Wednesday 7 December 2016

It's a neo-liberal economy, stupid

Published 01/05/2011 | 05:00

Sir -- There has been a huge outpouring by journalists, politicians, academics and many others, both in Ireland and beyond, about the causes of the dire economic situation that our nation is in.

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This outpouring has dealt entirely with the people and organisations involved. Amazingly, up until April 24, 2011, I did not see nor hear anyone highlight what I believe is a primary cause of Ireland's problems. Then in a Sunday Independent article on that date Gene Kerrigan got to the heart of the matter, revealing that one of the causes of Ireland's economic problems was neo-liberalism. This destructive right-wing ideology was embraced by a key section of the political establishment in Ireland, and welcomed by wealthy elites in the business and banking community. It was also embraced by the free-market worshipping EU. Neo-liberalism promotes light-touch regulation, and encourages and richly rewards selfishness and greed. The only thing that neo-liberalism has consistently achieved is the continuous transfer of wealth from ordinary people, including the poorest, to those who are already very wealthy -- sometimes by using a financial crisis to drive down wages, cut social spending and privatise state assets.

Mr Kerrigan appears to suggest that no matter how many times governments change, nothing will ever really change as long as neo-liberalism has influence in Ireland. If that is what he means, then he certainly is right.

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