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Ship of Fools

How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger
著者: Fintan O'Toole
ナレーター: Roger Clark
再生時間: 7 時間 46 分
カテゴリー: 洋書, Business

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あらすじ・解説

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.

©2010 Fintan O'Toole (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

批評家のレビュー

“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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  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Derek
  • 2011/04/03

Never Trust An Irish Bank Again

In this audiobook, the author goes into the political, economic and financial regulatory history of the Republic of Ireland (the "Celtic Tiger" lauded in the 90s). You'll meet shady politicians, land developers, and more, some lineages stretching as far back as the 60s and 70s, and come away finding how deeply rooted and tacitly accepted these corrupt practices are.

One chapter goes into how all the big companies from America, Italy and around the globe domiciled themselves in Dublin to take advantage of tax loopholes so large, you could hide Bermuda in them. Admittedly, some of the reinsurance schemes and paper companies are a bit sophisticated to follow, but the despicable greed comes through loud and clear in the narration.

I may never trust another Irish bank again after learning all of this. I used to own shares of AIB but not anymore (fortunately I sold before the meltdown), and never again. The book will help you understand the financial reform and economic austerity that the Republic of Ireland has to go through today to pick-up the pieces of the wreckage described up through 2008 in the book, and why democratic though it may be, the electorate simply continue to accept these practices as long as their local politicians bring home the bacon.

The one detraction I felt from the audiobook were the quantity of numbers being thrown out there to the listener in the narrative (particularly in the earlier part of the book). The author moves arbitrarily from one year to another comparing numbers: GDPs, tax revenue, per capita income, real estate development measures, etc. This can be hard to follow, especially in the audio format.

Otherwise, it's a good listen for a deep and dark look into the underbelly of Irish politics and finance that the travel brochures and Michael Flatley won't give you.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • 2015/07/07

corruption and greed

With the default of Greece I thought it might be appropriate to read about some of the other troubled economies of the E.U. I saw this book by O’Toole and thought it might be interesting and I must say it sure was.

O’Toole is a commentator and columnist for the Irish Times and is an excellent writer. The book is written in a clear concise manner and is comprehensively researched. This is a serious book, it argues that financial power should be regulated, that crooks should be punished, that corruption should be exposed and not rewarded at the ballot box. O’Toole also outlines changes the Irish need to make to rebuild their country into a strong, financially viable country again.

O’Toole points out that the Irish boom came about from the outside not by changes, growth, and desire of the people. The government encouraged corporations to come to Ireland by offering little or no taxes, and lax regulations.

Wealthy land speculators had cornered urban markets, driving housing prices up 500 per cent in a decade. O’Toole points out that when the crash of 2008 came, the GDP shank, housing prices went into free fall, its banking system collapsed and gross indebtedness outstrips that of Japan. The author blames corrupt politicians, lax regulation, bankers complicit in fraud and tax evasion.

The pity of it O’Toole says is that the boom years were largely squandered. For a brief moment the county had the resources to improve its crumbling social facilities instead it blew it. Everyone should read about this subject and learn about the hazard of government debt before more and more countries follow in the wake of Greece. Roger Clark narrated the book.


  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Konstantin
  • 2013/03/11

Good for getting a view on Irish politics/econ

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you would like to get a view on what is going in Irish politics and economics (and demystify the celtic tiger phenomenon), this book is a good source. The problem with the story is that the author didn't separate two things: corruption and cronyism on the one side, and market economy and small government on the other side. It looks like he implicitly assumes that the lack of regulation is a very bad thing per se. While defending this stance might take another book, he should have explicitly articulated his views in this book. It is important, because it is an accepted view that the Irish economy grew so fast due to the small government. Which means that not everything was that bad in the deregulated Irish economy.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marek
  • 2010/11/22

Funny!

Hilarious! Author's fetish for government and regulation is amusing and funny, given his morbid-serious-moralistic tone :-) Enjoyed this work very much, with detailed color and flavor of modern Ireland.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A Reader
  • 2020/02/20

Many parallels

Everything O’Toole writes is incisive and witty. Most of the details of the mind-boggling cupidity and delusions of the Celtic Tiger years are unique to Ireland, but the impulses, patterns and justifications are universal. There is much for an American listener to recognize.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • 2018/12/18

Up the Bubble (lol)

Bought this for a little slice of Irish history. Instead I got an insight into the minds & hearts of the people. With a second bigger housing bubble still growing at the end of 2018, it's a shame few lessons were learned.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Larry
  • 2014/09/02

The Title Says It All!

Would you consider the audio edition of Ship of Fools to be better than the print version?

Yes. Having Roger Clark narrate in his gentle brogue was a great touch.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Berty Ahearn; the crooked Irish ward healer who exemplified the feckless, hare-brained attitude of the Irish government.

What about Roger Clark’s performance did you like?

Roger Clark gives a wonderful turn with this narration. You can catch the flavour of the author's justifiable ire concerning the whole sordid mess.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A government of the crooks, by the crooks and for the crooks!

Any additional comments?

My only quibble is the authors equating crookedness with conservatism. This is Ireland, after all. A liberal government in power would have just robbed the cookie jar under a different banner.

