How today's generation is changing the face of Ireland
On many things he is on the money. In particular the assertion that debt will be the undoing of the whole game. We are spending a ferocious amount of borrowed money and have little regard for value for money or sustaining our success.
The book concentrates on the various types of nouveau rich that have mushroomed here but he ignored like thr rest of us the ghettos that won't prosper and can't join in the monopoly game.
Little regard too is given to the 40% functional illiteracy rate that we still have here. This coupled with easy credit makes it a mugs game because they can't readit they can't see how the lender is taking their first born as a guarantee.
There is an army of kids that will never and can never join the race for more money because they are not educated in primary school and home is too messed up with drugs and partents who are not present in their own lives never mind their kids lives.
Also nothing was said about the unwillingness and the impotent response to broadband and creating an informationally literate society. We rely on piggybacking the malaise of the Eurozone rather than using this time to upskill and push even further ahead. Its almost cool here to be IT illiterate and say that "I don't understand" and "fix it for me" Singapore and Hong Kong are so far ahead in this and we will never catch up when the tables turn and debt kicks us in the behind. It might seem middle class to highlight this but Korea has the highest and fastest broadband in the world. Korea is going places. Samsung products are now better than Sony.
But one thing he is right about is the fact that we are sleepwalking when we think that immigrants the Chinese in particular are going to settle for collecting our glasses and making us sandwiches. They get in on the ground floor and where they go the money follows.
Most of the wealth in the Philippines is held by the Chinese population who immigrated. I would not be surprised to see it happen here too. Educated and because they are unable to borrow from banks here and completely disdainful of debt they will be a major force in the economy. Witness the Song dynasty on Parnell St.
He also left out the whole story of the Filipinos who keep the health service together. Only because their own country is more chaotic do they understand how it doesn't work here. And they keep smiling unlike the permagrumpy green eyed Paddys.
Buy this book and see what is really going on here.
McWilliams writes of a new social class he calls HiCos, Hibernian Cosmopolitans disappointed that the social revolutions they supported in the 1970s, '80s and '90s led to mass consumerism rather than radical political change.
The Bobos -- Bourgeois Bohemians -- (from Brooks's book) fret about the same things as the HiCos. Both are seeking new spiritual paths, rejecting Judaeo-Christian worship and looking instead for New Age solutions to fill the aching void that rampant materialism has corroded into their souls, and each is appalled by the vulgarity of the class below. For the Bobo, that is Patio Man; for the HiCo, it is DIY Declan, a citizen of Deckland, McWilliams's catch-all name for anonymous satellite towns where garden decking is the ultimate sign you have arrived.
DIY Declan sees Woodie's as his temple -- which makes him a very close cousin of Patio Man, who feels the same about Home Depot.
And they are aspirational in very similar ways. For Brooks, that means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate shower stalls'; for McWilliams, it means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate wet-rooms'
In leafy US suburbs, Brooks found that so many blue delivery bags containing the New York Times lay on suburban lawns that the bags were visible from outer space. McWilliams decides that, along with the Great Wall of China, Christmas decorations in Celbridge gardens are the only things that can be seen with the naked eye from space.
It goes on. For Brooks, lifestyle magazines like Conde Nast Traveler are the new pornography. For McWilliams, The Irish Times Thursday supplement is 'property porn'.
Both are amused by the language of recruitment advertising; by the way that we have all embraced artisan breads; by how we drink machiatos and lattes instead of just 'coffee'.
They offer new names for the bars we have raised on our own expectations -- Brooks has an Achieveatron, while McWilliams invents an Attainometer.
And both love the wedding announcement pages. Brooks talks of The New York Times, where 'a Duke MBA who works at NationsBank marries a Michigan law grad who works at Winston and Strawn'. McWilliams, in the Irish Times, finds that 'lawyer beds down with doctor, AIB marries Anglo-Irish' etc -- and both guffaw at the fact that the engagement announcements are known among the monied classes as the Mergers and Acquisitions Page.
The similarities in the two books are astounding. The only significant difference is that Brooks's book was published in 2000 while McWilliams published his book in 2005.
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