The spectacular rise, fall and recovery of Iceland's economy - are there lessons for us?
'History,' Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, 'is written by the victors.'
Therefore, it might be asked, what will historians of the global financial crisis make of Iceland's role in contributing the havoc; especially in Europe?
Iceland, we should not forget is an isolated country in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere which has a population of just under 320,000 people and, before the financial crisis was famous for its hot-springs, volcanoes and the utterly enigmatic performer Björk Guðmundsdóttir who, like a select few is recognised only by her forename.
As a child I remember being mesmerised by fables and myths that had their origins in Iceland; no doubt influenced by the fact that early settlers were Norse and Celtic whose culture would have imbued such stories to made them all the more fantastic.
Iceland was a place that had a certain fascination. Apart from our run-in with them over cod in the early 1970s when, after an exclusion zone was declared by the government in Reykjavík to reduce what they considered to be overfishing, leading to net-cutting and confrontation with Royal Navy warships, Iceland was usually considered to be of interest for only the more adventurous traveller.
In any history of the global financial crisis that truly commenced after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in America in 2008, Iceland's role through its three major banks Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki, cannot be overlooked.
In retrospect it might be argued that Iceland's desire to become an influential centre of finance was well-intentioned.
For a country as isolated as Iceland which mainly relied on three industries - aluminium, fish and tourism - there was a belief that finance through banking provided potential prosperity and jobs.
Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki pursued an aggressive strategy of expansion and, significantly, offered rates of interest that seemed too good to be true. Huge amounts of money flowed in from abroad which, in turn, was lent to investors in property across the world.
The three banks experienced incredible growth. However, and as we now know, it did so by building debts that were ten times the size of Iceland's GDP. The turmoil caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers was to lead to consequences across the globe.
Banks exposed to 'bad' debt were extremely vulnerable. Unless governments bailed them out, as happened across Europe, they went bust.
The Icelandic government did not have the resources to do this in the case of Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki.
The consequence was that anybody who was a creditor to these banks, which included many individual and institutional savers in this country, effectively lost their money; though realising the hardship that this would cause the former, the UK government provide a guarantee of protection to most.
The rise and fall of Iceland's economy was chaotic and traumatic. This was a country that was bankrupt and, at the time, few would have predicted any chance of recovery.
Indeed, many speculated that it might be forced to seek membership of the EU to survive.
The fact is, it did not join the EU which, it transpires, was its salvation.
But, incredibly, Iceland has done what only those considered unduly optimistic (or mad), would have predicted in 2008.
Iceland is now a thriving economy leading many to ask whether this is possible in the case of indebted European countries.
It is worth stressing that Iceland had the virtue of being isolated.
Unlike countries in the EU which are wedded to the belief in standing (and falling) together, Iceland did not have the option of being bailed out by its partners; though in reality this means Germany.
Remember, in 2005, according to the International Monetary Fund, Iceland was the world's third richest nation by capita.
Having been given assistance by the IMF, Iceland's government made a decision that instead of expecting its own people to take losses for the hubris of its banks - though this will be tested in a court in Luxembourg - it would defend its welfare system to assist those made unemployed.
Additionally, the government in Reykjavík imposed restrictions on capital outflows to defend itself from attack by the 'speculative vultures'. This meant that capital that would have taken flight was used to support business and Icelandic households.
Perhaps the most significant thing to remember is that Iceland's currency, the krona, fell by some 80% in the immediate aftermath of its crisis.
This made its exports very attractive to overseas buyers and undoubtedly helped recovery which means that Iceland has an economy worth over £8 billion that is expanding by between 2-3% per annum; compared to a decline of 0.3% in the Eurozone.
Though Iceland's unemployment went up nine-fold to a high of 9.3% in 2010 it is now below 5% and continues to decline.
According to Daria V. Zakharova, IMF mission chief to Iceland, there are good reasons for Iceland's remarkable recovery.