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絞り込み:
  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ray
  • 2011/01/20

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.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2010/10/29

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.

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • 2011/04/26

Wrong choice of narrator

Like others, I enjoyed the content but it was completely the wrong choice of narrator. I was determined to hear what Fintan O'Toole had to say but was driven to distraction by the narrator and his pronunciation. It was a real struggle to get past that but worth it. Please use a different narrator for your next book!

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • 2011/01/27

Great content, disappointing listen.

A great book, with a 'What!!!' moment every 10 minutes. A catalogue of deliberate error and sheer cynicism. Don't listen in a public place, people will stare at you as you react with exclamations of disbelief and amazement. What a pity the narration was so unprofessional and badly prepared: mispronunciation ( louche as lauche), misplaced emphasis ( something was 'dirt. Cheap') are the most basic errors, Irish names and titles could surely have been researched or at least mispronounced consistently.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jane
  • 2011/01/19

Great book, disappointing narration

Fintan O'Toole explains clearly how the people of Ireland have been robbed and duped by a small band of greedy bankers and politicians who believed themselves to be outside the bounds of the law and of common morality. It's a pity he didn't narrate the book himself because the reader chosen sounds a bit like a robot or a 'speaking clock'. There are a lot of weird errors of emphasis that I found irritating. Still, It was great to hear the book while I was working and wouldn't have time to read it.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ronan
  • 2011/04/01

An emigrants guide to "The Wild West"

As an Irish economic migrant from the '80's, I have been interested to understand what exacly went on during the years of the Celtic Tiger.
On the negative side, the narrator was the worst choice since John Wayne in 'The Quiet Man' and the book felt more of a download of volumes of data than a structured thesis.
For all that, the data on offer answered my question as to what actually happened and introduced the concept of 'light touch regulation' aka 'let developers and bankers do what you they like as long as everyone gets a cut of the proceeds' and then the ultimate irony was the lecture circuit extolling the virtues of the new 'Irish Invention' to the rest of the world as the panacea for world economic problems - the Emperor has no clothes springs to mind.
This is a damning indictment of the Irish political system during the Celtic Tiger and the level of corruption in public office. I listened to this book with a combination of amazement, distain and incredulity. The most surprising fact is how many of these politicians, developers and bankers are still in public circulation. The section about the Anglo Irish Bank is so mad that you have to try to remember that this is fact and not fiction. The chapter on the emergence of Ireland as the Wild West of Finance manages to surpass this.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 2011/01/11

Quite Simply Superb!

Probably the sort of expose the Irish state detests especially after spending years building up a perceived image of an economic powerhouse on the edge of Europe. It beggars believe how a cartel of political and business leaders could milk the state dry at the expense of the ordinary working person. It's also amazing that even when exposed the lengths they went to in order to cover their tracks.

In the financial world it will be generations before Irish credibility is restored, if ever. Truly the Wild West of international finance.

An enlightening and entertaining listen but not for those with images of leprechauns, donkey's and quaint villages where everyone is friendly and in it together against the oppressive overlords!! Generations on it's the Irish elite who have assumed the overlord mantle and left a sizeable burden on the masses for generations to come.

Well done Fintan and Audible.

  • 総合評価
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Trina
  • 2010/12/13

Bone Crunching Number Munching

This book is really quite dry. I'm Irish but haven't lived there for 8 years and grew up in the 80s so I sort of understand what is going on. God help you if you are not Irish and are looking for an explanation. I don't think it would be easy to follow.

It's mostly a collection of arbitrary numbers. 1 billion this, 90 million that so actually it doesn't remain very relevant. At one point, early on, the author, drones ad nauseam on the relative size of different things compared to various US states. Population same as X state, GDP same as Y state, people who poked themselves in the eye with a pencil in any given year the same as Z state. If you have never been to Maryland and don't care to either then the fact that it's Gross National Product is the same as Irelands is not useful.

Sometimes the Irish way of speaking or writing can be hilarious and full of crackling wit. Not so in this case. Perhaps O'Toole, a leading columnist and newspaper editor, is just better in short form journalism. I found this tome a bit dreary and despite being originally disappointed at it only being short (about 7 hours unlike some of the longer un abridged titles) and therefore bad value, I am now glad.

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mair
  • 2010/12/12

Fairly good writing, but an uninspired reading

The book is not overly long, and covers some interesting points, although I thought it did not finish every point that it started. Notably, the question of regulation of business dealings at IFSC. After criticising the lack of regulation early in the chapter, there is a reference to a system which in the later years of the decade (2000-2010) is weighed down with regulation, and this point is couched in criticism. This confused me. There is some repetition of ideas and criticism, and would have improved with some paring of this excess. The reading is weak. It doesn't hold the attention, there is a lack of energy. Also, a number of strange pronounciations. However, it is the only book on the Irish economy on Audible, so I was more than glad to get it and it is definitely enlightening.

  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    1 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Emma
  • 2019/05/27

Really bad narrator

A lot of mispronounced names and Irish words, very annoying. The book itself is fine it's just a bad audio edition.