October 19, 2009

Nama is rescue plan for the elite

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Do you remember back in school how the smart lads in the top class looked down their noses at the other lads in the streams below them? I have distinct memories of the fellas in the top stream at my school, many of whom went on to be doctors and lawyers – and who are now at the top of their professions, having a lofty view of their own abilities.

Why wouldn’t they? They were mainly decent enough fellas, and they were lucky because the entire Leaving Cert system was designed to bolster their egos, tell them how clever they were and usher them on a professional southside Dublin path to prosperity. They were very much the type of lads that the system was designed to foster and produce – the six straight A merchants.

After school, they flew through college and joined big accountancy or law firms, while the doctors went to the US to work like dogs, climbing up the greasy medical pole. They all sought the financial nirvana of a consultant’s position back home, knowing that it guaranteed a huge income and buckets of status in an increasingly status-obsessed society.

In the meantime, the lads in the streams below got on okay in the Leaving Cert, and many went into business, buying and selling, ducking and diving. As is the way of things in a big rugby-playing school, the two tribes – many of whom knew each other, but never really hung out together – would meet up at internationals and the like, swapping stories as their paths went on different tangents.

Over the years, many of the lads who were academically ‘average or below average’ moved into property and finance.

Some initially sold insurance or worked in the banks. Others might have moved into the building trade and graduated from site managers to having their own small companies.

By the 1990s, these lads, if they were still here, were starting to get a few breaks.

Others who had emigrated and got into business abroad thought about coming home to an Ireland that looked as if it was finally changing.

The top-stream boys carried on at the law firms, gaining status as they moved upward, becoming more and more respectable as they grew in seniority. In the big accountancy practices, they were being bumped up to partners and, although they worked outrageously long hours, the prize was in sight. The doctors, by their mid-30s,were on their way home with consultant positions up for grabs.

Most of them were also getting very rich.

The smart boys had joined companies which were benefiting enormously from the boom. The law firms, the consultancy outfits and the accountancy firms – not to mention the banks – were making a fortune, and they were all taking their cut. A small bit of a huge and growing pie becomes significant very easily.

The Dublin professional classes had become very wealthy in the boom. And the extraordinary thing about all this was that, in the main, they didn’t take any risks. They just worked hard, charged huge fees and, with both eyes firmly set on leafy suburbs, moved up the ladder. They had huge status and, in some cases, egos to match.

In the meantime, the lads who had done pass maths in the Leaving Cert were also on the make, but they were in business and property. They were making even more money than the straight-A boys. They were buying and selling, wheeling and dealing and, most of all, flipping.

They had seemed to be able to make money out of nothing, buying property and then selling the stuff on in a few months – making an enormous and seemingly effortless twist.The ‘stupid’ lads, at least in the eyes of the straight-A students, were achieving far above their abilities – and it all seemed so easy.

This is not what the system and the doting mothers had predicted. They, the professional class, should be on top – after all, hadn’t they done honours Latin, Irish, French and maths – not to mention the sciences – for the Leaving Cert? The ‘stupid’ lads just kept buying and selling, and now they had this new thing called leverage, which made the gains astronomical.

So, around 2005, just as the market was peaking, the smart lads decided to get into the game. They were invited by the ‘stupid’ lads they knew in school to get into what were termed ‘syndicates’. The less academic fellas were putting these things together all day, promising riches beyond their smart lads’ wives dreams. They all knew each other, after all, so everything would be grand.

Because the smart fellas had never taken a risk in their life, they had no idea how to access risk. They thought it was easy to become a Dermot Desmond.

They thought that the type of calculations someone like him was doing on a minute by minute basis couldn’t be that difficult, particularly as lads four streams below them in school could figure it out. And so, about four years ago, the complexion of the property market changed.

It became a free-for-all for the lads who’d done well in their Leaving Cert, but wouldn’t know how to ‘take their profits’ in a month of Sundays.

The people they used to look down on – the pass maths students – saw them coming and began to sell property syndicates to them, pretending that the clever lads were getting the deal of the decade.

So the professional classes, having been told from their childhood onwards that they were geniuses, were too arrogant and hubristic to know they were being had. After all, why would they not think they were smarter than the lads who had sold them the deals? They were smarter, and they had the UCD parchment on their mammies’ living-room wall to prove it.

But, in truth, the smart boys knew nothing about commerce, and had just bought a pig in a poke. Then the crash happened, and the chill could be felt in the equity partner offices of our top law and accountancy firms. These guys are now bankrupt, with enormous cash calls being made to finance the syndicates that are now under water. The top barristers and bankers were equally hammered, because they didn’t understand the rudiments of commerce. They thought it was easy. We are now left with the destruction of Dublin’s – and other cities’ – professional classes.

But the professional classes aren’t giving up that easily. They need to protect themselves, and what better way to do it than with Nama, a construction so devoid of commercial common sense – and so complex and legalistically elegant – that it could only have been constructed by a swot, a straight-A student whose mammy always thought commerce was vulgar and not for her boy.

Nama can be seen as a ‘class rescue scheme’ for Ireland’s professional elite. It has all the hallmarks of something that was constructed by the clever lads. The same ones who destroyed themselves and the property market at the end of the boom are now, via Nama, destroying the property market in the bust.

They didn’t understand commerce on the way up, which is why so many of them are bust; and they don’t understand the basics on the way down, which is why they have come up with Nama.

And who is going to gain from it? They are – because a floor has been put on their investment portfolios and, more to the point, they will make a fortune from the legal and accounting fees which will come with the bureaucracy of Nama.

The pass maths lads can see that the thing won’t work, which is why hardly any business people support it – but, then again, the sense of entitlement of the straight-A fellas is so strong that even a national catastrophe could not dent it.


  1. Malcolm McClure

    Seems like we are heading into a Bourgeoisie/Proletariate narrative. I wonder where that will lead us?

    • YAYA

      It’s facinating isn’t it?Yoiu see what was called Communism was nothing more than dressed up Facism.Marx did say that socialism would arise out of the ashes of Capital that had eaten it’s own tail. The proletariat in his writing was anyone who earned a wage. The vast majority of the Irish middle classes in his definition are part of the proletariat. It’ s facinating! The world can’t sustain our lifestyles!DENIAL on a Global scale.

  2. Back -to- Basics

    Class Room Politics –

    back of the class versus the front of the class ; and

    Jesuits versus Christian Brothers ; and

    How to make money out of sweat and tears and how to make your money work for you; and

    Rugby versus GAA ; and

    D4 & D Rest of the Provence ; and

    Merrion Square & D ELite -versus- All D Workers ; and

    Good v Bad ; and

    Honesty -v- Deception ; and

    Sailing Boat racing a Curragh ; and

    Packet & Tripe v Foie Gras

    just endless .

  3. DH

    This government are living on another planet… If you or I went to a bank looking for a new business loan using the same lucky dip financial predictions as Lenihan, we’d be laughed out of the place.

  4. I believe theNAMA’s financial projections are all flawed and I also believe that we really do not know the whole TRUTH yet and that Anglo is a Pot of Worms that are known by a few and we all will know after the enactment of NAMA but then it will be too late .

  5. Garry

    Absolutely David ……………. this helps explain to anyone why there is very little public opposition to NAMA…

    A lot of people think or hope they are part of the elite and are keeping quiet.

    but by definition, the elite cant be too big, so thats why I reckon were in for some shock and awe in 2010…..

    • Ruairi

      Garry, everyone CAN be part of the elite. In fact, I’ve just decided. You’re in!! I just seconded you. But don’t tell anyone else, sure you won’t?

      The ark leaves at 6.30 outside the Shelbourne.

  6. David – this article makes an simple storey for the general populace to understand easily and your efforts should continue in that language to deliver the real facts .

