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The Psychology of the Irish Crash

Here is a super article by Tana French, the crime writer, on the psychology of the Irish crash. Its behind a paywall but her argument is as follows 

We are actually deeply cynical and were poor. We didnt really think the Celtic Tiger was real, so we (the masses) were open to manipulation. We were led to believe the cause and effect was – buy houses, get rich. Meanwhile a small interconnected group of selfperpetuating elites were floating in a moral and effect free mist – they were and are self perpetuating and protecting, so they didnt care about cause and effect. 

Some gems of quotes

t’s not the bankers’ actions that have outraged people — pretty much everyone had a fair idea that this was what had gone down. It’s the overpowering sense of amorality revealed on the recordings, which were released by the Irish Independent newspaper. The bankers have a great laugh about the situation. It genuinely never seems to mean anything to them that the taxpayer is going to be forced to pay their bills, to the tune of tens of billions. More than that: it never seems to occur to them that their actions might harm people.

 

 

this amorality could be a symptom of something deeper: a total disconnect between action and consequence.

 

riffing on the famous “slightly dim ex rugby players” meme of Morgan Kelly she goes on 

Our ruling class — including many of the politicians, bankers and property developers who wrecked the economy — is a tiny community, interwoven by friendship, marriages, education, sports and financial transactions to a degree that would be unimaginable in a bigger country. That interweaving has created a safety net that won’t let any of the ruling elite fall. If you’re a banker and your golf buddy’s kid wants to be a banker, then it doesn’t matter if the kid is an idiot, or if he kills cats for kicks: you’ll take him on, and you’ll keep him on

 

and 

THE Irish are notoriously cynical, but the Utopia myth hit at exactly the moment when we were most open to unquestioning belief. The majority of Irish people were so desperately poor, for most of the country’s history, that when suddenly we weren’t broke any longer, the cynicism was washed away by the flood of prosperity. We needed to believe that the Celtic Tiger hadn’t simply wandered in, because that would mean it could wander out again. We needed to believe that we had somehow made it happen, and that therefore there were things we could do, like buying overpriced houses, to make it keep happening. We needed, basically, to believe in that chain of action and consequence. And so the Irish tendency to raise an eyebrow at anything that’s presented as certain paradise dissolved just at the moment when it was needed most.

 

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