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Social Policy in Challenging TimesEconomic Crisis and Welfare Systems$
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Kevin Farnsworth and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428288

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428288.001.0001

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date: 17 August 2017

Waving not drowning: Iceland, kreppan and alternative social policy futures

Waving not drowning: Iceland, kreppan and alternative social policy futures

Chapter:
(p.199) Eleven Waving not drowning: Iceland, kreppan and alternative social policy futures
Source:
Social Policy in Challenging Times
Author(s):

Zoë Irving

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847428288.003.0011

Despite its relatively small size and supposed semi-peripherality, Iceland's place in the European context of financial crisis has been pivotal. Iceland was popularly regarded as a catalyst in the banking crisis, as its own three largest banks collapsed with repercussions throughout Europe and beyond, as well as within its own domestic political and economic borders. This widely reported ‘bankruptcy’ impacted not only on national policy, with International Monetary Fund intervention and consequent public spending concerns, but also on wider welfare via less direct effects such as the retirement planning of individual savers within other European countries and the corporate investments of British Local Authorities, for example. In responding to these circumstances, Iceland has demonstrated the largely unrecognised power of small states in the political and policy making arena. This chapter examines Iceland's exceptionalism in the comparative social policy context and assesses the implications of small-state adaptability for policy learning within the current global order.

Keywords:   Iceland, small island states, exceptionalism, Nordic welfare model, economic crisis, banking collapse

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