  7. Dilly

    They thought they were the elite, the arrogance and snobbishness of the last fifteen odd years was amazing. I had seen this before in London, but they even out snobbed the Londoners, it was truly breath taking. But, they were not the real elite, they were just given a taste, and then it was taken back. Our plastic elite have now been put back in their place, and they do not like it. That is where NAMA is coming into play.

    • Ruairi

      Dilly, for soundbite of the day/ the article, ‘plastic elite’ takes the trophy in my view. Well elucidated :-D Incisive and spot on!

    • Deco

      Dilly – you are correct. The arrogance that eminated from Ireland in the last twenty years was massive and unbearable.

      And it came from all levels. But the levels at the top had it the worst.

      The term ‘plastic elite’ is a term that describes them well. Or the term that Shane Dempsey introduced ‘ veneer’. Beneath the veneer in Irish life there is woodrot. And it stinks. But the veneer is there on top so that nobody knows where the stink and rot is coming from.

  8. Alan42

    David , a couple of more articles like that and we will have to offer you asylum on the Northside .

  9. the fish will never cross to the other side of the liffey

  10. SLICKMICK

    David, would you care to predict where the economy will be in 3 years time?.rte.ie/theweekinpolitics contains footage of the spat between Morgan Kelly and Pat Mc Ardle-priceless.

  11. mcsean2163

    Once again a bunch of mean caricatures. What is most offensive is the sneering manner in which David refers to the straight A students. I think 6 straight A’s is an amazing achievement.

    Allow me to illustrate my abhorrence to the above by my own circumstances.

    I went to a private secondary school. Not one person from my year of 90 became a doctor or a lawyer to my knowledge, there was one architect. My fiancee went to a public school and is a doctor.

    She worked really hard to get where she is and I would not demean the achievement of anyone who can get 6 straight A’s.

    In addition, the doctor world is dog eat dog and the basic salary for a registrar is less than a teacher. Not everyone will become a consultant and even if they do manage to become one who can fault them for taking the high wage our government gives them? Should they insist on less money? I for one have never told an employer that they are paying me too much!

    • Ruairi

      With respect, mcsean2163, I think you are taking the burden of David’s wideranging generalised sideswipe rather personally (As you should, if you feel its directed just at you and mocks your circumstances).

      But the overall thrust of this article IS genuine! Perhaps a private school in a large urban centremay not produce ‘the elite’ but they always fo down the country. I don’t know your particular circumstances. But at 15 /16,. when dossing middle-classers are sent away from Christian Brothers to boarding schools, its to ensure continuity of all that hard work getting to that rung on the social ladder. Its definitely a rural Ireland phenomenon. I’m sure it applies to most private schools in large urban centres also.

      David’s dichotomy is getting very close to the truth here. And as Malcolm point out, it is painting the Marxist class struggle to a certain extent. But hey, what’s new? That never went away you know!

      Let me give 2 examples from my personal and work history.

      1. One friend went away to Germany, and every time he came back he was aghast at prices, houses in particular. But what REALLY stuck in his craw was the fact that C and D class lads who hadn’t a brain between them (apparently) were self-building houses and each time he came back, they had sold that one and were building another !! I recall a documentary on Denmark’s increasing hostility to foreigners, where the highly educated Danes (Classics, like myself! although I did add 2 business degrees), couldn’t comprehend how the motherland had let them, the educated ones, down so badly. The manual workers prospered while they went into stately decline, as it were. A bit like us educated Paddies on the dole in the late 80′s and 90′s, except we weren’t surrounded by others working and prospering (in the real economy. There’s always an elite who prosper come what may). Anyway, my ‘buddy’ just couldn’t get it. With his engineering degrees, why wasn’t he top dog? Because commerce is for risk-takers.
      2. I was employed a while back in a marketing capacity for a savvy (and arrogant) hotelier / developer who openly told me that not only was he a god at his game but at mine also. He was the world’s greatest salesman as, get this, he had managed to ‘sell’ the concept of his revamped historic property to his wider circle (family, friends, business contacts) and had already profited by divesting some of his risk essentially. Don’t you get it? That’s what syndicates were all about. David is bang on the money with this article. Its musical chairs. Now my guy was actually professionally trained, so that adds a fly in the generalised ointment. But overall David’s article is rivetting and needed to be said.

      But the best part of all? While David hasn’t explicitly said it (he implicitly implies it by the endorsement of NAMA by the professional classes for future personal gain), NAMA is actually a big elevator pitch to all of us sheep and the illusion that there is a financial rock to ‘recover’ back to, is being spun again and again.

      When in fact, this is the reality. Wills, you wll enjoy reading this. It makes Sean Garland’s (alleged) dollarprinting seem like a Blue Peter exercise http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/bernanke-gone-berserk-bank-reserves-explode-4-36033. The dollar reserves have doubled in size since Lehmans’ fingers slipped out of the dyke…….

      “Up until the day Lehman Brothers collapsed in September of last year, it took the Fed a total 5,012 days – 13 years and 8 months – to double the cash currency and reserves in the coffers of U.S. banks.

      In contrast, after the Lehman Brothers collapse, it took Bernanke’s Fed only 112 days to double the size of U.S. bank reserves. He accelerated the pace of bank reserve expansion by a factor of 45 to 1.”

      Oh dear oh dear oh dear……..

  12. Alan42

    Well I had a very interesting experience on Sunday in which I aged about 20 years . I was driving through Melbourne and I managed to end up with ‘ Chopper ‘ Read on my bonnet . Having Australias most craziest criminal with no ears and prison tattoos rolling over your bonnet is an interesting feeling .
    Afer a few strong drinks to steady the nerves it got me thinking to something that happened here last year .
    The ‘ elite ‘ in Oz were not involved in property but there involved in the stock market in a very big way .
    When the stockmarket crashed lots of people got burnt . One company hit the news . When investors rushed to pay their margin loans they found that they no longer owned the collateral and that the banks had already seized them . It was one of those firms that offered very big returns . The usual people were in the media having lost the lot and there was the names of some big lawyers and others from the top end of town who had suffered heavy losses . They did there best to avoid the media .
    I thought to myself ‘ How can these people be so stupid ? How did they get to the top end of town ?
    This is where it gets interesting . We have a famous Mafia boss here who has survived the gangland war and has gone straight .
    He has a company called ‘ Arbitrations and Mediations ‘ which has a slogan ‘ Makes problems Disappear ‘ ( you have just got to love that ) Anyway next thing you know MR MB is on a plane to Singapore to pay a visit to this firms other office to seek repayment for a group of ‘ Unnamed Investors ‘ which had employed Mr MB to act on their behalf . This was headline stuff over here . This group of ‘ Unnamed Investors ‘ were really lucky as they had managed to get out one week before the banks grapped everything with 70 cents in the Dollar while everybody else faced total ruin . Mr MB returned home and then as if by magic a whole pile of Lexus cars owned by the investment company just disappeared from under the nose of the reciever .
    I know somebody who is in the same boxing club as MR MB and months later I asked him about it . He told me that the unnamed investors were the mafia and other investors who would have legitimate links with the mafia , ie lawyers etc and they wanted MR MB to retrive as much as possable .
    I was amaxed and hardly belive it . He went on and explained further ‘ Well the ‘ elite ‘ don’t understand business and how things work , they were just greedy and blinded by the high returns . But the Mafia do understand business and they knew that something was not right with the investment model that this firm was using but they went along with it for the high returns , safe in the knowledge that they would not get burnt because of what they are capable of doing when they lose money . So they got their 70 cents in the dollar and escaped lightly .But them being the Mafia the 30 cents would have bothered them . Which is where MR MB stepped in and the reason it was all over the media was that MR MB was also offering his services to the ‘ elite ‘ through the media . The ‘ elite ‘ have a network and through legitimate links with the Mafia ( Lawyers ) they could engage his services .

    Maybe we should rename NAMA
    ‘ Makes Problems Disappear ‘

    P.S , Chopper was ok about me hitting him as I was going very slowly and he did walk out in front of me .
    One for the Grandchildren .

