Ireland is a breeding factory. It exists to export cattle and people, to feed the culinary and commercial needs of other nations. To brand the Republic a failed state is to be courteous. The truth is ugly to behold, and painful to the sensibilities of decent people on that island.
Officially, religion was downgraded during the making of the modern nation-state because science was supposed to provide a superior approach to public policy. This shift in the mind-set concealed the evil motive: the quest to create the psychological space for an ideology of corruption. For the general theory, see my Theses #1 and #2. For a documented overview of how whole populations became the collateral damage, Ireland symbolises the statecraft of greed.
Over the past four centuries, the Celts of Ireland were mentally and institutionally reshaped to serve as an adjunct to the acquisitive materialism of Britain’s landed aristocracy. Colonialism formally ended in the 1920s, but independence is an ironic application of the word to describe the new Republic. Her leaders retained the values, laws and institutions of the UK. So the people did not recover from the trauma of their land-loss. That is why its gift to new-born babies is cruel: “You will be educated at home, and then expelled to London, Boston or Sydney to find jobs and mates”.
Emigration as a survival strategy goes back to the “famine” of the 1840s. People starved to death while English landlords exported boatloads of food. Migration became the way of life. During the hallucination of the Celtic Tiger years, migration went into reverse. People came home. It was a mirage. Out-migration has resumed with a vengeance.
Catalogue of Cultural Crimes
To brand the Republic as little more than a breeding ground is an appalling charge. It implicates a creative people whose contributions to science, the arts and civil service around the world has been second to none. So what is wrong with the communities from which the youth are expelled?
For a courageous critique, turn to the fine journalism in Ireland’s Sunday Independent. In two issues, on February 23 and March 2, 2014, reporters and columnists surveyed “How Our Institutions Have Let Us Down” under the banner headline: Bishop, Banker, Boardroom, Spy. Here, in readable format, is documented the catalogue of cultural crimes that disgraces this nation. From….
- The state which fails to enforce its laws: trust is so low among citizens because those guilty of wrongdoing are getting off scot-free
- The Catholic Church: evades its responsibilities for child abuse and the exploitation of indigent girls
- A police force: represses whistle-blowers
- The financial sector: escaped the accountability of a public enquiry
- Politicians: taking back-handers from businessmen
- Rural communities: the appropriate metaphor is raped, with villages losing their souls as they haemorrhage their inhabitants and public properties – from post offices to police stations – sold to pay off international creditors
The list goes on; and on. The public in general does not escape censure: people demand unlimited social services without accepting the corresponding responsibilities.
Other countries are similarly victimised by the statecraft of greed that was implanted by colonialism. I have yet to see a comparable, comprehensive soul-searching examination by the media in those other countries.
Who or What must we Blame?
The Sunday Independent does not identify the structural roots of Ireland’s tragedy. Fingers are pointed at individuals like the cowboy builder and felon Tom McFeely: he threatened to slash a female reporter’s face with a shard of glass. But all the evidence constitutes an indictment of a culture that breeds the incentives that corrupt people who seek to serve their communities. Economists are failing to inform the public debate.
Colm McCarthy lectures in economics at University College Dublin. He contribution to the Sunday Independent claimed that the charge of corruption could not be levelled against Irish capitalism. He then added:
“There is just one area in which corruption has been shown to be widespread and that is local government planning and zoning. This could be termed designer corruption…and the recent prosecutions will prove an inadequate response unless the incentives are changed. Planning corruption is common in many countries which otherwise have low tolerance for abuse of public office.”
McCarthy fails to understand how the flow of rents out of the land market pollutes the whole fabric of society. When social rents are privatised, people abandon morality in the scramble to grab a slice of that unearned income. McCarthy was supposed to be blinkered: neo-classical economics blindfolds its practitioners.
Ireland’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, reveals that in the boom years 80,000 to 100,000 houses were built annually when the need was for 30,000. What were the developers after? Not a competitive return on bricks and mortar. They were after the rent that made many of them rich – and then crushed everybody in the crash.
Lessons have not been learnt by those who administer Ireland – from its law-makers to the civil servants and religious leaders. So a vast under-populated land continues to haemorrhage its children, a society crucified to preserve the statecraft of greed.