The Icelandic Success Story
Emotionally, I love Iceland’s financial policies since the crash of 2008:
Iceland went after the people who caused the crisis — the bankers who created and sold the junk products — and tried to shield the general population.
But what Iceland did is not just emotionally satisfying. Iceland is recovering, while the rest of the Western world — which bailed out the bankers and left the general population to pay for the bankers’ excess — is not.
Few countries blew up more spectacularly than Iceland in the 2008 financial crisis. The local stock market plunged 90 percent; unemployment rose ninefold; inflation shot to more than 18 percent; the country’s biggest banks all failed.
This was no post-Lehman Brothers recession: It was a depression.
Since then, Iceland has turned in a pretty impressive performance. It has repaid International Monetary Fund rescue loans ahead of schedule. Growth this year will be about 2.5 percent, better than most developed economies. Unemployment has fallen by half. In February, Fitch Ratings restored the country’s investment-grade status, approvingly citing its “unorthodox crisis policy response.”
So what exactly did Iceland do?
First, they create an aid package for homeowners: