October 28, 2009

Rich get richer as rest of us pay for their mistakes

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McDonald’s pulled out of Iceland yesterday. This is an enormous moment because it is the first time the McDonald’s machine has admitted defeat in a modern, sophisticated country. A few years ago, this would have been unthinkable.

In the 1990s, when globalisation was in its pomp, a popular expression — coined by Tom Friedman, the ‘New York Times’ columnist — stated that “no two countries with McDonald’s have ever gone to war with each other”. The expression was supposed to mean that globalisation was good for all of us because it civilised us and, what better expression of globalisation than McDonald’s?

Once a McDonald’s opened up in a country, the assumption was that lots of other modern things were going on, such as tolerance and greater interaction with the rest of the world.

It is more than ironic, therefore, that the first country that McDonald’s should pull out of is a country with no army. Iceland contracted out its defence to the US in 1951. The Icelanders concluded that they had no enemies; no one really had any urge to invade them, so why have an army?

McDonald’s announced that it couldn’t make any money because, since the devaluation of the Kroner, the Icelanders have turned back to their local fish and local meats.

McDonald’s, which imports most of its ingredients for its Big Macs, couldn’t survive. It would have to put the price of the Big Mac up too much and the locals weren’t prepared to buy at that price, particularly when local food was much cheaper.

Last March, a restaurateur in Reykjavik predicted to me that this would happen. She ran a fast food fish restaurant down on the docks where huge trawlers came in with their catches. Her restaurant was cheap, her fish was fresh, just out of the freezing North Atlantic and her trade — all locals — was brisk. She said that the Icelanders would abandon the expensive imported food that had become commonplace in the boom, along with the swanky restaurants.

With the currency devalued, it would make no sense to pay through the nose for imported food when the local farming and fishing sectors were offering good food for half nothing. She said that the first industries to boom after the fall in the currency were local agriculture and tourism and as they recovered so, too, would the rest of the country.

This is what is happening and, as she succinctly put it to me, Iceland would, in the future, have “more fishermen and less bankers” and they’d start again. She also made the point that with the worldwide demand for food rising exponentially, fishermen would be better paid than bankers in the years ahead. It was an interesting point.

Five months ago, I visited Iceland to see for myself what was happening. I wanted to see what it felt like to live in a “basket case” economy. Part of the documentary ‘Addicted to Money’ was made in Iceland and I spent a week there chatting to all sorts of people. Back then, it was clear that a new Iceland was emerging where the people — both politicians and bankers — who had mortgaged the country had been kicked out. There was no rescue scheme like NAMA. The Icelanders took their medicine straight away and allowed their currency to fall dramatically. This has been evidently painful for many but as a local policeman suggested to me, “So what if we have fewer Range Rovers and less camembert?”

The economy is now recovering quickly, much more quickly than Ireland. And the devalued currency has a lot to do with that because with a devalued currency local industries can export much more easily and large foreign outfits like McDonald’s are sent packing. In a short period Iceland’s huge trade deficit disappeared. Contrast this with what is happening here.

Back home, last Thursday morning I made a speech in the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin. In the room next to me, at precisely the same time, Brian Lenihan was addressing the private clients of Goodbody Stockbrokers. By all accounts he spoke well and reassured the private clients that there would be no new taxes — and for that they were clearly grateful. The minister is a good public speaker and I am not surprised that the clients of the stockbroker were happy that they wouldn’t be asked to share too much of the pain.

In the foyer I bumped into a man who imports cars. I asked how his business was doing and he said it was tough but the rising euro was working wonders, because with sterling so cheap he could get great bargains in England and offer luxury BMWs at a much reduced price to those people who still had cash.

This sums up our dilemma. Our currency is wildly overvalued, so some can still spend frivolously on BMWs and think they are getting good value, yet we can’t kick-start our local industries because they can’t compete with our biggest neighbour. So, the car importer stays in business but the small exporter goes out of business.

What type of future is envisaged by the people who make our economic policy and hold the reins of power? Is it one where we become a client state of the ECB, with our grubby hands out for a dig out from Europe via silly class rescue schemes like NAMA? Is it a future where the “protection of the euro” — as the minister constantly refers to it — leaves us enfeebled, with the economic marrow of the country hollowed out by a currency that has risen by 53pc against sterling and a similar amount against the dollar in 10 years?

But as I left the Four Seasons, it struck me. As always in Ireland, economic policy is framed by people who have a stake in society — the insiders. In contrast, the outsiders — people whose toehold in the country is fragile — are sacrificed. The euro protects those who already have wealth by securing their wealth in a hard currency that the economy can’t afford; it is just another mechanism to protect the insiders at the expense of the outsiders.

If you look at what our country does in the face of a crisis, whether it was the 1950s economic crisis or the 1980s emigration fiasco, the pattern is always the same. Instead of paying for the mess they have made, the insiders emerge from the crisis stronger and with a tighter grip on power. The outsiders always suffer. So while in the rest of the world, in countries like Iceland, a crisis causes dramatic change and the insiders pay for their mistakes, here in Ireland the crisis only strengthens the status quo — a status quo, which created the problem in the first place.

