Modern Potemkin Villages To Hide the Reality of Recession

June 9th, 2013 by Andy in Taxes, The Commons & The Social Contract

We become more and more Soviet-like every day.

Corporate power is resorting to literally designing image-managed Potemkin villages to hide the social and economic blight created by austerity economics. This reminds me of the many stories I used to read about similar such efforts initiated by the Soviet regime during it’s reign. One of the more notable examples of that was when a Soviet air base had all the enlisted men go out apply green paint to all the brown and dying grass and trees around the entrance to the base, so that it looked much healthier and robust to the military and party leaders who were coming on an official visit. They did the same to the decrepit and decaying facilities on the base, just painting over the holes and cracks everywhere.

This specific example is from Ireland, the country once bragged about by ‘free market’ gurus as a bright, shining success story of affirmation of their idea of economic “success” through privatization.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on a Fermanagh facelift as the county prepares for the G8 summit in just under three weeks‚ time, but locals complain the work paid for by the local council and the Stormont Executive is little more than skin deep.

More than 100 properties within range of the sumptuous Lough Erne resort which hosts the world’s wealthiest leaders, have been tidied up, painted or power-hosed.

However, locals say the makeover only serves to hide a deeper malaise which US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and others will not get to see.

Two shops in Belcoo, right on the border with Blacklion, Co Cavan, have been painted over to appear as thriving businesses. The reality, as in other parts of the county, is rather more stark.

Just a few weeks ago, Flanagan’s, a former butcher’s and vegetable shop in the neat village ˆ was cleaned and repainted with bespoke images of a thriving business placed in the windows. Any G8 delegate passing on the way to discuss global capitalism would easily be fooled into thinking that all is well with the free-market system in Fermanagh. But, the facts are different.


The butcher’s business has been replaced by a picture of a butcher’s business. Across the road is a similar tale. A small business premises has been made to look like an office supplies store. It used to be a pharmacy, now relocated on the village main street.

Elsewhere in Fermanagh, billboard-sized pictures of the gorgeous scenery have been located to mask the occasional stark and abandoned building site or other eyesore.

Somewhat typical of the age today. Pay vast amounts to make it look healthy, rather than to have it be healthy.

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