David McWilliams: The ‘Merc index’ shows the Irish property market madness

In 1973, when Ireland joined EEC, a Mercedes cost more than an average new house

A 1970s Mercedes Benz: the Merc is a traded good, sold in the competitive international market, where its price is determined by competitive international forces. Photograph: Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty

A 1970s Mercedes Benz: the Merc is a traded good, sold in the competitive international market, where its price is determined by competitive international forces. Photograph: Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty

Few songs capture the power of branding, commercial manipulation and consumer yearning like Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz.

With her opening lines “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”, Joplin sums up the “arms race” nature of modern consumerism whereby one purchase, in this case her friends buying Porsches, has to be cancelled out by her getting a Mercedes-Benz.

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