Will we ever learn?


  1. drick

    its very interesting watching the collapse of Ireland from Australia. Luckily for me I headed off well over a year ago,unfortunately I am exposed to the goings on there (ie still have a mortgage and subject to the exchange rate) otherwise id probably not bother tuning in as it is too depressing or perhaps not because its difficult to detach yourself emotionally. That is what is most difficult – as david pointed – ‘the status quo’ – watching them fool the people . In any other country ,the politicians would be gone! Where is the revolution ? where are the protest marches? we constantly rave about what an intellegent modern society weve become – you wouldn’t think it given the lack of action from the people, that includes the opposition parties, surely they could muster the people onto the streets to overthrow this corrupt outfit. It really is heartbreaking to watch the Irish people meekly accept the current situation. perhaps its fear or shame.

  2. Somehow I doubt the situation in Iceland has been quite as rosy as it has been suggested above, however that’s not to say we can’t learn alot from the story. The fact that their country didn’t turn to dust without rescuing the banks is encouraging and doesn’t really fit with what our government would have you believe is possible for a failing economy like ours

  3. This is a very good article and shows how social logic does prevail in a country similar to Ireland .I have known Iceland and it’s people since I was over 12 years old and their people have and are traditional in their social mores even today .Their cold harsh weather and hostile environment has binded them together in a way that is unique and has helped to preserve their social fabric they have aways enjoyed.Almost everyone is related in Iceland so they see themselves as one very big family .I have known at least five generations of one family so far and maybe a sixt in the near future.
    Our social fabric has been sarcrificed to The Insiders and this is the weakest link in our chain of reaction.Many things have caused that particularly our ever closeness with EU and the associated crime it has imported together with the significant immigration.As a nation we seem to have lost our traditional social fabric like ‘ muintir na tuatha’ etc .
    We need a new pedestal to to stand up on to talk at every corner in our cities and be seen to be heard and not afraid of doing so.That cohesiveness , that bonding, that spirit of change , that hope, that message of who we really are , all of those and more need to be reiterated again and again and again until we finally LISTEN and LEARN.

  4. Malcolm McClure

    Key observation David makes is that we have become mere clients of Europe. That is wht the Dail was empty during the NAMA debate. The TDs realized long ago that they are no longer relevant when the big issues are being discussed. Ireland has sold its birthright for a mess of pottage.

    • Deco

      But most of the TDs are insufficiently educated or informed to take part in a serious economic policy making debate. We have two economists in the Dail – one of whom only got elected after the crisis began. We need more economists in the Dail.

      If the TDs in the Dail had to debate NAMA most of them would be exposed for the wasters that they are. In the Seanad only Shane Ross would be capable of debating NAMA.

      I have listened to an argument a few months ago on Newstalk between Moore McDowell and Willie O’Dea – the minister for pointing the rifle at you. (Or Groucho Marx, if you prefer to call him after another smart alec who made his living out of acting the clown). McDowell had him completely outpointed. It was obvious that O’Dea was full of shite. And still O’Dea talked about the government’s “policy framework”, and “solutions in hand” and the “international crisis affecting everybody everywhere”. Basically O’Dea’s entire tactic was to keep up the soundbite offensive. O’Dea had no idea what was in NAMA. But he was all for ‘getting credit flowing again’, and ‘helping out the listeners’. Usual soundbite nonsense.

      As the old saying goes….’talk is cheap’. This applies very much to the Dail.

    • Malcolm don’t like saying this but your wrong as to why the TD’s were not there, they were of course in the building attending all these sub committees they sit on and get extra payments for where they discuss the Retail fixing , Fas, HSE , CIE fraud to list but a few of the extra talking shops around this circus of a democracy we have let develop.
      These politicians are not in the least worried regarding the impact of NAMA why should they be , we pay them over 100,000 a year before expenses and with the massive pensions that await them ,….why would they shout stop ….THEY don’t care , simple .
      If you chained the doors and blew the lot of them up along with the hidden PR companies are consultants that dwell there, surely the Judge who would sit for your trial , would not sentence you when He see’s you had saved our future generations ! ,…just thinking !!

      • Deco

        Yes….but let’s face it…those talking shops take years to get anywhere….one newspaper article from Shane Ross/Nick Webb….and a ton of information is revealed to the public….more than a Dail Committee would reveal in a lifetime.

        And besides….wasn’t Liam Lawlor once the chair of the Ethics Committee in the Dail. It’s a case of the crooks running the police department so that the cops will never make any arrests.

  5. “As always in Ireland, economic policy is framed by people who have a stake in society – the insiders. In contrast, the outsiders – people whose toehold in the country is fragile – are sacrificed. The euro protects those who already have wealth by securing their wealth in a hard currency that the economy can’t afford; it is just another mechanism to protect the insiders at the expense of the outsiders.”

