that Iceland is a wealthier nation, per capita, than Greece, both before and after the crisis, so of course poverty and immigration stats are going to reflect that, both after and before the crisis.

                            It's also really damned annoying that you keep dismissing the massive austerity done here, and which is still being cut further, as if it's just a meaningless trifle. Having a third of your government spending lopped off is not a trifle.  And don't say, "But... but...". There is no "but". You wouldn't add a "but" if it happened in America.

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 12:29:32 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  oh, the irony (0+ / 0-)

                            yeah, people have been moving to iceland. like, um, you. they aren't moving to the piigs. which, in case you don't know, is not just greece. and the portuguese government itself has been encouraging its young to seek work elsewhere.

                            and that's very astute of you to have noticed the strength of iceland's economy before the crash. of course, that strength was largely built on its illusory banking bubble, which was particularly vulnerable to the mbs implosion, which is exactly why everyone expected an utter disaster for iceland after the crash. which somehow didn't happen.

                            i know this is hard, but compared to the piigs, iceland isn't suffering at all. some of us actually think soaring unemployment, gutted social services, and all manner of social dysfunction is a bad thing. some of us actually believe low unemployment and a social safety net is a good thing. really. because that's part of our basic values. compare employment and social services in iceland to the heavy austerity nations. even britain has slashed social services, with rising poverty, and a particularly brutal rise in child poverty. gee, maybe iceland is doing something right.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:10:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I was able to come here... (0+ / 0-)

                            because there's been such a brain drain. Companies are so desperate for skilled labor in many fields that the companies that can afford it are willing to wait the 4-5 months and pay the large amount of money it costs to try to find qualified workers.

                            At least there soon won't be such a shortage in the medical field due to them cutting the healthcare system back so much!

                            of course, that strength was largely built on its illusory banking bubble,
                            Banking only grew from 17% of GDP in 1998 to 26% in 2006. That's a mere 9% change. And FYI, Iceland was still far wealthier than Greece pre-bubble and had a far lower poverty rate.

                            Do you really, honestly see nothing wrong with comparing a country which had little poverty to one that had loads of poverty, one that had twice the economic strength with the other, one that typically had a 1-3% unemployment rate with one that typically had a 8-12% unemployment rate? Because if so, then you might as well compare Greece with Uganda while you're at it.

                            iceland isn't suffering at all
                            And the horse you rode in on. My fiance lost his house.
                            to the heavy austerity nations.
                            We ARE a heavy austerity nation! For crying out loud, what on earth do you call chopping off a third of your government's total expenditures? Argh! How on Earth is this a "heavy austerity nation" (real-spending, not percent of gdp) but not this ? (wish that graph went even further to show the most recent cutbacks). Do you realize how insulting it is for you to tell me that people in the country I live in are living on cloud nine when you've never set a damned foot here? When everyone in this thread who has any connection to Iceland is telling you that you're simply wrong? But oh no, you know so much better about how things are in Iceland than all those pesky people from Iceland!

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:05:53 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  once again (0+ / 0-)

                            greece isn't the only piigs nation. the piigs nations aren't the only ones to have imposed heavy austerity. really.

                            and the value of icelands banks's assets increased thirty-fold after deregulation. the banks' stock market value was three times that of all other industries in iceland combined, and the value of their loans and assets was ten times iceland's gdp. except that the value was built on a bubble, and when the bubble burst, so did iceland.

                            you're really trying to argue that iceland's collapse wasn't almost entirely due to the international finance collapse? really? you're really trying to argue that iceland wasn't devastatingly vulnerable to that international finance collapse? really?

                            here's breaking news: there aren't good jobs in the piigs nations. there's a brain drain, but there's nothing to draw replacements because there's no jobs. you continue to ignore the poverty, unemployment and social and political dysfunction now devastating the piigs nations. you haven't a clue as to how relatively good you have it. go live in portugal or spain. oh, that's right, there are no jobs there.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:47:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Recent article (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Rei, gjohnsit, erush1345, jcjyl

                    Do not be fooled by the rosy reports of the current right wing governing coalition.

