November 26, 2006

Our future is not in the EU alone

Posted in Celtic Tiger · 32 comments ·
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Are we coming to the end of an era? Will the world’s economic geography shift dramatically in the next 20 years? What if the action does, in fact, shift to Asia?

For the past 50 years, the North Atlantic has been the place to be. This was the epicentre of the known world. Ireland has been ideally placed between the United States and Europe – the world’s economic superpowers.

This geographic and cultural sweet spot has served us well. It allowed us to play one off the other. We provided the Americans with a bridgehead into Europe – taking more than 100,000 high-tech, high-income jobs in the process.

At the same time, we played the good European, first availing of EU structural funds and later its savings. The credit expansion that has buoyed us in the past five years is a direct consequence of EMU and, in particular, old Germans’ surplus savings.

All told, we have played both sides off each other extremely deftly and, in the process, created a strong vested middle class.

In the 1970s, Ireland’s economic policy was all about attracting foreign capital. At that time, it would have been considered a positive outcome if Ireland’s economic policy by 2006 produced – as it has – a reasonably tolerant society with higher and more equal incomes and far more people having a stake in the place than before.

In our changing world, how can we protect what we have achieved and improve the place? How will we react to the changing geography of the global economy when the centre of gravity shifts from the North Atlantic to the South China Sea? This is the big question.

At the moment, we are fully paid-up members of the EU, and this has been our passport to prosperity, but the relationship might change in the next few years.

The EU is expanding ever eastwards to countries that are dying. The demographic reality of central and eastern Europe is not very reassuring. According to the World Population Reference Bureau (www.prb.org), the population of every country in eastern Europe will fall by an average of 22 per cent in the next 50 years.

Poland’s population will fall by 17 per cent, Bulgaria’s by 34 per cent, Romania’s by 29 per cent and Hungary’s by 11 per cent. In the Baltics, the populations of Estonia and Latvia will fall by 23 per cent each, and Lithuania is forecast to lose 17 per cent of its present population. The biggest fall will be in Russia where there will be 32 million fewer Russians in 2050 than there are now.

Granted, these trends might change, but they are stark and should be factored into our calculations as Ireland is forecast to increase its population by 12 per cent. The reason these demographic statistics are so important is that they set the tone for the economy. Old economies don’t grow, and dying societies don’t grow at all.

Eastern European societies are dying.

They will not achieve the economic growth rates necessary to lift the continent.

In addition, the social welfare bills of older societies are enormous. So we will be left with old, high-tax countries all over eastern Europe. If this is the demographic future of Europe, don’t you think we should make economic provisions for it?

This means – in narrow economic terms – that Europe will be a net capital exporter for the next few decades. In contrast, the US will continue to grow demographically, while Asia will do likewise.

It is highly likely, therefore, that the action will be in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean or Pacific basin area. So what are we to do?

The worst thing we can do is to hitch our entire wagon to the EU. We should now be thinking in terms of alliances with the growing regions of the world. We should also be thinking about attracting to Ireland the best human capital available because the next economic battle will not be about money – it will be about people.

At the moment, we have the rather ludicrous situation where we are putting Chinese students through our universities, educating and training them and then asking them to leave the country when they qualify. If we are prepared to have them working for Spar, why not for Intel?

Likewise, with our Polish and other eastern European immigrants, we should be trying to make use of the qualifications they have but are not using. How dumb is it for us to have qualified paediatricians working in canteens, architects labouring at hot-food counters and engineers gardening?

Remember, the cornerstone of our economic policy in the 1970swas to attract capital. We didn’t have any, so we made it cheap by giving it a tax holiday. We played beggar-my-neighbour with our tax system and won.

Today, people are the precious asset. So we have to keep the best of our own and attract model citizens from all around the world. This will keep us ahead of everyone else.

To do this, we have to remain highly flexible and avoid rules. A logical fear is that an atrophying Europe will set barriers to discretion and will become more rules-based as it tries to protect what it has. I hope this is wrong, but it might not be. In this context, Ireland might need to think of a plan B.

To get a glimpse of societies that figured out the next big move in the global economic game of chess we have to go back to the city states of the medieval ages.

These places, like Venice, Dubrovnik and Hamburg, created a series of alliances with the big powers.

However, at the same time, they remained aloof, suiting themselves and played the big guys off each other. The key to their success was non-committal flexibility.

