Thursday, October 9, 2008

One man's loss is another's gain!

So goes the old saying. It is very true. And that's something we, Norway, that ancient state, should be keeping at the forefront of our minds right now.

I'll explain. Ahem.

OK, what the hell is going on with Iceland?! I mean, WTF is that about?? The whole place is totally falling apart. I'm astonished. Or am I? I remember reading, like a year and a half ago, in places like Dagens Næringsliv, about how Glitnir (the other Icelandic banks as well, but Glitnir first and foremost - they have been the most visibly present in this country) were biting over more than they could chew, this could never last, only a matter of time before things would go haywire, etc. And now it's happened ... and how. The whole country is teetering. It's amazing to see it. I mean, I understand it's awful for the Icelanders. I'm not entirely devoid of human emotions. But it's fascinating in a lot of ways. I was watching the Daily Review a few days ago, and there was this guy there from somewhere in the current administration in Reykjavik and he was saying that there are basically some specific individuals - between 20 and 30 people - who are to blame for this. Who have speculated so wildly and have risked all that money and so on. Can you believe that?? A group of less than 30 people who have put the country in this situation. Out of a population of 300 000. That is just completely mindboggling.

Anyway. Now they're all up shit creek without pretty much even a canoe. Poor saps. I mean, it's awful that these people, who have remained nameless so far AFAIK, have done these things and created, or at least contributed significantly towards creating, this terrible situation. But obviously, the government should be given their fair share of the blame too. There are regulations in place that are supposed to control these things. But that's totally not worked at all ... so somebody in some high places have dropped the ball over there somewhere. And now it looks as if they're all screwed. Gordon Brown wants to sue the Icelandic government to make sure all those voters won't lose their savings. I mean ... things are seriously incredibly unbelievably bad for Iceland right now.

But like I said, one man's loss is another's gain. It sucks for the Icelanders. But for us, for Norway, this is a golden opportunity!! This is a chance that will never come again!! They got away from us once, and they swore they'd never be in our power again - our empire shrank, then collapsed, then the Danes swallowed us up ... and when we finally escaped their clutches, they kept Iceland. :-( We thought we would never be a colonial power again. But just think what we have the chance for now!!!

I'm just saying it. OK? I just want to throw this out there. We've got the petroleum fund, right? Which we pretty much can never use, cause if we do it'll create endless inflation and ruin our economy forever. And now we can't be sure how much longer we'll even have it, because the whole stock market (where we've invested I don't know how much of the fund, maybe all of it :-o) is more or less collapsing and taking so many investments with it that no one can tell where it will all end. So how smart is it really to be holding on to that money now? And Iceland's desperate! The whole country could go bankrupt any day! Do you see where I'm going with this? They need money, we've got money ... they're independent now, but they haven't always been (far from it!) ... and is it really written in stone that they always should be? Is it?

I'm just saying. This could be a really special chance for us. My fellow countrymen: think about it. This could be the chance of all our lifetimes. The North Sea Empire can rise again! Icelanders, I don't have anything against you (but you are all really weird, sorry) but that useless piece of rock you're sitting on ... that was ours once. All ... completely ... ours. Once upon a time. And you know all that oil's made us all so puffed up and big-headed. I can't help what I'm thinking. It's such a natural thought.

I hope Jens Stoltenberg is thinking really hard right now.


Paz said...

To the long ship Leif Erikson XV and sale to Iceland,put up the Flag in the name of Norway, while your at it head south and do a bit of pillaging in Ireland :P should have read this post before I commented on the other

Michaelok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michaelok said...

Well that's very novel. It's funny, although in a "it will soon happen to us too sort of way, we can laugh now.." type of thing. In the Monty Python movie "The Meaning of Life", there was a scene where an American pirate ship attacks a British one. Cutlasses flying, pistols cracking, American traders in the pin stripes take over the hapless Brits. Now we have - the Vikings? Seriously, I actually fear the Russians.

(Just as your amazing Peter Northug did, notice him looking backwards here, at the Russian skier:

Golly, I wonder when the Chinese and Koreans are going to start unloading their dollars. Jim Rogers is short on long term U.S. Treasury. George Soros says next 3 months will be worse. Didn't Soros make a billion or so betting against the pound? The mind boggles.

I had not read about the 20-30 people causing the Icelandic meltdown, but would not be surprised, didn't 1 guy take down Barclays, a respected 100 year old company, a few more took out Enron? Arthur Andersen? Lehman Bros? All good names (but Enron I guess, not a good name, no, they received much derision for that).

Somewhere I read Iceland was requesting $5 billion from Russia. $5 billion? Seems like a better, less risky deal than the $700 bill we just blew on the wall street lottery. Buffet calls it a casino, but he plays it.

Over on this side of the pond, the south americans are ROFL about the Bush foray into socialism. Privatise profits, subsidize losses, eh? And then the Koreans telling the U.S. officials "so, when Asian banks were suffering, you told us tsk tsk tsk, sell assets, tighten our belts, market is working. Uh huh." When Lehman Bros went to the Koreans for money, they said - sorry.

So we, as in the taxpayer, have these chumps over a barrel - please please we need the 700 billion or the market will collapse - and the deal Paulson works out - bless his heart - he's there for us, really he is - is $800 billion. These are the same chaps who give billions to Iraq, and have no idea where it went. And yet we get no assurance of proper regulation, of accountability, of investigation.

In Milos Forman's "The Fireman's Ball", the fireman have put all the presents on a table to be auctioned off. The lights go out, and when they come back on, everything is gone. And you thought they were talking about how socialism works, but it's really a movie about firemen.

Now I admire the Vikings, great seafarers, and they did establish the cities in Ireland, however, according to St. Brendan, as so well described in Severin's The Brendan Voyage, there were Irish monks in Iceland before the Vikings came and had noisy parties, loud music, and interfered in the peace and solitude the monks were enjoying there in their meditations. So to escape the crowds they then went somewhere west, Greenland, maybe a little to the South too - and the pesky Vikings followed them there too.

There's fun reading in Farley Mowat, who has done considerable research on the Vikings in the Americas, and also Jared Diamond has some interesting chapters in Collapse on their Icelandic and Greenland escapades.

I'm really surprised, Iceland was the country going full force with hydrogen powered cars, and geothermal energy, energy independence and all. Well, they've still got Bjork.

Now, I believe we all, and I'm including the world (except insulated places like India - crafty ones, those Indians), as it seems we've all been somewhat carried away, bubblewise, need to meditate a little, ponder things, how did we get in this situation?