Saturday, October 07, 2006


Mixed Blessings for the Celtic Tiger?

Today I was thinking about a PBS show I watched a few months ago about Ireland's economic turnaround. It was part of the Wide Angle series and it gave a fairly balanced account of the recent changes in Ireland: more trade, more prosperity, but also a changing culture and vicious commercialism. It showed the sale of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Limerick (to be replaced by a pub) as the downside of Ireland's newfound capitalism.

This is not capitalism's fault. How could it be? The only reason the church is going to be replaced by a pub is because people are willing to pay much more for a pub than a church in that particular location. Should the Catholic Church be upset? Probably. But be upset with the people who would rather drop money at the pub than at the church, not capitalism. I think this applies more generally to people who oppose capitalism for its rampant commercialism. Let people be free to make and trade what they want, and you'll reveal that human beings are very materialistic creatures. People criticize capitalism when it reveals the less noble parts of human nature.

Does everyone agree with me or did no one read this post?
Yeah...About that...Sorry, didn't read it.

Naw, I read it. I agree with you. Capitalism and the wealthy are always to blame when new winners and losers are created. We just seem to forget that we exist in a dynamic world.
Agree completely. Also, didn't read the post until just now.

I'm thinking about retiring to Ireland when the welfare state here gets too big to handle.
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