    • Dilly

      Thanks for posting that very interesting story. When ever I hear about ‘Chopper’, I always think of Mad Max, as Chopper also went by the nickname ‘Toe Cutter’, a name also used in that movie. Maybe we are heading for a mad max style landscape here in the coming years, and NAMA will be the catylist.

      • Alan42

        Thanks Dilly , Its a true story . I was just amazed at the time .
        Here is a direct quote from Mr Gatto to a broadsheet just before he flew to Singapore .
        ” These Opes Prime clients can take their chances and lose all their money to lawyers and to recievers , or they can take their chances with me . The proof is in the pudding with me . I solve problems , Its my way or the highway ”

        This is the attitude that we should have taken with the banks before the guarantee . Just gone in and combed through their books . Its the same attitude that we should take with the bondholders , developers and everybody else who is looking for a bailout .

  13. Ruairi

    Our mafia leader went straight too! Went into the ‘buke’ writin business! He also used to try to make ‘problems’ disappea. By publicly recommending they commit suicide…..

  14. Deco

    Excellent article. It is all about saving the elite. Just look at Prof. Drumm and Harney praising his efforts. It is obvious that neither of them have ever had to wait on a trolley at Monaghan General or Waterford Regional.

    Which brings me to our Bush like Taoiseach. Like Bush Biffo has a history of a love affair with the booze. Unlike Bush, Biffo never got successfully dried out.

    Biffo has the accent the mannerisms, and the exterior of being one of us PAYE workers. But like Bertosconi, he is selling the PAYE workers out to the elite. Biffo is part of the electoral aristocracy of this country. They inherit seats. And it happens with all political persuasions – though the big three establishment parties have a lot of it.

    Cowen is our George Bush. Masquarading as a man of the people, and looking after the elite. It is so obvious. He is better at it that Ahern-Ahern’s stories where rotten with contradictions. Blunt Biffo doesnt have to fabricate as much.

    Be vigilant. Be very vigilant.

  15. Deco

    By the way nothing wrong with somebody working hard and getting good grades.

    But the if a kid from a working class gets good grades, and gets into university, his background is a positive disadvantage to getting a position in an ISEQ listed company.

    And nobody can convince me that AIB/BOI/ANIB/ILP/INBS/EBS etc.. are meritocratic, and socially egalitarean institutions.

    For this reason I minimize my dealings with each of them. Let them advertise all day and night, and I will still not deal with them.

    Gandhi told us the necessity of withdrawing our willingness to prop up those who are doing us a disservice.

  16. Malcolm McClure

    The head of some minor league college claimed on Newstalk yesterday that the exorbitant salaries of college lecturers was justified by the fundamental entry requirement being a PhD in their subject.
    PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. I have known a lot of PhDs but never yet met one who had the vaguest notion of ‘Philosophy’ in the classical sense. They had been trained to use ideas constructively, not to speculate about their validity.
    I raise this because the government is in thrall to academic “experts”. Negotiators talk blithely about the “social contract” without specifying what form of social contract they mean, except that it is something to keep the unions quiet on one hand and to provide a basis for exorbitant wage claims on the other. However both parties to the “contract” obviously believe that it can easily be shrugged off when the economic chips are down, like now, since it is not defined in the law of the land.

    When the present crisis first reared its head a year a go there was glee in some quarters as the prospects appeared so catastrophic that it seemed that any solution would require a fundamental reordering of society. All that now is almost forgotten, and NAMA is seen as the quickest way to regain the status quo, thus avoiding the difficult questions posed by political philosophers through the ages from Locke and Rousseau to Marx and Mugabe.
    Anyone interested in radical reformation might start by reading what Wikipedia says about the Social contract:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract

    The church used to be in a position to intercede between the people and the government in times of stress, but it has lost its moral authority. We must therefore all become our own political philosophers and not simply leave questions of political reform in the hands of Enda Kenny.

  17. Deco

    I actually think that the status obsession is at the root of our dysfunctional society.

    Status obsession feeds the irrationality of the entire dysfunctionality, and lives off it. It is what is called ‘a feedback loop with positive reinforcement and containment’.

    The crash was a threat to this. In effect it made it a non-paying proposition.

    But in the long run it will collapse the entire society. And after that happens, the next thing you will hear is “welcome to the Asian century”.

  18. adamabyss

    subscribe.

  19. I laughed reading this as it described my old school to a tee. We were groomed to be doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers etc.
    Of course everything here is a bit black and white. Intelligent people are not all so self-obsessed and arrogant that they are not capable of a little reflection when they get older. I sincerely doubt that any of my old classmates would see themselves as some part of predestined elite.
    Basically the school I went to taught us to play safe and that is pretty much what I have done myself. I admit that I was sometimes bemused by the funny money people were making back in Ireland in the last years. However, anybody I know who studied engineering like I did is well enough off now. Their children are more than likely to go to university and spawn more middle class minions. Blaming these people for NAMA is stretching it a bit though, I have seen a few of my ex-classmates ranting against NAMA on other internet forums.

  20. paulmcd

    MAKING THE ELITE PAY

    I completed my leaving certificate in 1968 – the last year of exam marks, as opposed to grades. This was an era when the achievement of straight A1′s, ie 95-100% never happened. Even if most of your subjects had a mathematical/scientific emphasis you still would not reach 95-100% in English or Irish. My achievement in breaking 70% in Honours French with a score of 74 marks was considered miraculous. Of course, the syllabus was totally different, very literary with no Oral exam. Competition for the few County Council Scholarships to pay for a university education was fierce. For my home county of Cavan there were only 3 scholarships. Fortunately, a grant scheme which afforded me £300 per annum was introduced in 1968, a time when the price of a pint of Guinness in Lower Leeson Street was the equivalent of 10 pence sterling.

    OK, LET ME REACT AGAINST NAMA, AGAINST THE “GREEN” MODIFICATIONS, ETC AND PROPOSE A SOLUTION TO FORCE THE ELITE TO PAY: Lack of regulation and fairness in the zoning of land for development in Ireland has ensured that the “site value” for each house contains a substantial speculative element. Ireland is a very low population density country. You would expect the average property price to be the lowest in EU. However, our property prices are way above the European average, exceeding valuations in even the richest, most densely-populated, and, arguably, more desirable areas of Europe — think “Benelux”, for example. Irish prices are also at least twice the prices for equivalent properties in the US with the American equivalents sitting on much larger sites. US home owners also have lower income taxes and much higher disposable incomes than people in Ireland.
    I propose the following solution: For a given €60,000 “site value” for the “average house” — using the standard measure of 25% x €240,000 list price – the purchaser of a house from NAMA stock should have to pay a “site value” which is no more than 10% above the agricultural land value which, let us say, would amount to €1,000 for the average postage-stamp sized plot, thereby receiving a €59,000 discount. The €1000 “realistic site value” will give the purchaser or a subsequent home-owner/landlord the right in perpetuity to land on which the house is built. However, let the builders/developers/property-syndicates, whichever is appropriate, hold on to the €59,000 speculative value in the site by being obliged to accept a one euro per annum payment for 59,000 years which the original site investors/developers can pass on to descendants. If interest needs to be added the time period will be extended accordingly, but no homeowner should have to pay more than one euro per annum.
    Legislation and even constitutional amendments would allow any Irish citizen who buys property from the NAMA stock to benefit from this measure. If the developer or other party(ies) has solvency problems and is unable to take responsibility for the speculative element, the purchaser may have to pay up, but the Government will freeze the assets of the developer and furnish the purchaser with tax credits to compensate him over the lifetime of the mortgage for the €59,000 excess paid. The Government will eventually take complete control of the developer’s estate — including assets “secured” in family trusts – when he passes away, to offset costs and NAMA obligations which the developer will have been unable to meet.
    Laws facilitating the status of tax exiles, especially those enacted in the 90’s during Bertie’s stint as Minister for Finance, will be removed from the statute books and every conceivable loophole will be plugged with new measures which will have a retrospective effect.