                    For some background information on Iceland's economy, try
                    http://icelandicecon.blogspot.com/

                    Little of the the black report, which chronicled and exposed the financial collapse, was ever translated, unfortunately. The collapse involved roughly 20 Icelandic families and their businesses. For whatever reasons, that detail never quite made it into the English press. You can get a sense of the volume of unsecured loans from this article.
                    http://www.voxeu.org/...

                    In terms of living standards, most of the budget cuts have been on the backs of the poor. The national health care is disintegrating. Nurses have left in large numbers. Teachers salaries have been cut but meanwhile there is funding to build a brand new and completely unnecessary road that benefits the 1% of Iceland through an ancient lava field in Reykjavik.

            •  Austerity (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rei, erush1345

              Hidden austerity also hit Iceland severely through indexed loans. Americans will have a very hard time understanding the concept but imagine a mortgage where the debt only increases, it never decreases. You never pay it off in other words.

              So after the crisis, many Icelanders suddenly owed twice as much on their homes because their mortgages were indexed. And most Icelanders buy their homes - not rent - so this really effected a large number of people.

        •  Grimmson (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil
          the praise of Ólafur as though he's some sort of anti-bankster socialist hero
           Where did you read that?

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 08:11:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  A fundamental problem with your response (13+ / 0-)
      Only a few higher-ups went to jail, and only for explicit fraud - the same sort of stuff the US jails people for (your Bernie Madoffs, your Ken Lays, etc).
       Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay were not bankers. They were hedge-fund managers.
         Not a single bank executive has even been fined, much less gone to jail, and we have a FAR bigger financial system.
         Plus our bankers have done FAR worse than simply fraud.
         I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what is going on here.
      "Popular protests" stopping the government from "bailing out the banks"? Sorry, but the new post-protest government continued the previous government's policy of trying to negotiate a settlement with the British on the Icesave case.
      That is true, but at the same time it doesn't dispute what I said at all.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:17:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a single bank executive? (0+ / 0-)

        10 seconds on Google

        Plus our bankers have done FAR worse than simply fraud
        Taking down the world economy to enrich your pockets is unfortunately not a crime, neither in the US nor in Iceland.

        Now whats your point, exactly? Are you trying to claim that things like the Al-Thani case wouldn't be prosecuted in the US? Because I just gave you a list of about a hundred such examples

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:41:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. Not a single bank executive (12+ / 0-)

          Did you read your link closely? Nothing there lists any executives serving time in jail except for Fabrice Tourre, and that is deceptive too.

            Tourre was a junior salesman, buried deep inside the Goldman Sachs CDO machine,
          In regards to your statement:
           Because I just gave you a list of about a hundred such examples
          No, you actually didn't.
            Now as for your statement:
           Taking down the world economy to enrich your pockets is unfortunately not a crime, neither in the US nor in Iceland.
          Now whats your point, exactly?
          You don't seem to be aware of the many crimes the bankers have committed.
            Just to give an example, please read this.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:03:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thirty more seconds on Google (0+ / 0-)

            Bradley Birkenfield, ex UBS banker, sentenced to 3 years 4 months despite heloing the SEC.

            Bankers jailed for TARP fraud, with sentences as high as 23 years (I should add, more than a person generally gets for murder in Iceland).

            One of the heads of Credit Suisse, 30 months. The US actually had to extradite him to get him

            A list of a dozen or two bank execs who've been jailed.

            This one was caught after attempting to fake his own death

            How many more do you want? Because the hits don't seem to be stopping any time soon.

            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

            by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:16:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You need to actually read, not just post links (13+ / 0-)

              This will be the last time I filter these for you.

              Bradley Birkenfeld: was a mid-level whistleblower. His conviction was for tax evasion.
                His prosecution was the opposite of your point concerning our law enforcement.

              Many advocacy groups from around the world criticized Birkenfeld's prosecution and sentence on the grounds that it would discourage financial industry whistleblowers
              Your post of SIGTARP is more accurate. SIGTARP has easily the best record for doing their job of all the regulators.
              Lawmakers are holding SIGTARP up as a model and questioning why other agencies are not producing similar results.
               
               however, buried in your article is this:
               SIGTARP has a strong record, but the office has mainly taken down community bankers, not Wall Street titans, for brazen acts of fraud, some observers say.
              Your 'dead' banker was from a tiny south Georgia bank who did some embezzlement.
                 Your 'dozen or two' link says this right on the front page:
              some cases to bring senior bankers to justice-senior bankers at small institutions, that is
              Yes, I'm sure you can keep posting link after link after link if you wanted. But I'm not going to filter them anymore.