As the world changes, we could do worse than look back to history. After all, despite our claims about the uniqueness of our times, everything has happened before. It is just history repeating itself.


  1. Bravo, David! I plan to share this with my students! I teach for Upper Iowa University.

  2. In a country with 38 million, Poland in fact is booming, albeit from a low platform. FDI is up 500% since 2002 and growth is expected to be around 7% this year slowing slightly next to about 6%. However the building boom has only begun and is expected to grow significantly over the next few years as the EU money is pumped into the infrastructural projects that are in preparation. Properties in and around th major cities have gone up by as much as 56% in the last 12 months.

    The inevitable housing boom that has sustained Irelands burgeoning economy over the last few years will eventually fizzle out and the very same workers that helped to build it will do one of two things, either go to London for the Olympics building boom, or head back to a booming housing industry in Poland.

    I worked in London through the 80′s and seen the building boom go bust due to higher interest rates and excesses in ’92 and headed home just in time to watch the Internet Bubble boom and bust, leaving us all to head into the Building Boom and inevitable current slowing.

    When Ireland is finished with the second house in Spain or Bulgaria, or Shanghai and have extended their kitchens as far as they can, they will be left to take up the challenge of meeting their future excessive mortgage pyments on a slower economy, with higher interest rates, while the over educated Polish workers head back with a wider world view and extensive network just as we did.

    With 250 million people surrounding Poland they may well emerge as the Tiger economy who are prepared to extend themselves further and bridge the gap between the West and Eastern Europe. The future could just as well be on our nearer doorstep than all the way over in Asia.

  3. Glen Quinn

    Very Good article.

    Most countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, France, etc) population in Europe is in decline except in Ireland. Ireland has the biggest increase in population.

    The main reasons that I think Europe’s population is in decline are as follows:

    1. Most European countries do not believe in family values or in the family unit. The idea of the family unit is gone. For instance in Germany people there prefer to live alone (both male and female). In Ireland we still believe in the family unit but I am starting to see this erode and very soon we will also have a declining population.

    2. Homosexuals are now aloud to marry and very soon to adopt children. So children will grow believing having a father and mother of the same sex is normal and they will then go on and lead a normal healthy homosexual life. All this will lead to more of a decline in population. The rise in homosexuals in Europe has increased dramatically in the past decade.

    I want to say that I am not running down homosexual people because I am all for them having FULL equal rights. That is I hope that they will be free to marry and be able to adopt children so that they can raise and have a family all across Europe (including Ireland).

    In essencient Europe was already dying before the new Eastern European countries joined because the population across Europe has been in decline for several years now except in Ireland. I do not think it was fair to say that the Eastern European countries will be a drain because Europe was already facing this crisis before they joined.

    With all major wars comes major shifts in economic power. The end of world War 2 saw the USA as gaining economic power were Europe lost theirs. I expect that this war on terror will produce another shift in economic power were China, India, and middle Eastern countries will become economic power houses and the USA will lose it’s power.

  4. Pat McCarten

    The crazy notion of economic growth via mass immigration, mean that per person economic conditions have fallen – measured by houseprices/living standards. As David points out – a huge transfer is (still) taking place from the popes children (young) to the (old) jagger generation through property.

    Young women now have to partcipate in the workforce. The idea of being a housewife is totally impractical. They have to be career minded to earn the higher incomes, going to university, then into the corporate world. This addition to the labour force actually raises per capita, economic living standards, in the short term, but comes at a great cost.

    By the time a woman is 30, her reproductive life is nearly over.

    The UK last had a slightly above replacement birth rate of 2.4 in the 1970′s.
    This has plummeted to 1.4, under replacement, most of which is from immigration.

    If you want a birth rate of 2.4, you have to have young women wanting to become housewife’s looking after 2-3 kids for years, low real housing costs and the resources for children given back to the young, and higher interest rates.

    The rate of labour force partipation will be lower in the meduim term, but higher in the future. It’s as simple as that.

    Of course, This is a bigger problem than the global warming they all go on about if you think about it.