"[It's growth] is driven by private consumption, investment has picked up strongly and even though, when you look at net exports, those have a negative contribution to growth, it is mainly because imports have been strong, reflecting strong consumption and an increase in income and the healthy expectations of households."
Indeed, Zakharova contends, as well as the increase in Iceland's exports which have been stimulated by the vast reduction in the krona, another massive growth area has been tourism.
A problem that the government in Reykjavík has had to confront is inflation. This is something that the governor of the Central Bank of Iceland, Már Guðmundsson, dealt with when delivering a speech in June when he considered how the removal of capital controls will be managed to attempt to ensure that inflation does not become an impediment to recovery.
Because of a weakening of the krona which has increased inflation, the Icelandic Central Bank has been able to do something that is not open to individual members of the eurozone (nor, of course the UK), and raised its interest rate; though Guðmundsson acknowledged that a negative real rate had been hugely beneficial to recovery.
As he stated recently, others might learn from this (though accepting that larger economies would face greater difficulties):
"Capital controls were key in stabilising the exchange rate, facilitated the financing of the sovereign and the banks, and provided fiscal and monetary policies the room for manoeuvre to support the domestic economy."
Perhaps it comes from being on the very fringes of what we regard as the 'civilised world', but one might regard Iceland's economic recovery as being due to the indomitable spirit of its people; you have to be resourceful to survive.
There is culture of creativity and ingenuity that has allowed people to make their living on what some might consider a barren and inhospitable place.
And it is this which is assisting Iceland to achieve what the doomsayers would never have thought possible when the economic crisis occurred in 2008.
For example, did you know that the prosthetic limbs worn by, among others Paralympians, Oscar Pistorius and Alan Oliveira, were made by an Icelandic company?
Össur, a company founded in 1971, which has offices in 16 nations, is the world's biggest supplier of prosthetics used in sports (and is second to a German company for general use) and employs 400 people in Iceland and 1600 abroad.
As a member of Iceland's Chamber of Commerce acknowledges, Össur represents a symbol of what Iceland is capable of achieving.
However, during the 'boom years' when finance and banking were seen as the future Össur had difficulty in gaining support from Icelandic banks that were focused on external lending when it wanted to expand.
Össur had to look abroad to achieve its objective of research and development which has resulted in its current success.
As a consequence Össur was not affected by the collapse of the Iceland's three main banks. Indeed, the fact that it has opened facilities and offices abroad has assisted economic recovery.
Another example of ingenuity is a project known as Toppstöðin which is a collective established in 2009 in a redundant power station in Elliðaárdalur near Reykjavik. The objective of Toppstöðin is to support innovation in manufacturing and design and provide encouragement to the young people who would previously have been attracted to enter banking.
Andri Snær Magnason, who was a founder of Toppstöðin, recognised that without such support the talent and expertise of these young people would be likely to disappear if they were forced to emigrate to find opportunities.
As the logic goes, better to assist them to become entrepreneurs whose ideas will generate ideas that will earn money from exports.
Should you be interested in fashion, and London Fashion Week has just ended, have a look at the clothes that are designed and made in Iceland.
If we can learn nothing else from Iceland it is that encouraging innovation and creativity through design and manufacturing things that people really value is the way to ensure sustained recovery and economic growth.
However, whilst it is recognised that Iceland's particular geopolitical circumstances have been vital to its incredible recovery, it has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the mess left by its banks.
The result of the contagion caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers undermined economies across the world and caused every European country financial problems; especially the so called 'PIIGS' (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain).
One of the 'PIIGS', Ireland, was particularly hard hit and in the very early days there was a joke that went, "what's the difference between Ireland and Iceland?" The answer was "One letter and six months!"
Four years ago Iceland was seen as the worst possible fate for any European economy.
Some four years on no-one believes that Iceland will ever join the EU and, ironically, many European countries would happily want to emulate its current success.