              None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

              by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:47:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  From the very article you linked... (0+ / 0-)

                Birkenfield was arrested for conspiring to help wealthy americans evade taxes by hiding the assets that they had in UBS Ag, the bank he helped manage.

                Your post of SIGTARP is more accurate
                But, but, I thought the US didn't arrest bankers!  ;)

                You completely ignored two whole articles with dozens of examples.

                Sorry,. give it up and face facts.

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 10:09:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  martini
                  But, but, I thought the US didn't arrest bankers!  ;)
                  Actually I said bank executives, not just any 'ol banker. And I was referring to the 2008 collapse (although I could have been more clear).
                     And that seems to be the problem between us - that you think I'm saying something that I didn't say.

                    There will always be some patsy taking the fall in any large organization. I don't count mid-level management going to jail in a criminal organization to mean something.

                    Now to be fair, you have pointed out that the personal fines were greater than I was aware of, although that is still a poor substitute for jail time for crimes.

                  None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                  by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:26:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Never mind that LIBOR manipulation (5+ / 0-)

        and the attendant ripoffs of municipal governments? I wonder if that crap was happening in Iceland as well as here?

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:51:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, TrueBlueDem, Rei, erush1345

      Iceland probably did what it needed to do and probably did the best thing for the very long run. However, life is hardly all roses there at all. Many people are terribly chagrined by their current situation compared to where they were before the collapse. Their special set of circumstances allowed them to thumb their noses at the British and Dutch and after some tussling mostly get away with it. The people of Iceland are very small in number, incredibly homogeneous and very well educated. What they have done and how they will recover is hardly a model for the US or any other G20 country. They are hardly high-fiving for how things have turned out. Things just aren't at all that pretty as you have said.

      I have various relatives who have been in Iceland for over 30 years now and they pretty much all say just what you have been saying. They don't feel like they have slayed some dragon and are ready to take their bows on the world stage. They feel somewhat divided on how best to proceed and feel somewhat to pretty miserable in dealing with the fallout of what happened. I really don't get where people think everything is so groovy there today and that if all the world had done what Iceland did, everything would be just super-duper. Can you imagine if we cut 30% off of our precrash federal budget and went with that? I assume that 30% then would be more like 50% of our current federal budget because of all the current stimulus and expanded program spending. My relatives are still really worried about the housing situation there. They definitely feel there are still big shoes to drop in the housing financing area. I'm not sure I fully understand what that issue is, but they seem very worried about that.

      Anyways, I greatly appreciate what you write which  I feel is the real world view of what Iceland really is. Even with the problems, my relatives do absolutely love it there. They feel the current pain is worth what they have experienced by living there in the long term. My wife and I plan to make an extended visit with them after we retire. I do hope the country can get everything sorted out and get prosperity restored in the coming years.

      •  Thank you, OrganicChemist. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, OrganicChemist

        Once again in this thread, we have "Everyone who has any connection to Iceland" saying that this Iceland-Is-An-Anticapitalist-Paradise thing is just a myth, and everyone with absolutely no connection to Iceland whatsoever insisting that it's true.  It's so annoying to live something directly and have people insist that your own life and experiences are wrong because "they read something". Just ignoring the fact that foreign reporting on Iceland is almost always terrible. The most recent horrible example was their coverage of the environmental protests against road construction on Álfsnes, which the foreign media almost universally presented as elf-preservation protests.  Ugh.  :Þ

        I should say that despite everything I've written about Iceland, I still have a great deal of hope for this country. We've got very strong fundamentals - abundant clean power, a highly educated, very creative workforce, a burgeoning tourism industry, etc. And we've got a history here of rolling with the punches and picking things up after adversity, because 99% of our history has been nothing but adversity. It's always, þetta reddast, things will work themselves out somehow. I think Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn and Framsóknarflokkurinn have way overstepped the bounds and are going to have a poor showing at the next election. Maybe we can finally get the constitution through.  Maybe.  :Þ  But I have hope.