  5. paul

    Glen,
    I think you need to do some fact checking. First of all, the total EU-25 population, and the population of Italy, France and Spain, is increasing, not decreasing. In the cases of Italy and Spain the increase is mainly due to inward migration, but not so in France. Check Eurostat.
    Marriage rates in Germany are similar to those in Ireland (both around 5 marriages/’000 population/year) although perhaps there are confounding demographic factors, and of course the divorce rate is much higher in Germany.
    I find your theories on homosexual parents interesting,
    if you have any evidence to back them up they would be a bit more interesting.

  6. I hope and pray that Ireland never loses its traditional family structure and marriage as a bond between a man and a woman to materialism and deviance.

  7. Ciarán Mc

    Davis is right – we need to look to the East. We need to build alliances and offer a plan B. But Gerry Brandon on Poland and Paul on demographics provide a useful corrective. Europe is not yet doomed and we would be wrong to write it off. The world’s biggest exporting nation is still in Europe – namely, Germany.

    Clearly China is powering ahead, but its economy too will hit constraints – in fact, some would argue that is starting to happen now. Rural peasants and workers alike are starting to demand more fairness and better services of their central government. They have a massive diverse country, undergoing breathtaking change, and it remains to be seen how they resolve the clash between capitalism and the centralised authoritarian regime.

    Europe still has a massive lead in high end technology: think of the huge British, French, and Anglo-Dutch outfits.

    If only, and here’s the nub, European countries could take the medicine of reforming their economies, esp, France and Germany, and improve the structure of their research base. And if they succeed they open up to immigration. Birth rates won’t matter – witness the US, whose success is built on immigrant labour. It’s a lot to ask, but if the European core nations can do this, they are still at the races.

    The crucial point will arrive for Ireland if European economies go the other way and circle the wagons , if they start to impose restrictions and protection (hints of this in France lately). AnWhat if Ireland needs to make a choice? At least we will not be alone, we will always have the British.

  8. Hey McWilliams,

    3 things
    1. The EU is a compromise. So while we have to suffer their issues, they have to suffer ours (farming etc). I don’t think that you’ve proved that the balance is negative. Furthermore you miss the real purpose of the EU – as a scapegoat for necessary reforms. In the same way that our equality and environmental regulations needed the EU, then their economics need the EU and us as the prime example.

    2. Change – the EU may be slow and cumbersome but it has reformed itself massively over the years and will continue to do so. Reforming 27 states can be so very slow though….
    The other thing to change is Ireland. The pope’s children have never known a bad year. They are also growing up and in ten years their baby boom will be over. Whatever solution the EU and the “dying” states find for their demographics we will need to copy!

    3. So what are the options? Are you suggesting we send Biffo over to the WTO on his tod? The Indians and Chinese would laugh their heads off when he says he represents 4m people!!!

  9. Glen Quinn

    Hi Paul,

    I was not counting immigration because these people would not represent the indiginous population. If you look at birth rate to death rate you will find that most European countries population are in decline. (It’s like our government putting unemployed people in fas courses to get them off the live register in order to distort the figures.) https://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gm.html#People
    https://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/it.html#People

    Looking at the data from the Eurostat website I see that marraiges are in decline arcoss Europe except in Ireland. The web site does not indicate whether they are including same sex marraige in these figures.

    From what I can see we are looking at the majority of the European population being replaced by North African, Arab populations.

    I have lots of German friends and they find it weird for both a man and a woman to live together for the rest of there lives that is why they prefer to live alone. Germany is a very secular country.

    The data that is out for same sex marragies would not be extensive because the major countries in Europe has just legalised the marraige in the last few years.

    Here is some web sites that I came across for same sex marriage and adoption by same sex couples:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/same-sex-marriage-in-belgium
    http://www.answers.com/topic/same-sex-marriage-in-spain
    http://www.answers.com/topic/same-sex-marriage-in-the-netherlands
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoption_by_same-sex_couples

  10. SpinstaSista

    Pat McCarten

    I note your observations about women in the workforce and the low overall reproduction rate. Do you suggest that women marry at 21, stay at home, have 6 children before they hit 30 and all are looked after economically by hubby who goes out to work? That is not possible nowadays but Irish women of previous generations had that sort of lifestyle and most of their children had to emigrate to find work. In 1950s Ireland we had overcrowding and tenement living standards in cities, and families of 8 children being raised in 2 roomed country cottages with an outside toilet. Do you want to return to that standard of living?

