Nobel Laureate Phelps Warns Against EU as Iceland Drops Bid – Bloomberg 05-23-13

Salient to Investors:

Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps warned against the dangers of EU membership saying we are still learning about the European experiment and to what extent it is going to succeed or fail. Phelps cited huge blanks and huge gaps in the euro area – each country is subject to a flight of capital, flight out of the currency, flight out of bank deposits into other countries.

Phelps said Iceland would be better off considering exchange rate regimes that link it to other currencies, including the Canadian dollar or the Norwegian krone.

Read the full article at  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-23/nobel-laureate-phelps-warns-against-eu-as-iceland-drops-bid-2-.html

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Why is violent crime so rare in Iceland? – BBC News 05-16-13

Salient to Investors:

Iceland is 15th in the world in legal gun ownership – 90,000 in a country with just over 300,000 people – yet violent crime is virtually non-existent, with a homicide rate between 1999-2009 never above 1.8 per 100,000 in any year versus between 5.0 and 5.8 in the US, according to the UN’s Global Study on Homicide.

In Iceland there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes.

The  University of Missouri found only 1.1% of study participants identified themselves as upper class, 1.5% saw themselves as lower class, and 97% saw themselves as upper-middle class, lower-middle class, or working class.

Bjorgvin Sigurdsson says equality was the biggest reason for the relative lack of crime – here the tycoon’s children go to school with everyone else, while Iceland’s social welfare and education systems promote an egalitarian culture.

Gun ownership includes a medical examination and a written test, and the police are unarmed.

There are few hard drugs in Iceland. Iceland has a tradition of preempting crime issues before they arise.

Read the full article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22288564

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Rich-poor divide accelerating, says OECD – BBC News 05-15-13

Salient to Investors:

The OECD said:
  • The gap between rich and poor widened more in the 3 years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years. The richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, versus 9 times in 2007.
  • Countries with the biggest gaps included the US, Turkey, Mexico and Chile. Countries with the least gaps were mainly in north Europe, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia.
  • If governments do not stop cutting back on welfare support the gap will widen.

Read the full article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22545210

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