  21. MK1

    Hi David,

    I realise you use a very over-simplified description of social classes within education and Ireland to deliver your point. That noted, your conclusion is correct in that NAMA is a method to save those that have “some skin” in the game/pass the parcel/our property bubbe and related items, such as AIB, BOI, AnIB shares, etc.

    Its why the sentence “they are too important to fail” should be rewritten as “we are too important to fail”.

    NAMA is a massive bailout and as Stiglitiz points out is criminal. But whether the revolution to reverse it is possible is another story, and unlikely as apathy is rife.

    But NAMA may only be a 20billion bailout, lets guesstimate, as your guess is as good as mine and is as good as Mystic Meg.

    But the bigger TODAY problem is the public sector deficit. 23 billion in a year, wow. And who is benefitting? Yes, there is a class involved, but it is the public sector class. Do you know of a lecturer who tried his arm in the private sector, got burned and went back to the PS for safety? Its that guy, and many more like him, the people that dont take risk and in some sintances are just not very good.

    Granted, public sector spending is also the childrens allowance that many received, the unemployment money, the mis-directed spending on projects, the by-pass of Waterford that no-one really needs, the Luas, the Port Tunnel, the inefficiencies, the culture that has developed over decades, the politicians who are in charge of the whole shebang, etc, etc, etc …… I’m sure you could write a book on it or make a good TV programme about it. Eddie Hobbs to help?

    NAMA is a mess likely to happen … The PS is a mess that ISa happeningnd on a larger scale. Help! God Save Ireland say the Heros (now all dead presumably?).

    MK1

    ps: typo in “they had no idea how to access risk” ….. change access to assess …… “they had no idea how to assess risk”

  22. wills

    I’m from south dublin, around Dmcw’s age, educated privately at an ultra elite school, 16 students in my year and groomed for university and post graduate and onto blue chip employment doors open all the way once you had the academic results.

    David’s article is quite something. Strikes me the article is a bazooka going off. The target though is nebulous to a degree for what he and the rest of us i hope are seeking too dissolve is amorphous and highly deceitful cunning and utterly ruthless.

    David’s article takes the guided class structure of south dublin and it’s machinations and it is using this particular elitism modus vivendii and shattering the paradigm of a hidden power structure that works towards it’s own vested interests and to the utter carnage of the rest of society.

    But, David takes it a step further and he, correctly, in my viewpoint, highlights that the elite is not just at the top. The elite maybe a specific guided educated group at the centre of the ring but it ‘s machinations reach out into other social concentric circles and links up with other sub elites maybe not of a high calibre education but other groups ready and able to enter into a collective that has no moral compunction or community sense about itself and is only interested in the making of easy money and control and self preservation.

    So, to read david’s article i think is to get an in on the structure of the way the economy is run in any country where elitism is in control and lookslike david is deciding an elitism is running things in Ireland, an elitism that functions through networks across class and it is behind the property bubble catastrophe and is now busy busy hatching NAMA to try and salvage the pecking order of the elitist superstructure under some type of collapse.

    It’s sick. NAMA is a reflection of elite sub groups bound together by some sort of death wish who as deco has indicated are in the grip of some type of bizarre status obsession which is now as davids article indicates is under some type of existential threat due to the monies on the line and the prospect of this ‘pagan temple’ / elite social heirarchy toppling over in some way is for these pagans a non starter, and they are prepared too do whatever it takes to preserve the paganism social order they’ve constructed for themselves across the board.

    NAMA is creepy, it’s crossing our society over into sinister area’s irish society has never really discussed. Area ‘s of ritualistic child abuse and mind programming of the worker bee’s. We live in desperately sick and perverted society and NAMA is the tip of the iceberg of the rot that orchestrates what really happens here on our island.

    It really makes one ask, where the children who were ritually sexually abused by the clergy some type of blood sacrifice for the engine on which this country operates.

    NAMA is dripping in the idea of pagan sacrifice.

    • wills

      NAMA is economics of the ‘lord of the flies’. Paganonomics.
      1: Rigged markets
      2: Cronyism / Nepotism
      3: Money printed out of thin air (fiat money)
      4: Two tier system
      5: Predatory lending practices
      6: Government bailouts
      7: Centrally planned economies
      8: Usury
      9: Private banking controlled money creation
      10: Financial terrorism ie, bubble engineering
      11: Wealth transfer s upwards etc etc.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Wills: IMHO This was a really constructive piece until you descended into the hyperbole of the last two paragraphs.
      Ireland has a lot of problems and as you point out they are all related to some degree. Possibly the third. However methinks thou dost protest too much when you conflate ritual abuse with NAMA.

      • wills

        malcolm McClure, possibly so malcolm, appreciate all appraisal.

      • Tim

        Malcolm McClure, perhaps the conflation of child abuse in State-run Institutions with NAMA is not so unreasonable: it speaks to the disdain of the lower-orders by the elite.

        Quite an obvious association of ideas, really, from one perspective.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Tim: There are bad eggs in every social class. It is an artificial equivalence to conflate disgusting behaviour with NAMA, just to besmirch professional people.
          That argument lacks evidence and flies in the face of reason. It is an approach favoured by gutter journalism and has no place here.

          • Tim

            Malcolm McClure,

            “It is an artificial equivalence to conflate disgusting behaviour with NAMA,…”

            Quite simply, untrue.

          • wills

            Malcolm: It is not my intention to besmirch. I’m not saying you are indicating that, i’m merely clarifying my intention on the matter. If besmirching as a possibilty is raised by my sophistry so be it. It is impossible to keep from readers of comments making links they choose to make. If a reader chooses to read my comment as a gutter journalistic attempt at besmirch, so be it, i’m satisfied in my conscience i’m not.

          • wills

            It is fair too say, as tim denotes from my comment, that, i perceive NAMA as a disgusting scam on the joe public.

          • Tim

            Malcolm McClure, with respect, Sir, I think you mis-interpreted the post. It was not that the elite are abusers of children; rather, that the self-absorbtion of the elite causes it to disdain the lower orders to the extent that the elite neglects the plight of the lower orders.

            The elite is doing the same thing now, via NAMA, as it did when those children were suffering.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tim and Wills: Thank you for making those meanings clear. The targets and the charges need to be specific if we are to attack NAMA with a reasoned case against it.

    • wills

      My rather prosaic idea’s at end of comment here are a reflection of an idea concerning the degree’s to which the network of elites across irish society will go to to preserve their power base and wealth. How far will take things to keep prestige and power. NAMA is indicating an answer to this musing but would they travel further than NAMA if required. What are we dealing with here. I think David’s article is digging deep on this question.

  23. Fergal73

    NAMA is an effort to ‘rescue’ a couple of zeros at the end of our “elite’s” bank balances.
    The ‘elite’ are not just the 6A’s folk, they’re also the guys inside the tent at the Galway races, they’re the landowning farmers turned property “developers” (Developer in the Irish context often means payers of the right FF politician to get land rezoned.) they’re the intergenerational family politicians.
    NAMA is clearly a bad business deal. You, your children and very likely their children will end up paying for it.
    Emigrate. If you can’t emigrate, make sure you’re children learna foreign language. Train and educate them to emigrate. There is no place for nationalism or patriotism. The best thing you can do is get out of the country, or make sure that your offspirng do. Staying means the “elite” will suck you and generations of your descendants dry. NAMA turns the proles of the present into peasants of the future.

  24. Tim

    John ALLEN, this one’s for you (nothing to do with NAMA, unless you factor-in the “space-cadets” on the Board of AIB and elsewhere!):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8314581.stm

  25. Tim

    Folks, this is what will be on “The Frontline”, later tonight:

    http://www.rte.ie/ie/frontline/entry/f%C3%A1s_nama_and_eamon_gilmore

    Fás, NAMA and Eamon Gilmore.

