Are The Irish Better Off Poor?

Question: How has Dublin’s rapid economic growth altered the city?

Guggi: I think it probably made people greedy. There is no doubt about the fact that a lot of positive things came out of it. You know, you see beautiful buildings. You find yourself living in a city that's very pleasant. You don't see people suffering from poverty or you do, perhaps, but a lot less. But you know now that the bubble has burst and the economy has collapsed, I do think it's a real blessing in disguise. I don't think there's any doubt about that. So much of, you know -- the great music even in recent times has not come from wealthy, spoiled children that eat too much, that are given too much, that take stuff for granted. It did come from hard times and it did come from a certain level of poverty. So I think it's a blessing in disguise, but I going to say, having said that, I did enjoy the good times.

Question: What major changes do you notice in the city now?

Guggi: Yeah. You notice a big difference now; a lot of restaurants closing, a lot of shops closing, and you know people are maybe a little bit panicked, and the media, I think, in Ireland, hammered consumer confidence and I think that played a very big part in the bubble bursting, coming down so fast. I think that could have been avoided. I think people are now starting to get a little bit bored with the recession and talk of the recession. So I think that's a good thing, but yeah, you notice differences. We've kind of stopped celebrating. But we were over-celebrating, so you know. Now it's evening out a little bit. I don't think that's a bad thing.

Recorded on October 7, 2009

As Ireland waves farewell to its boom years as the ‘Celtic Tiger’, the Dublin-based artist, Guggi, wonders if a return to hard times isn’t actually blessing for the city.

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less