    A good accurate discription of the Old Sow. Someone asked David recently to nail his colours to the mast and this article does just that making him a socio-economic observer rather than a mere analyst. Our man is maturing into a wise elder of the State. This is a subtly damning criticism of the States raison d’etre and I wonder how long before David raises national conciousness about A45?
    NAMA…..
    Neo-Ascendancy Maintains Affluence

  6. tony_murphy

    Excellent Article.

    I’m afraid that most Irish people are easy to please. Many are content when they can have a few pints and drive home drunk for example.

    But there is a substantial minority who deserve better. That it why people who believe in a fair society should not get disillusioned.

    While politicians operate on a policy of a “A lie told 100 times becomes a truth” or throw up smokescreens at every opportunity to take the heat off them. It is important that people continue to expose them.

  7. Colm

    David,

    Thanks for the excellent insight as always. I’m curious how you feel about the information/knowledge economy in relation to economic recovery.

    Has Ireland become so reliant on abstract, intangible work that maintaining that status quo is necessary out of fear of an unknown alternative? Could the thousands of graduates pumped through university with career specific goals pick up a real tool and graft?

  8. Deco

    { If you look at what our country does in the face of a crisis, whether it was the 1950s economic crisis or the 1980s emigration fiasco, the pattern is always the same. Instead of paying for the mess they have made, the insiders emerge from the crisis stronger and with a tighter grip on power. The outsiders always suffer }.

    This is our biggest problem as a society. The gombeens are in control. And they will extract sweat and compliance from the rest of us.

    Icelanders took their country back from the clique. We need a General Election or a FF grass roots rebellion to undermine the cliqueism. There is a layer of solicitors who are acting as if they are representing vested interests in national policy formation. They are not representing ‘the peeple’ and they are not making intelligent decisions for the common good.

    And Tony Murphy – you are right. There is this attitude in this country that if anybody starts getting publicly concerned that the solution would be for them to get drunk and shut up. This social more effectively nueters any attempt at forcing accountability on the political, market rigging, or management classes.

    • Deco, one needs a critical mass of populace to function. Both Iceland and Ireland have relatively small populations which makes it all the easier for “An Gombeen” to take over. Methinks….

  9. DH

    Gloomy Prospects ahead, I just hope this is the last time FF will be allowed to tighten our belts…

    Sounds like the only thing we’ll be exporting for the forseeable future is our money.

  10. The Eye

    I would like to see the IMF come to play here maybe then we would not be so passive and and FF would learn what real anger is……….”nothing done no more to do:.

  11. G

    If only it was true that if you catch more fish and employ more fisherman, so you can ‘fish’ your way out of an economic meltdown, ‘fish-ill-down economics’ David to go with the Pope’s Lunatic Children!

    David, you are pushing the boundaries of credulity once again.

    During that week sojourn in Iceland talking to jolly policemen and fast food restaurant owners did anyone mention the IMF loan of over 2 billion designed for countries hit hard by the economic crisis!!! Think that might have a little more to do with it that the quality of North Atlantic salmon! Iceland with a loan like that is on borrowed time.

    “In November (2008), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided a $2.1
    billion loan to Iceland under its program to assist countries hurt by
    the world economic crisis, which helped cover some 42% of the financial deficit of the Icelandic budget for 2008-2010. The remaining funds were expected to be provided under bilateral agreements with the creditor countries.

    According to earlier reports, the UK considered providing a $5
    billion loan to Iceland, Holland considered a $1.5 billion loan, and the Scandinavian countries considered a $500 million each. Russia also expressed readiness to provide funding, saying the amount provided would depend on the assistance provided to Iceland by the IMF and other countries.”
    http://www.interfax.com/3/523292/news.aspx

    Iceland is a financial basketcase, with massive external debt, heavily internally indebted population, rising emigration for those who can leave and no doubt higher suicide and despair levels for those stuck on a bankrupt, frozen rock in the North Atlantic, expect revolution at some stage……………

    Nice to know Brian is taking time out to reassure Goodbody’s private clients, business run society indeed, I wonder if he’ll hold similar meetings at the major social welfare offices to the people who did the heavy lifting and actually built this country up!

    The only good to come out of this is the closure of McDonalds, which hopefully will set a chain reaction!

    • Deco

      Point of information – the Icelandic debts are debts of private corporate entities based in Iceland – they are not the Icelandic national public debt.

      This would set a dangerous example to the third world. So everybody ganged up on Iceland. Except the Russians who wanted a different pound of flesh-because the Russians are playing a strategic game with Canada over the artic resource base.

      The new left leaning Icelandic government has decided to pay all this private sector debt. This is not particularly left leaning – and is effectively a bailout of other countries rich people. But, hey that is what socialism is all about these days.

      Do not confuse public debt and private debt. Lenihan seems determined to stuff the private debts of Ireland into the public debt and then make a promise that the taxpayer will fund it all.

