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Icelands recovery

Icelands recovery
Picture credit: may15internationalorganization.blogspot An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion. As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. Related:  Project Europe

Gastbeitrag: Zeit für die Zentralbank 28. Oktober 2011 Die große Rettungsshow für den Euro lässt die Börsianer jetzt jubeln. Doch die einzige Chance, die nächste Krise zu verhindern ist: Die EZB muss die Staaten stützen. Die Börsianer jubelten kurz über die Taten der Euro-Retter. Doch abseits des Börsenparketts gab es nichts zu feiern. Merkel, Sarkozy, Junker & Co hätten die öffentlichen Finanzen endlich aus der Geiselhaft der Finanzmärkte zu befreien können. Um diesen Wahnsinn zu stoppen hätten die EU-Staatenlenker den Rettungsfonds an den Tropf der Europäischen Zentralbank (EZB) hängen müssen. Doch die deutsche Bundesregierung wollte den Gordischen Knoten nicht durchschlagen. Merkel, Schäuble, Rössler & Co. nehmen dieses Risiko in Kauf. Die Bundesbank und die deutsche Wirtschaftswissenschaft predigen seit über 30 Jahren, dass wer Geld druckt, Inflation erntet. Die Gralshüter des Monetarismus haben aber noch ein anderes Glaubwürdigkeitsproblem. Merkel & Co. können mit diesen Widersprüchen leben.

Islande : la “sagesse des foules” au secours de la Constitution Gudrun Petursdottir, présidente du Comité constitutionnel d’Islande, est venue sur la scène de Lift France nous présenter le projet assez étonnant de révision de la Constitution en cours en Islande. Comme tout le monde le sait, l’Islande a subi de plein fouet la crise économique de 2008. L’une des conséquences de ce séisme économique a été une profonde remise en cause du système politique traditionnel et le lancement d’un vaste processus de réécriture participative de la Constitution, qui attend aujourd’hui sa ratification par le Parlement. Image : Gudrun Petursdottir sur la scène de Lift, photographiée par Loup Cellard pour la Fing. L’Islande, nous a rappelé Gudrun Petursdottir dans sa présentation, est une république assez jeune. Cette intrusion des nouveaux moyens de communication dans l’espace public a inspiré le processus de révision de la Constitution actuellement en cours en Islande. « Pour arriver à un changement, il fallait donc impliquer le public. »

Coppola Comment Iceland's bizarre Icesave referendum | Alda Sigmundsdóttir This past weekend, the people of Iceland went to the polls in a referendum to vote on whether a deal should be passed to repay the British and Dutch governments for deposits lost in the Icesave online savings accounts when Iceland's Landsbanki collapsed. As the international media flocked to Iceland in the lead-up to the referendum, the phrase "theatre of the absurd" occurred. There seemed to be a popular misconception that the referendum was about far more serious things than it actually was – such as whether Iceland planned to repay the Icesave debt at all. In fact, Icelandic authorities had already committed to repaying the minimum deposit amount for each Icesave online account – the deal being voted on in the referendum merely concerned the terms of the repayment. However, what made the referendum – the first in the history of the Republic of Iceland – particularly bizarre was that there was already a deal on the table that was marginally better than the one being voted on.

UK hires extra tax collectors to police super-rich LONDON — Let the audits begin. As the U.K. tightens its belt during economic uncertainty, a senior government official said Sunday he was hiring more than 2,000 extra tax inspectors to make sure that Britain's wealthiest feel the squeeze. The British Treasury's Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander, told the Sunday Independent newspaper that his priority was "making sure that those with broadest shoulders bear their fair share of the burden." Alexander said a 100-member "affluence team" would be in place in less than a month to keep an eye on the country's wealthiest taxpayers — the estimated 350,000 people whose personal wealth exceeds 2.5 million pounds ($3.95 million). The British government's crackdown on tax evasion has already netted more than 2 billion pounds ($3 billion) a year, Alexander said, predicting that figure could rise to 7 billion pounds ($10.6 billion) a year by 2015. "Something is not right here," he told the broadcaster.

No Draghi Ex Machina So last week European leaders announced a plan that, on the face of it, was pure nonsense. Faced with a crisis that is mainly about the balance of payments, with fiscal crisis as a secondary consequence, they supposedly committed everyone to severe fiscal austerity, which would guarantee a recession while leaving the real problem unaddressed. But all this was supposed to work, according to many observers — and, briefly, the market — because the pain would provide the cover the ECB needed to step in and buy lots of Italian and Spanish bonds. In effect, the plan is supposed to rely on a Draghi ex machina, which turns contractionary policies expansionary. It’s actually quite remarkable how many sensible people base their analyses on the presumption that the ECB will do what has to be done. Barry Eichengreen, who is a genuine expert on all things euro, starts his analysis of prospects for 2012 with the confident assertion that Draghi will ride to the rescue.

