What other economic activities would be a good fit for an educated population willing to take risks?
As a consequence, there was actually quite a bit of decent software created within these banks. Unfortunately the business side failed to match the quality of the software!
(By the way, if someone needs some Django hacking and can pay in anything other than icelandic Kronas, give me a ping!)
Solving the engineering challenges on sub-sea high voltage DC power transmission would be a worthy goal. Iceland has vast geothermal power reserves. CO2 permit trading would be a nice complimentary business, though I suspect it could get a little out of hand...
What a wonderfully simple explanation of mark-to-market!
But yeah, your point is good. Iceland could yet end up a net winner from its financial dealings, depending on what their creditors decide to forgive. Certainly those creditors will end up net losers no matter what.
"Alcoa, the biggest aluminum company in the country, encountered [problems] peculiar to Iceland when, in 2004, it set about erecting its giant smelting plant. The first was the so-called “hidden people”—or, to put it more plainly, elves—in whom some large number of Icelanders, steeped long and thoroughly in their rich folkloric culture, sincerely believe. Before Alcoa could build its smelter it had to defer to a government expert to scour the enclosed plant site and certify that no elves were on or under it. It was a delicate corporate situation, an Alcoa spokesman told me, because they had to pay hard cash to declare the site elf-free but, as he put it, “we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people.”"
I'm not sure if that makes me feel good or bad.
Also, his argument (insinuation, really) that female consumer spending in the US was a driving force of the sub-prime crisis completely is completely tangential to Lewis's argument, which is about male financial workers. (To my mind, both arguments seem unlikely and rather sexist. I'd like to think Sailer is being ironic, but no, he's not.)
My flight was at around 7 in the morning, which meant getting up at 4 and hurrying from the Islington area in Central London to the airport. I still have to hustle to make sure I'm on time, and I really make tracks to get there.
And then the plane is late, and I'm stuck waiting at Stansted Airport for a couple hours. Ah whatever, such is the nature of airports. It really wasn't such a big deal.
But then I get the most surprising, strange, somewhat wonderful email I've ever gotten from an airline:
Please allow me to be the first to apologize for the very unfortunate circumstances surrounding the delay of your flight on the 15th of October 2008.
We are aware of our responsibility and we would of course very much like to maintain the trust your have shown Sterling. Having said this I would like to explain the cause for this delay and hope you can accept this apology on behalf of Sterling and myself.
I can inform you that we did everything possible to avoid the delay, which unfortunately happened due to a number of different causes. Sterling had unfortunately 2 aircraft that had to stay on ground because of technical problems, together with the fact our route network, which is built up as a coherent schedule, dependant on all aircraft serviceable and available, resulted in multiple delays, including your departure.
Of course, we tried to find alternative flights, but we were not able to fly at the precise time we needed them for and therefore had no other choice but to delay your flight. Sterling sets safety above all other concerns which we hope our guests understand and appreciate.
That being said, I can assure you that we are fully aware that the circumstances that you endured in connection with the delay were neither a pleasant beginning nor conclusion to your journey, and this is highly regrettable.
In light of the above circumstances and by way of acknowledgement that your experience was not the best with Sterling, I would like to offer you and your possible travel companion a gift certificate for 1 one way flight within Europe. The gift certificate will be valid until 10th of October 2009 and will be sent by e-mail, together with another copy of this letter.
In closing, I would like to take the opportunity once more to offer my regrets about the delay and I hope that you will accept the above offer and allow us to welcome both you and your companion to enjoy a more positive experience with us in future.
Michael T Hansen
Chief Commercial Officer
I got that email on October 17th, and I thought to myself, "Wow, those Icelanders are alright." The airline went bust 12 days later.
When you owe other countries a ton of money and you're not paying, you either need a quid pro quo, a payment plan, or you're going to get your balls busted.