      We are not getting one hospital bed, one defibrilator, one vaccine, one extra classroom in the commuter belt for all the billions in NAMA debt. Instead we just end up with empty buildings that nobody wants, and nobody needs. And a clique of bankers – that nobody needs either.

      If Lenihan appeared at a social welfare office he would get robbed, and possibly kidnapped. But in a meeting with his mates, he is safe. In fact, we were probably not supposed to know it even took place.

      • G

        Not sure what you mean, the banks (private corporate entities?) ran up the debts but it is the Icelandic government who has to foot the bill, so it is very much ‘public debt’.

        It was the Icelandic government (and by logical extension the Icelandic people) who were threatened by the British government over non-payment of debts/protection of British account holders (using British anti-terrorism legislation).

        As for sending a bad sign to developing countries or Third World as you refer to them. Well they are experienced in the ways of the First World, just ask any Latin American country or African one for that matter. They have had plenty of dealings with the World Bank and IMF (US Treasury’s Financial Enforcer), just compare ‘financial aid’ to developing countries and the enormous sums these same countries are expected to pay to Western financial institutions, with Western governments talking out the sides of their mouths about ‘development’ and the corruption that prevents these poor countries from rising up. At least Argentina has the balls to say to the IMF that they weren’t paying back, along with assistance from Venezuela to the tune of billions, who sought to free it from financial servitude.

        The corruption resides in the ‘centres of finances’ in the West (and always has) the cities that allow commodity speculation without any thought to the ‘externalities’ or human consequences – its utter immoral behaviour – see food riots in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, barely a couple of hundred miles from the ‘greatest democracy in the world’ and once Frances’s richest colony.

        The neoliberal drive and privatisation of public services is driving more countries in the south and here into endemic poverty, however those countries who have said no more (see Latin America) and are creating their own financial institutions (Banco Del Sur) and greater regional integration (Latin American Union) are showing the world the way forward – all the more impressive given the long list of coups and military back dictatorships in the rich, 3 alone in the new century – Haiti, Venezeula and Honduras (ongoing).

        The creation of a compassionate, equal society will never be achieved through ‘greater regulation’ of the financial services industry (another myth perpetuated by those with vested interests or a background in investment banking) but through the dismantling of the corporate, financial services system, that many who know better, continually praise.

        We need a radical rethink of how human society is developing. Ireland cannot (given its size) and will not lead the way, but an enormous zone like a untied Central and South America might just be the world’s last chance before environmental or economic oblivion.

        With NATO/EU troops running around Afghanistan slaughtering countless civilians and the potential of Blair becoming EU Council President (too frightening and humiliating to contemplate), I doubt the EU will be anything but the obsequious servant to Big Brother, that culture of death that Pope John Paul II described, which seems hell bent on the degradation of us all as a human race.

        Try running that by Jack Welch, Kissinger or Clinton and see how long your interview lasts or your Multinational Corporation resides in Co. What-the-f**K.

  12. G

    As for no two countries with McDonald’s going to war with each other, well this is as bankrupt as Iceland and Friedman’s analysis, try Russia and Georgia to name but one!

  13. JJ Tatten

    If you’re in the UK and buying David’s book through http://www.gillmcmillan.ie it will cost €18.09 inc delivery. If you buy it through amazon.co.uk it costs €13.24 and delivery is free. Not to mention that gillmcmillan’s website appears to be as much use as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

    • Alan42

      Seeing as how David can pick and choose from our amazing insights into irish life and economics .,I would think that we should all get a signed copy .
      I picked up a copy of ‘ The Popes Children ‘ though E Bay from a second hand book seller in Seattle and shipped all the way to Melbourne for a tenner .
      An excellent read it was to .

      Looking forward to the new one although I think artisan cottages were ‘ flipped ‘ long before ‘ breakfastroll man ‘ turned up .

  14. econarchist

    The problems that that David describes can only get worse now that the EU is turning from a democratic partnership into an empire run by an elite which only deals with local elites like that in Ireland. Their behaviour regarding the Lisbon Treaty has shown that the elites treat ordinary people (like the voters in France, the Netherlands and Ireland) as just an irritation that gets in their way. This contempt is exposed even more by their plans for the unelected President of the EU to be Tony Blair, a character despised by millions of ordinary people who marched in opposition to his illegal war in Iraq.

    I don’t consider myself in any way Eurosceptic – in fact I choose to live in Berlin in the centre of Europe – but I am starting to think that it might be better in the long term if Ireland leaves not just the Euro but the EU, in order to get out of its psychology of dependency. It should then form a partnership with other countries that feel squeezed out by the EU like Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Turkey and the UK. Ireland could still trade with EU countries but without the baggage of EU membership. I don’t think that it would make Ireland isolated because it already is isolated with very little control over its own affairs.

  15. bendersbetterbrother

    It does indeed seem impossible for Ireland to get out of the impending quagmire with the Euro as currency. It means it’ll have to concentrate on exporting, at competitive prices, to other Euro using countries and can only lead to large drops in wage levels in order to cut costs.

