Sunday, October 05, 2008


There was an interesting article about Iceland in the last Harper's. Part of it described the triumph there of private capital in transforming the country. Rivers are all being dammed to provide power to aluminum smelters that are polluting the air, generally, despite all the supposed prosperity, the quality of life is heading south.

It seems that now they have other problems:
Icelandic banks expanded rapidly after deregulation of the domestic financial market in the 1990s and now have combined foreign liabilities in excess of $138.34 billion -- dwarfing the tiny country's gross domestic product of $19.37 billion.
That comes out to be about $460,000 for each and every one of Iceland's 300,000 inhabitants. Ouch!


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