Wednesday 18 January 2017

We're not unlike Greece after all

Published 06/11/2011 | 05:00

The 19th Century social reformer Jeremy Bentham famously insisted all social policy should aim to secure the greatest happiness of the greatest number of a state's citizens.

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While the reign of Bertie Ahern showed that simply allowing us to have that which makes us happy is not a perfect policy, it is not a bad rule of thumb either. Seeing as we live in a democratic continent it is all the more strange, therefore, that the goal of most governments appears instead to be to make the majority of their citizens miserable.

Nothing epitomises this more than Michael Noonan's Budget proposals. Earlier last week the Finance Minister spoke of the importance of creating "confidence" but it is impossible to reconcile this objective with a fiscal policy which, far from leading to even moderate levels of happiness, will reduce the domestic economy to the pathetic condition of some hunger striker whose body, in order to continue to exist, is reduced to cannibalising itself.

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