    Point of pedantry. Iceland is actually the second modern, developed country where McDonalds didn’t work. The first was Barbados, about 15 years ago. They opened their standard pre-fabbed box with accompanying drive-in on a main coastal road and it closed within 6 months.

  16. roc

    Good stuff.

    I’d prefer my work effort went directly towards benefitting nomal people in my community both locally and nationally, than the vast majority of my work effort benefitting just a few wealthy elites at the top of our economic hierarchy.

    I think we just need to become more conscious of the mechanisms they use to siphon and extract this benefit out of us.

    Time to get deeper into the principles underlying economic science?

    • Deco

      Well said – roc. We need to suss them out, and figure out their moves before they get the policies they require.

      I think that Eddie Hobbs rattled them with his rip-off republic documentary. I remember Seanie Fitz, Ditherer, and Johnny Cash all getting very annoyed with Hobbs at the time.

      We need to be conscious everytime that we spend money of where it is going.

      We also need to inform everybody we know about what is really happening in this country.

      And we need to ask questions and set up networks for dislodging the truth about what is going on, so that it spreads fast.

  17. kissane

    Certainly a fine and thought provoking article.
    But ‘socio-economic observers’, if they move to much off center soon find themselves without voice or forum. Its the ads which ‘manufacture content.’
    Ireland is too close to Boston to ever bite the bullet as Iceland is doing. We still believe the ‘Intels’ love us for our ideological support of the American dream and our Gloccamora charm. US Industry supported Nazi Germany regardless of ideology.
    Nama will fail but the culprits will be all under sail before we get to know it has failed.
    This is usually the case. But this crisis is a jet black swan! This is different.
    But debt, like greed will eventually catch up with us. Even though brokers make the same margin going down as they do going up.
    For any who have time you might listen to this clip, especially part 2 from one who sees it all as an insider. If it does not open try googling; ‘the real news’ and look for Larry Wilkerson Pt2
    http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=74&jumival=460

  18. gadfly55

    You want to live in Iceland, go on, go on, go on. From Sligo, it is is closer than Carcassonne, so perhaps with all the Irish and Nordic gene stream there it might suit you better, as it is more communal than the me fein I am all right Jack, f..–k the begrudgers Norman and Sassanach lords who dominate this island for centuries. Economists really need to be polymaths these days, with profound knowledge of history, psychology and sociology, as well as the humanties. There is no way we are leaving the euro. Masters and slaves and we know who the government and the secret government support.

  19. Garry

    You know my first thought is what about the debt? And then Im saying “what sort of a gobshite are you?” You have no debts. So why care about the banks debts. They don’t give a flying fuck about you.. Fuck them..

    All for it… Purely because it wouldn’t just give the trough a rattle, it would turn it over.

    There’d be a few months when the banksters would be riding Lenihan & co for their money .. then dole would be stopped, a lot of rumours about IMF, the brits coming back again, the public service wouldn’t get paid and so on.. a few protests turing to riots as the guards get bad tempered because they aren’t getting overtime….. and a few banksters and ministers burned out…

    and things will settle down again

    Bring it on.

  20. gadfly55

    How many tons of fish will pay the tens of billions of sterling and euro owed by the Icelandic government because of the failure its banks to protect the deposits of British and Dutch clients? For a man who travels the globe regularly, living in a basket on a shoestring does not flatter you, so why not renounce the world for a year and live on $5 a day somewhere in beyond Crossmolina?

    • G

      Precisely, why not travel to Central America, and critique Neoliberalism from the vantage point of those expolited for 500 years, instead of a disjointed and at times confusing jaunt around the centres of bullshit, talking to people who created the bust with their speculations, why not get down with the people – may lead to less conference and speaking engagements but hey, there is a little price for honesty.

      In the meantime, I recommed John Pilger’s excellent ‘War on Democracy’, available on Youtube.

      By the way Daivd, in your film ‘addicted to money’, you indicated that the problems kicked off aroundf the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, you made no mention of the Nixon administration’s ending of the Bretton Woods system, the liberalisation of the markets, which the dog in the street knows kicked off an explosion in speculative capital and moved power away from the parliaments and into the virtual market , no mention of the Clinton Administration’s revoking the Glass-Steagall Act – neoliberalism and its malcontents – little mention of that elephant in the room…………

      ‘Fish-it-down economics’

      • Riggs

        G

        Breath of fresh air!

        Where have you been throughout all of the other non-cogent rants and anarchic love-ins that have occurred on this site to date.

        DmcW, once revered, is now constantly displaying both flawed tactics and worse still mis-information on virtually all key topics.

        Sound familiar?

        • Dilly

          Someone needs a hug.

        • G

          To be honest, I felt I was wasting my time, but then I felt I have to step in again……….

          All I know is that, the consequences of neoliberalism for those in this country struggling and the billions in developing countries are appalling and immeidate, we at least owe them a voice and honesty in our evaluations as to how systems that keep billions impoverished, hungry and close to death really work

          ‘The wretched of the earth’ as Franz Fanon called them, deserve to have their plight highlighted and reasons for same explained.

