The banking and economic collapse of October 2008 is perhaps not the first thing one would think to reminisce about, not a particular cause for anniversary celebrations. Especially in the sense that of course we all wish that The Collapse’s consequences and its lingering effects on our lives and work would vanish as soon as possible. “If only we could forget it all, if only it never happened,” some are surely thinking. Unfortunately, The Collapse was a very real occurrence, and its consequences will not evaporate—it has already put its mark on so much of Icelandic life, and it will remain a determining factor for the nation for a long time to come.
The short version boils down to this: a terrible mistake was made. Iceland experienced an almost unprecedented economic collapse, with wide-ranging and impossibly expensive consequences for us as a society. The Collapse and its repercussions will continue to haunt our existence for the foreseeable future, and beyond. The Collapse has resulted in hardships for thousands upon thousands of families and households, an injured economy that will take time and patience to repair, and a heavily indebted state treasury, to name only the key effects. This is something we simply cannot forget in the hopes of things returning to normal. The state treasury’s debts will not take it upon themselves to vanish and be forgotten so we don’t have to be constantly reminded of The Collapse. Rather, they come with crippling interest payments, serious money that we cannot set aside for other purposes. And these debts need to be repaid as soon as possible (for that, we need a responsible government), and the krónur that need to go towards this need to come from somewhere.
Another five-year anniversary is drawing closer, one that we should also commemorate. In April of 2015, it will have been five years since Alþingi’s Special Investigative Commission issued its report and this, also, cannot be forgotten. On the contrary, the report should be and remain an annual required read for many.