Rant

digdug wants to know, after yesterday's post, who Iceland's "greedy native bad boys" are. That depends a little on who you ask, but here's my answer:

We've unfortunately got a surplus of white collar criminals here. You know, the type of guy who lines his pockets and takes kickbacks and underbids and practices nepotism and lies for profit and evades taxes. They are men who are tens (hundreds?!) of thousands of dollars in debt to banks and live swanky lifestyles off of these all-too-easy-to-get loans, then get desperate when loan interest starts eating up their profits. They go criminal with shocking ease; there's no feel that they have pondered the dark side or have been led into tempation. Instead, it's as if crime and swindle were part of their business plan from the get go, and they just had to establish an honorable front to get things started.
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It used to bother me a lot more how rancid the business world is here, given that we're so few and that stealing from "society" in Iceland is simply stealing from your own cousins. But Icelanders have always been rebels and have never been very law-abiding. In the old Alþingi days when important men would meet twice a year at Þingvellir to settle disputes, rule by law seemed to work. But then again, when being outlawed out of society was one of the main punishments, and blood revenge was considered understandable, the stakes were a little higher.
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Today, the threat of bankruptcy or a couple of years in a low-security jail are our only incentives to be good. And both punishments are seen, honestly, as badges of courage...You got caught, huh? well, at least you tried...heh heh heh. Now your famous. And If you consider our past, when survival itself was constantly in question, it's understandable that the national psyche developed into a slightly criminal one. Once beggars, now thieves, kind of thing. It's in all corners of society, from business to politics to non-profit to insurance and health care. Our system is very skewed, and if you don't take what you can Now you might find yourself falling off the boat into good old fashioned poverty, just like great-grandma lived it. Only this time, it's our own people who are the oppressors. Not too funny, is it?
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By the way, it seems that when all the annual known and assumed evaded taxes are tallied, the resulting amount of money could support the entire educational system in Iceland for a year. In the mean time, a poverty-level single mother is arrested for not paying a parking ticket. Hmmm.

7 comments:

Cy said...

While I sympathize with your situation in Iceland with the business crooks, I have one word here from the States that represents bought justice.

O.J.

Isn't the law fun?

digdug said...

america is CORRUPT, but on a large machine-like level. when making soup, the scum always floats to the top. [ :( ]. in iceland, it is alot more personal, stealing from each other. i feel your anger and bitterness. in america, i am (sadly) used to the idea of corrupt politicians and businessmen, but i would cut the fingers off of any family member who stole from me or my kin.

L said...

I like your blog! very cool.

I guess no country is safe from white collar corruption...

Cy said...

Sheesh, DigDug, you're in Texas, the only state in America where it used to be legal to argue as a defense to murder that "the dude needed killin'."

digdug said...

i'm not sure i understand cy's comment. are you sayin' he didn't deserve killin'? the rule for justifiable homicide in texas is; make sure to drag the body into your house before you call the police. you can claim he was "breaking and entering" your abode, and "protecting your life and property"! let's hear it for legal loopholes in texas, YEE HAA!

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Cy said...

Nope, DigDug, what I meant was in Texas, you used to be not guilty of murder if you could prove what a jerk the guy you killed was. That's why they called it the "Dude needed killin'" defense.

As in, "Yes, I shot him. But he was such a jerk that someone should have." And if the jury believed that the victim was such an a-hole that he deserved to get killed, then the murderer walked. It stemmed from the traditions of the old West.

This lasted until well past the 1960s.