A grande farra islandesa
Para aqueles que elogiam os desvarios esquerdistas da Islândia e acham que o mercado livre foi a causa da bancarrota, aconselho a leitura deste livro: deep_freeze_howden.
A dimensão do desastre só foi possível por ser um sistema de reserva fraccionária, porque a economia estava sujeita ao controlo político, porque a produção primária foi negligenciada e os islandeses quiseram viver acima das possibilidades.
Dexo algumas passagens para abrir o apetite:
«A significant boom had materialized, much of it realized in foreign currency at captivatingly low interest rates. Borrowing short and lending long, combined with a currency mismatch, had prepared the perfect storm. Iceland had become a kind of hedge fund. Its citizens, companies, and banks had indebted themselves in foreign currency. They had invested for the long term in both foreign and domestic-denominated assets. With more and more short-term liabilities denominated in foreign currency, a precarious situation loomed.»
«Although there was deregulation and privatization of the banking sector, the Icelandic banking sector was very far from being a free market. It is true that banks could act freely, but they operated within a framework of government-created incentives, and it was these incentives that caused a business cycle. In fact, Iceland is a perfect example of an economic collapse caused by a national fiat paper money. Fiat paper money has nothing to do with free-market money. The privilege of fractional reserve banking (i.e., appropriating deposited money and engaging in credit expansion) violates a depositor’ property rights. The Central Bank of Iceland directed the credit expansion, expanded the monetary base, and assumed the role of an explicit lender of last resort. Central banking is one of the last bastions of government planning and socialism.»
«Under a 100 percent commodity standard (gold, for example), credit expansion is impossible by definition. If banks have to honor time-tested legal principles and maintain 100-percent reserves on their demand deposits, they cannot create money out of thin air. Even a fractional reserve gold standard like the monetary system that prevailed before the First World War would have limited the credit expansion.»
«It was the Icelandic government’s move away from free-market principles and towards government interventionism that set the stage for the spectacular Icelandic tragedy. Only free-market principles and the restoration of property rights in the monetary sphere will prevent such tragedies in the future.»