Saturday 25 November 2017

Punishing people is worse than a crime -- it's a real mistake

Paul Krugman

What we need now is another Jonathan Swift. Most people know Swift as the author of 'Gulliver's Travels'. But recent events have me thinking of his 1729 essay 'A Modest Proposal', in which he observed the dire poverty of the Irish, and offered a solution: sell the children as food.

"I grant this food will be somewhat dear," he admitted, but this would make it "very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children".

OK, these days it's not the landlords, it's the bankers -- and they're just impoverishing the populace, not eating it. But only a satirist -- and one with a very savage pen -- could do justice to what's happening to Ireland.

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