Iceland has a population of about 300,000 , about 140,000 taxpayers and pre-crisis GDP of about $12bn. The Royal Bank of Scotland has about 140,000 employees and pre-crisis net profit of about £8.5bn – they’re about the same size as entities. Iceland, like RBS, did very well out of the debt bubble and picked up assets all over the world in an impressive but ultimately unsustainable spending spree. And in a final point of similarity, Iceland, like RBS, owes the British government a hell of a lot of money as a result of the bursting of the bubble.
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Nos Ancêtres, Les Gaulois

by Henry on January 7, 2010

As “Clive Davis”: notes, “Charles Murray”: “is disconcerted by the number of black and brown faces he sees around him” during three days that he recently spent stranded in Paris.

I collected data as I walked along, counting people who looked like native French (which probably added in a few Brits and other Europeans) versus everyone else. I can’t vouch for the representativeness of the sample, but at about eight o’clock last night in the St. Denis area of Paris, it worked out to about 50-50, with the non-native French half consisting, in order of proportion, of African blacks, Middle-Eastern types, and East Asians. And on December 22, I don’t think a lot of them were tourists. Mark Steyn and Christopher Caldwell have already explained this to the rest of the world—Europe as we have known it is about to disappear—but it was still a shock to see how rapid the change has been in just the last half-dozen years.

The term “looked like native French” is an interesting euphemism, given that a quite substantial percentage (and, I suspect, a large majority) of the people whom Murray worried about during his peregrinations were citizens of France. I rather think that the word that Murray was looking for here is “white.” Meanwhile, Clive also links to this “very good Foreign Policy article”: on the whole disgraceful Eurabia genre. Strongly recommended.

Top Jobs

by Kieran Healy on January 7, 2010

Via Brian Leiter, a list of the 200 Best Occupations ranks Actuary at #1, Historian at #5, and then, a little further down, this:

I guess if the Life of the Mind is good, it follows that the the Life of the Head must be even better.

Book goes beta

by John Quiggin on January 7, 2010

I just sent a draft manuscript of my Zombie Economics book off to the publisher at Princeton UP. It’s pretty much in beta stage now.The aim is to have it come out in the Fall List.

Thanks heaps for all the praise and criticism. The praise has kept me motivated, and the criticism has been at least as valuable.

I’ve got some more sections of the privatisation chapter and the afterword to post here for comments, and I’m now going to circulate the draft in the older version of the same process. I’m also updating the draft at wikidot (lagging a little on this).