    Worth a skeptical look?

  26. Tim

    Folks, here is Kinsella’s (1st of three, he promises) report on the Kenmare conference at the weekend:

    http://www.stephenkinsella.net/2009/10/19/are-economists-bad-for-the-economy/

  27. Colin_in_exile

    David,

    Excellent Article, one of your best since it gets to the nub of the whole problem we are now faced with. Some great comments here also, well done lads and enjoying the bit of humour too – “They were smarter, and they had the UCD parchment on their mammies’ living-room wall to prove it.”, hahaha, I know so many mammies like this.

    Remember, Lenihan went to Cambridge, which is an over-achiever’s wet dream, so he knows all about this culture of elitism.

    Garry, Comment no.5 is spot on, the problem is that nearly everyone wants to be part of the elite, and this explains why so few came out to protest about NAMA on the streets. The elite don’t want house prices to fall, because not only will they lose on their equity, they’ll be left with egg on their face r.e. their financial judgement, the same judgement which only 3 years ago they were happy to boast about.

  28. Deco

    What is Brian Lenihan’s primary concern ?

    From what I can see Brian Lenihan’s primary concern is maintaining the social order. This social order might be responsible for the problems that we are now in. That social order might be responsible for the entire underperformance of Ireland after Independence.

    But Brian Lenihan’s primary policy objective is the maintaining of the status quo. That is not a conservative status quo. In fact it is the most liberal status quo that you can find in Europe. And it is obsessed with social veneer. It is all about ensuring that the various layers in Irish society do not become juxtapositioned as a result of the chaos.

    In essence Brian Lenihan willmake sure that we never move ourselves into the type of high tech powerhouse that exists in Israel, California, Bavaria, North Carolina, etc…Instead the various insiders will continue to hold their power.

    Somebody quoted Yeats as saying that “Ireland is a sow that eats her own farrow”.

    This has been true in the boom. And it is even more true now.

    Lenihan’s stoic defense of the undendable is not without precedent. There were woeful social obsession, and persistent outbreaks of stupidity evident in the aristocracies of both France and Tsarist Russia before those societies erupted into revolution.

    With this in mind, Lenihan is very much a tragedy waiting to happen. And NAMA is a bit like Tsar Nicolai telling the Russians that he would not yield until he achieved victory, in August 1914. The price afterwards was paid for such stupidity. The problem with the Tsar was that the Russians shot him after the War was started, and the Revolution erupted.

    Protection of priveleged layers of society creates all sorts of mayhem and fallout. The assumption that the media can control the lemmings will not hold any more in a meltdown scenario. And that is what is happening. The state is bailing out everybody. It may as well be called No Banker left behind. It is socialism for the rich. Socialism for the rich existed in France in the 1780s, when only the poor paid taxes. Socialism for the rich also existed in Russia in 1913. All it does is create vicious anger.

    • Deco

      Before the collapse of a societal model you will hear the refrain “We have never had it so good”.

      Or we have thrown of the shackles of ourselves and we can now behave with great self belief.

      As if we really are something special.

      Looking at the state of the society, the trolleys, the pensioners dying in nursing homes from neglect, the corrupt politicians, the corrupt business networks, the oligopolistic market rigging, the endemnic culture of overcharging, the deceit, the lies, the consensus to lie, and the sheer arrogance.

      And the entire thing is being described in such terms as ‘sophisticated’, ‘modern’, ‘progressive’ (as in the political party), ‘proud’, etc….

      Really, it is a load of bullshit.

      Ireland is bankrupt. The financial dimension is just the latest dimension to go bankrupt. And because we are moral cowards, Irish society is looking for a bailout. And because we are intellectually bankrupt, we are in a state of continually evolving denial.

    • wills

      Deco. “Ireland is a sow that eats her own farrow” concentrates David’s article into one sentence.

      I reckon Yeats maybe over generalized with the ‘ireland’.

      It’s moreso the cross networks of elites will eat their own farrow. Particularly in Ireland.

      The elites in Ireland are particularly vicious and barbaric to a degree not found anywhere else.

      This is what David’s article is digging up. The nature of the Beast in charge in Ireland.

      • Deco

        Wills – yes – I agree Yeats might have overgeneralized.

        In essence the term ‘gombeen’ is apt when describing who does the eating. The gombeen mentality, as shown by economic rent seeking, price manipulation, lobbying, and control of the information flow to the populace, is the real source of a lot of the problem.

        And we have the antidote – as Gandhi recommended, active non-participation. Or as Michael Davitt recommended – the boycott. We do not have to have a formal campaign. Just one citizen acting with a conscience is a light that will shine on others.

        I don’t like analogies, because they stretch things and get away from fact.

        But it is a case, that if you cannot pull the rug from under the establishment, just grab a lose string of the run and give it a slow persistent tug. And eventually it will unravel…..

        I once had an encounter with the one of the top banks in Ireland, that gave me a very harsh lesson in the cronyism, nepotism and contemptuous culture that exists. And I never had any dealings with them since. After the incident, I was sounded to see if I would make an issue of it. I made sure that I never had any dealings with them afterwards, and I told others informally, so that they would also be wised up. In return I have received information on events and culture inside other ISEQ listed companies. And I received an insight into non ISEQ banks also. It’s all on the grapevine. It’s all there. The media will not tell us what is happening. And even if they decided that they wanted to, the laws would make it financially nonviable. Instead the media are just playing games trying to get into people’s “attention space”. And essential to this strategy is shoring up their credibility, and attacking anything that undermines their credibility.

        I remember a few years ago Mark Little(RTE, Prime Time) warning of the evils of u-tube. Of course the biggest evil of all in his mind was that people would see events that RTE news never broadcast.

        The biggest threat to oligopoly is competition. And the second biggest threat is substitution. And then next comes active non-participation.

        And in Ireland this is difficult because the media is actively involved in reinforcing a culture that represses these three forms of action.

  29. paddythepig

    How does David McWilliams know the demographic of the winners and losers from the boom & subsequent bust?

    Is there a single statistic or figure to back the class-based assertions in this article up? The evidence is anecdotal at best.

    I think the spoils of the boom are more randomly distributed throughout society with the determining factor being how early people participated in the property boom ; the losers are those first time buyers who ‘got in’ too late and are left holding the baby.

    Paddy

    • roc

      True. One’s academic predilections didn’t really matter. More so the faith one had in society and society’s professionals, and the belief that they were acting in your best interests – for the most part, I think.Sure, to some extent gullibility and stupidity and greed came into it. Anyway, David’s article serves a purpose in bringing debate to a more human and interesting level I think. Quite like this article in the NY times last week? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/opinion/14trillin.html?_r=4 Great minds think alike and all that !!

    • wills

      Paddy, i think david’s article is more getting at the fact that the boom and bust are economic events occurring within an over all framework of crony capitalistic control and so by definition the spoils of war go to the ruling classes and david’s making a dissection of what the ruling classes are in Ireland and he is using dublin as an example of how the interlocking web of elites hold the scam together.

    • econarchist

      Paddy,that’s what I thought when I first read the article. David McW is often not at his best when he strays from his area of expertise in economics into the area of sociology.

      But then I heard on the radio this evening about the people who dragged Iceland (population a little lower than South Dublin) into one of the biggest property bubbles in history. When I heard that many of them went to school together, it got me thinking:

      - All politics is local and you can’t get more local than a class-room, where kids decide who their friends and enemies are and who their superiors and inferiors are.
      - Most Irish people who finished their education in the late 1990′s went into a working environment where they were considered to have been “left behind” if they did not get onto the “property ladder” because house prices were rising so fast. This had as much to do with social climbing as it had to do with wise investment.
      - Big financial decisions are often not decided by people thinking rationally but by a bunch of alpha males, each trying to show off his huge portfolio. In London in the eighties the title of Big Swinging Dick was given to the most successful stockbroker. This mentality has not progressed beyond that of adolescent schoolboys but it still controls trillions of dollars of investment money.