    We have immigrants representing most Eastern European countries and I see quite a few Indian and Chinese families around. If the native Irish aren’t having children, these people are. Ireland’s next generation will be genetically diverse which is in my opinion a good thing. Let’s hope that the Government make more of an effort in the upcoming budget to provide proper childcare for Ireland new generation.

  11. donall

    The ageing populations of Eastern Europe will cause significant problems in the future. But don’t think that Ireland will be immune – our TFR (total fertility rate) is already below replacement rates – we’ll just experience the problems of an ageing population later on.

  12. Jonathan Benson

    Regardless of whether the EU shrinks and dies economically or whether it finds a solution and flourishes, it makes economic sense to build as many strategic alliances as possible.
    WRT Irelands birth rate as a whole I don’t believe it matters as much as the birth rate of our prospective markets where ever they may be. Nevertheless keeping women in the workforce and providing a stable population base is advantageous. Major changes are needed to address this dilemma so that we can have the best of both worlds.

  13. Pat McCarten

    The average house price is 14 times earnings!!

    What choice does a young woman have? She can battle it out with unlimited immigration in low skilled low paid jobs, with little chance of reasonable credit, and no chance other than renting, or she opts for a career, scraps her kids thinking she can have them later, which she can’t.

    The laughable comments about 1950s tenament living, if immigration was controlled, and asking whats wrong with being replaced by immigrants kids show just how determined the jagger generation is to literally suck the very lifeforce itself from the native Irish young!

  14. SpinstaSista

    Pat McCartan

    I presume that if you are married you are happy to support your fecund young wife and burgeoning family on a single income.

    The native Irish young of the future will be the children of the indigenous Irish and our current immigrants. New blood, new ideas and the abolition of inbred thinking can only be a good thing and is our only hope in a global market.

  15. Glen Quinn

    Just out on rte news:
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/1128/gay.html

    Same sex couples are now aloud to adopt children and get married in Ireland.

    To SpinstaSista,
    Basically you are hoping that the Irish people gets displaced and taken over by other nationalities.

    Basic human primitive urges are:
    1. People will form groups around other individuals that have the same values, beliefs and ideals as themselves.
    2. Immigrants coming into the country will not regard themselves as Irish and there children being born in Ireland will also not regard themselves as Irish. This can be seen all across Europe. This is one of the biggest problem here in the UK.

    What’s happening in the UK is that Muslims now want Sharia courts to be established because they do not want to be tried under Christian law.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6190080.stm

    So you see it is not a good thing to have multi-Culturism. In anyway there is going to be a big recession in Ireland in a few months. American consumer confidence just plummeted to it’s lowest in 6 years.

    I know women who are 35 some of them have told me that because they don’t have any children they feel as if they have missed something in their lives and these women were determined and head strong business women. When I came to the UK 2 years ago I could not believe women in there early twenties talking about getting married in a few months time.

    The demographics in Europe in 20 years time will be that Europe will be controlled by Islam and Sharia courts will be established in every European country. European women will have there rights stripped away and will have to stay at home and mind the family. This will happen because they will displace the declining population of the Europeans while there population is increasing dramatically (This is already happening).

  16. John X

    David do you not see some glaring holes/contradictions in the questions you ask and the assumptions you claim to hold?

    First of all, you use the word ‘we’ a lot. Is there really a ‘we’ of any credibility in relation to Ireland, anymore? Let’s stop pretending, I say. It’s all about the ‘ I ‘, now, isn’t it? Even your possible solution about opening the door to more from abroad, throws light on that lie.

    ‘…We played beggar-my-neighbour with our tax system and won.’

    I’m a little uneasy in the way that you seem to boast about the way Ireland has ‘played one off against the other’, but be honest is such
    behaviour noble?
    Practical, yes, but hardly anything to be proud of? More importantly, should it be a template for future paths to follow? And on the topic of Venice, etc, about which I know very little, other than a documentary I’ve seen that told the story about how Venice is currently crumbling and literally sinking into the water.

    ‘…………and, in the process, created a strong vested middle class.’

    Really? They sure are ‘vested’ in many cases to bloated mortages that ensures
    their servitude for many years ahead, all in an ever declining quality of worklife(more tyrannical, ask around), and life in general. Where’s the strength?

    By the way, I sure think ‘we’ are great at playing one off against another. However, if you suggest that such is okay in terms of our dealings with the broader world community, by extension do you think it’s okay on a national level? And isn’t such what is happening on a national level? Is it a slippery slope and does it not make ‘our’ ‘success’ a little more hollow than it already is, with no real feel good factor that would come from the pride of really having achieved something that wasn’t a con trick?

