How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos

Tyler Durden's picture

"Why do we consider banks to be like holy churches?" is the rhetorical question that Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimson asks (and answers) in this truly epic three minutes of truthiness from the farce that is the World Economic Forum in Davos. Amid a week of back-slapping and self-congratulatory party-outdoing, as John Aziz notes, the Icelandic President explains why his nation is growing strongly, why unemployment is negligible, and how they moved from the world's poster-child for banking crisis 5 years ago to a thriving nation once again. Simply put, he says, "we didn't follow the prevailing orthodoxies of the last 30 years in the Western world." There are lessons here for everyone - as Grimson explains the process of creative destruction that remains much needed in Western economies - though we suspect his holographic pass for next year's Swiss fun will be reneged...

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Aziz's picture

espirit — The argument against Iceland in the blog post that you posted is essentially that Iceland isn't a "progressive paradise"...

Well here on Zero Hedge (as a general rule) we ain't progressives. We mostly don't want a "progressive paradise". We're mostly capitalists. We mostly like creative destruction. We mostly think failed companies — banks or otherwise — should fail. 

And guess what? Iceland with creative destruction has done better than comparable economies who bailed out their financial sector.

espirit's picture

Same club, different players.

Still a struggle for the 99%.

GetZeeGold's picture



40 years from now, the 4th graders everywhere will read of the Icelander's aggression against the world.

francis_sawyer's picture

In the US, it'll take until the 12th grade to achieve that level of reading comprehension [if they're even capable of making it that far]...

gould's fisker's picture

Exactly, the article's title gave this one away--when's the last time Iceland "overthrew" anything--but their President sure looked happy taking the credit with his new Davos buddies--so God bless them all.

espirit's picture


Not sure that progressive is the point. What I got out of it was 1) leaders are incompetant or fools or both 2) banksters in general spend little or no time in jail 3) problems aren't solved... and I could go on.

espirit's picture
Baldur Bjarnason (@fakebaldur) says: 30 December 2012 at 12:58

I’m a bit puzzled by your use of the terms “libertarian” and “progressive”.

Actually, no, that is not what I meant. And I apologise for the confusion.

The libertarian/progressive labels are intended to be descriptions of overall behaviour, not about specific things I mention in this post. The Icelandic governments, given their views on regulation (shouldn’t exist), healthcare (shouldn’t be run by the government), government institutions (should all be privatised), and austerity (lots of it, to destroy existing government institutions) are and have been following the Thatcherite playbook to the letter.

That is what I meant with the label.

tip e. canoe's picture

aziz, read the IMF report linked in the article.   looks like Iceland walked out of the ashes right into the middle of the wolfpack.    of course, this is not being portrayed that way, because this is exactly what the IMF (and those they work for) have in store for the rest of the western economies.

espirit's picture

Page was the best in my book.

trav777's picture

the women there are still too standoffish...pretty but frosty

hooligan2009's picture

very intersting link..i haven't been keeping up to date with iceland, just assumed ut was permanently fucked

automatic size of mortgage loan increases at inflation rates doesn't seem to me to be rational way of doing business..especially if incomes are going down!

many thanks..i guess the guy who wrote the article has a battle axe, beard and arm rings of gold and silver and would also insist on being given a sword in his dying hand so he could get into valhalla as a warrior !

philipat's picture

I wonder why he was not a guest on CNBS Davos coverage??

dick cheneys ghost's picture

What is the Pres of Iceland doing in Davos????



espirit's picture

Davos is swiss for: Den of thieves.

francis_sawyer's picture

Really???... I always thought it meant PEDOPHILIA... Well ~ francis_sawyer can't ALWAYS be right...

GetZeeGold's picture



I think you have it confused with the Dominican Republic.


Unless you don't want it published around the world....always pay your hookers in full. We now live in a digital world. Man those progressives are cheap bastards. You expect it from a cop cause they don't make much money....but a US Senator?

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

The 5 sweetest words ... "We let the banks fail"

aint no fortunate son's picture

"...and people in enlightened societies are not going to accept that (bank bailouts) in the long run."

