Quote of the week: Iris Erlingsdottir

10 Mar

I put this in a comment yesterday, but after watching The 7.30 Report tonight on the UK, and hearing what Warren Buffet has had to say lately, it seemed very apt and very resonant and worth making more prominent:  Libertarian Experiment in Iceland Fails by Iris Erlingsdottir. She is writing neither about Rudd nor Australia of course, but I think it is relevant.

… [Milton] Friedman saw Iceland as his utopia. "I would like to be a zero-government libertarian [but] I don’t think it’s a feasible social structure. I look over history, and outside of perhaps Iceland, where else can you find any historical examples of that kind of a system developing?"

At first, the policies appeared to be very successful. The economy grew at a strong pace, rising until Iceland achieved one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. In 2007 it also topped the score for the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

Iceland rocketed to the top 10 in the indexes of economic freedom. The Cato Institute praised the "Nordic Tiger" for its flat taxes, privatization and economic freedoms, and rated it as the least regulated country in the world.

Unfortunately, it has become evident that these libertarian policies were not the panacea that Friedman claimed they were. In fact, economists are already using Iceland as a textbook case of how to ruin a nation’s economy. As Paul Krugman recently noted, there is an "almost eerie correlation between conservative praise two or three years ago and economic disaster today."…

Aside from which, I just love her name. 🙂

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Posted by on March 10, 2009 in current affairs, economic crisis, globalisation/corporations


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