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Meltdown Iceland : Lessons on the World Financial Crisis from a Small Bankrupt Island
The compelling and authoritative story of the financial destruction of Iceland--a saga that mirrors, in microcosm, the forces that caused the global economic crisis.
The economic crisis that emerged in America in 2008 unleashed a veritable epidemic of ill health around the world. However it was Iceland, whose population of three hundred thousand had the world's highest GDP per capita and counted itself the happiest of countries, that caught the worst cold. It has nearly killed them.
No story from the economic crisis of 2008 is more evocative than I celand's. The names may be unfamiliar--Johanesson, Bjoergolfsson, Oddsson--but their exuberance, greed, and miscalculation have many counterparts on our shores. And however traumatic the collapse of individual companies may be in the United States, in Iceland's case an entire country melted down. All the wealth accumulated in the previous decade--during which a new breed of Icelanders had dared to believe they could compete economically on an international level, during which Reykjavik became the Capital of Cool--disappeared practically overnight. Iceland's story shows how closely the world economy is interconnected: The default on subprime mortgages in the U .S. led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which led directly to the run on Iceland's banks, which forced local authorities in Britain to switch off the heating in their classrooms.
With panache and color, Roger Boyes tells the inside story of the bankrupting of Iceland: how it happened, the human dramas--from politicians to financiers to fishermen--that continue to swirl around it, and the lessons we can not ignore. Published on the first anniversary of its collapse, Meltdown Iceland is a cautionary tale for our times, an authoritative and compelling account of the financial destruction of a tiny country whose saga should resonate for us all.
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September 27, 2009
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