László Krasznahorkai’s new novel, ‘Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming’, reveals the kind of dynamic, both economic and emotional-spiritual, that has facilitated Viktor Orbán’s Hungarian ‘koronadiktatúra’, a form of rule which also appeals to other central European would-be autocrats.
More than one future is foreseeable for Northern Ireland. We could have a united Ireland, as Protestants lose their numerical majority. Or we could have a continuation of the link with Britain, not unpopular with all Catholics. But there’s one thing we can be sure of: the future is not Orange.
Declines in human fertility have been attributed to ‘moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism and political correctness’, but in fact political, social and cultural attitudes seem to play very little role, fertility decisions being both decentralised and private.
While it is part and parcel of a ritual reaffirmation of identity, republicanism in Ireland has no practical significance in everyday life: it does nothing to alleviate burning problems in areas such as housing, health, transport or pollution. The concept once had other, more fruitful, meanings.
Thomas Piketty describes himself as a socialist, but he is much closer to Keynes than perhaps he would like to admit. He is the more confirmed democrat, but both thinkers have a faith in technocratic systems of redistribution administered by disinterested experts for the common good.