Ideological Power and the Response to the Crash
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As explained in Chapter 2, an important dimension of neoliberalisation is ideological. The crisis in Ireland has provided elites with an opportunity to strengthen their position vis-à-vis ordinary people. This task, however, requires a considerable amount of ideological work in order to contain popular opposition to policies that are not in the common interest and to induce a certain amount of consent — tacit or active — from the population. We argue that the agenda setting media have played a central role in this task by reporting on government policy in a largely positive light during the crisis. This is illustrated through a discussion of the housing bubble, the bank guarantee, the EU-IMF bailout, and austerity. A further aim of this chapter is to explain how the policy response to the crash has deepened neoliberalism in Ireland (for details, see Mercille, 2015). In particular, moves such as the rescue of financial institutions by the state and the setting up of ‘bad banks’ to cleanse banks of their bad loans have been squarely anti-market, as they have prevented banks from going bust. Such a response has contributed greatly to maintaining and increasing elite power over ordinary people. In effect, the latter have been forced to pay to save the former.
KeywordsEuropean Union Gross Domestic Product House Price International Monetary Fund European Central Bank
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