        Ironically, the things that I have the most praise to heap on Iceland about, Kossacks largely ignore. How immensely LGBT-affirmative it is here - not just poltically, but in individual attitudes in their daily lives. How supportive people are in general of having a solid welfare system. The low crime rate for most types of crimes (sex crimes still needs a lot of work, though). Superb gun control. No military. An amazing road system versus how low the population density is. And on and on, I have a damned lot of praise to heap upon Iceland.

        But I'm not just going to sit and watch people lie about Iceland to make up some sort of fictional capitalism-rejecting land to use as an example of what they want America to do. All I can say to them is, if you have to BS about a country, pick a different one to BS about, don't pick mine.  :Þ

        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

        by Rei on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 10:22:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Has it occured to you (0+ / 0-)

          that maybe the problem isn't everyone else?

           this Iceland-Is-An-Anticapitalist-Paradise thing is just a myth
          Nothing remotely like this appeared in the diary or even any of the comments.
             Maybe the reason why you are so frustrated is because you aren't actually reading what is written.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:28:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A few facts should be mentioned here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew, Aquarius40, OrganicChemist

    that impinge on this a little. First of all, Iceland has a population of less than 300,000 people, i.e. the size of a small city. Second, Iceland is a remarkably homogeneous population. Net immigration is about 0.5%. So basically everyone in Iceland is more closely related to everyone else than in just about any other country. That tends to create a lot of social cohesion. Four percent of 300,000 is 12,000. So to get an unemployment rate of 2% represents 6,000 jobs. Of course, in a small country that's still a significant problem. Another fact is that Iceland was never a Euro country. Thus, they were never chained to the awful monetary policies of the EU (Germany really). Iceland was able to devalue its currency, which is what Greece and other European countries would have done had they not been wearing German handcuffs. Finally, there's the default. Iceland gets to walk away from billions in debt accrued with the connivance of many of its citizens. The default allowed Iceland's President to talk in such lofty terms, but where was he when all sense of probity was missing in action 10 years ago?  So, it's all very well to talk about what a swell example Iceland is of financial rectitude, but it's an example that, for structural reasons, is unlikely to serve as a practical guide to other economies.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:16:21 PM PST

    •  One point (11+ / 0-)
      Iceland gets to walk away from billions in debt accrued with the connivance of many of its citizens.
      Uh, that sounds suspiciously like people who blamed regular people for the subprime housing bubble in the States.
         I seriously doubt that the average person in Iceland saw a dime from the debt that was defaulted on.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:24:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ugh. (6+ / 0-)

      First off, you started off with one of my pet peeves: Iceland is not a homogenous country. Iceland has a higher percentage of first-generation immigrants than most US states. Want to compare net migration rates? Here you go. It is NOT a homogenous country. As if that even matters in this discussion!

      Iceland is an EFTA country and was subject to the exact same banking laws as EU states.

      The devaluation of the currency was devastating to people here, doubling the values owed on foreign currency loans while dramatically spiking the prices of household goods here where most goods are imported. Aka, regular citizens bear the cost for the misdeeds of the wealthy.

      Iceland never defauled; this is a myth.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 05:34:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You look just like me! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, TheLizardKing, gjohnsit

        From my point of reference, Iceland is homogenous because the vast majority of residents are of European descent, and relatively well educated and are employed. Whether they are generations old Icelandic descendants or recent arrivals, most are still of European descent even if they come from South Africa, South America or Australia. I think that does have an effect on how well people will uniformly accept turmoil and adversity.

        Your point about the cost of imported goods is another issue. My relatives tell me the cost rise in many items has been absolutely breathtaking!

        •  Skin color is a really poor measure. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrganicChemist

          For example, Iceland's most common immigrant ethnicity is Polish, while America's is Mexican. But Polish is a lot further from Icelandic, linguistically, than Spanish is from America. Poland is a lot further from Iceland culturally than Mexico is from America. Think of all the Spanish words, Mexican foods, concepts, celebrations, other cultural entities from Mexico that are now common in "white America". There's thousands. I can't think of a single Polish word or cultural tradition that has become part of the Icelandic language or culture. So yeah, they have the same skin color, but so what?

          (And even if we're talking about appearance, skin color is about all your average Polish person shares with your stereotypical traditional Icelander.)

          Also, concerning skin color, Filipinos are generally somewhere in the #2 to #4 slot as a percent of immigrants to Iceland.

