The latest Consumer Confidence data for Ireland shows Irish consumers to be cautious rather than worried about their financial situation at the end of March 2008. I find this remarkable given the relentless doom and gloom they have been subjected to by the media in recent months. It reinforces my faith in the common sense of ordinary people, something that too many intellectuals dismiss.
Mind you, I wouldn't be so sanguine about the economic situation if I was living in the United States. There things do seem to be gloomier with the likelihood they will get worse. Still, our American cousins are nothing if not optimists - and so it seems there's always a silver lining to every economic cloud - apparently you can have a good recession.
I think Irish consumers in general are sensible about money and their financial arrangements. Surveys point to a general unwillingness to go to the extremes of the USA, or even the UK (hence the still low levels of credit card ownership relative to both countries). We've had our Celtic Tiger 'blow out' (like students with their first credit card or overdraft) and we're now being a lot more sober about money it seems. Which suggest that we've learned many of the lessons about the psychology of money without suffering any of the pathologies.
Another reason for cautious optimism perhaps.