      Yes you are right that the article is based on anecdote rather than than on empirical data, but you can’t ignore the power of peer pressure on adults as well as children.

      • Tim

        econarchist, Too right!

        We may have a “Munster-face” on us about it, but there are some Leinster lads seeking a “Langer” to go with those “Golden-Balls” that they think they have.

      • paddythepig

        Roc, Wills, ecoanarchist,

        Thanks for the comments, I agree with a lot of what you all say. One thing that struck me about the recent false boom was (to some degree) the classlessness of it all – the fact that things got so insane that almost anyone with a bit of neck could talk themselves into getting the loans to build up a property portfolio.

        Because of this, I find the brush strokes applied by David to be too broad, and largely unsubstantiated.

        As the tide goes out, there is no doubt an attempt to plug the dam, largely to preserve the nation’s financial institutions – cue the bank guarantee, and more acutely NAMA – and in these actions I do see the crony class-based mentality at work. Life without these institutions is deemed to be unthinkable.

        Paddy

        • wills

          Paddy, ‘.anyone with a bit of neck talk themselves into getting the loans to build up a property portfolio’ is bang on.

          These are all the little chief ‘s in their own little fiefdoms. Hundreds of thousands of them. RTE 1 frontline last night, some ‘ol dear, red hair, early 50′s on, giving it yards on how she’s stuck in Neg equity cos’ in ’06 she bought to fix to sell on to win the lotto and it was just sick. Here she is on nationwide tv decrying her neg equity on a property punt, no shame, just a omnipotent right to easy money elbowing whomever out of the way to get it.

  30. Tim

    Deco and wills, these are excellent pieces. You have addressed essential issues in relation to NAMA and Irish society.

    Indicative of the endemic problems you both elucidate, I think, is the AIB Board of Directors’ decision to pay the national agreement wage-increase to its employees, at a time when it survives only by dint of the government’s generosity with taxpayers’ money. This is coupled with the Boards proposed appointment of another “insider” as the new CEO.

    It would appear that Lenihan’s earlier “tough-talk” about controlling the banks, and forcing them to bend to his will, has transmuted into “Laissez-faire” with the banks and “tough-talk” about the public sector workers and the taxpayers at large, as well as mothers in receipt of child-benefit and the people that this mess has flung onto the social welfare heap.

    Meanwhile, the private-sector banks can celebrate NAMA on their nights-out in Dublin, the wealthy can buy the Convertible Aston Martin DB9 Vantage (2009 reg) that I saw in Blackrock yesterday and all is looking well for the elite; as the rest of us face a gaping abyss.

    With levies and pay cuts and worse to come, even those of us who were prudent throughout the boom are coming under enormous financial pressure, as we prop-up busted banks that rub our noses in our own stupidity for letting our government get away with fleecing us in favour of the elite.

    • wills

      tim, it’s like irish society is a conglomerate of a mulitiple interlocking fiefdoms that hold within its own individual fiefdom social orders comprising of masters and slaves to different orders and different degrees but the seperation lines are always there between who the masters are and who the slaves are. And the slaves pay for the masters sports car one way or the other, whatever the fiefdom. The fiefdoms are all in agreement with each other to work together to a common purpose which seems to me to be to maintain a class of slaves at all times. Central to preserve the old order is to ensure a slave class.

  31. Malcolm McClure

    Deco: Maybe we will never move ourselves to host the kind of high tech powerhouse that exists in Israel, California, Bavaria, North Carolina, etc., which you hold to be an ideal this country should aspire to. But we’ve already been there, done that, with our irascible neighbours across the border, our beach house culture, our BMWs and devout hypocrits. And look at the mess it got us into.

    It would be better if our collective intelligence could establish firm foundations for a just and fair society, where people come first and where every family’s achievements are honoured, whether through breeding a Sea the Star or in humbler roles. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. And the pursuit of happiness treads a different path from the pursuit of mere wealth.

    • Philip

      Maybe I misunderstand.. But we have NOT be there or done that – we were just cheap grease monkeyt assemblers of Hi-tech – not original makers – until we got too dear. And we could not build our Hi-Tech simply becasue we do not have the conditions of firm foundations for a just and fair society which give a basis of solid confidence to invest in a future which in turn leverages innovation and sees it as a fundamental value.

  32. I enjoyed reading wills eulogy to the unknown irishmen that seem to be sewn together under a code of omerta and still invisible in the sense of the word.His words remind me of the ancient ‘ fith fath’ whereby then men coloured themselves with a toad derivative that allowed themselves to change into various colours to hide against whatever background they find themselves in.
    The only visible sport I can see the NAMA cover up happening is Rugby and this transends all societal gatherings on this isle.Rugby is a common denominator for everything ‘wills’ says that cements their consciousness .It is the case in Limerick and their invisibles are very transparent so I guess D4 is likewise.
    Wills exosureal thoughts are very enlightening indeed.

  33. Hi Tim…..thanks for the link. When I read dmcw article I thought that you might add the New York slant to it and with a dosh of rural bruree .

    • Tim

      John ALLEN, welcome. Did you spot the “wobble technology”?

      Perhaps you could youse that to great effect, by applying it to the great “Stars” of our elite and discover their orbiting “planets”?

  34. In Limerick where I attended the only secondary school north of the city run by the Christian Brothers. We had some real achievers and none of them were elite.The most famous from my class was Pat Cox and from his early primary days he stood out a mile and extraordinary in every way.His first foray into television was on ‘The School around The Corner presented by Paddy Crosby when it was televised from Limerick on a few occassions. He continues to support both the primary and secondary schools he attended to this very day.

    • Colin_in_exile

      John,

      I went to the same school as you, although many years later. For people unfamiliar with it, the name is Ardscoil Ris on the North Circular Road. NCR is the poshest neighbourhood in Limerick City. The school has had many successful students and was/is known for getting the best Leaving Cert Results(an amazing achievement since half the teachers there were psychotic) in Limerick. However, there were many families in the neighbourhood whose father’s attended Crescent College. Crescent College moved from its city centre location to Dooradoyle (south western suburbs) in the 1970s. Guess where these boys went? Yes, across town (2 bus trips), where results were inferior, but the school tie & rugby shirt hadn’t changed for decades. There is elitism in the provinces, and this is the main reason why a boundary extension is being resisted in suburban County Limerick, by people who fear Limerick Corporation will build social housing in Castletroy, Annacotty, Dooradoyle & Raheen and move people from Southill, Moyross, Island Field & Garryowen out there.

  35. Tim

    John ALLEN, I made a decision not to do so, as I have posted previously about the fact that I never encountered snobbery or elitism until I moved to Dublin. That may be due to my own naivety, of course, but I found that even very young teenagers in Dublin were already steeped in notions of class-distinction.

    • wills

      Absolutely tim. The snobbery and elitism in Dublin is of a lethal nature. It, as John ALLEN picked out from my comments disguised in an invisibility cloak and crosses social classes. It is not of the strain most are accustomed too. It hinges itself on a psychology as opposed to an economic paradigm.

      The elitism is infused with a sadism.

      No matter the social class. The ‘sadism’ is the mark.

      The peking order distributes the heavy weight boxing sadists too the top. Interestingly, working class sadists from tough neighbourhoods in dublin serve the elites ranks in numbers due to the fact they pack a heavy punch behind their sadism.

  36. Peter Atkinson

    NAMA—- Need Another Million Arseholes and by god this country has no shortage of them.Just look at the ones that vote for Fianna Fail the corruption party.The fools that signed up for the property boom and now believe the in the messiah and the second coming ie NAMA.Northside, southside, eastside westside the fools are everywhere.The same fools that treated CJ as a demi god and think the venerable John O’Donoghue is some sort of hero after that rising speech.The last time I heard a speech like that the man who made it was hung, drawn and quartered.No such luck with JOD.A fat pension and another term in the big house.

