Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2001-12 > 1009124862
Subject: Re: [Scotch-Irish] Pictures
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 08:37:50 -0800
Hi Ed, I've read a fair amount about the Famine
and the reasons behind it. The attitudes of the British officials
and their Malthusian economics are not so different from the
position of supply-side economists of today, it seems to me.
I was rather upset when I figured that out. As someone who
was recently unemployed in AmeriKa (wow, does THAT date me <grin>),
it would not take a very long termed Famine to cause some
very unpleasant experiences here. While the government is
busily "stimulating the economy", people begin losing their houses
and starving. Add into the equation which includes rule by
supply-side economists a squabbling congress
and you got no help for people who are out of work. That's exactly
where we are today. It's too bad we can't lock those guys in
their halls of honor till they do their job. Which they would do
if they wanted to make it home in time for Christmas <grin>.
Seriously, when you consider how poorly we handled the Great Depression,
it is not suprising that the handling of the Great Famine was
even worse. It was just one of many famines in Europe (they
occured regularly) and earlier ones were really handled badly. Improved
agricultural methods that came to be at the end of the medieval period
greatly reduced periodic famine in the UK. During the one that coincided with Edward the Bruce's invasion of Ireland in the 14th
century, apparently people resorted to digging up the dead and
consuming them. The occurance of a famine dried up Eddie's supply
lines, though probably he was over-extending them anyhow for the time
and place. Rule # 234,343 for surviving on Earth: Cancel the war if
there's a famine.
We really still do not understand economic cycles though we
always think we do during boom-times. Supply side economic
theory says to stimulate the supply side of the economy so
the Irish food exports would have continued if George Bush was in charge.
Of course giving away corn that no one knew how to cook
into digestable food was certainly idiotic but we are fully
capable of doing the same today. Remind me to check what we
are sending to Afganistan (besides bombs) and how digestible it
might be for Afganis. Maybe corn meal for that Afgan taco....
But at least now I have more ideas on how to live when I become
homeless: Thatch a ditch and fight the squirrels for the nuts.
These New England squirrels leave the nuts (they are
dry and tasteless) and are busy digging up my daffodil bulbs.
The late coming deer will never get any at this rate.
BTW in England having the propertied classes pay for the poverty
would have probably kinda worked. That whole system had been
modernized in both England and Ireland (Poor Law Unions) but
as we know but Parliament either didn't or refused to admit,
Ireland wasn't England. In particular the Irish landlord was not
an English landlord. There's a lot of things that worked
in England and didn't in Ireland, and it's interesting to figure
out why. The parish system is one obvious institution that worked
in England and didn't in Ireland.
---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Ed Stephenson" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 02:35:29 -0500
>>Over 14,000 County Longford people died in ten years. Emigration
>continued. Today's population? ****31,000***. It was 115,000
>in 1841. It is totally depopulated. People alive in 1841 would
>not recognise it. It would be clear to them that a catastrophe
>of epic proportions had struck and that it never recovered from it.<
>The attitude of British officials during the famine was Malthusian: Ireland
>was over-populated even before the Famine and now the people would have to
>emigrate or die. Early efforts to help by subsidizing the sale of American
>corn stopped, and by 1848 the attitude was "Irish property can pay for Irish
>poverty." Hard-hearted by today's standards.
>And yet, the over-population judgment seems correct; even today the
>population of the island is only about half of that in 1841.