Why Iceland Should Still be in the News

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    Oct 27, 2011 1:14 PM GMT
    Stumbled across this artcle this morning, this is truly fascinating... to bad the MSM isn't reporting on it. The people of Iceland have rewritten their Constitution in an attempt to create a fair, open and honest economic system. Please see the link below. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

    http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1
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    Oct 27, 2011 1:57 PM GMT
    http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Oct 27, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    Awesome! I wonder if that could ever happen in the US...icon_rolleyes.gif
  • wellwell

    Posts: 2265

    Oct 27, 2011 3:44 PM GMT
    The people of the USA should look very carefully @ this article's statement: "The People are Sovereign."

    IN ADDITION TO the single paragraph sentence:

    "That’s why it is not in the news anymore."

    While our chief administrative office has "thrown" our money @ the Banks (instead of "bailing-out" you & I), Iceland is incarcerating their bankers and it's doing their "Sovereign" Nation a world of good!

    Wake-Up America !!
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    Oct 27, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    Good article, and as a point of discussion, I'd like to invite all of our neocon friends on RJ to try and point to an example of successful economic regulation that hasn't been coupled with neo-fascistic social regulation.
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    Oct 27, 2011 4:10 PM GMT

    In the US, the population is burdened by a sense that the problems are overwhelmingly huge, the bureaucracy impossible to cut through, and a consensus of the population far out of reach. Imagine any referendum in this country achieving a vote of over 90%? I'll bet there would be people who could rationalize a vote to legalize murder in this country.

    Iceland is small, homogeneous, and close-knit. The US is anything but that.

    It's an amazing story of what the Icelandic people did to take back their country, and I wish something similar would happen here. But for us, it's a little bit like trying to control the path of a hurricane.

  • mustangd

    Posts: 434

    Oct 27, 2011 4:11 PM GMT
    hmm, when i open the story, the page go's blank...
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    Oct 27, 2011 4:36 PM GMT
    DJBoston said
    In the US, the population is burdened by a sense that the problems are overwhelmingly huge, the bureaucracy impossible to cut through, and a consensus of the population far out of reach. Imagine any referendum in this country achieving a vote of over 90%? I'll bet there would be people who could rationalize a vote to legalize murder in this country.

    Iceland is small, homogeneous, and close-knit. The US is anything but that.

    It's an amazing story of what the Icelandic people did to take back their country, and I wish something similar would happen here. But for us, it's a little bit like trying to control the path of a hurricane.



    I think you're discounting any heterogeneity among the people of iceland. Do they not have political strife? Dissent? Is a matter of scale really that big of an issue? If it is, then doesn't it logically follow that popular justice is only attainable through the destruction of the state and rebuilding something at the community level?
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    Oct 27, 2011 4:37 PM GMT
    Fountains said
    DJBoston said
    In the US, the population is burdened by a sense that the problems are overwhelmingly huge, the bureaucracy impossible to cut through, and a consensus of the population far out of reach. Imagine any referendum in this country achieving a vote of over 90%? I'll bet there would be people who could rationalize a vote to legalize murder in this country.

    Iceland is small, homogeneous, and close-knit. The US is anything but that.

    It's an amazing story of what the Icelandic people did to take back their country, and I wish something similar would happen here. But for us, it's a little bit like trying to control the path of a hurricane.



    I think you're discounting any heterogeneity among the people of iceland. Do they not have political strife? Dissent? Is a matter of scale really that big of an issue? If it is, then doesn't it logically follow that popular justice is only attainable through the destruction of the state and rebuilding something at the community level?



    There's a reason why every major empire in history has eventually collapsed.

    And... there isn't much heterogeneity in Iceland. What am I discounting?


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    Oct 27, 2011 4:41 PM GMT
    If it weren't for the factual errors, it might be more interesting. There was a discussion here on a tech/entrepreneurial site that I follow - One comment "Chalk up another factual inaccuracy. I'm not well versed in this stuff, so it's a really bad sign when I can stumble over errors and inaccuracies in damn near every other paragraph." - more here (the link was removed from the general archive because it had far too many mistakes and was political by design):

    http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2923820

    One comment:


