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I see you claim this, but I still find it strange. I do not need any nationalistic conspiracy theories (indeed, I have not read any) to think it would be better for Ireland and Europe if Ireland does not do follow the Shock Doctrine.

Your argument is so similar to that of regular contributor redstar in regards to Iceland, that I will quote some.

redstar:

Look, we can talk about odious debts and whatnot all we want, but the thing is, Iceland is a representative democracy, arguably the oldest on the planet, and I've not read that this is changed and in fact a red/coalition is now in charge.

Its economic elites who managed the banks which have bankrupted the country (and make no mistake, the Icelanders are still in denial on this point, but their country is, in fact, bankrupt, playing by normal rules)  were overseen by regulators put in place by the people they elected. And so, any malfeasance is ultimately on the people. Understandably no one wants to admit they put in place people who gambled their money and now they are on the hook for 4 or 6 months salary in debt....but..they are.

If they had taken steps to put some bankers in jail, or better, served them to the English for UK-style Daily Mirror-reported justice, you know, I'd think this a mitigating factor excusing Icelander's shirking of their responsibility. Or, a complete middle finger to Europe, the UK and NL and withdrawal from Schengen (let's be consistent), making Iceland the Cuba of Scandinavia. Or both.

But this attitude of "screw of Dutch and the British" (because that is what they are doing) without any thought of real financial consequences (bye bye IMF guarantees, EU accession, Eurozone membership, bye bye favorable trade treaties allowing Iceland export to Europe virtually tariff-free) and also without assuming responsibility regarding punishing the guilty...fine Iceland, you can have the butter (renounce your debt) and the money from the butter (punish no one and pretend to be "independent") but et's see how Icelandic living standards are after a Cuba-style credit and tariff embargo for a couple of decades.

redstar:

The political objective of all of this would to put sanctions on what frankly amounts to lawlessness, and which has damaged the interests of citizens of the EU which had been granting the law-breaking country special status and trade rights. You can simply think of it as fairness. And it was EFTA's trade treaties with the EU which made Iceland's theft possible - their banks couldn't be kept out, so damn straight that's how it should play. (Assuming Brussels has balls...big assumption...)

This isn't about getting a small nation to repay its debts, it's about getting the elites who ran that small nation into the ground  to repay money they stole. There's a difference. A big one. And of course it's up to the Icelanders to figure out how to make those who are guilty pay. Sounds like property expropriation, punitive progressive taxation and jail time would be in order but again, that's up to them.

I am somewhat bemused by your defense of the Icelander's behavior, seeing them as some sort of small hero against the evil, imperial EU. The EU didn't bankrupt them, their elites did. And now, the same political tendencies which facilitated the looting are at the heart of the campaign to screw depositors in the UK and NL by rejecting the deal. With this, you seem ok. As long as Iceland is standing up to the big bad EU and large NL and UK, they are the hero, even if they are essentially robbing from the poor and middle classes (the depositors they largely screw by reneging on this deal) to bail out their own wealthy elite's responsibility for this mess.

I'm not following how that is heroic, myself...

My argument is and was that it does not work like this, in fact the austerity is the other side of the neoliberal policy. First you expand credit and fuel a bubble where everybody gets a little but the elite get a lot, then when it explodes you cut back social services and support for the poor. And the worse the external pressure, the more austerity for the poor.

Also this essentially applies another moral standard to small nations that can be blackmailed then to large nations (like France in the case of redstar). Perhaps shortest put in this comment:

A swedish kind of death:

Bomb bomb bomb Starve starve starve externalized scape goat.

So to turn it around: How much do you think the german people need to be pressured in order to elect a more leftwing government? Are you calling for a boycott of german goods?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 7th, 2011 at 04:14:42 AM EST
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