Letters: What we need is not 'recovery', but ideas for a new world
* I refer to an article by Brendan Keenan (April 10), regarding the type of recovery we need. Nobody in good health should want 'recovery' unless they erroneously think they are ill. That appears to be where the economic establishment of the world is at the moment: deluded, mistaking the greatest economic success ever for failure.
Economic activity at its most basic is providing the goods and services required by the human race. All through history there has been failure: inability to provide enough, leaving shortfall between what could be produced and what was needed. This gap in supply and demand always meant we needed to produce more, thereby facilitating the need and opportunity for continual economic growth.
As the production process depended substantially on human labour, employment was always guaranteed. At the end of the 20th century, everything changed. The introduction of computerisation enhanced life and was especially successful in commercial matters. Suddenly we could produce practically everything, in abundance, and transport it anywhere in the world at minimal cost.
As the economic diagnosis was wrong in the first place, wrong policies were enacted to rectify the situation. Conversion of debts from private to national incurred public debt that will run for generations. Austerity pushed an enormous number into penury, and policies making those employed work harder, longer and into later retirement are about as wrong it is possible to be in a world where work diminishes by the second.
The real tragedy is that the policies adopted by the Irish and EU Governments have not addressed the real problem at all. Instead of 'recovery', we need adaptation. Rather than recover, we need to adapt to the very best economic time that ever existed. The first step is to understand what has really happened: how technological success has transformed economic activity forever. Then we should thank our lucky stars to be living at this time.
SUGGESTION WIDE OF THE MARK
* It was bad enough to hear that the queen of England might help out with the 1916 celebrations – but the suggestion by our esteemed President that we should support the England soccer team in Brazil is out, out, out!
SAME OLD 1840S OPPRESSION
* The 1840s are back again. The international and Wall Street bankers are the absentee landlords, still able to suck the blood of the timid. The havoc they caused in America and beyond was pure evil, yet none of them were ever charged with fraud. Bernie Madoff screwed his own people and was rightfully punished. The land agents of the 1840s are our bankers. The politicians of today are the small farmers of old, who exported their produce while their cousins starved to death. The Garda are no different than their RIC counterparts – all Irishmen, who see injustices every day yet do very little. The lawyers are the Lords, the starving peasantry are the unemployed, and the Catholic Church, and all other churches, are still the same – silent.
This time, we can't blame the English.
THE HANDSHAKE HORRORS
* During that 'Irish' night (before the President's visit), I saw someone extend his hand to the queen who appeared not to 'notice' the gesture. Must be a bit like a western showdown when one meets her highness. . . keeping an eye trained on her 'gun hand', waiting for her to make her move?
OUR JOB TO MAKE A BETTER WORLD
* World Health Day on April 7 has passed unnoticed. It is fair to state that the World Health Organisation has been admirable in championing the rights of the marginalised, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the poor in societies across the globe. It has had an unparalleled track record in defending those who endure unspeakable torment and ill health; political, sexual, racial and social prejudices; and those who suffer from the ills and dilemmas of contemporary societies in pursuit of health-related millennium development goals.
There have been successes in downgrading several communicable and non-communicable diseases since the advent of the 21st century. However, there are daunting challenges that lie ahead as the world evolves into an increasingly interdependent and unpredictable entity. This demands urgent action to ease the burden of gender inequality, youth unemployment, social and economic disparities, carbon dioxide poisoning and environmental degradation and, most importantly, man's inhumanity to fellow human beings. This lies outside the purview of the ministries of health and transcends to encompass the realms of education, housing, environment, defence, economy, foreign policy and transportation, to mention just a few.
This demands us to be creative in sparking debates, spurring social change and instigating social dialogue – in summary to work towards the betterment and advancement of the human race.
IT DOESN'T FEEL A YEAR OVER 700
* Amidst the tsunami of verbal diarrhoea we have had to endure from the Irish media during the President's visit to Britain, one phrase confused me. It was the "800-year relationship" between our islands. Am I right in thinking that "relationship" in journo-speak means "unrelenting brutal colonisation"?
CIVIL WAR POLITICS STILL RAGES
* The letter from Fr Tom Grufferty (April 10) kind of touched a nerve for me. I can also understand where (I think) Fr Tom is coming from insofar as, back then, official Ireland was conspicuous by showing very little interest in our British exiles, other than on St Patrick's Day.
Such places as the Banba Hall on the Foleshill Road in Coventry were very far from Aras an Uachtarain on a Saturday evening, and reading the 'Irish Press' at the back of the church on Sunday morning might be as close to home as one might get for a long time.
Those were the days when, if there was a photo of a politician in the paper, he (for there were no shes) would, most likely, be kissing John Charles McQuaid's ring.
But all that is in the past and the queen has come to our place and Official Ireland has called over to Windsor and believe it or not, Catholicism is no longer compulsory in either Ireland or Britain – and the job of both heads of state is to represent all citizens in their respective countries.
Earlier, I commented on understanding Fr Tom, but in all this growing up and forgetting the past with the old enemy, we are still fighting the Civil War at home.
Why can't Fianna Fail and Fine Gael agree to hang the portraits of Dev and Mick side by side in the Taoiseach's office and not behave like children each time there is a change of government?
Now, about Westminster Abbey!