Icelanders struggle through failure of their nation’s economy


The sheep in Skaftafell don’t know they’re in trouble, yet
Photo from Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The collapse came so fast it seemed unreal, impossible. One woman here compared it to being hit by a train. Another said she felt as if she were watching it through a window. Another said, “It feels like you’ve been put in a prison, and you don’t know what you did wrong.”

This country, as modern and sophisticated as it is geographically isolated, still seems to be in shock. But if the events of last month — the failure of Iceland’s banks; the plummeting of its currency; the first wave of layoffs; the loss of reputation abroad — felt like a bad dream, Iceland has now awakened to find that it is all coming true.

It is not as if Reykjavik, where about two-thirds of the country’s 300,000 people live, is filled with bread lines or homeless shanties or looters smashing store windows. But this city, until recently the center of one of the world’s fastest economic booms, is now the unhappy site of one of its great crashes. It is impossible to meet anyone here who has not been profoundly affected by the financial crisis…

No country has ever crashed as quickly and as badly in peacetime,” said Jon Danielsson, an economist with the London School of Economics.

The loss goes beyond the personal, shattering a proud country’s sense of itself.

The kind of article that the IHT does as well as any great newspaper. Read and reflect. Read through the whole article and consider how close we have come, here in the United States – and may, yet – to the same level of economic disaster.

If we didn’t have some of the solutions put in place by Roosevelt and the New Deal – we might be in the same boat.

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