Saturday morning ramble

Since the economic crash I have been fortunate to meet several foreigners who have taken an interest in the situation in Iceland. 

One such person, an economist all the way from Asia asked me yesterday what would be in the cards for Iceland for the near and far future. 

I replied that I think the next ten years are going to be characterized by ideological clashes and severe bitterness. I think a generation will be lost as job-creation when it finally will happen will be focused by the government on aluminum and fishing, which most of our college-educated people are not qualified for. The real innovation will happen within start-up companies will find it easier to set up abroad. 

There are good signs afoot. The new Central Bank governor seems suitably far removed from the traditional Icelandic marriage of business and politics. Bringing Eva Joly in speaks of good intent. And the chairman-elections in VR pension fund where the old power-base was thrown out the window are a promising landmark. 

But the government is still not transparent enough. Very little is disclosed about either matters regarding the IMF loan or the IceSave matter. The political parties are getting ready for elections and there seems to be very little renewal, the same faces with new suits on to quote and Icelandic musician. The politicians still haven’t learned that they need to disclose who is paying for their campaigns in order to gain any of the trust they’ve lost back. 

And xenophobia is a problem that needs to be adressed. A new party is running which main agenda is to keep Iceland away from the EU. It does not seem to do so well in the polls for now but the very fact that they are getting column inches in the media does not bode well. The last thing Iceland needs now is further isolation from the international scene.

The viking-raiders who acquired European businesses with loans from their own banks and proceeded to run them into the ground and disappear with people’s savings, played by the rules that they would exploit what they could in Europe through the EFTA agreement, while barring entrance to foreigners in their own market. Iceland would be wise not to continue asking, begging and taking, while not giving in return. 

It is time to think forward, and ignore those who are still backwards.


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