          I am not into myth making and stand ready to be corrected (I am not the Oracle at Delphi) but ideas of benevolent corporations who locate because of distant Irish ancestry, or ‘fishing’ as a way of emerging from an Icelandic financial implosion (with no reference to the IMF, neoliberalism or the role of US administrations) is to my mind dream world stuff – I can’t stay silent.

          As Tony Benn writes in ‘Dare to be a Lion’, one of the most important things a human can develop is an independent mind, which leads to questioning the prevailing orthodoxy.

          David has written some interesting stuff like ‘The Moral of the Mayan Meltdown’ (I stood at the same spot in Copan, Honduras in 2007), and on the folly of NAMA but recent articles on the Lisbon Treaty, CEO Welch and now Iceland have me really questioning (nothing personal by the way).

        • wills

          Riggs:
          Wow what a rather snide and nasty comment you’ve gone to the bother posting.

          As a reader of posts on this blog and as a reader and observer of life in general the comments i find on this blog alongside David’s article to be incredible.

          I take it nobody is holding a gun to your head to read the posts.

          And, all you have to do is scroll down the comments for god sakes.

          Chr1st almighty have you got nothing better to post than a mingey moan like that.

          • Wills , I totally agree with the post of Riggs, David McWilliams is after all been paid by the financial cable you apparently detest, yet you refute Riggs comment , while Your Hero ( David ) only recently wrote , we will fight with our selves !.
            You should start using some off your writing time in the direction of your local politician and try and get the message to them as to what you want and would like to see Ireland going in, and in your spare time take a look at this http://www.thevenusproject.com

          • wills

            Brendanw: how are you so sure i’m not doing that!

            “detest’, yep i do. But, its under disciplined control.

            Hero wise, well, lets see, i’ve matured passed hero worship, But, former hero’s of mine in childhood where among other’s, believe it or not clint eastwood, and, paul newman, and elvis.

            Will check out link brendan,cheers.

            On rigg’s comment, it’s quite simply untrue that the info on this blog is the way he characterized it.

            I mean you blog here to so you agree then that your commenting is what he said it was??!!

    • Deco

      Gadfly – Iceland is recovering. Ireland is going around in circles. We have been told that we are lucky that we did not end up like Iceland.

      No, Iceland is lucky because it’s people wrested control of their society back from a clique of gangsters. In Ireland the gangsters are still very much in control !!!!

  21. SLICKMICK

    It is impossible to have a successful indigenous exporting base while the domestic market is crushed by imports.Look @ the amount of imported product on supermarket shelves.Irish society /politics and economy are a mirror image of Paruaguy,Chile etc.Occassional rapid growth brought to earth by a bang, usually inflation and a currency crisis.

  22. Full Moon –
    We are still in the energy of Revelations of the planet mercury an next monday is a Full MOON .
    The real PULL is now happening ….feel your pulse until monday and watch the eratic behaviour between now and then …and maybe a ‘touch off ‘ between blog entrants on this site.
    Share prices of BOI and PTSB are eratic down almost 20%so is Spain’s Satander Bank dropping straight down…….Something is finally happening .Now we maybe watch the Great Stage Fright or Great EURO Break CRACKING ……..gather your change fast ………NOW.

  23. Humpty Dumpty-

    ( na na na na )
    We all know who he is and what happened to him.This time we have two Humptys because Lenehan is a twin sign and both he and his opposite reflection will do the MORTAL DANCE and both will FALL …….under the FULL MOON.
    na na na na……..na na na na…..na na na na……( repeat )

  24. MK1

    Hi David,

    You raise a couple of interesting points.

    In terms of Iceland and McDonald’s, I understand that the Icelandic franchisee was contractually obligated to import its inputs from Germany and hence pay in euro, so the tool of devaluing the ISK crippled the business. I understand also that the franchise had debts. But devaluation isnt a tool that has magic for all. And McDonalds in Germany are doing okay. Low cost restaurants/take-aways tend to do better in recessions than La Stampa’s.

    In terms of your 2nd point, the Insiders versus the Outsiders, I’m not sure if Irish society is demarcated so black and white as such. But power begats keeping the powers that be and the ‘institutions of the state’ intact AT ALL COSTS. And some of these could be seen as the School Principal, the local clergy, the local Chamber of Commerce, the Rugby club, the Banks on the high street, the local TD, etc, etc. Thats what Lenihan is doing with NAMA, supporting the banks at all costs.

    Yes, that NAMA help mainly helps the people that are “Inside”, the BMW owners in south Co.Dublin, etc, etc, but others as well and people that probably not too long ago were deemable as “outside”.

    Inside implies a cirlce that cant be breached (ala the politburo) and that is not the case.

    Ah sure the plain people of Ireland shurely couldnt understand the big issues of Nama, government debt, and our “Great Leaders” ala north korea will shurley do what is right and decent, etc. Wont they????

