So the grand Pooh-Bah of the U.S. economic scene Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize in tow, has decided to join the chorus condemning Ireland to financial ruin.
Not so fast Mr. Krugman.
In his Monday column in The New York Times he says America could turn Irish, which he says is the worst-case outlook for the world economy.
He cites the property bubble, the tanking tax revenues, the ailing banks and a host of other factors that have turned Ireland into the sick man of Europe.
He has jumped on the merry-go-round that every economist in the world has in an orgy of Irish-bashing that is without parallel.
But I think America would be privileged to turn Irish, Mr. Krugman.
Nowhere in his column has he talked about the Irish people other than as statistics.
That could be because he has never met them, or is ignorant of their history.
What he should know is this.
Yes, things are bad in 2009 in Ireland. But they've seen a lot worse.
Back in the 1840s millions of Irish starved to death in Europe’s worst 19th century genocide as the British stood idly by.
The country recovered and defeated the British.
Not only that, they have endured and overcome more than almost any other nation on earth.
In the 1950s the country had nothing and huge numbers emigrated.
In the 1980s the country was broke again and many more emigrated.
So the Irish, Mr. Krugman, are well used to adversity, the kind you could never possibly imagine from your Ivy League office at Princeton.
This 2009 recession is hardly a blip compared to some of the great tragedies of the past. This too will be overcome.
He doesn't mention for instance, Ireland's greatest success story - the creation of peace in the North.
In fact, Ireland was so successful in getting sworn enemies to lay down their weapons and talk to each other that the model is now being used in other places.
Just today, the Times of London reports on a new Israeli/Palestinian initiative, which is creating a space for suicide bombers and soldiers to make peace.
The meetings are taking place at a peace center in Donegal. The work is based on the Irish way to peace.
You also didn’t mention the incredibly educated work force, the prime geographic location as an investment point for American companies, the membership of the European Union, which has transformed the state.
None of those advantages existed in the past. Compared to those times, the Irish are positively flush with alternatives.
And they are very good when they get around to it. Just three generations after the Famine, a son of a famine emigrant was elected president of the United States. John F. Kennedy was arguably one of the greatest to ever occupy that office.
That’s an aspiration to greatness fulfilled. Little wonder Yeats referred to them as the “indomitable Irishry.”
Yes they have been greedy and self-serving, and the politicians and bankers deserve all the vitriol they get.
But there are also the poets, the scholars, the Bonos, the Seamus Heaneys, the legacy of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett who give the country a depth of perception that America can never seem to manage.
It is the kind of perception that allows them to consider people as more than numbers to move around a flow chart, that looks at their history, their character, their ability to survive.
The Irish have all that, Mr. Krugman, and more.
So don’t say the worst thing for America to do is turn Irish.
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