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NFU conference with historic proportions

It’s not nice to be known for exporting criminal financial activities, said President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson at his opening speech at NFU Sector Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.

He underlined that it was a very limited number of persons who caused the problems and that we all can learn a lesson from what happened.

The opening of the NFU Sector Conference with the title “Dancing in the new decade” got historic proportions from the fact that it opened the very same day that a commission in Iceland published a 9 volume and 2.000 page report on the financial meltdown in Iceland.

The President used his speech at the conference to clarify the background of the crisis – how the normally stout and calm Icelandic people were caught in a rush of easy money and how banking employees happily played along luring customers into advanced financial systems to obtain personal gain through huge bonuses. We saw a shift from service to greed, as the President honestly said. And he continued: “The totally borderless trading unveiled a serious flaw in the EU, as the borderless banking transactions could take place escaping all regulations.

According to Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, it is now important is to analyze and evaluate what happened and implement actions to stop it from happening again. We must conclude that economic theories by Adam Smith are indeed just an ideology – not laws of nature – and that they have clearly failed to work in our modern world with advanced financial products and use of computers for lightning fast and borderless trading.

Olafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, speaking at the NFU Sector Conference

Now is the time for governmental regulations and monitoring, and to understand that the financial sector has a social perspective besides providing financial tools, the President said. In fact there is work underway to fund a new institute in Oxford, England. In the words of the President, the institute is “dedicated to the vigorous and critical analysis of the entire intellectual basis of modern economics — its theories, its assumptions, its teachings – in fact the fundamental validity of the discipline which has been the mental platform for most bankers, entrepreneurs, corporate chiefs, financial policy-makers and political leaders in the Western World.”

“Maybe the key lesson is never to lose sight of the social responsibilities of financial institutions, and never to cut corners when fundamental, democratic principles are at stake,” President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson concluded his opening speech at the NFU Sector Conference, asking the participants to take a tour to the Reykjavik City Theater where actors was reading the commission report aloud – the full 9 volumes and 2.000 pages.

Click here to read President Grímsson’s speech

Click here to read the full conference report

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