As the economies of the two artificially separated parts of the island of Ireland both limp from one crisis to another it would appear, certainly from media reports, that all sympathy is aimed in the direction of the employers and business. There is little mention of the people who really suffer when capitalism finds itself in trouble, the working class. This should come as no major surprise as it is the capitalist class, the wealth accumulators, and not the wealth creating working class, who own and run society for their own benefit. Governments, Irish, British and those who sit in that farcical Northern Assembly who call themselves a government but lack full governmental powers, are there to govern the affairs of and in the interests of the capitalist class. On a recent UTV news report the regional newscaster was almost in tears as she was informing the viewers, some of whom had probably lost their jobs, how hard the ‘economic slowdown' would be for business and how bad businesses would be hit, how profits would suffer, etc. Needless to say there was very little words of sympathy for the working class many of whom stand to lose their employment, not chiefly because of any bad government decision or policy, ( after all they only do what their capitalist masters require them to do,) but because of working in an unstable, unreliable and uncaring system.
Capitalism is a system geared solely to allowing the minority capitalist class to amass huge profits on the backs of the majority working class. It is true that in these post-modern times some working class people don't see themselves as working class and for these people a reality check is probably about to ensue. Working class (proletariat) people are only permitted to make a living and improve their living standards on the strict proviso that the capitalists are to amass huge profits out of the labour power of these same workers. If it is not profitable it does not get produced irrespective as to how much society as a whole needs the product, no production no labour required.
In the Twenty Six Counties the picture is much the same as in the Six Counties. The building trade, as far as labour is concerned, is in a mess because property speculators cannot make as much profit out of once vastly inflated house prices. Therefore the people who actually build the houses, workers in the form of Bricklayers, Carpenters, Electricians, Plasterers, Glaziers, Painters and Labourers, etc., are "laid off". Less profits for these speculators and employers should not be confused with no profit; it simply means not as much profit. This scenario is not specific to the building trade as it is repeated in many other sectors.
What can those gallant men and women who consider themselves fit to govern sitting in Dail Eirean do about the situation? The strange fact is that, like most people who are in jobs, they are incapable of carrying out, they don' know what to do! Even if they did have in inkling as to which way they should proceed they would find progress very difficult because they blindly follow an economic policy placing the interests of the "market" over and above all other considerations (and if the Lisbon Treaty is ever passed these interests will take an even larger preference). They take a minimum intervention stance in the economy, a modern equivalent of the 19th century Laissez Faire economic ideology initially based on the "invisible hand" theories of the 18th century economist Adam Smith, and even he accepted labour as the chief contributor in creating wealth. If these people who sit in Dail Eireann and their counterparts who do the same in the parliaments of other countries had any idea of what to do, or had the balls to do it, they would take a more hands on approach to the economy, whether it suited the needs of the capitalist class or not (and whether Brussels approved or not),
- stop tax breaks for big business,
- nationalise all medium to large companies, including the building trade,
- cap profits
- back away from the notion of a pay freeze at the instigation of the employers.
Economic planning as opposed to the anarchy of the so-called free market would become economic policy. Had this policy previously been adopted the economic slowdown which could reach recession levels may have been avoided. Instead of giving corporate tax reductions and tax breaks to their masters in big business the same money, after all public services were taken care of, could have been saved for times of crisis. Put simply a socialist planned economy based on production for the needs of people as opposed to the profits of the few.
Well fellow proletarians it looks for us like the crisis is about to arrive, and when Brian Cowen, An Taoiseach, went to the piggy bank guess what? It was empty. Poor Brian and his cabinet did not know what to do when suddenly he, Brian, had an idea: we'll BORROW the money from our capitalist friends abroad. What Brian and his puppet government did not realise is that capitalism has no friends, they even despise each other such is the ruthless nature of the system. As a consequence of this imbecile system, governed by fools for the benefit of thieves, it is the working class and not the robber barons who normally suffer. This, we are constantly reminded, is the only way, the finest route, the only pragmatic political avenue, to follow in the management of our affairs, and the problem and tragedy is people, even those who stand to lose their jobs and therefore their income, swallow it and, tragically will encourage their children to do the same.
Source: The Plough, Vol. 5, No. 9