A recent quote from Olafur:
"[I']m simply saying if the collective decision-making structure of the European Union can take such wrong decisions and follow a misleading course and fundamentally unwise for the healthy future of the European banking system, as I advised before, Arguing that private banks should operate in a way that the profits go to them, but the losses go to ordinary people back home is something that they need to examine.
We have, however, concentrated on our recovery, and paradoxically, what we are seeing in the last two years is that many sectors in Iceland: the energy sector, the tourism sector, the IT sector, the manufacturing sector, and the fishing sector are doing better in the last two years than they did prior to the banking crisis. And you might also find it interesting that the collapse of the banks revealed to us a very interesting aspect of modern banking, which I think has been more or less overlooked in this discussion in Europe and in America in the last two or three years: the Icelandic banks, like all modern big banks in Europe and America and all the other parts of the world, are no longer banks in the old-fashioned way. They have become high-tech companies. High-ranked engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, programmers and so on and so forth. And their success depends largely on how successful they are in hiring people with this education and capability, not necessarily those trained in business schools or finance, but in engineering, mathematics, computer science and so on."
A story from Forbes Magazine from 18 months ago:
[R]efusing to repay the money will do more than just piss off the U.K. and Netherlands which are now taking Iceland to court. It could very well hurt Iceland’s own financial capacity.
Just last week, Moody’s downgraded Iceland’s debt ratings outlook to negative from stable citing concerns about its recovery related to this very repayment dispute. Now that the people have voted to to repayment there is a sense that more credit ratings agencies including Moody’s will further downgrade the country’s rating.
WSJ from a week ago:
REYKJAVIK, Iceland— Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who wielded the political power of his traditionally ceremonial office and rejected a deal that would have put taxpayers on the hook for $5 billion to Britain and the Netherlands, has been elected to a fifth term.
REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- For a country that four years ago plunged into a financial abyss so deep it all but shut down overnight, Iceland seems to be doing surprisingly well.
It has repaid, early, many of the international loans that kept it afloat. Unemployment is hovering around 6 percent, and falling. And while much of Europe is struggling to pull itself out of the recessionary swamp, Iceland's economy is expected to grow by 2.8 percent this year.
But during the crisis, the country did many things different from its European counterparts. It let its three largest banks fail, instead of bailing them out'
Some Icelanders say they have been soothed, too, by the country's bold decision to initiate an extensive criminal investigation into the financial debacle. Many members of the old banking elite have been identified as possible suspects, and some of their cases are beginning to come to trial; several people were convicted of financial crimes last month.
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So, Iceland under the leadership of Olafur, who as the WSJ article stated, overruled Iceland's Parliment and PM by allowing the banks to fail and telling the Brits to bugger off and actually prosecuted the banking elites now has lower unemployment and larger GDP growth then the Eurozone, Great Britian and the U.S. combined. This proves that capitalism works as well as proving that the U.S, Eurozone and Great Britan's style of cronyism, Oliogarchy, captured politicians and allowing the banks to function as an organized crime syndicate doesn't.
Fill up your glass with Vodka, arise and salute the citizens of Iceland and Olafur as you listen to their national anthem.