Iceland

Capitalism and the Useful Nation State

"With the global collapse of credit, trade, production, employment, and public finances unfolding since 2007, the typical scramble commenced over who would finally have to bear the burden of the immense social costs flowing from that collapse. Enter the usefulness of the nation state. The state's "national debt" becomes everywhere the means to socialize the costs of private capitalism's crisis. It becomes clearer by the day that it is the mass of the citizenry that is being positioned to bear most of those costs."

Icelanders owe nothing.

By calling voters to a referendum on the subject of Icelandic taxpayers taking on the debt of Icesave bank, President Grimsson caused shock waves to break out in the world's financial community. For the first time during this global financial crisis, a country was challenging its "sovereign" debt - the debt of a nation represented by its government - and repayment of which was being sought by two European countries, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Iceland: government must abandon IceSave deal

After the president's recent rejection of the IceSave deal between Iceland and the UK and the Netherlands, the country and its financial markets have been plunged into uncertainty. The draconian terms demanded by the deal has caused outrage in Iceland, forcing a referendum on the issue. The only decent thing for the government to do now would be to reject the deal and any attempt to force the people of Iceland to repay the debts of its financial speculators.

LRC Statement on Iceland and Icesave

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"This is not a struggle between the people of the UK versus the people of Iceland, but between a global elite and working people of all nations. We stand in solidarity with the people of Iceland in demanding that it should be those who caused the crisis that pay."

Do not put Iceland in a debtors' prison

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland's president, this week rejected a law settling his country's dispute with the UK and the Netherlands over the sorry Icesave affair. In truth he had little choice: a quarter of this fiercely independent electorate signed a petition against it, a show of defiance no leader can ignore.

Iceland sees the first anti-bailout revolt

EDITOR'S LETTER

SOMEONE should give Gordon Brown a copy of John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace. Published in 1919, it addressed post-war Germany – but the book is uncannily relevant to the situation in today’s Iceland, explaining how crippling reparations enforced by powerful foreign nations on an unwilling population are counter-productive. Iceland – unlike Weimar Germany – won’t turn to extremism, though an eventual descent into national bankruptcy and hyperinflation is a real possibility, with Fitch yesterday downgrading the country’s debt to junk.

Was Iceland a Target for Economic Hit Men?

Recovering from Neoliberal Disaster

Why Iceland and Latvia Won’t (and Can’t) Pay the EU for the Kleptocrats’ Ripoffs

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. Support in Iceland for joining the EU has fallen to just over a third of the population, while Latvia’s Harmony Center party, the first since independence to include a large segment of the Russian-speaking population, has gained a majority in Riga and is becoming the most popular national party. Popular protests in both countries have triggered rising political pressure to limit the debt burden to a reasonable ability to pay.

Iceland's debt repayment limits will spread

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.

Gordon Brown is wrong, Britain played a part in Icelandic bank collapse

Iceland, a small nation with just 320,000 inhabitants, is reeling under the weight of billions of euros of debt, which has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of its population and which it cannot afford to pay.

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