The Simple Things You See Are All Complicated

Here I shall do something very crude. I am somewhat pre-empting the conclusion to my planned 400-part series on the evolution of the meaning of the word ‘bourgeois’ in mah brane, but I was thinking this morning about Angela Davis’s remark (I think it was her anyway) that any time George Bush said ‘democracy’ you should replace it with ‘capitalism’ to understand the real meaning of what he was saying. I propose that if you are reading any Irish newspaper, a great deal of insight is to be gained, when reading political comment and opinion, by replacing the words ‘Ireland’ or ‘our country’ or ‘the Irish people’ or ‘the State’, with the word ‘bourgeoisie’.

For instance.

Government to publish Nama legislation today – The Irish Times – Thu, Jul 30, 2009

“We cannot go back to exchanging beans. A banking system, an efficient one that meets the needs of a growing economy is needed,” Dr Bacon told RTÉ’s Morning Bourgeoisie.

“The bourgeoisie can’t afford not to have an efficient, functioning banking system. If we went that course the result would be a stagnant economy into the long term future,” he added.

Moment of truth is fast approaching on pensions – The Irish Times – Wed, Jul 29, 2009

The bourgeoisie cannot be expected to fund pensions for everyone. Private pension provision for those who can afford it offers the only prospect of alleviating the burden on the bourgeoisie.

Findings almost irrelevant as perceptions rule – The Irish Times – Tue, Jul 28, 2009

I’m a short-term governance consultant for the World Bank and regularly, to the point of tedium, meet the “And what is going on in the Irish bourgeoisie!” question. There is the monotony of anecdotes from colleagues who have been to yet another presentation about compliance with international financial and banking benchmarks and how embarrassed they would be if they were Irish bourgeois. And so forth.

Now I’m not saying it always works, because it doesn’t, and of course it’s more complicated than that. But you’d be surprised at how often it does.

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4 Responses to “The Simple Things You See Are All Complicated”


  1. 1 EWI July 30, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I hereby dub this “Green’s Law”. Well done!

  2. 2 David July 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

    That must have been the thinking behind ‘Ireland’s Call’

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