          Part of the issue is that Iceland became this diverse relatively recently. There's no old history of racism or discrimination, so a lot of things are playing out rather quickly. For example, I just love the band Mammút, but dear god I hope Kata (lead singer) doesn't dress like she dresses sometimes when she goes on tour in America - she sometimes goes on stage in blackface. It's not intended to impersonate people of African ancestry, it's just a costume, and most people here would never think of it as being some sort of racist statement. But you know in America people would see it that way. There was an issue that came up with a standup comedian created a character on TV named "Tong Monitor", and he taped his eyes back to look asian. When some Asian immigrants started complaining, most people were taken aback - they really didn't understand how that could be insulting.

          Basically, we've relatively suddenly become a diverse, modern nation, and it's going to take some time to see how it ultimately plays out.

          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

          by Rei on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 10:33:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Size (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit

      The issue about Iceland's size is often mentioned, but I think it needs much more justification.

      Iceland is large enough that it has its own banks and currency. It isn't small enough that everyone is directly related to each other, such that people would personally forgive each other's loans or give each other fake jobs because of it. Research has shown feelings if kinship drop off quite dramatically at the level of first cousins. People in Iceland aren't even interacting on a daily basis with their first cousins.

      What macroeconomic phenomena happens in larger countries that does not happen in Iceland? To put it another way, a household is basically a Soviet-style planned economy, and that is the only way it works. Soviet-styled planned economies don't even work in cities large enough that there will be enough people that don't care too much about each other.

      The other point, related to your second, is that Iceland did this without the benefit of its size. Default for a small powerless country like Iceland could have been crushing. For the US, in fact, default would be crushing for everyone else. So the US could have done what Iceland did with much more room to wiggle.

      I agree though, this all does not apply to the Euro countries. They are just screwed.

      •  I still think Spain and Ireland would be better (8+ / 0-)

        off telling the bankers to fuck off, than as they are. What benefits are they seeing? I mention them because if I mention Italy or Greece people will start yelling about immorally running up huge debts and uncontrolled government spending and corruption yadda yadda yadda get your right wing talking points here. Of course what those talking points always leave out is that the same shit happened to Spain and Ireland, who basically did little or nothing wrong (no wonder Spain is indignant).

        Anyway, I think they'd be better off with a more assertive posture toward the banks.

        But the euro complicates matters.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:35:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  US Default (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        godlessmath, Anne Elk, FG

        I know lots of people here say that we should just default and because we are so big, we would get away with it. I'm just not convinced. Certainly we would devastate a big portion of the world market. I just don't see how people would start to buy Treasuries again after that even if they technically might be the safest refuge for money. That means, unless we cut the budget, we need to roll the presses. I know there are many here who claim that is a perfectly harmless solution and we should have been doing this all along. I just won't buy that this doesn't eventually lead to a big inflation problem, particularly if all investments tank, Treasuries aren't viewed as being safe and the only items of value are hard goods. People then will buy anything they can get their hands on.

        •  I don't disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrganicChemist

          necessarily. My only point was that insofar as size is concerned, Iceland's size was in fact a disadvantage more than it was a benefit unavailable to the US. The "wisdom" of all the Very Serious People at the time was that Iceland defaulting was the wrong thing to do, while the right thing to do was to cave to the bankers' every demand. The idea was that investors and banks would punish Iceland to no end for default, ruining the economy.

          My point is that even if you buy that reasoning, or if especially if you do, investors and banks can't afford to punish the US for a default or some sort. They can barely even threaten to do so. That should give us much more room to maneuver and implement solutions that work for everyone, not just the banks.

        •  No one is saying that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib, godlessmath
          I know lots of people here say that we should just default
          What people are saying is that we should have nationalized the banks when they went bankrupt in 2008 instead of bailing them out.
            Then we should have prosecuted the fraud.

           You know, like Iceland did.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

          by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:55:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Boy, what a world that would be. (0+ / 0-)

            Take the love for Obama on the Left, and the hate for Obama on the Right, and multiply it all by several scary magnitudes.

            I mean that makes Medicare-for-all sound like peanuts lol.

            "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

            by TheHalfrican on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 02:16:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Size is a double edged sword (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        godlessmath

        but here it's pretty much an advantage for Iceland. The reason I say that is the fact is that there are House members that are supposed to represent as many if not more people than the entirety of Iceland.

