Friday, January 23, 2009

Despite political and economic crisis, Iceland's safety net expected to hold

The political crisis in Iceland has gotten far graver this week: protesters clashed with police, seriously injuring two with flagstones; the police used tear gas for the first time since anti-NATO protests in 1949. Yesterday, a small mob surrounded Prime Minister Geir Haarde's vehicle and pelted it with eggs. Today, Mr. Haarde announced he was stepping down, that doctors had just discovered he had a malignant tumor in his throat, and that elections would be held in May (instead of 2011.)

Given the severity of the political and economic crisis, you might expect that Reykjavik is becoming a Dickensian dystopia, its streets piled with the newly homeless and bankers jumping from the windows. Nothing could be further from the case, as you'll read in my dispatch in today's Christian Science Monitor. Iceland's robust social safety net is catching people well before they reach rock bottom, and sources don't expect that to change anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. Colin - Glad to find you out here. A suggestion from a fellow blogger: Add a Site Meter button ( to your template; it allows you to track visitors, site visits, page views, etc.
    Let's grab a beer sometime.
    - Steve Mistler