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View Diary: IMF & Iceland: If this isn't true, I want to know, because if it IS true I want to bathe in it! (147 comments)

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  •  Yeah, the currency restrictions aren't very (9+ / 0-)

    popular here, but they're probably necessary.  My coworkers keep telling me how lucky I am that I have non-Icelandic assets (from the sale of a house in the US) and that I should make sure not to move them to Iceland; I've been taking their advice.  The speculation here is that the currency restrictions may be driving a housing bubble as people turn their investment money to local property, although I'm not sure - there's evidence both for and against it.

    •  So, now that we're here out of the way (8+ / 0-)

      where no one will see us, let me ask: in light of your long comment up top, do you think that this diary is doing damage or worthwhile?  You dismissed the story as PR, but some PR is less objectionable than others.  This seems like a healthy discussion to me, but your comment does give me pause.  You're more expert than I am here; what do you think?  I'm not going to pull a diary with this many comments, even if I came to agree with you, but I would consider issuing some clarification; I'm already thinking that I should link to your "for an alternative view" comment.

      Pro-Occupy Democratic Candidate for California State Senate, District 29 & Occupy OC Civic Liaison.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:45:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eh, I dunno. (30+ / 0-)

        I think it's great that everyone's in love with Iceland, although I wish it was for the right reasons.  I think enough people will see the comment that it's okay.

        We're not some sort of anti-capitalist utopia.  But we do the best we can in whatever adverse situations we find ourselves in (whether we caused it or someone else).  And no matter what, I think Iceland will end up strong again.  Not as strong, but at a healthy, sustainable level.  Because all in all, the fundamentals here are strong: a creative, well-educated workforce, low-carbon energy resources that are for all effective purposes unlimited for the forseeable future, massive tourism potential that only keeps growing, one of the world's richest fisheries (global warming is shifting what kinds of fish, but no matter what, our geology gives us the primary productivity, and some kind of fish will always be eating it), and on and on.  Ag is just starting to take off in Iceland, forestry is just starting to take off, etc.  Basically, the fundamentals are strong.  So I have no concerns over the future.  Besides, people here have largely come to accept the new reality, that the boom times are in the past and that they can't live like they did before.

        And politically, while it might not be everything people might want to ascribe to it, it is in general very liberal.  85% of people vote, it's probably the most socially liberal place on the planet, highest rate of union membership in the first world (I had my choice of like 6 different unions - as a computer programmer!), etc, with an interesting mix of strong individualism (the joke here being that if an Icelander sees someone famous on the street, he goes up to the person and asks them if they want his autograph  ;)   ) blended with a strong sense of community and cooperation (for example, people on unemployment were given a Christmas bonus this year, and it was just seen as common sense - why should they not get a bonus when everyone else does?) and a strong safety net (random example: if I get sick while on vacation, it counts as sick time, not vacation time).

        So while people's appreciation of Iceland may sometimes be misdirected, it's at the same time nice that Iceland is actually getting at least some attention, lol.

      •  BTW, if you want a reference... (16+ / 0-)

        to what part of the government shortfall was made up by taxes and what part by austerity, a quick google search reveals an older article from during the negotiation phase.  It ultimately worked out to around 50-50.  The article is in Icelandic, but you can use Google Translate and hopefully it'll work.  In case you want to look a bit more on your own, the Icelandic word for austerity is "niðurskurður" (although it'll be declined).  It was done in stages, but pretty much all services were hit evenly.

        But ultimately, the message being discussed is a fair one: that the social safety net remained in tact despite the cuts.  It was weakened, but Iceland has always had a strong social safety net.

        •  "Government shortfall" is gibberish economics (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TimmyB, flitedocnm

          But a big problem is that you are phrasing things in terms of loony-tunes modern-mainstream "economics". Iceland prints its own Krona. It cannot & does not make up "shortfalls". It creates Krona when it spends & redeems/ destroys them when it taxes, and domestic bond sales are just a confusing, unimportant sideshow.

          The sole & unique function of what is crazily called making up the shortfall - increased taxation & lowered spending (austerity) is to mitigate inflation, which was driven by exchange rate depreciation, not excess demand. That article and ones linked don't even mention inflation or unemployment, eloquent demonstration of economic ignorance. So weakening the safety net, deficit cutting, giving insufficient state fiscal support to recovery, allowing - really forcing - unemployment  is/was pure destructive stupidity.

          see A tale of two economies – Greece and Iceland

          There is no financial crisis so deep that cannot be dealt with by public spending – still!

          Iceland … another neo-liberal casualty
          for some sound bases for understanding.

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