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This chapter looks at how Irish state ideology has invoked a post-industrial cyberutopian vision of the future, one that originates in Cold War think tanks, to make Ireland's poor level of infrastructure and indigenous productive enterprise look like a virtue. It then looks at how this post-industrial aesthetic, which blended the anti-industrial back-to-nature nostalgia with personalised self-expressive information technologies, has also been employed by putatively oppositional voices throughout the post-bailout period. Before the bailout, the government was rolling out plans for Ireland to become a 'world-class knowledge economy'. But equally, in 2009, as the economy was sinking into a recession, Brian Cowen expressed his vision for Ireland to become the 'European Silicon Valley'. The post-material values of the free culture preached the virtues of voluntary labour and who went on to be the architects of Silicon Valley and of the new economy.
Once held up as a 'poster child' for untrammeled capitalist globalisation, the Irish Republic has more recently come to represent a cautionary tale for those tempted to tread the same neoliberal path. The crash in the world economy had especially grave repercussions for Ireland, and a series of austerity measures has seen the country endure the most substantial 'adjustment' ever experienced in a developed society during peacetime. This book delineates the reactionary course that Ireland has followed since the ignominious demise of the Celtic Tiger. It argues that the forces of neoliberalism have employed the economic crisis they caused to advance policies that are in their own narrow interests, and that the host of regressive measures imposed since the onset of global recession has fundamentally restructured Irish society. The book discusses the mechanisms by which finance in Ireland sustains and reproduces itself, in particular how it was able to protect itself during the 2008 crisis. Property was at the centre of the second phase of the Celtic Tiger boom after US investment in manufacturing began to decline, leading to the Irish economic crash. The years since the onset of the recession in Ireland in 2008 have been characterised not by passivity and quietism but by extreme violence. In December 2009 as part of the first wave of austerity, the Community Development Project was informed that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs proposed not to continue funding the project beyond the end of 2009.