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Another way

• I am reminded as Europe slides further into debt of the words of Ernest Hemingway: "Bankruptcy starts slowly at first, then all of a sudden."

After almost three years of a slow-motion car crash, we are now reaching the end-game. Ireland is not without options. We can default on our debts, balance our books, and go it alone. We can keep a foot in the European camp and the British camp and watch for developments.

We can buy into further integration of the European project, giving fiscal policy control to Germany and France. The fourth option is sit on our hands and wait for the storm to pass. No amount of heads-of-government meetings, press releases or landmark speeches will cure Europe's ills.

For in truth several European Banks are insolvent and they have brought their respective countries down with them. The markets have no soul. They are just giant calculators forever vigilant of the bottom line. They line up the weakest member of the herd and swoop. This is the world we now live in, free market capitalism spawned by Reagan and Thatcher over 30 years ago. Human beings don't matter to the market. People are just units of production.

Financial services whose computers are manned by human beings are just robotic, soulless enterprises whose landscapes are as bleak as their deserted offices and streets after office hours. How were they allowed to get so powerful? Why does Wall Street and its big banks tell the American president what to do? Why was this branch of industry allowed develop into the voracious monster that it is, destroying whole countries?

There is a way back from this. There are many forms of capitalism. The variety that was allowed get out of control is a diseased carcass that needs to be destroyed. Huge financial conglomerates need to be downsized and broken up.

The idea of the shareholders' profit margin being the ascendant component in all business needs to be dismantled, and in its place a multifaceted view should take hold, where people -- not profit -- is centre stage. Yes, business needs to be profitable, but not to the exclusion of everything else.

People on their own can achieve very little. I believe, however, that the campsites outside the main banks are the beginning of a new order. People power can achieve much when properly harnessed.

Going it alone as a country in the short term might seem scary, but in the long term it could be the best shelter from future storms. No longer should the markets be allowed to define us. We have ploughed lonely furrows before. We can do it again.

Joseph Kiely
Donegal Town, Co Donegal

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