    Economic stats can be construed to suit any argument. I remember how you rightly compared massive property values in Japan (18 yrs ago) and how it lended a false value on banks, etc, just like in current Ireland. In economic terms people may ‘own ‘ houses’ with a certain market value, but such value is open to the vagaries of the system, a system that now has people like yourself asking ,’ where to from here?’ I’m questioning your assumed fact:

    ‘……..with higher and more equal incomes and far more people having a stake in the place than before.’

    Might it not be better to use your own eyes and ears rather than stats, before you reach conclusions. Surely, the country is small enough to allow such. Your tv doc featured certain characters who for the most part were chasing their tails in ‘Decland’ with empty ‘rich’ lifestyles. You veered off as a token gesture(?) to one lady who was on welfare, who by all accounts doesn’t seem to be doing so bad at all, taking into account that she’s taking home 400 and rearing 2 daughters, to whom I’d say she can give a lot of time. Why didn’t u document the real Ireland, i.e. the majority that’s between ‘Decland’ and the lady on welfare. Her ‘plight’ even got more comments from a few folk here, i.e. how good she has it relative to them who are working fultime. That backs my claim, I think?

    Might a more accurate portrayal be sourced from the people’s sense of disenfranchisment from the ever increasing suicide rates, violence, bad treatment of old people in homes and hospitals, increasing escapism to drugs, road slaughter, etc, etc.

    Hardly much of a picture of a ‘we’ in current Ireland?

    Your theory on the attraction of talented foreign nationals is one that many other countries are following. Are they really going to pay an inflated price for a house, here, when Ireland’s own talent is deciding to live elsewhere because of that. Is it okay for talented foreign nationals to come here when our own talent is deciding to leave here because of house prices, or other lifestyle issues, i.e. being in a way inadvertently pushed out. What about your fictional ‘we’ concept? Another light on the lie?

    The question should really be asked for whose benefit is this place called Ireland for? Currently there is no more room in Dublin, on the streets, etc, and the place too often smells like an open sewer. To me the smell reflects the shite Ireland currently finds itself in. It reminds me of the singer Mary Coughlan who said a few years ago, with whom I agree, ‘ I see nobody to lead Ireland out of the shite that it finds itself in’.

    You pose the question regarding what’s to be done about ageing populations. Has it ever been debated about such, or is our Western culture so obsessed by youth and youth culture that we wouldn’t allow such, other than in raw economic terms? Posing such a question in terms of being a problem is in a way being ageist. Is it any wonder that we treat our old people like shite in Ireland? Also, isn’t it stupid, I mean you have defined your future self as a problem?

    That’s my rant over.

  17. Ed

    Ireland is so small and so vulnerable in a global context that it must be nimble and seize every opportunity that presents itself. A declining European population maybe a problem in the longer term, but the ability of the new states to compete with us will be a fare greater one in the short term. Our population size is our main problem, as it’s too small to allow us to achieve critical mass in any sphere and as things stand our “home market” is Europe. As the Eastern European states develop their skills, more and more competition will emerge and this will squeeze our share of the developed market.
    I know a very successful Irish entrepreneur who lives by the maxim “there is no such thing as a problem, only opportunity”. The World is a big place and its population has doubled in my lifetime, so there are lots opportunities out there to be had, it only takes imagination, and remember that we must consider Europe to be only our “home market”
    We had better start planning for to quote Edward De Bono – “If you do not design the future someone or something else will design it for you.”.

  18. Isobel

    Pat,
    You seem to know a lot about womens fertility, do you know as much about mens?
    And as for the word “can’t”, there is no such word, its called “choice”!
    Isobel

  19. Glen Quinn

    To SpinstaSister,

    I forgot to add the following to one of your questions.

