“Gud Blessi Is’land.”
The three words appeared in blocked white letters on television screens all over Iceland on October 6, 2008.
“Fellow Icelanders,” a voice began. “I have requested the opportunity to address you at this time when the Icelandic nation faces major difficulties.”1
Most people in this island nation of 317,000 refer to each other by their first names. This was Geir Hilmar Haarde, the prime minister, speaking. The block letters on the screen were replaced by his image: he stood behind a cluster of microphones, wearing his signature blue blazer, next to the country’s flag. His cheeks sagged with worry.
“There is a very real danger, fellow citizens, that the Icelandic economy, in the worst case, could be sucked ...