Ever since Iceland’s economy collapsed in 2008,
the country has been busy reinventing itself.
The first step was to restore democracy through a turbulent nonviolent struggle,
then to force resignations in the financial sector and secure a criminal conviction of their prime minister for dereliction of duty.
Now they are exploring getting a new currency: the Canadian dollar.
If Icelanders think their traditional money has lost its legitimacy,
why not adopt the euro or the U.S. dollar?
Too much influence from the big banks of Europe and the U.S., they believe.
Better to risk interference from the smaller and much better-regulated banks of Canada.
(Canada, like the publicly-owned state bank of North Dakota,
did far better in the 2008 crisis than most of the U.S. and Europe.)
For decades, Iceland was part of the “Nordic model” of social democracy,
with the high standards of living,
free university education, universal health care, full employment
and other benefits.
Like Norway and Sweden, in the late 1980s the Icelanders flirted with neoliberalism,
but unlike their Viking cousins they went all the way.
The right-wing party privatized banks, cut regulations and lowered the corporate tax rate.
The banks, in turn,
created a bubble through hysterical foreign borrowing,
and the bubble broke in September 2008.
Unemployment and inflation shot up,
and crisis reigned.