    “Do you suggest that women marry at 21, stay at home, have 6 children before they hit 30 and all are looked after economically by hubby who goes out to work?” – The Feminist organisation are all in favour of polygamy in the US and in Canada. They are calling polygamy a plural marriage and the feminist are regarding it as a feminist choice. I saw the story in the financial times over the weekend and here is the link:
    https://registration.ft.com/registration/barrier?referer=http://search.ft.com/searchResults?queryText=british+columbia&javascriptEnabled=true&location=http%3A//www.ft.com/cms/s/a9de0b06-7bef-11db-b1c6-0000779e2340.html

  20. Glen Quinn

    To SpinstaSista,

    “Do you suggest that women marry at 21, stay at home, have 6 children before they hit 30 and all are looked after economically by hubby who goes out to work?” – The feminist organisation have a solution to your question and the solution is that they are in favour of polygamy in the US, Canada and soon to be introduced in Europe. The feminist see polygamy as a feminist choice and it also leaves women with the ability to pursue a career. The story was in the financial times and here is the link:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a9de0b06-7bef-11db-b1c6-0000779e2340.html

    I can’t wait to have three wives (One Irish, One Spanish, One Swedish). :-)

  21. SpinstaSista

    I’m not an FT subscriber but I read the abstract and I get Glen Quinn’s point. Polygamy could address many problems in this country including the lack of affordable housing.

    I am not surprised at UK women in their 20s marrying. This has always been the case, unlike Ireland, where we don’t have a strong culture of dating and marriage. Up until recently the local matchmaker had to bang people’s heads together to get them to marry, and now the matchmaker been replaced by anotherfriend.com!

    Irish people have always had a better chance of marrying and having families if they emigrated than if they stayed at home. When it comes to marrying later in life women are the losers because unlike men, we don’t have snooze buttons on our biological clocks. That’s about the only advantage men have over women nowadays, we’ve passed them out in every other area. Perhaps this is why single childless women in their 30s are such a popular target for men who are envious of women’s other achievements.

    As far as I know the Catholic and Protestant churches don’t advocate polygamy, but I am sure that Glen Quinn is aware that Muslims have practiced polygamy for generations. I see a potential convert to Islam here!

  22. nisheeth tak

    I think we are making our country less competitive by over regulation & zero dialogue with small & may be medium sized businesses too.
    We should concentrate on freeing the small guy from regulatory burdens,so that he can raise the bar,create more wealth and get on with his expansion plans.

    The cost of questioning your employee’s lackaidasical performance,or demanding higher productivity from an employee, who has mentally retired from the job(but physically on the payroll),is enormous here,and consequently no honest dialogue takes place.

    Similarly public sector employees need to be given a healthy dose of competition,to bring out the best in them. All will benefit & it will cost much much less & we will be the hot country for FDI

    40 hour work week against an employee in India or China who has qualifications,brains & has leased everything to get the job,is no match.

  23. Glen Quinn

    Hi SpinstaSista,

    Actually it was very common in Ireland for people to get married in either there teens or early twentys (before the Celtic tiger started)

    Three of my friends got married when they were 21 in Dublin in 1994. My parents got married when they were 19 and 18 and so did there brothers,sisters and friends. It is only since Ireland became rich that people started worriing about there careers rather than worring about starting a family.

    The UK went through what we are going through 20 years ago. This is how Ireland is 20-30 years behind the rest of European countries. The next generation in Ireland will see them marring when they are in there 20′s like the way it is now in the UK.

    I don’t view men and women as competting with one another because that is pure ridiculous. Men and women should support one another. I think it is very primitive for either a man or a woman to think that they are competing against the opposite sex because that would ensure that neither would marry one another and lead to a population decline (Feminist insist that they are in compition with men and this is why most women who are advocated Feminists never marry and in the end they regret it)

    I know polygamy is used in Muslim cultures and that is why the EU is bringing it in because total muslim population in the EU is nearly at 10%.

    Also polygamy is also part of the Christian religion in which in the bible we see that king Salomon had over 900 wives!

    I would not convert to Islam because the Islam religion denies Jesus Christ as the messiah and that he died for our sins.

    Even though Islam recognizes Jesus was born of the virgin birth they do not believed that he was crusified.

    Islam takes most of there culture from the Bible and the same with there stories. The difference is that some of there stories taken from the bible is either changed or some sentences are taken out.

    Is your feminist views in favour of Islam? (I’m curious as to how feminsts feel about Islam (women do not have equal rights under Islam) as it will be the religion that will rule Europe in 20 years time. I think it is naive to think that they will not)

  24. SpinstaSista

    Glen Quinn,

    I’m not a feminist in the strict sense of the word, but in my opinion women do not fare any worse under fundamental Islam than they do under fundamental Christianity. Both religions encourage women to be modest in their dress and meek in their behaviour and treat women as baby making machines. Islam seems to place more value on educating women than Crhistianity.

