It’s hardly news now that Ireland is bankrupt, at least as far as a country can be. I suspect Portugal, Italy and Spain may be in deeper. The following article looks at the situation 4 years ago. We tend to forget just how obvious the problems were a long time ago, and have not be told the truth about how it was all hidden and denied.
The BBC now reports – There are 621 ghost estates across Ireland now, a legacy of those hopeful years. One in five Irish homes is unoccupied. The obvious question of who people imagined would live in all these new-builds makes Irish people wince now.
About 1 in 30 homes in the UK are unoccupied. It we go back even further to the collapse of the ‘thrifts’ in the USA, we find a story very similar to that in Ireland. Decent local banks or building societies that did standard local trading taken over by dubious and crooked interests and getting into massive trouble in a property bubble.
My own belief is that economics is not at the base of any of this, but crime. My thesis is that crime has now replaced imperialism in money-making fundamentals, themselves largely detached from relations with hard work. We see little real evidence of how ‘success’ is achieved in our systems, and a great deal of evidence we can’t quite ground of success being about who is doing the accounting – from Anderson, Enron and on to ‘crime figures’ in the UK which hardly account for much going on, other than very old offences that are probably marginal to a much wider core now. I have seen schools and academe enter into severe corruption on standards, which always improve whilst we really go backwards.
The Prohibition Years are often regarded as important in US organised crime development – and we have much under prohibition – the drug trade is probably 1% of World GDP (massive when one compares this with agriculture at 4%). We also have massive taxation on nicotine and booze, plus huge retailing costs. Crooks like high levels of tax and retailing costs as they don’t pay the first and can cut the latter severely. Money laundering through building is well known. I’m pretty sure I see politicians in the company of people who could be the kingpins in this.
In the UK we are probably all paying £50 or so extra on car insurance because of ‘crash for cash’, often with Asian links, linked again to drug and gun gangs – one wonders about terrorism, but I have other ideas on where this money goes. I’m not convinced there is much real regulation, partly because of the Irish case and how blatantly flawed its bubble was. If we are that dumb, how can we know what is going on in hidden worlds of crime and finance? Someone knows how to make transaction money in all this and how to integrate criminal money. This was the story of the US ‘thrifts’, which also included building houses that could never be homes. I wonder how much cash is liberated through transactions that in the end lead to a worthless pile of bricks and mortar? All we seem to be told is that we foot the bill, not who has had it away with the loot.
Maybe we could export some people to Ireland’s empty homes and off vast housing benefit claims in London?