Sunday 18 March 2018

Those in the middle can't take much more

The very people who make this country work every day are getting nothing back for their efforts, writes Brendan O'Connor

THESE will be looked back on as brutal, insane, medieval times. Each time you look at the bigger picture, it confers a kind of shock and awe. A global elite ruined the world by turning economics into a casino, but apparently this global elite cannot be touched by the consequences of their actions because if they are, it will ruin the world. So instead, countries such as Ireland, and the ordinary people in countries such as Ireland, have to suffer the longest, harshest recession in history in order to pay it all back. And any time there is a suggestion that the private sector might have to bear some of the brunt, an unelected quango called the ECB -- which has one mission, and one mission only, to prevent inflation -- rules it out completely.

Even with France and Germany now in favour of Greece having a bit longer to pay off its debts, the ECB simply says No to them. Answerable, it seems, to no one, this dark ascendancy enjoys ultimate power, facing its public only when it comes out periodically to speak in riddles about interest rates, which the high priests of economics then huddle around to decipher. Answerable to no nation or even to the EU Commission or the finance ministers of the member states, the ECB seems to be the true master of the universe, its power derived from nothing other than the power itself.

And it is wreaking a horrible chaos across Europe. The scenes from Greece, which we previously thought of as a first world country, are primal and disturbing, as if civilisation itself is crumbling there. While Greece has itself to blame in many ways, the people of Ireland have begun to develop a certain sympathy towards them. In Ireland, while the serfs have yet to revolt so openly, all the pillars of our civilised lives that we clung to are crumbling too. And all because of a weird, demonic perversion of capitalism that says that under no circumstances can capitalism pay for its sins.

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