Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Mad Ireland"

That was the headline of Megan McCardle's post on her Atlantic blog in response to Paul Krugman's New York Times column today about Ireland, "Erin Go Broke". In his column, Dr. Krugman suggested that Ireland got into trouble (it's economy is projected to contract by as much as 10% this year) because it was too free market oriented, noting that Ireland was ranked #3, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore, on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. What Krugman didn't mention is that Australia, which was ranked #4 on that Index last year (and is ranked #3, switching places with Ireland, on the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom) is weathering the economic storm much better than Ireland or the United States. Australia is in a recession now, but its economy is projected to contract by less than 1% this year. So perhaps having a free market economy wasn't the proximate cause of Ireland's economic troubles.

Megan's post in response to Krugman's column isn't worth quoting here -- the best part of it was the headline, in response to which I wrote,

Hey, is that an allusion to Auden in the headline (from his poem "In Memory of W.B. Yeats"*)? If so, nice: the sign of a tasteful and expensive education (to borrow Neal Stephenson's phrase).


*I'm thinking of the great line "Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry", which I think of whenever I flip the channels and see Celtic Woman on a local PBS station. I wonder if "Mad Ireland" hurt them into doing their 50-piece Enya covers.

The photo above, of what apparently are the stars of Celtic Woman, is from the Celtic Woman website. Note that the neither the photo nor the name "Celtic Woman" gives a sense of the scope of the enterprise that is Celtic Woman. It appears to be comprised of dozens of Celtic women, along with dozens of Celtic men.


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