A society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world, whom he has called up with his spells.
Marx and Engels- The Communist Manifesto
As election placards are hoisted throughout the country urging the masses to vote for this or that party’s bogus policies, their own particular tint of the same colour, the spectre of Ireland’s recent industrial past has once again reared its ugly head: unemployment. For a while, it seemed that this problem was a class room matter, something which the insouciant nouveau riche of the Celtic Tiger generation read about when studying economic history. The consensus of the last few years has been that Ireland has become one big happy middle class family. Everyone has money, so it seems. Therefore any talk of real left-right politics is scrupulously circumscribed. However, this year’s political concert rehearsals have been surprised by an unexpected cacophony: unemployment. Could this become an election issue before the curtain is raised in a few months time? The announcement of new job losses in Cork last week came as a shock to those who faithfully imbibed the government’s economic propaganda; ie those who had got married, bought property and booked their two weeks in the sun.
‘The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.’
It is well known that the most central feature of capitalism is the boom and bust phenomenon. Marx and Engels spoke of ‘ the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on trial, each time more threateningly the very existence of the entire bourgeois society’. For a while now we have heard that the property market, the internal combustion engine of the Irish economy, may be showing signs of slowing down. This is hardly surprising, as those who are building the houses, ie the property developers are renting them out at inflated prices, flagrantly ignoring the needs of the majority of the population.
‘constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones’.
The government by failing to ensure the provision of the internet to every citizen of the state has weakend Ireland’s ability to be a competitor in the global information economy. What we have in the case of Eircom is an example of capitalism being hoist by its own petard, which is of course its very essence.