from Sunday, November2nd of the year2008.
The big financial news in the UK is all about Iceland. Essentially, Iceland had a bank in England that had these accounts called IceSave. When everything went backwards last month, a lot of English people lost a lot of money. Also, a shit-ton of Icelandic people lost a lot of money. Iceland’s argument is that essentially they need time to be able to make good on paying the insurance on foreign accounts. The best account of this that I’ve read is John Carlin’s article in the Guardian. The most interesting part of this, for me, is the following few paragraphs about women and their role in the whole situation:
‘The last four years I’d been watching, incredulous, the screaming gap between the reigning model of investment and what ought to have been the sensible reality. Everything short-term, without taking into account the social consequences; betting on huge profits without seriously evaluating the risks; a shocking excess in the bonus payments to executives; and, shaping everything, a classically masculine way of doing things.’
Women in Iceland, as elsewhere, are generally more practical than men, they have their feet more squarely on the ground and they study the consequences of the risks they take with greater diligence, says Tomasdottir, who on the week I was in Reykjavik gave a speech on the subject that was received with almost evangelical excitement by the 100 influential women present. Among them was Oddny Sturludottir, a Reykjavik city councillor, who emerged from the meeting eyes blazing.
‘We are all furious in Iceland but women especially so,’ she said. ‘We trusted the men at the helm and now we feel fooled, and totally convinced that if it had been women in charge we wouldn’t be owing all these billions right now. They talk about the Viking model! What is the Viking model? Rapists and robbers! That’s no model for the 21st century.’
Now, in case you’re all wondering why you’re not named OddnÃ½ Sturludóttir, it’s because your dad’s name isn’t “Sturla.” This is one of those irregular Icelandic proper nouns, where it’s a feminine name that’s given only to boys. I have a friend Sturla; he claims that even his grade school teacher couldn’t decline his name right. He goes by “MÃo,” which is great because you don’t have to do much to that. Just a li’l grammatical aside.
So, anyway, what happened is that Gordon Brown declared Iceland to be, like, a terrorist nation so that he could freeze their assets; this is possible under those post September 11th terror laws (hryÃ°juverkavarnarlÃ¶gum, shhhh). Icelandic people freaked the fuck on out, and put up this website which shows them holding up signs saying that they Ð¯ not a terrorist. What’s gorgeous about this website is the way it shows a lot of family situations, and a lot of the little ice tchotchkes in the living rooms etc. It’s sort of like an accidental Material World or something. Some of my favorites:
Anyway, I find the whole thing completely fascinating. I’m not going back there until late November, by which point I think the frenzy will have calmed down and it’ll be more clear what, exactly, is going on and what can be done about it.