Celtic Tiger & American Hubris

I don't usually link to articles that are not available online, but these two pieces from The New York Review of Books are very much worthwhile, even if you have to hoof it to the library.

The first is a review of Fintan O'Toole's Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger, which looks at the devestating effects of the housing bubble on the Irish economy, and how Irish politicians played along as the country cruised toward the iceberg.

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The second is a much-deserved encomium to William Pfaff, right, the 81-year-old columnist whose skepticism of the use of American power abroad has proven prescient time and again. At the end of his review Geoffrey Wheatcroft credits Pfaff's Catholic sensibility (he was an editor at Commonweal a long time ago) for his subtle understanding of human fallibility:

By formation a traditional Catholic, [Pfaff] sees human history sub specie aeternitatis, with no reason to suppose that mere material progress will itself redeem fallen humanity. For many years he has challenged the conventional wisdom of the age, speaking with a deep understanding born of past experience. Might his unconventional wisdom turn out to be the voice of the future?

Tim Reidy

 

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