This gripping financial morality tale is both a coruscating analysis of the habits of the last decade and a warning for all time.
The most spectacular bust of the global financial crisis was not the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers or the near-collapse of AIG but the demise of the entire economy of Ireland. Ship of Fools, a gripping financial morality tale, is both a coruscating analysis of the habits of the last decade and a warning for all time.
The death of the Celtic tiger is not an extinction event to trouble naturalists. There was, in fact, nothing natural about this tiger. The "Irish Economic miracle" was built on good old-fashioned subsidies (from the European Union) and the simple fact that until the 1980s Ireland was by the standards of the developed world so economically backward that the only way was up. And as it began to catch up to European and American averages, the boom lured in investors, the Irish government deregulated and all but abandoned financial oversight, and a great Irish financial ceilidh began. It would last for a decade.
When the global financial crash of 2008 arrived it struck Ireland harder than anywhere. Among the avalanche of statistics—as toxic as the property-based assets that lay beneath many of them—none was more revealing than that Ireland's bad bank, the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) held more (worthless) assets than any publicly quoted property company in the world, dwarfing giants such as GE Capital Real Estate and Morgan Stanley Real Estate.
Under all the debris lay the corpse of the Celtic Tiger. How Ireland managed to achieve such a spectacular implosion is a stunning story of corruption, carelessness, and venality, told with passion and fury by one of Ireland's most respected journalists and commentators.
Fintan O'Toole is a columnist and critic for the Irish Times. He was elected Irish Journalist of the Year in 1993 and was a drama critic for the New York Daily News from 1997–2001. The author of several previous books, he is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Granta, and other publications. He currently lives in Dublin.
Pub date: 03/02/10
Price: $25.95/32.95 Canada
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Carton Quantity: 20
Business, Economics, Politics
Selling Territory: USC