Sans nouvelles d’Islande : pourquoi ? Si quelqu’un croit qu’il n’y a pas de censure actuellement, qu’il nous dise pourquoi on a tout su au sujet de ce qui se passe en Egypte, en Syrie ou en Libye, et pourquoi les journaux n’ont absolument rien dit sur ce qui se passe en Islande ? En Islande, - le peuple a fait démissionner un gouvernement au complet, - les principales banques ont été nationalisées et il a été décidé de ne pas payer la dette contractée par ces dernières auprès de banques de Grande Bretagne et de Hollande, dette générée par leur mauvaise politique financière ; - une assemblée populaire vient d’être créée pour réécrire la Constitution. Et tout cela, pacifiquement. Toute une révolution contre le pouvoir qui a conduit à cette crise. Que se passerait-il si les citoyens européens en prenaient exemple ? La situation économique désastreuse du pays persiste. - 2010 : le peuple descend à nouveau dans la rue et demande que la loi soit soumise à référendum. Pour ce faire, on a recours directement au peuple souverain.

What to do if the double dip is real? 18 August 2011Last updated at 15:36 It is gradually dawning on the global political elite that the economics they believe in do not work. They do not work, in particular, in the current crisis and continued pursuance of present policy is threatening a double dip recession (Morgan Stanley, the Bank of England's Andy Haldane), a 1930s-style monetary collapse (Fed dissenter Richard Fisher), Eurozone breakup (Nouriel Roubini) and political mayhem (Jeff Sachs). Free market economics caused the crisis and the rough-hewn Keynesian stimulus policies improvised in 2009 are failing to get us out of it. Haldane, in a Bank of England discussion paper today, compares the situation with the one facing Roosevelt in 1938, when Congress forced him to rein in stimulus, prompting a double dip: he ripped up bank regulations and forced banks to LEND. Fisher, as quoted in an excellent post by the FT's Isabella Kaminska, says: • By deciding to bankrupt states instead of banks we avoided a Great Depression

Eirikur Bergmann: Iceland's government is on the point of collapse as angry protesters stake out the parliament in Reykjavik Protesters gather in Reykjavik as members of parliament gathered for their first session of the new year. Photograph: Halldor Kolbeins/AFP While Barack Obama was being sworn in to office on Capitol Hill yesterday, the people of Iceland were starting the first revolution in the history of the republic. The word "revolution" might sound a bit of an overstatement, but given the calm temperament that usually prevails in Icelandic politics, the unfolding events represent, at the very least, a revolution in political activism. Four months after the collapse of Iceland's entire financial system, no one has accepted any responsibility. Our currency has lost more than half its value, rampant inflation has already eaten up most people's savings, property values have dropped by more than a third and unemployment is reaching levels never seen before in the life of our young republic. It started in October with peaceful demonstrations. Yesterday parliament resumed for the first time after Christmas.

Spain raises taxes on the rich | Business Spain today became the latest European country to hike taxes on the wealthy, with a new asset-based tax targeting the country's richest people. Spain's socialist government hopes that the new wealth tax will raise up to €1bn in a country where growth is grinding to a halt and this year's 6% deficit target looks increasingly tough to meet. The move represents a U-turn for prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who abolished a similar wealth tax in 2008 — just before the country plunged towards recession. "The economic crisis makes it necessary to bring this tax back, applying principles of fairness so that those with bigger assets can be taxed and so those who have greater wealth can contribute more to getting the country out of the crisis," a finance ministry statement said. Spaniards with €700,000 of assets in real estate – excluding their main home – as well as in stocks and bank deposit will have to pay the new tax.

Collapse of the Celtic Tiger Filmmaker: Sinead O'Shea Ireland has been one of the largest casualties in the global financial crisis, which began during the banking collapse of 2008 and has continued to impact markets and destabilise the developed world ever since. Following a government guarantee to underwrite the country’s six major banks shortly after the crisis broke, Ireland’s population of 4.5 million was shouldered with an enormous debt of €400bn ($515bn), proportionately the highest per capita commitment in the world. Yet with bank liabilities accounting for an eye watering 309 per cent of GDP, it quickly became apparent that Ireland would fail to find its own way out of the economic downturn. As a consequence, in 2010, the EU and IMF stepped in to offer Ireland a rescue package worth €85bn ($109bn) - then one of the largest bailouts in history. How different it had been only a couple of years earlier. Of course, like all bubbles, it had to burst eventually.

Islande - Réformer Aujourd'hui - L'Islande a terminé l’année 2011 avec une croissance économique de 2,1% et devrait, selon les prévisions de la Commission européenne, atteindre le taux de 2,7% en 2013 grâce principalement à la création de nouveaux emplois. L'Islande est le seul pays européen qui a rejeté par référendum de payer les dettes des banques privées, laissant s’effondrer certaines d’entre elles et jugeant de nombreux banquiers pour leurs crimes financiers mais curieusement les médias français et européens n’en parlent pas ou très peu… Il n’y a pas de censure officiellement dans les médias presse, radio ou télé mais les journalistes et experts de tous bords, si prompts à parler de ce qui se passe en Egypte, en Libye ou en Syrie, ne disent absolument rien sur ce qui se passe en Islande. En a-t-on parlé dans les nombreux débats politiques en vue de l’élection présidentielle ? A-t-on vu des images à la TV ? En Islande, le peuple a fait démissionner un gouvernement au grand complet. Lire la suite du blog :

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