Iceland is sinking


If it was business as usual in the rest of the world, Iceland would probably be able to stabilize itself, with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), negotiate some sort of debt forgiveness settlement with its largest foreign creditors, and adapt itself to a more realistic budget. We would have to cut back from the glory years, but we would still live a good life.

Unfortunately, of course, the rest of world is not doing so well. Experts, such as Paul Volcker and George Soros, recently stated that they can’t see the bottom, that things may be worse than the Great Depression.

The Great Depression passed mostly unnoticed in Iceland because most people were so poor that it was a stretch to fall any further. My parents tell me stories that almost defy belief. The novel Independent People by our cultural icon, Nobel prize-winning author Halldór Laxness, describes early 20th century Iceland amid farmers and fishermen – much like my grandfather, a West fjords seaman – who would rarely leave their valleys and fjords, except for a trip to the nearest village to shop for necessities, a country whose farmers might be so destitute that they “died without ever having transacted a business deal involving more than a few dollars at a time.”

From the Huffington Post


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