    MK1

  25. Garry

    Heres something interesting …

    http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Dialog/varval.asp?lang=1&ma=ATA06&path=../Database/Eirestat/Fishing%20Industry%20Production%20and%20Other%20Characteristics/&ti=Average+Fish+Price+%28Euro+per+Tonne%29+by+Fish+Species+and+Year

    So cod is under EUR 3,000 a tonne..Icelands quota (they recommend is) 150,000 tonnes. I cant post the link but its you’ll figure it out blog.marport.com/2009/06/18/iceland%E2%80%99s-marine-research-institute-recommends-150000-tonne-cod-quota/

    or EUR 450M a year..

    Whats their debts again?

    • tony_murphy

      There is hardly any fish left in the ocean. Iceland won’t get out of trouble by fishing. The have control over their currency, practically free energy, tourism etc. They will be fine.

      Check out the film “End of the line ” for info on how screwed the world is because of food security and how the oceans are dying. The crisis the world is going through now is minor compared to problems caused by Climate change and over fishing

      Governments yet again screw up – they let big business fish the seas until there is nothing left.

      BTW: Fish stocks are recovering off the Kenyan cost because Somali pirates stop the massive trawlers owned by greedy capitalists aren’t going there

  26. Garry says :
    Factor in Cod Liver Oil , Whale Oil and meat, Aluminium , and other fish by products also their markets are world wide without restrictions.

  27. Very good point Garry.
    The explosion in Financial Instruments resulted in Funny Money debts of billions but the real world of commodoties and commerce (measured by supply and demand) is now back to millions in terms of earnings abilities. If Iceland is operating a two tier monetary system, “real money” against “bubble” money, is this not the way forward? Pay lip service to the Globalists but rebuild an internal market allowing the country to function.

    • Garry

      I just googled it and thought it was interesting… and its gone off on a different tangent but no worries, its a fair point youre making

      Yeah I’m convinced that theres no point in dealing with the banksters on their terms. Thats the road to slavery.

      350M would have been a very small bet for some Iceland whizz kid a few years ago…Puts it all in perspective

  28. adamabyss

    subscribe.

  29. Philip

    An educational article which describes some aspects of what a devalued currency can or cannot do. The trouble is that we are comparing 2 countries on completely different tracks and points in their economic cycle.

    We cannot move to another currency without major hassle on debt and EU obligations. Additionally, we cannot change leadership / governance policy because that no longer belongs to us. Lenihan and the lads are just puppets (muppets really) to the EU. The people we need to bring our problems to are in Brussels. Dail Eireann is just a HQ for our Euro Magistrate (Lenihan). Cowen is just a vestigial remnant of a leader.

    I do have to say that whoever thought up of exporting Coughlan as EU Commissioner for Agriculture was a genius who is on Ireland’s side big time. a) She reduces the size of the FF majority, b) She out of the country and c) she might do some serious damage due to incompetence where it’s really needed.

    I think DMcW et al need to relax a tad on this issue of valuation. 1) EU will need to mop up the mess in Spain and other fallouts and I expect the debt mess will not just be in Euros and expect more QE 2) The Euro is due a massive devaluation. I think it’ll be parity with the US dollar in a few months time. Remember, Europe HAS to export and Germany needs oxygen now.

    We need to focus on whats likely to happen in 3-6 months given the situation we are in right now – not be fretting on what should have happened. Now, if I was a betting man, I could see a land grab by foreign nationals on our agri assets. This is really what NAMA is about. Making sure Ireland as a food producing (Land and Marine) state is under direct control of Brussels and not the local yokels who can only be middle men parked in the magistrates office in Merrion St. As for the rest of the people who live here…fit in or fcek off…You live in Europe now and Ireland is about to become the EU prototyping environment for a few more federation forming ideas – call it the sharp end of innovation :)

    • tony_murphy

      Agree with you Philip. NAMA is a land grab.

      Tell all Farmers you know not to lease or sell their land. There are so many places in the world struggling to feed people, Ireland has got something lots of people want – land to produce food.

      If you got money and someone is prepared to sell land, it might be a good time to buy it.

      Listen to this podcast with Lester Brown
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/worldbiz/

    • wills

      Philip: when you can, can you clarify ‘land grab’ idea. Thank you.

  30. Bets on Aldi or Lidl to have a fishing tackle special on next week?

  31. econarchist

    gadfly55, G, Garry, tony_murphy et al:
    The point about Iceland is not that it will fish its way out of recession but that it is actually doing something productive and sustainable on its own with its human and natural resources. This includes fish but also geothermal energy.

    Contrast this with Ireland (or at least its leaders) which is going to keep on relying on jobs and tax revenue from multinationals (before they relocate to eastern Europe), on borrowed money from the ECB and on the hope that the property market will pick up within the next ten years. Nothing about Irish people producing goods and services that people will want to buy.
    Ireland had huge huge stocks of fish off its coast but it handed it over to the EEC/EU to be overfished, in return for handouts. It is also one of the windiest places on the planet but it is still very slow to exploit wind energy.

