It’s summer school season again when the cognoscenti - journalists, politicians, academics and mandarins – head off to the far ends of the land and discuss worthy matters at Scoil Willie Clancy, the MacGill Summer School and so on.
Scoil Brian Lenihan
At ISME we find it strange that there hasn’t been a Scoil Brian Lenihan set up yet so that the same worthies could spend a week a year, for the next twenty years, about what coulda, shoulda, woulda happened if we did or didn’t have a bank bailout. Between books, an inquiry or three, movies, Oireachtas investigations, Garda questioning, court cases and of course an unending media fascination with the subject, the bank bailout is the financial collapse that keeps on giving. Or should we say, it keeps on giving to those who think that talking about it is going to change much, if anything. Meanwhile the rest of us keep on working, trying to keep our businesses open, not having time to yak, yak, yak.
There’s no text book in the school of hard economics
What happened over the weekend in Greece is what could have happened in Ireland had we not taken the drastic decision that someone had to take. No matter who was taking the decision somebody had to do something. That’s what the Greeks haven’t done. They’re stuck. As we know there is no text book as to what is the right thing to do. Even if there were, since the Irish banks weren’t telling the truth anyway, any decision was going to be based on wrong data. But doing nothing was not an option.
Not waving but drowning
The ATM’s in Greece have run out of cash. That is exactly what would have happened here in Ireland if a decision, some decision, had not been taken. Again, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that there may have been other options, but our guess is that at the height of the storm you could only see the next big wave coming to drown you.
No ‘next generation’
Empty ATMs and no access to cash means the economy shudders, very quickly probably, to a complete halt. The decisions taken by Cowen and Lenihan mean future generations will be burdened by debt. However, if hard decisions weren’t taken at the time, just like the Greeks have chosen to do over the weekend, there may not have even been a ‘next generation’ to pay any debts had we all been driven off this island by an economic meltdown.
A Greek collapse is not good for anyone. We hope that there will be some resolution to their issues. Everyone can do a good blame – but at the end of the day it’s just another waste of time. The milk is well spilt. Let’s hope that the Greeks decide to take some hard decisions and that all of Europe remains within the EU family.