Whenever I see headlines like, “Ireland now the darling of the US right?” from this week’s Irish Emigrant, it sets off alarm bells.  For the past decade Ireland has exported its development model, a kind of hybrid American neoliberalism (minimal state, privatisation of public services, public-private partnerships, laissez-faire planning, low corporate and individual taxation, light to no regulation, clientism) meets European social welfarism (developmental state, social partnership, welfare safety net, high indirect tax, EU directives and obligations).  Now, it seems, we might be exporting the worst elements of how we’re dealing with the flaws in that economic model.  When Mary Harney stated that “Geographically we are closer to Berlin than Boston.  Spiritually we are probably a lot closer to Boston than Berlin”, she’d have probably been delighted that the Celtic Tiger phenomenon would become the darling of the US right (which undoubtedly it did).  I’m not sure US citizens would be delighted that we still might be their darling.

Rob Kitchin

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