Wednesday 7 December 2016

It wasn't the Celtic Tiger that killed austerity, it was credit cards

Published 23/02/2014 | 02:30

It wasn't the Celtic Tiger boomtime that ditched old-style austerity: it was the credit card. Photo: Getty Images.
It wasn't the Celtic Tiger boomtime that ditched old-style austerity: it was the credit card. Photo: Getty Images.

I keep hearing that the recession is receding and that the economy shows signs of improving. Maybe it will grow to be true, little by little, and jobs and prosperity will return.

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"Austerity". It's strange how familiar we have become with this hair-shirt word. There is something monastic about it. It calls to mind the clean lines of Shaker furniture, minimalist décor or Victoria Beckham's disciplined, even severe, dress designs (though there's nothing austere about the price-tag of frocks at $2,000).

It also calls to mind some of the aphorisms that used to hold sway in a true age of austerity. "Waste not, want not." "Wanton waste makes woeful want." And, as my Aunty Dorothy used to say: "If you can't afford it – go without."

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