Ship of Fools

  • by Fintan O'Toole
  • Narrated by Roger Clark
  • 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Between 1995 and 2007, the Republic of Ireland was the worldwide model of successful adaptation to economic globalisation. The success story was phenomenal: a doubling of the workforce; a massive growth in exports; a GDP that was substantially above the EU average. Ireland became the world's largest exporter of software and manufactured the world's supply of Viagra. The factors that made it possible for Ireland to become prosperous - progressive social change, solidarity, major state investment in education, and the critical role of the EU - were largely ignored as too sharply at odds with the dominant free-market ideology. The Irish boom was shaped instead into a simplistic moral tale of the little country that discovered low taxes and small government and prospered as a result.
There were two big problems. Ireland acquired a hyper-capitalist economy on the back of a corrupt, dysfunctional political system. And the business class saw the influx of wealth as an opportunity to make money out of property. Aided by corrupt planning and funded by poorly regulated banks, an unsustainable property-led boom gradually consumed the Celtic Tiger. This is, as Fintan O'Toole writes, "a good old-fashioned jeremiad about the bastards who got us into this mess". It is an entertaining, passionate story of one of the most ignominious economic reversals in recent history.

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What the Critics Say

"O'Toole...has produced a coruscating polemic against the cronyism and corruption that in his view helped to fuel the boom.... [H]is highly readable book is a salutary reminder that cronyism, light regulation and loose ethics can be a deadly combination." (Financial Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Measured, balanced and easy listening

Fintan presents a well balanced view of what went wrong in Ireland. We all want a simple story, the banks caused the crisis. But, he paints a picture of a crisis waiting to happen in a country the kept voting in openly corrupt politicians who allowed unregulated banks and financial institutions to run wild, and sqandered money through the boom times. Worse still the government just kept borrowing to keep it all going for the last 7 or 8 years.

It's a nicely narrated book that moves along quickly and kept me engaged. Tone of the book is conversational.

I really enjoyed it.
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- Amazon Customer

Lazy Narrator or Wrong Choice

Very structured and informative and a book that I may actually buy to read. However, as I am Irish I find the inability of the narrator to properly pronounce Irish place and family names correctly must infuriating. To my mind this is an unnecessary frustration. Was it not possible to get an Irish person to narrate or for your chosen narrator to do some research / checking. Too lazy ? Unprofessional and, for me, spoils an otherwise excellent book.
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- Ray

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-08-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios