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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 18, 2010

Iceland MP to discuss economic collapse in UI appearance

An economist who graduated from the University of Iowa and went on to be elected to Iceland's parliament last year will discuss her country's economic collapse when she speaks at the UI on Monday, Aug. 30.

Lilja Mósesdóttir, who graduated from the Tippie College of Business in 1984 with an economics degree, will discuss "The Iceberg Tips Over: The Implications of Iceland's Financial Crisis" when she speaks at 3 p.m. in the Senate Chamber in Old Capitol. Admission is free and open to the public.

Mósesdóttir, an economist at Iceland's Bifrost School of Business before entering politics, for years was a harsh critic of Iceland's loose banking rules that allowed unfettered lending and high debt loads for banks. While the regulations allowed Iceland's economy to reach new heights for a time, Mósesdóttir argued that the banks were too deeply in debt to foreign lenders and would be vulnerable in a global economic slowdown. She said that the lack of regulation enabled the owners of the Icelandic banks to rob them from inside through high leverages and Ponzi style schemes that left the economy with unsustainable private debt.

When the global economy crashed in 2008, Iceland's banks were so deep in international debt that they failed and the country's economy collapsed. Today, Iceland is struggling under mountains of debt, government austerity and a depressed economy. The recovery has also been hampered by the massive eruption earlier this year of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, otherwise known in the United States as "the Iceland volcano."

Mósesdóttir decided to play a role in putting the economy back together. She ran for and won election to the Althing, Iceland's parliament, in 2009. Among the Left-Green Movement party member's committee assignments is the Committee on Economy and Taxation, of which she serves as vice chair, and which gives her a primary role in the historic rebuilding of the country's economy.

Mósesdóttir's appearance is made possible by the Howard R. Bowen Lecture Series, which was established in 1986 by the Tippie College of Business to honor former UI president and renowned economist Howard R. Bowen. The series is designed to provide a platform for individuals who demonstrate the distinction, thoughtfulness, and originality of Howard Bowen to address important issues facing our society.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

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