Tag Archives: crisis; economics; Iceland; Galbraith; McMurtry; Davíð Oddsson; ICESCR; free markets; neoliberalism; IMF; rationality

The Picture—Small and Big: Iceland and the Crises


0. Introduction

I was invited by the organisers of this Winter Symposium of the third research group of the Nordic Summer University (NSU), devoted to the concept of crisis, as an Icelandic citizen and scholar to offer a concise picture of the events in our country, which experienced in the year 2008 a much-televised economic crisis or kreppa, as it is called locally. In what follows, I provide two succinct and inevitably selective pictures: one small, another big. The small picture is a three-step account of what led essentially to the economic crisis, what this crisis consisted primarily in, and what followed it that induced a recovery. I focus upon the third step in particular, since it is less known abroad than the prior kreppa. The big picture is a brief twofold reflection on how the Icelandic experience fits within larger global trends, i.e. I assess it from an economic-historical perspective and from an axiological one. Under both perspectives, I make use of two chief intellectual reference points, both Canadian, namely the work and wisdom of the economist John Kenneth Galbraith and of the value theorist John McMurtry. Given that the audience at this symposium is not fluent in Icelandic, I make use only of English-language sources (and spelling of Icelandic names) and as far as possible, given the electronic format of the journal in which this paper is going to be published, of sources that are easily accessible online.

Continue reading The Picture—Small and Big: Iceland and the Crises