March 12, 2010
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A friend asked me at brunch recently about the situation in Iceland. Here is a commentary:
The small nation of Iceland–population 320,000–can’t produce much of anything that is in demand in the international markets. During the 60s and 70s Icelandic Airlines had a pretty good business running the cheapest flights you could find between the US and Europe, but that is long in the past. They do catch fish out of the dwindling North Atlantic fisheries, and tourists show up who appreciate the stunning natural beauty of a landscape with geysers, hot springs, and an abundance of wilderness hiking. But that’s about it.
March 08, 2010
Iceland banks need a bailout but the citizens of the country say there is no chance. The people of Iceland voted against a deal that would have helped fix the economic problems, refusing to pay off any banks debt.
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Understanding the Nature of the Global Economic Crisis
The people have been lulled into a false sense of safety under the rouse of a perceived “economic recovery.” Unfortunately, what the majority of people think does not make it so, especially when the people making the key decisions think and act to the contrary. The sovereign debt crises that have been unfolding in the past couple years and more recently in Greece, are canaries in the coal mine for the rest of Western “civilization.” The crisis threatens to spread to Spain, Portugal and Ireland; like dominoes, one country after another will collapse into a debt and currency crisis, all the way to America.
In October 2008, the mainstream media and politicians of the Western world were warning of an impending depression if actions were not taken to quickly prevent this. The problem was that this crisis had been a long-time coming, and what’s worse, is that the actions governments took did not address any of the core, systemic issues and problems with the global economy; they merely set out to save the banking industry from collapse. To do this, governments around the world implemented massive “stimulus” and “bailout” packages, plunging their countries deeper into debt to save the banks from themselves, while charging it to people of the world.
Blackwater before drinking water
by Greg Palast for The Huffington Post
Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, “The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days.” “In a few days,” Mr. Obama?
January 14, 2010
Every week Max Keiser looks at all the scandal behind the financial news headlines. This week Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, talk about Geithner’s AIG shenanigans, Goldman’s 259% bonuses and the teamsters defeat of Goldman Sachs. Keiser also speaks to Birgitta Jonsdottir, leader of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, who is taking on the international bankers.
January 07, 2010
Every week Max Keiser looks at all the scandal behind the financial news headlines.
This week Max Keiser and co-host Stacy Herbert name the top five themes to look for in 2010: the second leg of the financial crisis; crime will continue to pay; sovereign debt crises, real wars and fake wars. Keiser also speaks to Icelandic activist Johannes G. Skulason about his campaign to thwart the efforts by the UK and Netherlands to force citizens of Iceland to pay for the crimes of their banks.
Europe’s small, debt-strapped countries could follow the lead of Argentina and simply walk away from their debts. That would shift the burden to the creditor countries, which could solve the problem merely by a change in accounting rules.
Total financial collapse, once a problem only for developing countries, has now come to Europe. The International Monetary Fund is imposing its “austerity measures” on the outer circle of the European Union, with Greece, Iceland and Latvia the hardest hit. But these are not your ordinary third world debtor supplicants. Historically, the Vikings of Iceland repeatedly repulsed British invaders; Latvian tribes repulsed even the Vikings; and the Greeks conquered the whole Persian empire. If anyone can stand up to the IMF, these stalwart European warriors can.
John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, blames Iceland’s economic collapse on the tactics of economic hit men from multi-national corporations .
Economic hit man John Perkins has confessed the sins of predatory politicians and analyzed the reasons for the current meltdown. A reformed economist, he warns that returning to our “normal” blueprints for the global economy would prove disastrous. Perkins details the steps to transform “the mutant form of capitalism” into a system based on sustainability and justice. – Commonwealth Club
John Perkins spent three decades as an Economic Hit Man, business executive, author, and lecturer. He lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America. Then he made a decision: he would use these experiences to make the planet a better place for his daughter’s generation. Today he teaches about the importance of rising to higher levels of consciousness, to waking up – in both spiritual and physical realms – and is a champion for environmental and social causes. He has lectured at universities on four continents, including Harvard, Wharton, and Princeton.
by Prof. Michael Hudson
Global Research, August 17, 2009
Can Iceland and Latvia pay the foreign debts run up by a fairly narrow layer of their population?
The European Union and International Monetary Fund have told them to replace private debts with public obligations, and to pay by raising taxes, slashing public spending and obliging citizens to deplete their savings.
Resentment is growing not only toward those who ran up these debts – Iceland’s bankrupt Kaupthing and Landsbanki with its Icesave accounts, and heavily debt-leveraged property owners and privatizers in the Baltics and Central Europe – but also toward the neoliberal foreign advisors and creditors who pressured these governments to sell off the banks and public infrastructure to insiders.
by Michael Hudson
Global Research, May 11, 2009
Make Iceland pay for Incompetent British Bank Deregulation
Last month the G-20 authorized the International Monetary Fund to increase its loan resources to $1 trillion. It’s not hard to see why. Weakening currencies in the post-Soviet states threaten to raise default rates on foreign-currency mortgages as collapse of the Baltic real estate bubble drags down Swedish banks, while the Hungarian property plunge threatens Austrian banks. It seems reasonable to infer that creditor-nation banks hope to be bailed out. The IMF is expected to lend the Baltic, central European and other debtor-country governments money to pay them. These hapless debtor economies are then to follow IMF “conditionalities” to squeeze enough money out of their populations to pay foreign creditors – and repay the Fund by imposing yet more onerous taxes on their labor and industry, making them even more high-cost and therefore pushing them even further into trade and credit dependency. This is why there have been so many riots recently in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine, as was the case for so many decades throughout the Latin American countries that introduced the term “IMF riot” to the global vocabulary.
I can hardly believe the news reports on Iceland’s election on Saturday, April 25. Evidently in an attempt to interest readers in an island few know or have cared much about, the papers tried to attract reader attention by talking about the “left” unseating the “right.” No doubt this political swing is going to continue for many years to come throughout the world. But for Iceland’s voters the issues were more pragmatic. Reckless neoliberal bank privatization is indeed the main problem, but the proposed responses are not inherently left or right as such. At issue is whether voters have become so desperate in the wake of crooks wrecking the financial system that they will seek a more stable currency (the euro) by joining Europe on terms that forfeit control over Iceland’s North Atlantic fishing waters and burden taxpayers with unprecedented public debt to compensate British, Dutch and other European bank depositors and speculators for their losses?