Famous number nerd and Moneyball author Michael Lewis has an awesome article in Vanity Fair about the remarkable rise and subsequent collapse of Iceland’s economy. I learned a lot of things from it. For example, did you know that Iceland’s economy is no longer pegged to the annual troll harvest? It’s true! They had banks and hedge funds and everything.
But really the article is about how Iceland — a nation that subsisted entirely on fishing until some greedy douchenozzles decided to convert their entire state financing system into a microcosm of Wall Street — is a nation of extreme risk takers. Did I mention fishing?
The problem is that, because the fish are everybody’s property, they are nobody’s property. Anyone can catch as many fish as they like, so they fish right up to the point where fishing becomes unprofitable—for everybody. “There is in the spirit of every fisherman the hope of the ‘lucky catch,’” wrote Gordon. “As those who know fishermen well have often testified, they are gamblers and incurably optimistic.”
Fishermen, in other words, are a lot like American investment bankers. Their overconfidence leads them to impoverish not just themselves but also their fishing grounds.
Also, they both develop a taste for human flesh after feeding off the carcasses of their dead coworkers. Wait — did I say that out loud?
All World Cowboy Romance — Mission of Burma
July, July! — The Decemberists
Knot Comes Loose — My Morning Jacket
Neptune’s Net — M. Ward
On the Bus Mall — The Decemberists
Cape Canaveral — Conor Oberst
World Town — M.I.A.
Thin Line — Graveyard
Rainin in Paradiz — Manu Chao
Fool — Cat Power
Get Clear Wedge — Bison Bison
The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.