How rich was Ireland really?

Not as rich as they thought.  I've been reading Fintan O'Toole's excellent Enough is Enough: How to Build a New Republic.  Mostly it is an expose of Ireland's crony capitalism and bad political institutions.  On economic issues, chapter five offers up the following:

1. During the boom years, property accounted for 72 percent of all assets.

2. For infrastructure, Ireland ranked 26 out of 28 OECD countries.

3. Ireland had a higher share of slow fixed internet connections than in any other comparable country.

4. In terms of R&D or patents, Ireland was well below the OECD average in per capita terms.

5. In the OECD "human and income poverty" rankings, Ireland was 23 out of 25 countries, sandwiched between the United States and Mexico.

6. The country's health care and educational systems are considered subpar.

The author asks: "Did anyone seriously believe the Irish were sixty percent richer than the Germans?"  Income is not wealth.

Unfortunately, the second half of the book collapses into polemics and generalities, but some of the earlier discussions are useful, important, and not available in most other sources.  Here is a review of the book.


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