Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quote of the Day (Michael Lewis, on the Irish Landscape, Post-Banking Crisis)

“The wet hedgerows cultivated along the highway to hide the wet road from the wet houses now hide the wet houses from the wet road. PICTURE OF THE VILLAGE OF THE FUTURE, reads a dripping billboard with a picture of a village that will never be built. Randomly selecting a village that appears to be more or less finished, we pull off the road. It’s an exurb, without a suburb. GLEANN RIADA, reads the self-important sign in front. It’s a few dozen houses in a field, attached to nothing but each other, ending with unoccupied slabs of concrete buried in weeds. You can see the moment the money stopped flowing from the Irish banks, the developer folded his tent, and the Polish workers went home. ‘The guys who laid this didn’t even believe it was supposed to be finished,’ says Ian. The concrete slab, like the completed houses, is riven by the cracks that you see in a house after a major earthquake, but in this case are caused by carelessness. Inside, the floors are littered with trash and debris, the fixtures have been ripped out of the kitchen, and mold spreads spider-like across the walls. The last time I saw an interior like this was in New Orleans after Katrina.”—Michael Lewis, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (2011)

(Photo showing Michael Lewis at Hudson Union Society event in 2009, taken by Justin Hoch.)

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