On not being rich — 12 Comments

  1. I read this excellent piece @Bocks place and was surprised that he got through it without a gratuitous swipe at the Israelis, apropos of nothing at all, which is his usual form. Then, lo and behold I find he didn’t write it himself, which would explain it. Luckily you’re writing about Protestants south of the Border, so he didn’t feel it necessary to post a photo of Orangemen.

  2. I hold no brief for Bock, being far removed from him in most respects, but have followed his blog since 2006 and have found it rare for him to take swipes a propos of nothing at all.

  3. Yes, well , if you can fit Israel into the space left between Croatian and Serbian brutality then maybe you’re right.

  4. I find it strange that you would trawl the Net for references to Bock and post irrelevant comments about him on a post that is more than a year old.

    I have never met him and am unaware of his identity. He and I have world views that are quite antithetical. However, I have a respect for robust argument and logic. To suggest that losing an argument constitutes being “bullied” is simply silly.

    Perhaps you might look at the beam in your own eye before criticising a mote in the eye of others.

  5. I hadn’t read this before but it plays to the social mix on this island going back to about 1830. A cursory glance at the 1901 and 11 census shows CoI in the countryside sitting at 2 levels and the removal to the top left the other high and dry. The big towns and cities held different stories. There the CoI sat at all levels and relative to the percentage were as likely to be in poverty. But as the demographic went up those numbers changes and more were likely to be in business and the professions than the numbers naturally throw out.
    It was tax that did for them, death duties mostly.
    What tends to be missing in the narrative is that the situation in the Republic was mirrored in the North. And for economic reasons not sectarian ones. Those that could pulled back for the smaller towns and either moved to the main cities or the island entirely. Brutal economic decisions were made about return on investments.
    In other words those that could move did so. Those that remained were either big enough it mattered little where they were or to poor to move. But it must be said the same is true for the larger community too.

    On Bock. I stopped reading him many many years ago. I’m a graduate of history and know whence and whither his style leads. And I’m not going to lend him support in any way, for debating him lends him validity.

  6. Whatever their background, the poor always get the worse deal.

    I read Bock because it is an antidote to my heart on my sleeve liberalism (just as in the 1990s, I switched from The Guardian to the Daily Telegraph, and from whence to the Financial Times)

  7. Ian,
    Your reply to my comment is problematic in a number of ways and I will try to deal with some of them.
    Your claim that my comment is irrelevant is debatable. Bock the Robber published your article and indeed I recall commenting on it at the time (using the moniker Pat Ryan). Bock had already been discussed on this thread and my comment was relevant to that discussion. The article by me that I linked to arose from a “debate” about poverty (on the Bock the Robber website) and so it is relevant in that respect also.

    Please do not put words in my mouth. I never said I was bullied nor did I say I lost an argument. In fact, I won the argument and in so doing exposed Bock as a narcissist and a bigot. That’s why he booted me off his site.

    If you actually read my article and the debate to which it refers you would see that. Then perhaps you would realise that you have prejudged me and indeed (heaven forfend!) that you may have committed the transgression you wrongly imputed to me in your final sentence.

  8. John,

    Having trawled for any references to Bock the Robber, you then accused the writer of being a troll and have persisted in ad hominem attacks.

    If you have issues with the Bock the Robber website, go and write about them on your own blog and stop trolling here.

  9. Ian,
    Please see my reply in the comments section for the article above referred to on my website.

    By the way this was my response in March 2015 to your “On not being rich” article on the Bock the Robber website:

    Thought provoking article. The statistic on Protestant Travellers is especially interesting.

    Speaking of Irish Protestants and stereotypes, I’ve been thinking recently about the stereotypical view of the Irish as punching above their weight in modern world literature.

    The reality seems to be that it’s not the Irish as a nation who have punched above their weight in that respect but Irish Protestants. Apart from Joyce and Heaney, the other internationally recognised ‘great’ Irish writers – Yeats, Beckett, Shaw, Synge, O’Casey, Wilde to name those I can think of – have all been Protestant.

  10. Unfortunately, they have also contributed to the image of Protestants as an upper middle class community who wear tweed and bake cakes.

  11. On the question of being poor, a condition that presumably afflicts people of all religious persuasions, the basic income idea has gained some currency lately and versions of it have been tried out in Finland, Canada and other countries.

    The former Greek Minister for Finance and economist Yanis Varoufakis gave a talk on it in the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Switzerland on 4th May 2016, a video of which is here:

    Here’s an article I wrote in response:

    The gist of my article is that Yanis Varoufakis fails to follow through on the logic of his argument. His argument is that wealth is produced collectively and then appropriated by private individuals to make themselves rich, which is the opposite of the prevailing “narrative” as he calls it.

    Because wealth is produced collectively, Varoufakis argues that everyone – including the rich – should benefit by being given a “social dividend” in the form of a basic income.

    My argument is that because wealth is produced collectively, it should be distributed equally.

    However, economic equality is a taboo subject. People discuss various degrees of economic inequality but never economic equality. The poor – and the rich – we shall always have with us: that is the self-fulfilling axiom that the vast majority of people never question.

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