Archive for September 2010


Ship of Fools Book Review – How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger

September 23rd, 2010 — 10:29am

Recently I had the opportunity to read Fintan O’Toole’s fantastic and detailed book “Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger”.

I would call it a must read for academics and everybody else who is interested in business ethics and the lack of it in the spectacular downfall we saw and the resulting recession. Not only does it highlight the enormous “loophole” benefits enjoyed by the extremely wealthy (a very creative one was – that you could take your plane/jet outside Ireland at the end of your working day and it would count as if you had been outside Ireland the entire day – result: 0% tax for top-earners – because only the top-earners could afford a private jet.)

With all the talk of toxic assets (real estate) and the resulting fallout in the States – its easy to overlook what happened in Ireland. Particularly the situation with NAMA (National Asset Management Agency), that holds the toxic assets.

The most eye-popping fact in the book is the fact that NAMA holds more assets than any other publicly quoted property company in the entire world. These are properties that have fallen immensely in value and will have an effect on Ireland and its people for years to come.

The extremely clear and easy to follow way in which Fintan O’Toole details the web of corruption in the public and private sectors that is built on loopholes designed to give a heavily favored hand to the richest leaves one feeling sorry for the state of affairs in the world today.

All-in-all a great informative book – well worth the read – and a fantastic job by the Irish Times columnist.

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