    -- Iceland is not an EU member. Iceland is a part of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and Schengen (border control) but not a full member. An application to join the European Union has been filed by the Icelandic government but it is generally considered to be a first step in negotiations as opposed to being a commitment to join.
    -- Iceland did not go bankrupt. At no time did the Icelandic government default. Support from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the other Scandinavian nations along with cutbacks in government spending and tax raises prevented that. The Icelandic National Bank did at one point go "technically" bankrupt but was bailed out by the government.
    -- The currency in Iceland is the krona (ISK) not the Euro.
    -- The Icesave accounts where created by Landsbankinn to increase deposits and liquidity and to reduce reliance on long term financing, they were not designed to "attract foreign investors". The interest rate was about 9% and they were mostly popular with individuals and local councils looking for short term interest on on-hand cash.
    -- The correct names of the Icelandic banks where Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir. They are now named Landsbanki, Arion bank and Islandsbanki respectively.
    -- While I agree that there was protest I think that using the word "riot" is overkill. I think that what stands out is that a group of young activists were arrested for trying to enter the parliament against the orders of the police and that windows in the parliament building were broken by stone throwing. A couple of thousand people gather outside the parliament building for a few days to make noise and listen to speeches.
    -- The public voted against the Icesave deal because the there were unresolved legal issues around it. The EU/EFTA legislation states that each member state must set up a deposit-insurance fund to cover losses caused to depositors in case of bank bankruptcy. The legislation does not mandate that the government insure the deposits, only that the deposit-insurance fund is correctly set up. The Icelandic government did set up the fund in accordance with the legislation and therefore there was doubt as to whether or not the Icelandic government was legally liable for the Icesave deposits to begin with. The problem was that if Iceland's interpretation of the law would be confirmed the whole banking system in Europe would have been at risk, since it would have meant that there was no effective security in place for depositors. Therefore there was tremendous pressure on both sides to resolve the matter without going to the EFTA court. The Icelandic people felt that the legal ambiguity on the legality of holding the Icelandic government responsible meant that if any repayment was to be done it should be shouldered by both parties. The deal the British and Dutch authorities pushed was in no way fair, with the interest rate being significantly higher than the long term rates of the ECB (European Central Bank).
    -- The consensus in Iceland was and is that the Icesave debt should be repaid (if only for moral reasons) - but only on fair terms and according to EU legislation.
    -- The statement "they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money" is total fabrication. Re-working the constitution has been on the agenda in Iceland for the last 10 years with various committees putting forth suggestions. The only difference is that after the awakening that followed the crash it was decided to have a national referendum to allow people to vote a special Constitutional Council. The council actually did it's work in a very transparent manner, using Facebook and other social media to publish drafts and gather feedback. The newly created constitution is currently waiting for parliamentary updates and approval (see http://stjornlagarad.is/english/).
    -- There is a misconception that the people of Iceland rose up and refused to bail out the banks. The Icelandic government has spent billions of dollars to save the financial system resulting in higher taxes and cuts in public service. The big difference is that instead of using the bailouts to save existing companies the government created new legal entities that took over the obligations and assets of the bankrupt entities, essentially splitting the banks up into two (bankrupt old company and a new company in major ownership by the government and creditors). That way the old banks will go through bankruptcy proceedings (with creditors loosing the most) and the new banks (that received the bailouts) will be partly or majorly owned by the government, which can at a later point sell it's ownership to recoup some of the bailouts.


    Once again the left fall prey to demagoguery. Though it is a useful Rorschach test for those who actually bother to think critically about the things they read - particularly the remarkable ones.
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    Oct 27, 2011 5:48 PM GMT
    Good stuff.. thanks for letting me know... btw, what does "neo-liberal" mean? I keep hearing it thrown around with socialism on here, and they aren't the same for me
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    Oct 27, 2011 6:13 PM GMT
    As someone who has spent time in Iceland I can tell you it is very homogeneous due in part to its physical isolation, and a wariness of outsiders that borders on xenophobia. They are very friendly to visitors but it is difficult to move there and - other than possibly in Reykjavik - outsiders are socially isolated.

    The other factor is the near 100% literacy rate (Icelanders study four languages by the time they are out of secondary school), high degree of education, internet use, and civic engagement. When we had problems on an isolated road, people came out of the woodwork to help us and would not accept any payment. We were told this is just what people do for one another there.

    Our society by comparison has approximately 20% of adults who are completely or at least functionally illiterate and close to 40% who read below a fifth-grade level. These people are for the most part completely disengaged from the political process with the exception of sound bytes they hear on TV or talk radio.

    We also have a culture that suggests that we should not concern ourselves with civic matters, distrust strangers and our government, and achieve consumer "success" whether we can actually afford it or not, even at the expense of others. The fact that the media is largely controlled by the same interests who benefit from the rest of us not knowing what is going on is -- in my opinion -- not an accident.
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    Oct 27, 2011 6:14 PM GMT
    makes me proud to be Icelandic icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 27, 2011 6:18 PM GMT
    k3l3k0 saidmakes me proud to be Icelandic icon_biggrin.gif


    Oh did I mention a lot of Icelanders are REALLY cute? icon_redface.gif
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    Oct 27, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile said
    k3l3k0 saidmakes me proud to be Icelandic icon_biggrin.gif


    Oh did I mention a lot of Icelanders are REALLY cute? icon_redface.gif


    lol thank you