The Consumption Function

We can revert to growth more quickly if we stick together – The Irish Times – Sat, Feb 07, 2009

I believe that we are citizens first and consumers next. And for many people like yourselves, yes, there is a crisis of consumer confidence; yes, there is a real worry about where this is all going to end; yes, how prolonged and acute will this recession be.

The ‘citizens first consumers next bit’ has been sticking in my mind all day. I have heard Cowen come out with this before: it seems to be his big idea. But if a Taoiseach thought that people were consumers first and citizens next you’d have to worry. That said consumers next after citizens in the list of nouns that apply to us is worrying too. To be a consumer, you need money. But most of us only get money in exchange for work. So most people’s status as a worker precedes their status as a consumer. But for a Taoiseach to say in front of an audience of captains of industry that he believes we are citizens first and workers next and consumers after that might have watered down the rapturous applause a bit.

3 Responses to “The Consumption Function”

  1. 1 coc February 9, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Maybe he had Dolores McNamara in mind?

  2. 2 Seán Báite February 10, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I really am losing my English – is the act of spending money on shite the same word/spelling as the popular early 20th century disease stamped out by Noel Browne ??
    Reminds me of a Bukowski poem also where he staggers around the words ‘consume’ and ‘consumption’.. Conor – the DO Bukowski expert -will have to tell you which one… Some Sodgers of Destiny speechwriter is reading Bukowski ??
    The world really is coming to an end..

    Well, actually, checking again, it’s only Hugh Green that’s reading Bukowski – don’t start asking that girl from accounts to make the last 5 minutes on earth memorable just yet…

  3. 3 Hugh Green February 11, 2009 at 9:14 am


    Maybe so.

    Misery of the returned emigrant – The Irish Times – Wed, Feb 11, 2009

    We gaped in disbelief as successive ministers for finance behaved like lumpen proletariat lottery winners


    It is indeed.

    Bukowski is one of the many well-known authors of whom I have read absolutely nothing. More of an Agatha Christie man, you understand.

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