Sunday, November 23, 2008

Enough already with Iceland


For a country that has one of the least appealing names, Iceland gets more than it's share of press.

A year ago...


Rich free-market countries dominate the top places, with Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada and Ireland the first five but the United States slipping to 12th place from eighth last year in the U.N. Human Development Index.

And last May...

Iceland, the block of sub-Arctic lava tops the latest table of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Index rankings, meaning that as a society and as an economy - in terms of wealth, health and education - they are champions of the world.
However the cracks started to appear last April...

None of Iceland's financial experts dispute that the economy is likely to slow, but they bristle at the notion that the situation could reach crisis level. Iceland's financial regulator recently stress-tested its banks, and found they would still be solid after loan losses of 20 percent.
Then this week...

Four Nordic countries and the International Monetary Fund on Thursday pledged a combined US$4.6 billion in loans to help Iceland recover from its economic meltdown.
And finally today..

A few hundred people made their way to a police building, where they demanded a fellow protester being held since Friday be released. Five people were injured when officers repelled some demonstrators that tried to storm the building. The crowd was finally placated when authorities freed the man in custody, after someone agreed to pay his outstanding fine.
Some one has to say this...


And it isn't that nice a place.

Iceland has the highest birth rate in Europe, the highest divorce rate and the highest percentage of women working outside the home.

In other words the highest percentage of single working mothers.

Iceland's under regulated financial system delved in the derivative debt purchases, funded by offering unsustainably high interest rates to international institutional investors.

When money got tight and the institutions withdrew their cash, the wheels feel off.

Iceland's government has been running in deficit for years and the countries total corporate and household debt is equal to 350 percent of it's gross domestic product.

Oh and for future reference the easiest way to get someone out of jail, is to the pay the damn fine.




References: too many to list.

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