Sarah Carey’s column in today’s Irish Times does a good job of introducing the public to the Department of Finance’s thinking about the banks as articulated in Slide 11 of the slides from the Minister’s presentation last week. However, I think it will take a lot more than a few op-ed columns to slay the beast that is the Iceland! talking point.
As an aside, for those who can’t get enough of the Iceland!ic banking crisis, here are two reports co-authored by eminent economists written prior to the crisis endorsing Iceland’s fabulous banks. Here‘s one from 2006 co-authored by Columbia University’s Rick Mishkin, a former Fed Governor (Best section – “Could Bank Refinancing Be a Problem?”). And here‘s one from 2007 co-authored by Richard Portes of the London Business School. (Best section – “The banks:successful and resilient”.)
As another aside, I note that some people were poking fun at the slides. However, it is very unusual for a politician to usual visual aids like this to illustrate their arguments and, based on my observation of his talk at the McGill Summer School, Minister Lenihan uses this material very effectively. So politicians using slides is a good thing: Don’t encourage those who’d recommend the minister keep his head down and deliver a monologue without charts and tables!