Writing for Open Democracy Peadar Kirby, co-author of Towards a Second Republic: Irish Politics after the Celtic Tiger, analyses the findings of the 2011 World Bank Development Report:
What we are experiencing in the twenty-first century, says the World Bank, are new forms of organised violence, including local violence involving militias or ethnic groups, gang violence, local resource-related violence, violence linked to trafficking (particularly drug trafficking) and new forms of terrorist violence mostly inspired by various forms of fundamentalism. These forms of violence are interlinked and repeated, says the Bank, but it could equally have added that they manifest themselves throughout the world. They are a phenomenon of this globalised age.
Peader argues that the experience of vulnerability created by neo-liberal global capitalism is important in understanding the new forms of violence. He shows that even those running the system are aware of this:
A recent statement by the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, Christine Lagarde, offers a good example of how today’s globalised economy is resulting in increased threats to livelihoods. Speaking of social tensions “bubbling below the surface,” she identified a number of factors: “I see a number of interweaving strands here – entrenched high unemployment, especially among the younger generation; fiscal austerity that chips away at social protections; perceptions of unfairness in “Wall Street” being given priority over “Main Street”; and legacies of growth in many countries that predominantly benefited the top echelons of society.”
The new forms of violence that seem to be a feature of our twenty-first century world may claim fewer lives than did the mass violence of civil conflict in the twentieth century. But what makes them particularly scary is their random and unpredictable occurrence. Thus violence has become both a source of vulnerability through generalising a sense of threat, but also a response to vulnerability as it appears to offer a route to access resources and earn a livelihood. As the precarious nature of the financial and economic system becomes more evident, and as the impacts of climate change and peak oil manifest themselves ever more clearly, a growing sense of vulnerability looks set to fuel further violence.
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Irish Politics after the Celtic Tiger
Peadar Kirby and Mary P. Murphy
Analyses Ireland’s economics, politics and society, drawing lessons from its cycles of boom and bust. Proposes new institutions for a fairer Ireland.
“A tour de force … marshals together the latest evidence, theory, political reform and experiments in civic initiatives … The book should be on every Irish lawmaker’s desk and in the hands of any citizen or resident looking for implementable ideas to create prosperity from the practice of equality, solidarity and transparent governance.” – Senator Katherine Zappone
“At last, a book which recognizes that the Irish republic never treated women as equal citizens, that inequality persisted and deepened during the Celtic Tiger years, and that the collapse of the Irish economy has been disastrous for women – half of the population – in particular ways. Murphy and Kirby have brought feminism into the debate about Ireland’s future.” – Susan McKay, Director National Women’s Council of Ireland