There is a hackneyed narrative in Ireland and beyond that lays the blame for the economic and social collapse at the door of venal politicians and their paymasters among the property speculators, with the banks cast in the role of the indispensable vehicle for keeping both the speculators and the reputation of politicians afloat.
That is part of the story; but all our commentators have failed to address the question of how this arose.
Through a series of lively chapters dealing with specific aspects of society, Conor McCabe traces the origins of the crisis to the society inherited at partition. So much of what has been written and spoken about the crisis in the last few years has been the analytical equivalent of white noise. In this book McCabe finally adds some much-needed clarity and insight to the debate.
Myths and easy assumptions in political discourse have been around so long that nobody even considers them odd. This book is the first major attempt to tackle these myths and wrong-headed certainties and as a result is extremely engaging.
McCabe outlines the structural problems in the economy and their roots in the decisions made by successive Governments since the foundation of the state. Along the way he tackles all the major strands that eventually tie the knot we find ourselves in today: housing, agriculture, industry, and finance.
The book builds momentum as it carefully details how policy in these central areas has been deliberately and consistently designed to benefit an elite class of middle-men whose stunted vision of capitalism has shaped the Irish nation.
The process is patient, methodical and scholarly but always readable and clear. This book is a must for all those who wish to develop a thorough understanding of our present economic predicament.Conor McCabe will deliver the People’s Movement’s Crotty Memorial Lecture, 2011, in October. Details to follow. People’s Movement · 25 Shanowen Crescent · Dublin 9 · www.people.ie · 087 2308330 · post (at) people (dot) ie