‘Three years ago
led the way into an economic abyss. Now, by raising taxes, letting the banks go bust and protecting the public sector, it is showing a way out.’ Iceland
The basis of this optimism is apparently that inflation and interest rates are low, unemployment has stabilised, the Icelandic Krona is no longer worthless and taxes have gone up so
is paying off its deficit and presumably is on its ways to rejoining the financially respectable. Iceland
The experience of ordinary Icelanders is very different.Cars and homes have been repossessed, though the government has been shoring up mortgages to prevent mass defaults. Pensions have been wiped out; the real rate of return, measured by consumer price index is;
1999 - 12 billion Isk
2004 - 10.4 B Isk
2009 - 0.3 B Isk
Unemployment for 16-24 year olds is about 16% and overall 7.6%.
In the first quarter of 2011, 18% of the unemployed have been looking for a job for over 6 months. This figure does not reflect all the people working part time or more accurately, short hours. Unemployment would probably be worse but those who have other options have left.
10% of Icelanders have arrears of mortgage payments or rent, with a further 16% for whom housing costs are a heavy burden. 49.3% are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Inflation has been rising for all of 2011 to 5.7%.
Economic growth in 2010 was -4% on 2009 which was -6.7% on 2008.
Real wages dropped last year 
Then there are the incidentals like geography.
has 2/3 of its population living in or around its capital, in the South West corner but the rest of the country is huge and goods and services can cost much more. Outside the reach of the Bonus supermarket chain, food will be at least an extra £500 a year. If you live outside of the towns and aren’t in a geothermal area for your electricity and hot water, you will spend 7 times more than those in the capital or 18.2% of household income. Iceland
Icelandic poverty is real, not withstanding the efforts of the Presidents partner, Dorrit. She turned up unannounced last week, in an expensive coat, to help at the charity-run food bank. She announced that Icelanders don’t know how to hug and asked a bystander if he had stopped drinking yet, his reply was much more polite than mine would have been.
When Lehman Brothers crashed in 2008 I wrote an article in Socialist Review about the Icelandic history of militant resistance to attacks on their wages and conditions during the Depression years. Shortly after, the government of the then prime minister, Geir Haarde was thrown out by a rising tide of protest.
Popular feeling in Kolaport market, Reykjavik Feb 2009
Three weeks ago he was up in front of a court charged with ‘failures of ministerial responsibility’ which is ironic given that Davið 'getting away with it all' Oddsson was both prime minister and governor of the Central bank when he ‘liberalised’ and privatised the banks. Now Davið is editor of the right-wing daily Morgunblaðið when he should be in jail.
Things are bad now but it can get much, much worse.
is expected to default by December and the euro is looking into the abyss but there is resistance everywhere. From the Egyptian revolution to growing rebellion in Greece and workers joining the protestors camped outside Greece Wall St. In we will be marching against our government on Sunday 2nd Oct, who are preparing to cut our living standards by 15% and preparing for mass strikes on November 30th. They can be stopped. Every victory starts somewhere, why not tomorrow, in solidarity. Britain
 100 Isk = £0.54
 2010 real wages fell -0.6. http://www.statice.is/Statistics/Prices-and-consumption/Wage-index
 https://hagstofa.is/lisalib/getfile.aspx?ItemID=12563 Iceland National Office of Statistics