IPSA Off-The-Record with former Icelandic Parliament Member Agust Olafur Agustsson

Date: 4/26/2011
Time: 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Location: The Puck Building, Mulberry Conference Room, 3072
295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604  map

Agust Olafur Agustsson, a Wagner student and a former member of the Icelandic Parliament, will talk about his experience as a legislator when the global financial crisis began. Agustsson was the chairman of the Bank and Trade Committee at a time when Iceland suffered its biggest economical blow. He also served as vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Party, one of two parties that formed Iceland´s government at the time.

Agustsson will discuss the policy decisions Iceland made in the aftermath of the collapse as well as the following issues:
1) What effect did the collapse of the Lehman Brothers have on the Icelandic and European economy?
2) How did it come about that the sixth richest country in the world found itself in the position of searching for IMF´s assistance? In the past 30 years, no Western country had done that. Since then, however, Ireland, Greece and Portugal are all in the same tough position.
3) Why did UK decide to use its Anti-Terrorism Act against Iceland, but that had never been done before between two NATO allies?
4) Iceland has a population of 320,000. The bankruptcy of the three major banks from Iceland caused a bigger bankruptcy than Enron did. The size of the U.K. economy in 2008 was around 175 times bigger than Iceland´s and the U.S.´s was around 1100 times bigger. How could this have happened?
5) From a foreign policy perspective it is interesting to note that the US did not intervene and that Iceland decided to seek help from Russia and China, which caused some concern among Iceland´s western allies.
6) Should the taxpayers pay for the deposits of privately owned banks?