    Have we gone off topic here?

  25. Glen Quinn

    Hi SpinstaSista,

    You have things very very wrong. First of all Islam do not educate women, you have that completly wrong. Second of all Christianity is not fundamental, it has not been for the past 200 years after the age of reason and enlightenment.

    However Islam is very fundamental and there goal is to spread Islam all over the World. All women that are married are not alloweed to work. This applies also to Islamic women in Europe (UK,France, Germany etc). Womens rights are trying to change this here in the UK but Islamic men do not recognise them.

    There is nothing wrong with women having babies, if all women in the World stop having babies then the entire human race would become extinct. However because Islam is more fundamental than Christianity then they would be encouraging Islamic women to have as many babies as possible this way they can outpopulate the indiginase population.

    Bottom line: Christianity places much more value and equal rights on educationg women. That is how the west is more free than the middle east. You should take a trip to Saudi Arabia and try and find a woman that went to University also try to walk around in your normal clothes as well.

    Also if you convert to Islam you are renouncing that Christ died for your sins and also you can never convert back to Christianity because under the Koran you would have to be killed.

  26. SpinstaSista

    Glen

    I don’t think that this site is a place for religious discussion but apparently Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have the same root – Abraham. I work in a university where 50% of our Muslim students are female. Perhaps Muslims are like everyone else – wealthy women have a better chance of education.

    Wiping out the indigenous population by having lots of babies isn’t unique to Muslims. To put it in biblical terms, we need to take the log out of our own eye before we take the speck out of our brother’s eye.

  27. Glen Quinn

    Hi SpinstaSista,

    Then why are there wide spread disruption with Islam all over Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Indonasia. In North Africa there is ethnic cleaning happening in Chad and Somalia, where the Union of Islamic courts are taking over the countrys to run.

    I currently live in the UK and the disruption that I’m seeing are:
    1. They want to change UK foreign policy
    2. They want to establish there own court system (Sharia courts)
    3. Jews, Christians, Aethiasts and other religions are not allowed in there mosques.
    4. Why must a Jew or Christian have to convert to Islam before marrying an Islamic male or female.
    5. Why can’t Islam allow people to convert from Islam to another religion without having to revert to violence.

    The women that are in your University are only able to attend because they are living in the west. If they were in an Islamic country then not a chance.

    If the women in your University want to have a career and get married then they will have to marry some one that is not Islamic because as soon as they marry a Muslim man then they will have to stop working and will be expected to stay at home and look after the family.

    Islam is mainly a made up religion with only parts of it from the Abraham religion.

    It really is so obvious whats going to happen to Ireland in 20 years time. When there are a lot more of them then you will see a bigger difference.

    When we are not able to discuss any topic whether it be religion, politics or finance then we do not have freedom of speech.

  28. SpinstaSista

    Glen,

    Quite a few of our female Muslim students go home to their own countries and practice as doctors and dentists treating Muslim women.

    Your point “Why must a Jew or Christian have to convert to Islam before marrying an Islamic male or female” brings to mind the “Ne temere” decree which was imposed in Ireland in the early 20th century and led to much unhappiness and division in this country. Basically a non-Catholic who wished to marry a Catholic had to convert to Catholicism before the marriage could take place.

    However, I do think you’re right, Ireland will become more Islamicised in the future, just like the Netherlands and Belgium.

  29. David J.

    One good argument for EU disengagement is that we could, free ourselves of transnational lobbying interests at the EU level, and with progressive people in government take a leadership position in terms of sustainability. I’m wondering why this government is not taking climate change as a significant impediment to our future socio-economic growth. We could actually be leaders in this area, but again we’re hoping for the free ride.

  30. Check out the following article for an interesting slant on labour force qualities… has some resonance in Ireland (I hope) http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5570.html

  31. cathal

    very interesting article.i saw you put forward this idea in the t.v. series the popes children.
    it is certainly forward looking.in the years to come as farm subsidies,subside and as ireland becomes more and more of a net contributer to the E.U.,ideas like this will have to be explored.
    many countries have prospered outside of major economic blocs.
    just look at switzerland and norway.

  32. [...] 5 years ago this week Our Future is not in the EU Alone [...]

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