  37. wills- on your point of sadism again in the past 2000 years ago there has been a culture of ‘sile na gig’ with stone carvings everywhere it was practiced .I am not going into its process just leave it to the imagination.Nothing seems to change .

  38. David – I think we are requesting from you a picture that you can conjure of what will happen in 2010 , 2011 etc in words and prose as in the above article – the reality is appearing now visibly for all of us and we need ‘a new light’.

  39. alpha

    The Prime Minister of Norway earns 120.000 euro approximately, the PM of Spain 90.000 euro a. The Ministers, Deputies, Judges, Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, School Principals, Vice Principals, Teachers in secondary schools, Lecturers in Universities, etc. considerable less than in Ireland.
    I’ve never heard a nurse in this country complaining of “how hard they work and how little they earn”, and we all know that they really work hard and have many reasons to complaint. And they are the best in the world not because they say it, but because everybody else says they are.
    But come to the rest of them and we have as follow:
    -Some politicians that told us that if we paid peanuts we were going to get monkeys. So we didn’t and look what we’ve got!
    -Some Doctors and Dentists saying that the reason here the fees and treatments cost considerable more than in most of other European countries was because they are offering a much better service. In other words, they think they are better professionals than the others in the rest of Europe. Excuse me!
    -Some teachers, waiting for any opportunity to remind us that they are exhausted from dealing with pupils, parents, and the enormous pressures of work.
    And that they don’t feel they are well remunerated, or have enough holydays, and they want more of both. South of the Liffey it’s a kind of epidemic!
    OK I know there are exceptions to the rules in every case, people you don’t want to hurt or offend. But is time we face reality!

    If we would have the industrial production of Germany or China, or the agricultural one of Argentina, or both of Brazil, would be OK. But if we give a look at the balance sheet of this country for the last few years it doesn’t take somebody with straight A to realise that something is fundamentally wrong. And all those excesses in pay and conditions, and money wasted in various “political misdemeanours”, not to mention brown envelopes, and golden handshakes, were at the expense of vital infrastructure for the Country and its inhabitants.

    I think we should take five countries of Europe like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Great Britain, or add more if you want, see how much they pay to their professionals, work out an average, assign each of them and Ireland a position in a ranking in relation to their infrastructure, and economic capacity, and after it, readjust salaries and pensions accordingly.
    Establish up to what earnings are going to be left, as they are now, to protect lower paid workers. And bring down the value of “family homes only” to real values, and adjust the mortgages repayments to it, to stop what in reality is usury.
    And not to NAMA under any circumstance! Instead design a plan to assist the productive sector in difficulties, because the Banks are going to do nothing for them!
    Any dog in the street knows it!

    And if the opinion of Joseph Stiglitz isn’t enough lets remind the politicians that might be reading this blog what Thomas Jefferson the 3erd President of USA once said:
    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers
    conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs”

    • Deco

      Alpha – you stated
      {
      Some Doctors and Dentists saying that the reason here the fees and treatments cost considerable more than in most of other European countries was because they are offering a much better service. In other words, they think they are better professionals than the others in the rest of Europe. Excuse me!
      }

      I know of two doctors who operate a practice in the East of Ireland, in a small commuter town.

      One doctor is out of the country for six months. Then he works. And while he is working, the other doctor is out of the country. They are both in Bermuda. They are both making use of the tax system.

      Both are fully in favour of free health care for all-medical cards for everyone. Afterall, if the taxpayer is are paying the bill, the customers are not going to be as concerned about whether or not they doctors are paying their share of taxes. The HSE is not going to strike them off the list for tax dodging. Not if Bono can turn up in Dublin and have RTE trying to get close enough to be able smell his body odour.

      But hey should we be surprised. the tax diaspora docs are screwing the taxpayers a minor and insignificant sum of money compared to the schemes of U2, the three amigos, Sir Anthony and Carribean Dennis. Doesn’t it make you feel PROUD to have such a PR enhanced set of prominent tax dodgers. If they were German they would be in jail. If they were American they would be fined by the authorities every time they re-enter the country.

      But in Ireland the tax diaspora are like the absentee lords of old.

      • Ruairi

        Deco,

        well said.

        “But in Ireland the tax diaspora are like the absentee lords of old.”

        They are enemies of the people. But instead of seeing the great wrong they do all of us, instead they get laurels. By almost all of us. The big fellas that they are.

  40. Tim

    Fascinating; truly, fascinating!

  41. Paul C

    David,
    1. The national debate is now driven by the politics of envy, begrudgery and class warfare.
    2. Your piece feeds into this. The ‘Elite’ is populist construct, and its mostly nonsense.
    3. Why would the FF Bogger in-bred Political classes want to bail out the very D4 professional classes they so despise?
    4. Some of your observations are indeed correct, but the conclusion doesn’t hold water.
    5. Entrepreneurs were looked down upon by the priests & brothers who churned out young ‘suits’ for the professions
    6. Some of those entrepreneurs became dotcom millionaires. Jealously flared among the professions (and, as always, the unions)!
    7 The bogger entrepreneurs (builders) got jealous too. They leaned on their FF bogger mates in Kildare St for tax breaks and, briefly, highjacked the country.
    8. The ‘suits’ decided they would *not* get burned twice, so they jumped on the bandwagon, as you say.
    9. Those same ‘suits’ created outrageous conflicts of interest for themselves – eg. partners in accounting firms investing in development consortia, audited by their firms, then suing them for losses afterwards like a bunch of cry babies!
    10. Moral of the story? Lets get back to basics. Referees & linesmen cannot decide to join in just because the players look like they’re having all the fun, then show everyone the red card when they start losing.

    Reward is for risktakers, not pussies. Wealth creation comes from risk-taking. The professions are parasites. The public ‘service’ lost the plot long ago and wont accept their place in the grand scheme of things. Driven by jealousy, they too hijacked the country with Bertiebenchmarking – demanding massive rewards for NO risk. Insane.

    As an old chum now living in Sydney always says “Ah yes, Ireland, the biggest open-air lunatic asylum in the world”

    This so-called country is now officially ungovernable. Bring on Brussels. Bring on the IMF. Come back Westminster.

    We’re a bunch of spolit, bickering, tantrum-throwing (stand up IFA, INO, INTO, SIPTU, ICTU … blah blah) little brats – the experiment is over. We failed.

    Paul C

    • Deco

      Paul C – Can you explain why Cowen (from a county with a lot of Bog) and the Lenihans (from Athlone – another place surrounded by bog) are clambering hand over fist to save the D4 banks ?

      It is not a question of why would FF save the D4 establishment ?
      They are already at it.

      I disagree with much of what you are saying, because it is not substantiated fact.

      However you are half way correct concerning the ‘professions being parasites’. The fact is that with the lobbying and media antics of varios interest groups in Ireland, it is possible for the various professions to ensure that they get above normal pricing. This is sometimes called ‘economic rent’. I would call it market rigging. You only seem to know half the story.

      The problem in Ireland is the ‘gombeen mentality’. The extoritionism. The control of information to prevent any meaningful functioning of a proper market for anything. The complicitity of the media. [as witnessed during the property boom, when the IT had Dan McLaughlin in the IT business supplement every Friday for almost ten years. And then for some diversity of opinion-Austin Hughes was on the same page-providing a different slant but the same bias.]. The unrestrained corruption emdemnic in the political system. The legal codes that have the Gardai tied up in knots, and effectively nuetered as a prosecuting agent against white collar cime and corruption. (“the tribunals are taking care of matters”). The control of IBEC over what constitutes public opinion. The libel laws that effectively censor the media from telling the truth about anything, until somebody is in jail. And even then, the media can only report the competing books of evidence.

