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megimoo
10-05-2009, 07:23 PM
A year ago this month, Iceland went bankrupt. We explain how it went from being the world’s happiest nation to one with a bleak future
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Along a narrow strip between downtown Reykjavik and the northern coastline lies a jumble of half-built high-rise buildings that was to be the new Manhattan of the north. By Spring this year, the place had become an urban graveyard. Someone has scrawled "CAPITALISM R.I.P." on the side of one of the buildings. Squatters have moved in, converting an abandoned house into a cosy café.
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The smallness of the society increased the risks of mismanagement: the humiliation of national bankruptcy, the speed with which the middle class was impoverished, the heaviness of personal debt, the almost instant flip from being the world’s happiest nation to being a place that could offer no future to its young. So Iceland became not only the first country to go broke, but also the first in this global financial crisis to chase its government out of power.
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Soon, as living standards began to fall and people took to the streets, an uprising gathered force. It became known as the kitchen revolution because demonstrators used wooden spoons to bang pots and pans to drown out the proceedings of Parliament.
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These protests had plenty of pathos, above all, the singing of the rather dirge-like national anthem. Mainly, though, this was an ironic revolt. Fake banknotes bearing the image of David Oddsson’s head were distributed, free of course, since he was widely seen as having betrayed the krona.
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In December, Gurri, one of Iceland’s many self-proclaimed witches. led protesters toward the central bank and entered the building, carrying a life-size effigy of David Oddsson. Repelled by police, the short blonde witch, dressed of course in black, started to spank her effigy —“You’ve been a bad boy!” — pronounced a spell, then stuffed it in a garbage bag.

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6855928.ece#