|Cover of James Joyce|
|JAMES JOYCE IS WIDELY KNOWN|
AS THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED SEX
TO IRELAND. PREVIOUSLY, IT WAS
Department of Hubris , Corruption, Greed, Incompetent Banks, Interchangeable Words & Predictable Outcomes
As I write this, Ireland is frighteningly near being bankrupt – and would be if it hadn’t got the EU to backstop it - a sad fate indeed for a country that had transformed itself from being one of the poorest nations within the EU, as late as the Eighties, to becoming one of the wealthiest by the first decade of this century.
The scale of the catastrophe – an entirely appropriate word in this context – is hard to grasp.
I find it particularly upsetting because I was once heavily involved in trying to reform the Irish economic system – with some success at the time - so now it is particularly galling to see so much of the progress that resulted being destroyed as a consequence of entirely preventable, and reprehensible, behavior.
Department of 'So what happened?'
I’m going to write about it in detail some other time when I’ve dug a little deeper, but, in broad terms it seems to be a classic example of a nation getting rich too quickly, thoroughly bad political leadership, massive greed at just about every level, a property bubble that reached insane proportions before it burst, and a banking system that performed just about as badly as the U.S. financial sector. Add in arrogance and corruption in large doses – and stir.
And now the Irish are emigrating once again. Since I devoted over a decade of my life, and all I possessed, to preventing that very thing, my initial reaction was to feel very, very angry. But since I have mellowed with the years – and everything is fodder to a writer – I have moved on to feel more philosophical than irate – and to await ‘The Big Picture’ – the scaled up version of Ireland’s economic collapse where the currency in question is the U.S. dollar.
I have run across two quotes about Ireland that fits the mood. One is the disturbingly accurate classic from James Joyce:
“Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.”
The other makes me smile – which is exactly what I need to do right now to counter these bitter developments. It comes from Dave Barry.
“Geographically, Ireland is a medium-sized rural island that is slowly but steadily being consumed by sheep.”
If we don’t change our ways, much the same fate await the U.S. economy – and for much the same reasons; and, as with Ireland, the collapse will come with disturbing speed. As for the sheep, could it be that the American version comes with two legs, is also known as ‘the voter’ and is disturbingly easy to manipulate.
Watch this space.