(BUSINESS INSIDER) — The president of Iceland sits in his study drinking tea from an immaculate china set.

“If a collapse in the financial sector can bring one of the most stable and secure democracies and political structures to his knees as happened in Iceland,” Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson says to me, “then what could it do in countries that have less stable democratic and political history?”

The tiny country is unique not only in its stunning geography but also in its open democracy. This democracy was pivotal in the choice to let three giant banks fail during the financial crisis.

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