        The average number of constituents per house member is actually almost twice as large as the entire population as Iceland.

        That to me is the greatest failing of our government currently (that it really is not truly representative any more).

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:10:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is true, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban

          in terms of getting the politics of it all correct, Iceland was immensely advantaged by its size. This reminds me of what Krugman often says, which is that the economics of the Great Recession is very easy and well understood, it is the politics which in the US that is intractable.

          I want to note the irony. All the Very Serious People who were claiming doom and gloom over Iceland's response to the economic crises were arguing that this was a failure of Iceland's politicians to do the Serious Thing, opting instead to listen to the mob. They were in essence placing the failure on what you exactly describe as Iceland's great advantage over the US. Well, it turns out they were wrong on all counts.

          •  well we'll see what happens in the long term (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            godlessmath

            Iceland may be recovering but I am curious to see what the long term consequences if any come from the Icesaver issue. It does appear that Iceland will not face any legal fallout it could still face consequences. Thus I would not be so quick to claim that Iceland did the right thing.

            That said we are in agreement on the politics issue. Right, wrong or whatever Iceland acted where as the US remains divided for the foreseeable future.

            Der Weg ist das Ziel

            by duhban on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 11:39:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Connivance? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, corvo, Tonedevil, Laconic Lib

      Hmm. You mean like these Icelandic terrorists?

      Here's one of them.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:31:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gordon Brown, you son of a bitch. (6+ / 0-)

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:38:17 PM PST

  •  But see we're bigger than Iceland (7+ / 0-)

    so the idea of us holding bankers accountable for their lawlessness is something we just can't do!  

    What we need to do is make sure no banker can ever break a law.  You do that by deregulating them!

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:52:25 PM PST

  •  There's a law (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, gjohnsit

    enforcing the responsibility of ministers?! Wow! If we had that here...let your imagination run wild.

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 09:44:31 PM PST

    •  Trust me, you don't want to imitate the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder

      Geir Haarde fiasco. It turned into a giant political circus and he got off with a slap on the wrist.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 10:35:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The concept of unemployment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    is particularly immoral considering the massive amount of wealth being stolen and horded.

    Unemployment = "No, you may not earn money to buy food and shelter."

    The government for the people? Where?

    This better be good. Because it is not going away.

    by DerAmi on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:54:40 AM PST

  •  AGAIN, Obama Totally Blew It (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, Dallasdoc

    Citicorp, a floundering bank after the Crash which had to use the flimsiest smoke and mirrors and Billions of our tax dollars in order to appear "solvent" should have been nationalized by Obama.

    yes, pump Billions into a nationalized Citicorp, then make that money available to small and medium sized businesses. everyone knows this is where most of the actual job growth occurs in the U.S.-- NOT from large corporations, some of which (Sears, Pennys, etc) are still laying off thousands of people.

    and this nationalized bank could have been used to fully fund long term infrastructure projects, which would have created tens of thousands of good paying jobs.

    Obama blew it. he is weak. there's no other way to put it.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:41:54 AM PST

  •  But, Hey . . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . . with more Democrats we are going to be financially better off, aren't we?  Obama did such a good job he saved us and the 1%, the banks and the stock market.

    Yesterday I received an email from Debbie Stabenow celebrating the farm bill.  No mention that as chair she saw that food assistance was cut to the neediest of us just so she can give corporate farms more aid.

    With friends like this . . .

  •  populations of 300k vs 300mil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    You guys are seriously trying to draw meaningful conclusions from comparing one economy with another economy that is literally three orders of magnitude larger?  Really?

    Why stop there?  May as well compare our economy with Monaco, where there is no unemployment and moreover, everybody is filthy rich!  Their economy is great, so let's follow their example of eliminating all income tax!  Surely that's a valid comparison, never mind that Monaco's population is four orders of magnitude smaller than the US's, right?

  •  Iceland did it right, all right (0+ / 0-)

    If you become fluent in the language you can actually move there!  Unfortunately I have never been good with languages.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:45:43 PM PST

    •  Not correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex

      There is no language requirement for immigration (only for citizenship). However, as a general rule, to move to Iceland from the US, you have to either marry an Icelander or get a job with an Icelandic company as a skilled professional in an in-demand field (which is a hassle for them, so they better really want you) .

