Celtic Tiger to follow the Asian Miracle?

The first of a very interesting three-part series, All watched over by machines of loving grace, was broadcast by BBC 2 last Monday (9.00pm).

The programme analyses the idea that humans have been colonised by their machines.

Last week’s show focused on the part played by computers in global finances and, as an example, analysed the rise and fall of the Asian Miracle, a property boom almost identical to that in Ireland. It made for chilling viewing.

When developers defaulted on their loans Western investors panicked and rushed to take their money out of the countries involved.

The IMF eventually intervened with massive loans to stabilise the situation but at a price. The countries involved were forced to turn themselves into models for the Free Market which meant cutting government spending and getting rid of corruption and nepotism in the ruling elites.

Unfortunately, the IMF programme only worked in the short term. Eventually, currencies collapsed, in some cases, losing up to 80% of their value. Economic ruin led to rioting and looting bringing some states to the brink of anarchy.

The principal aim of the IMF intervention was, apparently, to rescue Western investors, not individual countries. The bill was, ultimately, placed on the shoulders of ordinary and mostly poor taxpayers.

Prices soared as economic output plummeted resulting in millions falling back into the poverty they thought they had escaped forever. The crisis triggered widespread ethnic and religious strife.

The parallels with Ireland are obvious; it’s just that we haven’t yet reached the end of our particular road.

The countries involved were very angry with the way they were treated by the IMF and Western investors and have pledged never again to allow themselves become the victim of such naked greed.

The resources of these countries are many multiples of those available to Ireland so they are likely to succeed in their ambition to determine their own destiny.

Ireland has few resources, is still hamstrung by a deeply corrupt political/administrative system and is desperately vying for crumbs from an increasingly crisis ridden EU economic system.

We are, as Morgan Kelly predicted, more and more dependent on the kindness of strangers.