Iceland Discussing Adopting the Canadian Dollar?

 

This isn’t exactly a new story, or even one with a lot of substance at face value, but the idea of Iceland adopting the Canadian dollar as their currency has been openly discussed

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120302-710764.html

The significant thing here is that Iceland geographically sits (approximately) halfway between the United States and mainland Europe – home of the dollar and Euro – the world’s two largest reserve currencies.   Iceland isn’t a member of the EU, but still has  economic ties with the EU as a member of the European Economic Area.   It would seem as if Euroization or even dollarization of their economy would be the most likely choice.   Hell, even the British pound (the world’s 3rd largest reserve currency – but far behind the Euro) or even giving a nod to Iceland’s former colonial masters Denmark and adopting the Danish Krone would make sense, but the Canadian dollar?

Right now the Eurozone is certainly in trouble and many people around the world are beginning to have doubts about the long-term prospects of the US Dollar.   Iceland has been burnt before (as I briefly mention in this post) and would be prone to seeking stability.

Like every other country in the world, Canada isn’t perfect, although sometimes it’s romanticized as such by doe-eyed Americans and even some of her own citizens.   Canada does however have a pretty decent economy based on commodities.   There’s lots of oil, natural gas, metals, minerals, wheat, cattle, timber and fish up there.   Canada has a lot of intrinsic worth due to the abundance of resources and it’s likely that their currency will hold value as the dollar and euro decline.    Personally, I own stock in Calgary-based Encana Energy (natural gas – ECA on the exchange) and Iamgold (IAG) as my plays into Canada’s resources.

Although this story at this point isn’t a true issue, it does raise some questions about the future of the dollar (and the euro) and whether or not smaller nations will seek out other currencies or precious metals as reserve currencies.   This would affect us in the United States by decreasing demand for our currency and possibly seeing a flood of dollars return home and thus cause inflation.    At this point it’s not out of the realm of possibility to expect to see the Chinese yuan begin to dominate Asia and perhaps part of the Middle East and Africa.   I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brazilian Real have a little more pull in Latin America as their economy takes off.   We should start making preparations to deal with the decline in value of the dollar that would happen should competition among currencies increase.

“Banking Backlash Fashion” in Iceland

Today on my way home from the gym I heard a clip on NPR’s rebroadcasting of the day’s BBC Newshour (3/29/12) concerning Iceland that I found interesting.   The segment on Iceland begins at about 15:00:

BBC Newshour

 

They interviewed a few Icelanders about their thoughts on the trial of former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and a few anecdotes on the aftermath of Iceland’s 2008 economic crisis.    What I found particularly interesting was that they mentioned that it is now common to see young Icelanders donning fisherman’s clothing, traditional Icelandic wool sweaters and beards.   The fashion statement is in part due to practicality – many people are turning to the traditional fishing industry and thus the apparel associated with it instead of jobs in the finance industry.   According the one gentleman interviewed in the segment, the style is also a rejection of the styles common to the foreign bankers and a show of local solidarity.

This is something that gives me some hope for the future.   When modern hyper-consumerism fails to deliver, people are looking backwards and internally for inspiration.   The increase in interest in the founding fathers in the United States as we lose personal liberties and decline economically is an example of this same phenomena happening here.   I’m optimistic that as we continue to decline, many people in the US will begin to look to some of the things that were important to our forebearers and things like gardening, urban farming, food preservation, family, heritage, thinking locally, craftsmanship and basic skills while rejecting some of the things that caused our woes in the first place.    I’m not suggesting that we’ll return to some magical and quaint Little House on the Prairie days (nor would I want that!), but I think that many people (unfortunately not all) will look to these things and that gives me some hope for our future.     I think this case in Iceland is a good example of people realizing what kinds of things are real in their lives and what kinds of things aren’t.

I visited Iceland in 2007.  Beautiful country.   One thing that did strike me was how “cosmopolitan” most of the inhabitants looked, often adopting emo/indie fashions and slick haircuts.   I’m not sure what I actually expected to see from the descendents of the mighty Vikings (and kidnapped Irish women), but they had a very effeminate style to them, at least by my North American outlook.    I guess I expected them to resemble pillaging and plundering warriors instead of rail-thin dudes with swoop haircuts and iPods.   I’d say that Iceland has the most beautiful women on the planet, at least from the small segment I’ve seen of it.   It’s a very health-conscious country and everyone appears healthy and pleasant (but reserved).

There are some things to be gained from globalism.  There’s a lot we can gain, learn and experience from all the peoples of the world but that doesn’t mean that we should all morph into a single transnational culture and lose our identities in the pursuit of wealth.   Good for the Icelanders for rejecting the idea that they should to abandon their culture and get with the globalists’ program.

 

Here is a photo of two young girls wearing the type of sweaters mentioned.   I can’t say that they’re exactly my style, but they make a lot of sense in Iceland with all the abundant wool and consistently cool temperatures.   It beats importing textiles from China.   I suppose if you’re into them and/or want to show solidarity with Iceland, you can purchase them here.

File:Lopapeysa.jpg

Here’s me in 2007 at Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.