      That said, I strongly discourage anyone from moving to another country where a different language is people's mother tongue and then not learning said language. It's rude, demanding everyone change languages to accomodate you for the rest of your life, and you'll never really become integrated into the society if you can't understand other people's words (written or spoken) which are not specifically aimed at you.

      That said, anyone can learn any language. It's just about will. Of course it's not easy - it takes a LONG time, the results come slow. But they do come. Heck, for the longest time, I was sure I'd never be able to roll an "r". But I kept trying. A year and a half, reading every tip I could, trying until I'd break down crying, I wanted it so much - it just wouldn't come. But eventually I got it.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendent's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendent's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:34:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Meteor Blades, Mark Sumner, Alumbrados, cslewis, Sylv, Chi, Odysseus, greendem, Danno11, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, wu ming, Wintermute, hyperstation, OLinda, mslat27, eeff, TX Unmuzzled, sobermom, RFK Lives, MarkInSanFran, exNYinTX, opinionated, TheMomCat, sponson, justme, Einsteinia, BlackSheep1, wonkydonkey, whenwego, ask, shanikka, ctsteve, splashy, antirove, dksbook, k9disc, Redfire, emmasnacker, Dallasdoc, gerrilea, HeyMikey, lcrp, Brian82, inclusiveheart, dkmich, Major Kong, zerelda, Curt Matlock, solesse413, pontechango, Armand451, Skennet Boch, NoMoreLies, tle, ichibon, unclejohn, ek hornbeck, sc kitty, corvo, Superpole, Flint, run around, Simplify, Laurence Lewis, reflectionsv37, fixxit, eru, owlbear1, Burned, Steve in Urbana, markdd, Ozymandius, Tool, turdraker, CJnyc, Jim P, martini, esquimaux, Kingsmeg, vigilant meerkat, dharmafarmer, kck, greenearth, blueoasis, DarkestHour, StrayCat, Preston S, middleagedhousewife, Turbonerd, onionjim, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dianna, blueoregon, bstotts, CharlieHipHop, Little, Nulwee, Aaa T Tudeattack, NonnyO, cpresley, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, Habitat Vic, wa ma, SpecialKinFlag, camlbacker, yoduuuh do or do not, FishOutofWater, Cofcos, terabytes, joedemocrat, newpioneer, artisan, Kentucky Kid, jayden, Aunt Martha, SeaTurtle, bobswern, carpunder, Wreck Smurfy, leonard145b, South Park Democrat, on the cusp, rmonroe, gundyj, also mom of 5, wayoutinthestix, amyzex, zerone, poligirl, Youffraita, Aureas2, Involuntary Exile, jamess, monkeybrainpolitics, tofumagoo, MrJayTee, pickandshovel, bluesheep, Liberal Of Limeyland, 3rdOption, j7915, Uncle Bob, Blueslide, watercarrier4diogenes, shortgirl, LaFeminista, nchristine, banjolele, CanyonWren, maryabein, dicentra, dskoe, MKSinSA, COwoman, jpmassar, vtgal, pyegar, p gorden lippy, David PA, piers, ATFILLINOIS, renzo capetti, gulfgal98, Egalitare, WattleBreakfast, Publius2008, kenwards, Oh Mary Oh, slice, Byblis, allenjo, moonbat666, La Gitane, BlueJessamine, BillyElliott, FarWestGirl, Nebraska68847Dem, marleycat, Santa Susanna Kid, Ojibwa, LSmith, Grandma Susie, SteelerGrrl, SouthernLiberalinMD, DEMonrat ankle biter, Azazello, OldDragon, Siri, IndieGuy, dance you monster, This old man, Mike RinRI, MartyM, Galtisalie, New Minas, wxorknot, oldpotsmuggler, ZatCSU, Bisbonian, Robynhood too, ShoshannaD, Lily O Lady, Panacea Paola, countwebb, HedwigKos, Dewstino, Aunt Pat, Hellstrom, ORswede, martianexpatriate, RUNDOWN, andalusi, Capt Crunch, jbsoul, Banach MacAmbrais, waterstreet2013, Skyye, Pablo Bocanegra, P E Outlier

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site