Iceland has imploded economically, however writer Rebecca Solnit points out that while the citizens of Iceland have lost their savings, they have regained their souls. The people of Iceland, who had been passive consumers, morphed into active citizens, took to the streets and overthrew the government.
The same thing happened when Argentina’s economy crashed in 2001. All across Europe, more and more engaged citizens are taking to the streets to protest the economic ineptitude of their leaders and their bankers.
Solnit quotes Icelandic writer Hauker Mar Helgason, who said of Iceland’s crisis:
There is an enormous sense of relief. After a claustrophobic decade, anger and resentment are possible again. It is official: capitalism is monstrous. Try talking about the benefits of free markets and you will be treated like someone promoting the benefits of rape. Honest resentment opens a space for the hope that one day language might regain some of its critical capacity, that it could even describe social realities again.
Could it be that as their plasma TVs are flooded with images of economic chaos, America’s passive spectators will become angry enough to take to the streets?
Let us hope so.