Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Irish Economy

The bail-out of the Irish economy is to be welcomed, at least for the moment. However, there are worries to be had over the way the bail-out will effect the other Euro-zone countries that have problems, in particular Portugal and Spain.

It is vital to remember the root cause of the Irish problem. The excellent displays the half-built and unsold residential and industrial complexes on a Google map. You can click on one of the sites and use Google Streetview to drive around the abandoned developments. In some cases they make quite eerie spectacles.

Cuilin on the west coast is a case in point - half-built bare-block houses in a beautiful, remote location, yet with none of the ephemera of building around them - no scaffolding, diggers, cabins, supplies or people makes it appear a curiously apocalyptical world. In some, you see brand-new houses right alongside others that have been half-built and abandoned, the two separated by small wooden fences and a gulf of time and money. Sometimes the complete houses are obviously empty and unloved.

Someone had to pay for these developments, and it was the banks. The reason the developments were started was because everyone thought that they would make vast amounts of money from them as house prices rose unsustainably.

Greed mucked up the Irish economy. It is a salutatory lesson.

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