15 October 2008

carefully, carefully

so apparently I have to be extrasupercareful what I write here, as both the Guardian in the UK and several other sources have picked up excerpts of my entries in the past few days. This location seems to be disinclined to believe what I write, but in spite of the article going round a few days ago about Icelanders in a panic over food, I'd like to once again say that people are NOT. The shops I went to two days ago (grocery store, gardening store, wine store) were all stocked as expected, were not overcrowded, and those that were there were obviously buying dinner and not supplies for two months. Of course the availabilities will change but people in general seem to be just carrying on with the usual stuff, working on supporting each other, discussing things, and getting on with life.

One TV channel has started an ad campaign reminding people that the best things about life are free- spending time with family, little kids dancing, cheesy stuff like that. They've opened an office for people to call if they're having psychological problems- trouble sleeping and the like. So what comes next? The threatened 75% inflation that one Dane mentioned? I really don't know and I really don't want to predict. One day at a time is all I'm working on.

And to those who've come here looking for me to be apologising to the British savers or somesuch, I'd like to point out that this blog has never been political in nature- it's my personal experience of living in this foreign land where I never worked in a bank, and where I do not have the right to vote. Of course I'm feeling for all of the people tried to be sensible with their money, who didn't take out huge unreasonable loans, or expect to be paid the rumored salaries of some of these bankers, and have lost their hard-earned money. People are hurting worldwide and I don't think that the finger-pointing helps the process of everyone getting on with their lives.


Angel said...

What amazes is me that some commenters don't seem to realize that this is a personal blog and they show up and vent anger at you or other bloggers I have seen out there (have also been reading The Iceland Weather Report.)

Well, hang on E, hold steady and hope for the best. Iceland is not alone in this mess- the whole world is in it, for better or worse, and I think that is what people have begun to realize. Jobs are crumbling here in Northern Ohio (there weren't that many to begin with and now its getting worse) and local governments are being forced to slash school budgets and the police and firemen's budgets because they can't get credit to pay bills. Iceland is a canary in the coal mine for the rest of the world.

And know that there are people out there who love you very much and who are rooting for you, as well as Iceland. My dad asks for you all the time and wants you to know that he hopes it all gets ironed out soon so you can continue enjoying your ongoing Icelandic adventure.

Food, she thought. said...

I agree with so much of what you post, E. My mother, a corporate bankruptcy attorney, is standing high on her soap box pointing fingers at the borrowers of sub-prime loans and mortgages. She is stating and restating that they deserve to pay and suffer and that they should be given no relief. Their comeuppance is to live the future in penury, without a home to call their own or two Benjamin Franklins to rub together.

I am of your ilk. This finger pointing does no one any good, nor does it help the economy to suggest that people who made poor economic choices be made to suffer punitively. This is not England in the 1800s, we should not be setting up poorhouses, and creating work projects for indebted paupers. Helping people who may have made poor choices and the economic institutions that solicited their business will help keep all our economies afloat. The economic health of one will drive to nourish the economic health of others.

I think with the support system that you have you will want for nothing in life. You, much like the economy, have this support system because it is a system based in mutualism.

Sirry said...

....and I'm tired of having Americans here on the other side of the pond, think they 'really' know it all and are telling me more than I know *cough* which is actually less. They're telling me that Iceland is bankrupt.
I tend to shrug my shoulders and tell them I'm reading the news first hand in my native tongue and I still haven't come across that remark.
I've read about the struggles, and that i.e. Glitnis loans are due tomorrow.
I've had several people telling me Iceland is for sale
Gawd....I'm tired of ignorance and finger pointing. I wish people would just ask me, how my friends and family are doing, not assume everyone is just as good as sunk into the dark sea, never to be seen again.
Keep up the Spirits E :)
Þetta reddast allt saman :)
Bjartsýnin ber þig hálfa leið

Penn said...

I don't understand why Iceland is optimistic - just don't understand it.

There's a time for optimism: when the future looks bright. But Iceland's future is anything but bright: literally, in the sense that it's headed into the constant darkness of winter, and figuratively, in the sense that it no longer has a functioning currency, stock market, or banking system.

Pessimism and cynicism are what the Icelandic people need now - lots of it. They need to get angry, they need to confront their government, and they need to figure out how to import food for the winter.

The leaders of Iceland look absolutely despicable from the outside. Their assurances get more and more rote and meaningless by the day. Clearly, the country became so rich and inured that in the face of this depression, or worse, it can only go into denial.

The optimism is just inertia.

The fact is, the government is functionally bankrupt. The government won't admit it for awhile. The Prime Minister will try to cover up the void in the finances with his big ass and ugly head.

But the banks the government has taken over owe 9 times what the economy produces in a year. How is it to service that debt? With a Russian loan? The Russians might fork over 4 billion. Throw in the hundreds of millions of euros from the Norwegian neighbors, and maybe a few billion from the IMF.

But the banks owe $64 billion.

I feel sorry for Iceland, but my sympathy shrinks everyday that lump of a prime minister shows up on TV again with the daily bromides.

The most honest thing he told the Icelanders was, 'Go fishing'. Seeing as the Prime Minister literally looks like a fish, he should be the first on the hook.

Penn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

You've written about your life and surroundings and have apparently been harassed for it. This last post post reflects substantial courage as a writer, and its inspiring. I am proud to be your friend and look forward to hearing what you've learned.

Ideas from me:
- Turn off *all* comments.
- launch a new site,
- let your neighbors speak,
- photos only,
- keep factual,
- STOP BLOGGING. Start your book.

Dawn said...

I have been a silent watcher for some time (I found your blog earlier in the year after my fiance and I visited Iceland and fell head over heels in love with it). We are both concerned about the state of financial affairs in Iceland and though things might be bad, it's not as if other countries (*cough* U.S. *cough*) aren't trillions of dollars in debt and functioning pretty much the same as they always have been.

Not that the U.S. is an example to follow by any means, but I think people both within Iceland and outside it's borders will rally to help keep things going.

I hope you don't let a few bad apples spoil what you have here. I adore your blog!

Best of luck and keep us posted!

Caroline said...

What an interesting blog! I'm still trying to catch up with all the posts but I find it very interesting reading about what is going on in Iceland.

Not too sure how somebody can confuse an expatriate blog with a commercial or financial blog though......
Maybe such persons just forgot to take their medication?

See you around