By Caleb Newton
On April 5, though, the unfolding saga of the Panama Papers came to its most remarkable point yet - the ‘resignation’ of the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who, in previous days, had faced what were suggested to be the largest protests in modern history (in terms of proportion): at least 10,000 people gathered in Reykjavik the evening before the resignation announcement, throwing eggs and demanding that the PM be ousted.
Now, the point I would like to make here is to those who have, in the past, held up Iceland as an ideal model for what all Western governments should be like. Often pointed out is the fact that Iceland jailed at least several bankers who were, through the exercise of their market control tentacles, in some way responsible for the global financial crisis some years ago. This jailing supposedly represents a high level of goodness and more about the Icelandic government.
But not so fast to those who look so shallowly at the situation. Such countries as the so-called Social Democracy of Iceland are not immune from having even worse problems than those currently being experienced by the convoluted mess that is the American-style system of government. That inherent danger in most governmental systems on earth today is a massively important point to drive home.
It’s not about saying different things but still playing the same game. Putting people in charge of things is not going to solve the problems created when people are at the head of government. Too often, that’s all these social democracies add up too, but it’s just the same people saying different things.
You can see another example of this issue in the American side of the problem around the document drop. There was a free trade agreement pushed through some years ago, namely, the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, a free trade agreement, which went through largely unopposed. On the surface, such a deal sounds great. Well, the title is about as far as the freedom goes, because whenever the word freedom or the like is invoked it almost always goes badly. The reason for this issue is that ideals are concocted by someone, meaning there is always a person hiding behind any invocation of freedom or a similar concept. In this case, there were businessmen and politicians, hiding behind the freedom, who funnelled millions offshore to Panama to hide them from the public eye and accountability.
On account of things like this Panama Papers scandal, we, the people of the world, need the rule of law. We need less people in charge of executing that law, not different people, or, dear goodness, more people. That is a major lesson to take from this fiasco - what so many have said all along, that the system (almost hopelessly corrupt) and the individuals at the helm (left and right) and their control over the lives of people need to be removed.
(Image: Panama Paper Header - ICIJ)