Monday 11 December 2017

We're already in realm of the surreal

Sometimes you should sit back and take stock to see just how mad things have become in our economy, says Brendan O'Connor

Say what you will about America, but it has some relatively enlightened ways of doing things. As the virus of the financial crisis has mutated so has its response. Americans have had real and robust discussions about options; they have even tried some things and then backtracked when they discovered they weren't working. Even after policies have been implemented they have continued to debate them. It's a system I believe they call reality -- or an attempt at some kind of reality as things become more and more unreal.

We have a different system here. At this stage it would be best described as surrealism. Sometimes you have to sit back and take stock and look afresh at it just to see how mad things have become now. The current situation is this: all the things that they told us we had to do to prevent us from becoming a basket case and to please the markets and the international tut-tutters are the very things that are making us into a basket case and leading to a deafening chorus of tut-tutting. But we have our fingers in our ears and are going "la la la la, can't hear you", at the top of our voices.

You could call it surrealism but you could also call it Stalinism. I'm no expert on Stalinism but I believe, like us, they had these five- year plans which no one was allowed to discuss or criticise and which were stuck to rigidly, regardless of reality and which involved making casualties of vast swathes of the population who had to go down for the good of the collective.

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