      Ireland is a lunatic assylum because that is the way the gombeens want it to be. And like any society dominated by deceit and doubloespeak, the Irish are told try escapism rather than reform. That they problem is their perception, and not the problem. In Ireland the laughing fool is the prototype model citizen presented to all as the role to be followed. And if the fool has nothing to laugh at, he must make it up with his imagination, or take some substance that will make him a laughing fool. The problem is not the problem, the problem is that the Irish do not drink (or drugs or retail therapy ) enough to be oblivious to the gombeen culture dominating our society.

      The gombeens are still in control. And the gombeens of today’s Ireland are to be found in the club house of Portmarnock golf club or Old Belvedere as well as the cattlemarts of the Midlands. Scratch beneath the veneer of an posh accent and the right connections, and all you often find is another gombeen who is doing what all gombeens are good at.

      Gombeens are always looking for something for nothing.

    • Tim

      Fascinating; truly, fascinating, Paul C.

    • wills

      Some good points. On the ‘we failed’ part I disagree.

      A sector of our society fails, failing is their modus operandii. They fail, and grow fat on the riches and spoils of war it brings. Quite obvious, it’s like this every place one has a society malfunctioning on feudal terms.

      Living in Ireland for most of my life, and coming from near the top of the tree it has been my experience over and over again that there is a network of elites across social classes the are in control and run the debt peeonage society in the Republic of Ireland.

  42. Paying off debts is painful.It’s like dying.You try to put it off as long as you can.Nobody runs an open a tab forever.And just as you can’t go to heaven without dying, when its time to pay up someone is bound to suffer.

    Borrowers are often perfidious , crisis are usually insidious , and bankers are morans.

    So whats ahead in the wild seas before us is as good as ‘your look out sailor ‘ who usually wears an ear ring around the lobe of his ear to give him better eyesight.

    My prediction is :

    The Government dont know anything anymore and are rudderless:and

    Private sector sinks fast down a black vortex in weeks ahead:

    Tax Revenues fall further and deeper and Expenses continue to Rise despite the efforts by government ; and

    Public Debt continues to grow at alarming rates ; and

    Government DEFAULTS next year ; and

    Hyperinflation arrives and tyranny makes it’s appearance on the streets of Dublin; and

    Civil Servants are paid in IOU’s ; and

    Devaluation / Ejection of/from EURO currency; and

    Democracy ends as we know it ; and

    Crime rises and looting takes place; and

    A Dictatorship arrives with taliban principles.

    Can anybody prove me wrong?

  43. Paul C

    John Allen’s apocalyptic vision is now possible. Latvia – in the EU remember, but not the Euro – are threatening to default – which could trigger the collapse of 3 huge Swedish banks. Their public sector have already taken 40% cuts (note to our spoiled lot!).

    California (famously touted as world’s 7th largest economy, is already paying teachers & other public servants with IOUs …. But the Irish media are SO myopic they cant see past the local phoney wars here to look around what’s happening elsewhere

    • wills

      Paul C. Latvia are attempting to approach the banking property bubble POnzi swindle blow out in an intelligent going forward solution. The prime Minister has declared the need for new law’s limiting the liability in the case of mortgage defaults to the current market value.

      An idea which is seriously p1ssing of the private central bankers, in sweden particularly, because they will have to write down the loan losses in the old fashion way . Which seems to be the great unwind the private banks are all in a blind panic to stifle from even been debated at all costs.

      There appeared on RTE 1 Frontline last night a retired banker of stature stating into camera that all private banks in ireland are professionally obliged to fix the plumbing by doing what the banking manually instructs to do such times of crisis, and write down losses and nationalise and re capitalise and go again.

      In Latvia, a leader with BALL’s is attempting to force this solution on the banks from the outside. Hope it work’s.

      • Ruairi

        Excellent.

        That’s something I suggested way back last summer on DMcW.
        A reduction of the principal owed, to match the %s that the banks would be getting in any State (taxpayer’s) bailout.

        It makes total sense. Unless the banks want to operate in the real market. Which would be fun.
        The difference is that Latvia just got its independence and the people are still switched on to what must be done (for public good). We did the same as a young state when we engineered Ardnacrusha, a monumental project in its day. Visionary.
        But now, people are to blame. We’ve all (mostly) given away our social power without thinking about it carefully. That’s why we are where we are.

        Some light relief in advance of da next big Budget http://www.peoplesrepublicofcork.com/images/articles/Taxes_Oct08/WillieODea.gif

        History repeating itself, with bells on I fear.

  44. Tim- the wobble is real .Yesterday I had a running nose like a tap all day and I wobbled a lot.

  45. DH

    If the underlying problem is a class issue, then dont we need to begin psychological treatment before any economical / life chancging actions can take place… I’m not an expert (yet) but addicts need to want to change before there’s a real chance for them. Right now FF are talking about changing their ways like an addict who’s still high.

  46. Deco

    What David has presented in this article is the theory.

    Here is the practice to the theory.
    The Anglo Loan to Seanie.
    The Permo Loan to Anglo.
    The Enst and Dung Audit that missed the Anglo loan to Seanie. (Officially, it was an oversight, not a coverup).
    The manner in which the board of directors in Permo staged the act in which the Permo CEO resigned, and board refused to accept his resignation. (effectively sticking their two fingers up at the former shareholders of Anglo, the taxpayers, and the citizens as the new shareholder of Anglo).
    The government handling of the golden circle ten. (with Lenihan trying to prevent the names going public).
    The manner in which BoI appointed the clown who presided over BoI’s activities in Ireland during the asset boom, to overall BoI boss.
    The debacle that was the last Anglo AGM.
    The raid by the Gardai on Anglo when Cowen was being exhibited in the National Gallery (the country is going down the toilet lads).

    This is not so much about stereotypes, as everybody in the system trying to prevent the system being restructured and rationalized.

    It seems that they the type of advice that big accountancy firms, and banks give the government in respect to reorganization of public sectors, is the last thing they want to see applied to themselves.

    However, as a farmer told me after Anglo got bailed out – bailing out bankers makes the farce in the HSE look cheap.

  47. SLICKMICK

    I don’t know whether my experience was unique but having completed the leving cert, I found that finding a half decent job depended entirely on how much leverage one’s parents had.Whether a person obtained 6 A or 6 D grades was irrelevant-the cushy jobs in financial services trade apprenticeships, local govt etc were obtained via the back door.Little wonder the banks etc are in such a mess.Why have the credit committees not been fired?.

  48. Philip

    NAMA is but a symptom of Ireland’s lack of morality and its mere existance challenges our right to exist as a nation.

    I think John Allen’s vision is inevitable unless something momentous happens in the coming weeks. NAMA is non-viable and indeed it is starting to look that EU as a concept could do a wobbly very soon. I expect to see the bank collapse chain reaction happening soon. Why? Simply becasue I do not see where the wealth is being generated. Logistics, Manufacturing across the EU, Purchasing Manager’s indices are all floundering. Stimulation is not working.

    Today I read in the Indo that the commercial courts are dealing every day with 80% property writedowns. The mere act of sucking liquidity out of people to support NAMA while killing off services will just accelerate the process. You do not need a PhD in Maths or Economics to see the law of diminishing returns in action here.

    We have an injured society and it is hemmoraging badly. Guys, this country is on fire and Lenihan, the Unions etc are playing the fiddle. The IMF needs to come in here fast before it is too late.

    Anyone listen to Soro’s interview the other day? Basically – this global collapse is the irrecoverable bursting of a bubble that has never been allowed to deflate since the 30s

  49. Lets look for HOPE:

    Thinking positively hope might begin as follows:

    Euro is devalued by 30% early next year.This is a realistic possibility to prevent the Baltics and Spain and Ireland causing a domino roll along distroying everything in it’s wake; and

    Should NAMA be carried through the value of land and buildings will then rise due to devaluation .This could ironically give a positive result to it’s financial performance ;and

    Jobs might recover and exports rise again.

    Hyperinflation would be a sticky issue for all workers and would need to be planned properly.

    Reform of the Irish Political and Financial Systems would need to be put in place by an independent council .

    Am I dreaming?

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