This morning there was a lot of talk about how we were all faring in the aftermath, or at least the current aftermath, of the financial meltdown of 2008. Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as two trillion dollar in the past fifteen months. That's about twenty percent of their value, or even more succinctly, you're not retiring as soon as you thought you were. Unless you're one of those clever types with wads of cash buried in mayonnaise jars scattered around your back yard. And since "golden parachutes" are going over like "lead balloons" these days, let's hope you're down here suffering with the rest of us.
But be glad you're not in Iceland. They are watching their highest per capita incomes implode as their currency has lost almost half its value, and their heavily exposed banks collapse under the weight of debts incurred by lending in the boom times. Sound familiar? Imagine our problem being spread over just three hundred and twenty thousand people instead of our three hundred million. Iceland, as a nation, is close to being bankrupt, and not just morally like some other countries we could mention.
Given the heavy investment by Icelandic banks and companies across the continent, a full-blown collapse of Iceland's financial system would send shock waves across Europe. This pleasant little island, the size of Kentucky, was named the U.N.'s "best country to live in" just last year. Or perhaps it's all just part of that continuing Viking ruse to put people off the secretly pleasant and lush Iceland and get them heading for the desolate glaciers of Greenland. That makes as much sense as any of the rest of this. Stay tuned.