One of the side effects of going bankrupt is that I read stories of monumental financial irresponsibility not only to learn about the causes of our economic meltdown, but to also put my financial mistakes in perspective.  In other words, “I was really stupid, but at least I wasn’t as stupid as these guys.”

Michael Lewis gives us Icelandic financial delusion and malfeasance on an international scale in this Vanity Fair story:

Global financial ambition turned out to have a downside. When their three brand-new global-size banks collapsed, last October, Iceland’s 300,000 citizens found that they bore some kind of responsibility for $100 billion of banking losses—which works out to roughly $330,000 for every Icelandic man, woman, and child. On top of that they had tens of billions of dollars in personal losses from their own bizarre private foreign-currency speculations, and even more from the 85 percent collapse in the Icelandic stock market.

Iceland instantly became the only nation on earth that Americans could point to and say, “Well, at least we didn’t do that.