The Scottish Left Review asked me if I would updated my previous article for them. It’s online now:
It is probably the political-pathology of a small nation that makes it sensitive to outside comment. Ironically, however, from the point of view of its citizens, it is the compliments that are paid that are more damaging than any criticism. Over the last two decades Ireland has repeatedly been referred to as a model economy even in wildly divergent circumstances.
First during the great ballooning of financial liquidity in the 1990s and 2000s, as the model of EU potential, when the term ‘Celtic Tiger’, originally coined as a catchy heading in an investment bank report on Irish bank shares, became short-hand for Ireland’s unbelievable exponential growth. Subsequently when the massively over-leveraged Irish banking system collapsed and Irish politicians moved swifter than any other nation to make all of the citizens responsible for levels of private debt considerably larger than the country’s GDP and initiated rounds of fiscal consolidation to try and pay for it all, Ireland became the “successful” model of the EU’s Austerity policy imposed on peripheral members.
During the good times they were praised for possessing such qualities as “intuition, the ability to make seemingly unrelated connections and tolerance of ambiguity” while during the bad times it was claimed that the Irish had an “extraordinary capacity to deal with the difficult circumstances of the economic crisis”. Surely the Irish are the most adaptable citizens on the planet!
Read the rest at SLR.