Gloating about Quinn family misfortunes is sickening
The pursuit of small-fry individuals distracts the public’s attention from an economic system not fit for purpose
THE PUBLIC gloating about the misfortunes of the Quinn family has been one of the most sickening chapters in the recent elongated degradation of Irish life. I have never met any of the Quinns, and hold no candle for them, but I truly wonder whether there is any point in having a successful economy when the rest of the apparatus has become so poisoned with such bitterness, stupidity and malice.
I take Judge Peter Kelly at his word when he describes as “mesmerisingly complex” the schemes devised by the Quinns to put assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank. But I wonder if I am dreaming that a bank which bankrupted Ireland is permitted to bring Ireland’s most successful business to its knees, and that many of the citizens of the country undone by the forces now pursuing the Quinns are rejoicing because a rogue bank has put a young man behind bars.
Seán Quinn snr made a mistake of a most fundamental kind. He shifted his attention from economic activity grounded in human engagement with three-dimensional substances such as stone and glass to the type of “wealth generation” that engages in conjuring to make zeroes add up to zillions.
But, then again, this conjuring is now at the very core of the mechanism that drives our society forward along the lines we have elected to propel it. As far as I can see, Seán Quinn followed the logic of the system to the letter, doing precisely what its logic invited – required – him to do.
It went wrong, yes, but this was inevitable. There was always going to be a moment when the debt pyramid collapsed, and not just for Anglo and the Quinns. The outcome of this inevitability can be seen in the conflagration currently enveloping Europe. Yet, we gloat over the humiliation of one family who once put bread on the tables of thousands.
The “sin” here is not that of any one person or company – it is the collective failure of our society to educate itself about the nature of the financial, economic and banking systems we have depended upon for our material needs. The money system we have acquiesced in having foisted upon us operates on a kind of alchemy, which allows private banking interests to generate what we rather ludicrously refer to as “our” money.
Those who interpret the meaning of these events speak as though there was a fixed pool of money which belongs to the Irish people, inferring that what has happened is that certain people have “stolen” from “us”. This is nonsense. “Our” money system is owned and controlled by the banks. This is the way our leaders have decided things should be, and there has been no appreciable dissent.