Iceland’s Economic Upswing Is A Lesson To Us All

Iceland's Economic Upswing Sun

“Why are the banks considered to be the holy churches of the modern economy? Why are private banks not like airlines and telecommunication companies and allowed to go bankrupt if they have been run in an irresponsible way? The theory that you have to bail out banks is a theory that you allow bankers enjoy for their own profit, their success, and then let ordinary people bear their failure through taxes and austerity. 
People in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run.” -Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

In 2008 when the United States and most of Europe decided to bail out the banks instead of allowing them to fail, Iceland chose a different path. As their entire banking system collapsed, the small nation of 320,000 opted to forgive mortgage debt, and began rebuilding from scratch. The country isn’t out of the woods yet, but today they are politically and financially stable. The current unemployment rate is down to 5%–better than in Great Britain or the United States (both 6%), and much lower than Spain (26%), Ireland (11%), and Greece (30%). Clearly this is a multi-layered issue, and what works in one small, largely homogeneous nation might not work in a large, diverse one like the United States, but perhaps punishing–not rewarding–the people responsible for the collapse was the correct course of action after all.

Understand American Values In This Single Graph

Income Tax Percentage In US Chart

Over the past several decades, the United States has seen the following trend: corporations paying lower effective taxes while individuals–making up for that revenue loss–have paid more. Add to that the fact that between 2008 and 2010, a dozen US corporations paid negative taxes while Congress cut food stamps for vulnerable Americans, and you have to wonder which “people” our politicians really seek to serve.

How Do You Know You Exist?

Not to get too introspective, but have you ever wondered–under the influence or not–how you know for sure who you are? The good news is that if you have, you’re not alone. Educator James Zucker assesses these age-old questions and the various proposals of the West’s greatest philosophers.

Artist Highlights The Indonesian Child Smokers Problem Through Photos

Indonesian Child Smokers First Day

Source: Time

You can’t walk more than a few feet in the Republic of Indonesia without seeing a tobacco advertisement. The images are so prevalent and deeply ingrained within the culture that children as young as four are already addicted to smoking – sometimes going through multiple packs of cigarettes a day. They’re cheap, the lobbying is relentless, and virtually no information is made available about the dangers of addiction or smoking-related health risks (interestingly, some clinics in Indonesia claim that tobacco smoke is something of a panacea, able to cure everything from autism to certain kinds of cancer).

Indonesian Child Smokers Orange Chair

Source: Time

Indonesian Child Smokers Sun

Source: Time

Continue Reading