Comment 6639

By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted May 11, 2007 at 09:28:25

“This is far from an economic issue”

I disagree. I’ll try to make my argument again:

Question - Would N Ireland be enjoying its current climate of peace (however sustainable and ‘real’ it is) if the people did not have some hope for their future prosperity?

I don't believe so. While I recognize that there is more to this issue than JUST economics, I do believe that individual prosperity plays a huge role in creating the foundation for peace.

When people are getting richer – or when they have a genuine hope that they can get richer – there is lest unrest and less inclination to fight.

We can argue the ins and outs of the particular N Ireland ‘problem’ all day long (believe me - I'd rather not) but that’s not really my point. My point is that where you have poverty and income disparity you have resentment and just the right ‘fuel’ for a conflict – any conflict. I believe that Ireland’s history of poverty and its sense of alienation and hopelessness provided the… kindling - if you like – which allowed the conflict to burn for so long. I’m not saying the conflict was not/is not real – I’m just questioning whether it would have gone on so long if Ireland had been the economic powerhouse, cool cousin of Europe that it is today - 10, 20 years ago. I don’t believe so. Where you have a nation on the road to prosperity people are more inclined to put aside their grievances and get on with making money.

My other point is about the notion of ‘peace’, in that you can’t have a truly peaceful nation (a moral peace, I guess you would call it) unless every citizen has the same opportunity and is treated fairly.

Like I say I don’t want to get into the N Ireland debate (please...) I just want to make the point that poverty and income disparity affect more than just people on low incomes. It affects the stability of our communities and our morality as well.

(Is it just me or is all this way too heavy for a Friday morning...? Come on! The pubs are almost open!)

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