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I call Godwin!

Is is all the fault of Fianna fail now, what?

Yes, Fine Gael and Labour and the greens and the Progressive Democrats were all a bunch of communists.

by IM on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tell me, do you believe that all Americans should be held responsible for the war crimes in Iraq, just because they are supported by both their major parties?

The buck has to stop somewhere. Killing the Irish economy to punish the Irish for electing crooked politicians is both overkill and collective punishment.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 07:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fine Gael Labour Government left office in 1997 - long before any property bubble or unsustainable fiscal expansion.  I really don' understand why you appear to be trying to spread blame equally all round.  While there may be few in positions of power who are entirely blameless, the primary responsibility in Ireland has to lie with the FF led Governments since 1997, their developer/banker friends, the Central bank and the financial regulator.

In any case the primary losers now are the poor, old, sick and unemployed, few, if any of whom bear any responsibility for the crisis.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 09:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you really want claim the neoliberal policies of Ireland were all fine until the property bubble? And did either Fine Gael or even Labour offer any alternatives at the last election?
Six and half a dozen.
by IM on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 12:00:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neo Liberal policies as such weren't introduced until Charlie McCreevy and PDs decided they preferred Boston to Berlin and introduced pro-cyclical tax reductions at a time of booming development and construction.  You may not be happy with economic policies prior to 1997 but to describe them as neo-liberal would be inaccurate.  There was huge state intervention in economic activity, the trade unions were officially recognised as "social partners" in national economic planning, and social welfare and minimum wages were increased (to what is now regarded as an unsustainable degree).  Throwing the neo-liberal label around too liberally is no more helpful that making nationalistic or Godwinian allegations.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 01:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am using it as shorthand, yes, But how would you dewcribe Fine Gael? Social democrats? And hasn't Labour been very third-wayish now for years?
by IM on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 02:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have also claimed the German policy is not neoliberal. How would you describe it Fine Gael's EPP partners, the CDU? And hasn't the SPD been a model for European third-wayers since Schroeder?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 02:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did say german policy tin this crisi was not neoliberal. And that is true. Prior to that both CDU and SPD have been drifting to the right. That said, the CDU is still to left of say the Tories, or the PP or both FF and FG. And I think, especially in the last years the SPD is going back to the left. And even in worst years we were still tame compared to New Labour.  
by IM on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 03:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two words: Hartz IV.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 03:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was pre-crisis. If we agree we are talking about a economic crisis starting in 2008 or late 2007. One word:
Kurzarbeit.
by IM on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 03:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German response to this crisis has been a single-minded focus on balanced budgets and wage suppression. How isn't that neoliberal policy? Except, of course, insofar as it might be Austrianism...

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 06:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real german response has been automatic stabilisers and stimulus. The rest was rhetoric.
by IM on Mon Feb 7th, 2011 at 09:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rhetoric. Right. We all know that constitutional amendments are expressions of rhetoric, not policy.

Incidentally, why shouldn't Ireland pursue countercyclical fiscal policy? Because the current German line is that they shouldn't.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 7th, 2011 at 09:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Irish terms, FG were mildly social democrat under Garrett Fitzgerald, more centrist under Bruton and are now becoming more old style conservative now under Kenny.

Labour wouldn't quite know how to find one way, never mind three...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 02:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

Here's my simplified story about the Irish economy:

  • During the late 80's and early 90's there were a sequence of changes - tax cuts from very high rates (marginal of 90% at one stage!), the maturation of Irish infrastructure with the help of EU transfer payments, that sort of thing - that freed up the market economy to be reasonably efficient.

  • We started playing some catch-up on the rest of Europe - the whole EU solidarity thing worked, leading to pretty fast growth from a very low base. Not a bad thing.

  • The next ten years of FF-led government was an unholy mix of neo-liberals and populists who wanted to buy power by any means. What followed was a festival of tax cuts and selling the family silver - privatising assets - in order to fund tax cuts. The property boom was encouraged and fanned when it looked like flagging so that further giveaways could take place.

  • Meanwhile, the neo-liberals almost entirely captured the media. Ireland is best viewed as a regional UK media market, with three Irish TV stations and tens of UK or US ones, with UK newspapers and tabloids selling well. Labour ended up believing they couldn't be too lefty if they wanted to get votes because the conventional wisdom, locally and internationally, was entirely against them. Every other day there were reports of how wonderful the rest of the world thought the Irish model was. Ireland was the shining poster child, the richest country in Europe (note that income!=wealth).

  • Complaints (mentioned by Labour) about inequality, about the fragility of the tax system, about the dangers of pro-cyclical policies were all poo-pooed, with the Taoiseach of the time saying that the unbelievers should go kill themselves.

  • Then the economy started to slow and the financial meltdown happened and the government and the financial regulators couldn't bring themselves to understand exactly how badly they screwed up. They went from being the smartest guys in the room to being a crowd of feckless paddies again and they have no idea how to deal with that except more of the same: cut, cut, cut and be good little boys and girls and don't let any banks die or the serious people will be upset at them.

  • Bank guarantee, etc.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 7th, 2011 at 10:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I call Godwin!

I would be very careful with that call. Were one to ignore the rampant short-sighted, self-serving stupidity employed by so many in their response to the Irish debt crisis, one could construct a narrative composed of the long litany of macro-economic policies and ECB decisions that have consistently been favorable to Germany and unfavorable to the periphery that Germany is attempting to achieve by economics what they could not achieve by military force 70 years ago. That would be worthy of a Godwin call. (I in fact believe that it is a group of wealthy individuals and those who serve them in several countries that, not entirely coherently, is advancing such a goal in their somewhat collective self interest.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 11:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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