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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Credit Crunch (Stephen Kinsella)

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Stephen Kinsella

Credit Crunch

Like adding fuel to a fire, unwarranted credit expansions by banks fuel increases in economic activity. Consider a loan advanced by a bank to build a housing estate. This loan causes employment to rise, and in a tight labour market, wages to rise, and rent of plant and machinery to rise. In the case of the Irish banks in the height of the asset boom much of this money was borrowed from abroad and lent domestically.

Loans allow economic actors to secure scarce resources at higher prices, which in turn spurs increases in the prices of other goods and services, which help others repay other loans, and so the cycle continues. This is an unsustainable cycle, however, because the supply of credit is finite. Eventually, credit levels reach too high a point, and a rapid contraction in prices of assets takes place. Each credit boom contains the seeds of its own collapse, a so-called Minsky cycle.

Almost immediately, credit becomes unavailable for almost any purpose. Banks, rapidly replacing yesterday’s greed with today’s fear, become wary of any further credit extension, even for worthy projects undertaken by low risk borrowers. This is a credit crunch situation. The economy contracts more than it should, and loses potential output, as would-be successes are never funded. Losses in one market are then amplified into large dislocations and turmoil in other, usually financial, markets.

Credit crunches are comparable to episodes of...

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