IRELAND: Rake's Progress

Ireland's Prime Minister Liam Cosgrave, with his wisp of mustache, starched collar, bowler hat and understated manner, often looks like a Downstairs character asking a small favor of the man Upstairs. And indeed, until recently, the Irish were among the profligates of Europe, living it up as if someone else were responsible for their bills. Wages wildly outstripped productivity. Unemployment was the highest in Western Europe; inflation raged at an 18% rate. Public debt zoomed moonward at a catastrophic speed, while the idea of restricting consumption to narrow an enormous deficit elicited...

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