Ireland’s Bankrupt .. is the system as well?

Ireland is bankrupt.

The stability of the Euro-zone, and even the EU, is threatened. All because of an economic system run out of control.

Yes personal greed played a part, yes Ireland acted like a teenager in a sweet store with a winning lotto ticket, but it seems to me that what is happening is much more systemic. The system of endless hyper-consumerism and limitless capitalism is lies exposed, a fallen emperor with no clothes.

This is what Alan Storkey wrote 10 years ago in a book called Christ and Consumerism about some of the lies of consumerism:

– That all the world’s resources are ours; that the whole world is ours and we can control it and gain it.

– That life consists of consumption and consumption gives meaning to life

– That consumption is the dominant relationship with have with the world rather than stewardship and care

– That as long as consumption appears to work, life with God, others, creation and ourselves can be ignored

And here is where he said such lies would lead:

“The cultural lie, pushed by a well-paid priesthood, is fragmenting the lives of millions and producing shoddy goods  …. We will be surprised when the fragmenter idol of consumption itself fragments. Recession, the fall of the dollar, the atrophying of compulsive buying and competitive world consumption will take their toll.”

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4 thoughts on “Ireland’s Bankrupt .. is the system as well?

  1. I asked a question two months ago of some financial friends (who already think I’m a nutter) ‘Would it be such a bad thing if the economy failed?’ Literally, they threw hands up in horror and to a man detailed for me all the things that would happen, e.g. mass unemployment and people unable to pay bills, health service ruined etc. So I then asked, ‘In that scenario then, could we find an alternative means of providing productive work, dealing with debt etc.’ But not one of them could imagine an alternative to what we already have.

    It’s like any form of faith really. From the inside it is hard to imagine anything else being true. And what is often required is a cataclysm of some form to move things

  2. Great analogy. Seems the system depends on hyper consumption in order to survive – if we consumed just what we needed the whole economy collapses. Meanwhile we consume the world’s resources at a mad rate and consume ourselves in the process. And it’s all pretty recent stuff. Any man-made system can be changed – I’d love to hear good realistic alternatives … they must be out there?

  3. Prophetic words indeed Patrick. Here’s a line from breakfast with Anglo by Simon Kelly (developer who went bankrupt) about his work – “Up to that point we had looked at central Dublin as a series of buildings that seemed to be fixed for all eternity….. Now we looked upon Dublin as a flat map full of opportunities, with the buildings ready to be torn down. Land was the name of the game and Dublin was full of it. The buildings no longer mattered.” You could say the same for history, for people, for relationships, for community. none of it mattered – it was all just about money.

  4. Thanks Sean – captures ‘capitalism with no limits’ and what it does.
    Coming back to alternatives – I wonder how seriously Michael Schluter’s / Jubilee Centre’s ideas for reform are being taken these days. He was being pretty prophetic as well.
    I’d love to think that the failure of Ireland inc would lead to a whole revisioning of the Republic coming up to 2016 and that would include a radical revision of the system that led to the collapse … but my sceptical side ain’t holding its breath.

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