That says it all for the good ole usa


SilverFish's picture

Us americans are very enlightened. I have 5 words for you.... AMERICA'S.  GOT.  TALENT.!

willwork4food's picture

I thought they were.." Corzine found guilty, assets confiscated."

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

or possibly "sure babe, bring her too"

Non Passaran's picture

In the Soviet EU and US, banks fail you.

Bunga Bunga's picture

Not if you have gold and silver.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Those are just "exit strategies"

otto skorzeny's picture

the only destruction going on right now in the US is that of what remains of the middle class-but it sure as hell isn't creative(unless you  count "creating" millions more dependent on Uncle Sam for handouts)

Yen Cross's picture

Otto you carry more weight. People /Traders need to quit talking about how they get "FUCKED" and start being pro-active.

espirit's picture

But, but, but... The velocity of money must be upheld on the 1st and the 15th when the Snap Cards are credited.

Without it, the global economy will tank.

Yen Cross's picture

It will tank/ Next week. Take a screen shot.

OldTelem's picture

Do you live in Illinois? It's the state that creates tax breaks for the rich, leaving the ordinary people to make up the shortfall. This is from the "Daily Hearld," Kane County's local newspaper: "A recent court ruling gives massive assessment breaks to privately owned golf clubs -- a decision that will pass along the uncollected taxes to other taxpayers . . . . The tax blow is not exclusive to Kane County. Residents in every other county in IL with a privately owned golf course would shoulder an increased share of the tax burden . . . ." For Kane County that means ordinary property tax payers will have to suck up to another $673,247 in taxes because private country clubs are exempt. As far as I'm concerned it's one more reason to leave this sickening state. As soon as my daughter graduates from college we're moving to Florida. It's warm and I have family there. 

post turtle saver's picture

Left Illinois for Texas a long, long time ago... have not looked back.

CheapBastard's picture

Illinois bond rating sinks to worst in the nation with S&P downgrade


SPRINGFIELD — Citing inaction on pensions, a prominent Wall Street bond-rating agency downgraded Illinois’ bond rating Friday, making the state the nation’s worst credit risk. The move by Standard & Poor’s to rate Illinois’ bonds at A- wit more

Lost Wages's picture

Odd how the country that let the banks fails also believes in elves and founded a school to study them.

Conman's picture

Right, and our president believes in a man in the sky. Also the last repub candidate for president beleived that god is an alien from an other planet. Your point?

Likstane's picture

The point is Iceland is still run by an independant central bank and fiat fairy money.  This is a temporary illusion of prosperity.

css1971's picture

I have a 2 year old that pretty much matches the dictionary definition of a pixie.

Myths have a kernel of truth to them. It might just not be where you think it is.

q99x2's picture

Great. Lock Dimon and Blankfein up and put someone like him in charge.


Seize Mars's picture

Yeah, yeah.

Question 1. Does Iceland have fiat money?

Question 2. Do they have income tax?


The answer to Q1 means they are still firmly in the grasp of the Great Eye. Actually so does the answer to Q2.

So I don't really want to hear the bullshit of "fiat lite." It isn't ok. Iceland is a mirage designed to keep you in "the paradigm."

fonzannoon's picture

Q3: are their bankers in jail in iceland? i'd trade the first two for the 3rd one if it's a yes.

Yen Cross's picture

 fONZ ,   That is not true. Iceland defaulted, and took 300K icelanders, to verify " collateral".

fonzannoon's picture

I hear ya Yen, I don't know the answer. If it is a yes I have some hope.

So what is the screen shot? DXY gets bid, Eur gets dumped? That means S&P gets hit and gold as well?

This rally is fascinating. Average Joe pulling money and putting it into the bank. The bank throws average joes' savings into the market and takes the risk that average joe was trying to avoid. The bank sits the and collects some div's and interest. The only thing that could derail it is if average joe tells the bank he wants his money back to put in the market. The bank has to sell and average joe gets another cleveland steamer.


BidnessMan's picture

Indicted and going to trial.  Far more than any consequences any US senior banker faces. 

hidingfromhelis's picture

The number of indictments may be small, but at least it's greater than ZERO!

css1971's picture



We are pathetic bunch of losers aren't we. Nothing to stop them doing it all over again.