Tuesday 27 October 2009

Iceland: The foremost poster child of power house to poor house

When confidence in your economy wanes, fortunes change significantly.

Iceland was one of the hottest of go-to countries when it came to finance not so long ago. I think I recall they had the highest GDP per capita on earth at their peak a couple of years ago. Then along comes a credit contraction, and they find themselves on their knees begging their neighbours to lend them money and bail them out, and their currency halves in value, as Tommy Cooper would say, just like that. Suddenly everything that you don't make or grow domestically becomes cripplingly expensive so most of the population cannot afford what they previously considered the basics.

It has come to the point in Iceland now where you can no longer get a burger at McDonald's, because Ronald can't make a profit since he has to import all the ingredients from Europe to ensure quality is maintained. Of course, many would argue this is just one of the positives to be found in a bad situation...

But seriously now what I'm thinking is... wow, look at where all the stuff in the shops here comes from, because I think perhaps potatoes, carrots and milk are locally sourced, but really not much else is made in the good old U of K these days if my eyes do not deceive me. Well, of course there are those innovative but toxic financial instruments, yes clearly we are the the dominant provider of those and people have bought those hand over fist for the last decade or so. I wonder how long people will continue to want those?

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