Friday 30 September 2016

Capitalism is failing us - it's time to get more creative

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

A homeless man walking on Dublin’s Grafton Street
A homeless man walking on Dublin’s Grafton Street

The myth that policies and practices radically focused on capitalist free enterprise would raise the wealth of all, creating a trickle-down effect, seems to survive despite the evidence to the contrary.

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Most serious economists show that there is a flood of wealth upwards. The beneficiaries of the fruits of raw capitalist thinking see poverty as a regrettable by-product of the way the world works.

We seem incapable of thinking more creatively, creating a world that works for everyone.

We have difficulty in thinking about poverty not just as an aberration - as something we might solve - rather than acknowledging that our privileges are located on the same map as the suffering of the poor.

We have an obligation not to support people in poverty but to provide for them genuine freedom of opportunity. The poor have been cheated of what they deserve.

Did the Irish government genuinely believe that they were setting all people free by deregulating the banks, weakening the bargaining power of the unions, reducing tax on the wealthy and the level of support for the sick, old and vulnerable?

Ireland's obsession with the past, however nobly conceived, tends to kill off our capacity for political innovation with the result that we fail to see the damage done by poverty, resulting in the entrapment of so many in worlds where their capabilities are killed.

We persist in assuming that the working of the market in our economy must be left untouched. The pursuit of money is made to be imperative, turning us, without noticing, into people we do not wish to be.

We readily imbibe the philosophy that money is not the root but the cure of all ills.

The worship of the market, where money is assumed to buy everything worthwhile, arises not from human greed but from the moral vacuum that has characterised public discourse.

The renewal of our public life requires the exercise of the traditional virtues of self-giving and self- denial. These are human dispositions that money cannot buy.

Philip O'Neill

Oxford, England

 

Such a sad and tragic loss

Today there is a palpable sadness in the air that I haven't witnessed for many a year. My own son is on a J1 in California. After we eventually made contact with him, the initial euphoria was replaced with a guilty feeling that there are a dozen parents and families grieving their beautiful children - those who have died and those who are injured.

As parents, we all want to put our children in cotton wool and protect them for ever but this is and will never be the case. I remember a sign outside a church: "A ship is safest in the harbour but it was built to sail the seas." May those beautiful, innocent children sleep in peace.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin

 

We should pull like the divil...

Was the Scottish goal in the recent Ireland vs Scotland Euro qualifier clash down to poor communication about the space that opened up that Scotland exploited? Should all our defenders be shouting when they see a hint of space opening up like that?

Is blocking and urgent communication part of the identikit that is Irish soccer? It was when Mick McCarthy and Paul McGrath played.

When a hurling full-back asked Richie Bennis how he was to conduct himself in the square, the instruction came back that he was to pull like a divil. Presumably, he meant on any loose ball. I'm not suggesting foul play - it just highlights how hot and heavy it can get in the square.

Players who have played soccer for Ireland have also played hurling. Do we put in hot and heavy crosses for opposition defences to get all shook up about? In fact, are most of our aerial crosses low percentage? I watch less soccer these days. The last time I vividly recall a winger racing down the wing to put in a cross that was headed home was when French player Dominique Rocheteau crossed for Bernard Lacombe in a World Cup. That was 1978.

We need to define what Irish soccer is,,drawing on all of Irish sport and its history.

P Dillon

Address with Editor

 

Farewell to Clerys

Passing by Clerys on the bus and seeing staff of all ages protesting, I was reminded of the Taoiseach's claim that we are "the best little country in the world to do business in".

Indeed we are.

John Sullivan

Rathmines, Dublin 6

 

I remember as a small boy, one day in the late 1940s, standing beside my father inside the main door of Clerys department store. On the staircase in the distance, surveying all before him, was a figure who in retrospect looked for all the world like WC Fields. My dad, who was a trader in a provincial town, leaned over to me and pointed: "That," he said (with obvious awe in his voice), "is Denis Guiney!"

Oliver McGrane

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

 

A sterling suggestion

As it becomes more and more obvious by the day that Greece is going to leave the euro, can the British people offer the Irish people the opportunity to come back into the sterling zone?

We had a currency union for about 60 years. In the circumstances, the Irish people may prefer to use sterling.

Nigel F Boddy

Darlington, England

 

Raising awareness of rent crisis

I'm writing as President of UCD Students' Union to thank the Irish Independent for raising the profile of the crisis within the rental market.

Areas traditionally rented by UCD students have seen the sharpest rises in rates over the last five years. The level of demand is so high that students are being pushed out of the market. Meanwhile, on-campus accommodation remains limited and rates are being pushed up.

The situation is desperate. We're not a demographic that can compete with young professionals or young families and there is a dearth of purpose-built accommodation for us. Longer lease agreements won't be offered to students and so we don't have a hope for rent certainty.

Politicians continue to ignore us in planning rent package agreements at their own peril; there is a student vote following May 22 and it is mobilised.

Marcus O'Halloran

UCDSU President

 

Good news is not so bad

John Leahy is right when he tells us to brace ourselves for a barrage of 'good news' prior to the next election (Irish Independent, Letters, June 17).

We can console ourselves, however, by realising that we are not in Greece or Syria or places where there is only bad news.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Irish Independent

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