  32. Alan42

    There seems to be this image of Iceland as a nation full of heavliy breared big jumper wearing fishermen who grew tired of fishing and went into banking for a lifestyle change .
    And now that it has gone belly up they are dusting off the fishing boats and are returning to nature .

    I went to Iceland in 1990 . It was full of highly educated very well dressed young people who would not know one end of a fishing boat from the other .
    Although fishing was in full swing it seemed to me to be a very sophisticated society .
    It was also very expensive . A simple miscalculation with a car hire and I spent the remainder of my holiday in a hostel for the homeless .
    The one thing that totally amazed me ( maybe because I was starving ) was that I saw somebody pay for an icecream cone with a credit card .
    There was some hardy fishing types about the place but it did not seem to tied in with the way people behaved . ie a lack of beards and jumpers and lots of suits .
    I got to know some Icelandic people and I asked them about this .
    They laughed and replied ‘ American bases ‘
    Iceland was at the centre of the cold war . The US service people were not allowled off the bases in case it upset the locals . But the locals informed me that the US pumped in lots of cash to the Icelandic government for these very strategic bases .
    Now the cold war has been over for 20 odd years and the US shut the last base in 2006 .
    I would imagine that it has been a very long time since the Icelandic people have relied on fishing .

  33. HanoiJohn

    A shortage of fish isn’t a bad thing – a certain hedge fund is buying out the remaining world stock of yellow fin tuna and placing them in cold storage on the basis that the price will sky rocket once the species becomes extinct. Peak Cod, anyone?

    • tony_murphy

      It’s bad when they have left no fish on coast of Africa and they Africans are headed this direction.

      European mega trawlers are leaving nothing for the Africans

  34. Deco

    Lenihan is speaking now.
    http://www.rte.ie/live/
    Lenihan is talking law, and not economics.
    Lenihan says that in the matter of a valuation of a loan, that having a professional is required. [Where is Mama Harney telling us about the primacy of the market].

    There can be no one accountant, solicitor invovled in the valuation. Loads of duplication. [There will be loads of bureacrats - but not a single buyer].

    Conveyancers have their price. So do..accountants, auctioneers,….this is all measurable in a market where there is a great hunger to provide professional services [especially when the taxpayer is stumping the bill...and the rates are exhorbitant].

    Now he talking aspirational stuff about professionals…[we in the real world know the real story pal]….

    Provisions…other provisions…..
    [Really this is all irrelevant minutae...who gets stuck with the bill when the provisions are found wanting ??].

    Lenihan is confident in demeanour – as if he has enough of a majority to shove NAMA through.

    This whole program is a complete joke. It is also abundantly clear that there will be a stimulus package for the professional classes.

    O’Donnell(FG) is poking holes in the NAMA “business plan” – by getting into small details. Lenihan is on the back foot. NTMA is providing services to NAMA.

    Tuffy(ILP) is asking questions about the ideological orientation of the consultants involved in NAMA. I can’t figure if the ILP are in favour or against NAMA. Tuffy clearly does not know much about economics – but she is attempting to score points.

    Lenihan responds by telling us that the only economic consultant involved to date is Peter Bacon. Unbelievable. The entire project depends on the economic ability of Peter Bacon. Didn’t he produce a policy paper on property inflation before the boom ?

    Bruton(FG) is on the go now.

  35. Tim

    Folks, first, I wonder if anyone else has been having the trouble I have had trying to log-in here? The site just kept refreshing, without logging me in.

    Anyway, I have nothing to add on this article by David, because I agree with him about what is happening in Ireland and I cannot comment about Iceland, because I know little or nothing about it (I have a friend whose brother has lived there for some twenty years, working as a graphic designer – but that’s it).

    So, why am I here? Because some of you may have missed this, at the end of the last article, from Tullmacadoo, which I think captures perfectly how the status quo that David refers to above is being maintained; enjoy:

    October 28, 2009, 3:02 am

  36. Tim

    Ooops! Sorry, I thought it would copy the link with the time-hyperlink.

    Here is the post:

    Tull McAdoo says

    It’s amazing how vigilant the Financial Regulator has become with the Mortgage books of the Banks. Reports of spot checks, on site audits blah blah blah.I think the penny has finally dropped with them, that the level of lending was more than the market could bear, and maybe now their back in their comfort zone managing the rate of decline in the performance of the said loan books.

    I’m sure Lenny and Cowen and the DOF are getting feedback from the Financial Regulator as to what if anything is left in the bottom of the barrel, that they can dredge up for Budget Day. I’m sure if they put their bean counting expertise to use in the Banks, they could map out a demographic profile of all those with Mortgages who are performing, with sufficient loan to earnings ratios to render them capable of laying at least one more egg.

    Now their back doing what they do best “marshalling the masses”. Just drawing enough blood, to keep them weak and docile. There was a danger there at one stage that the Sheeple could break and scatter, but a few loud whistles of IMF, Bankruptcy, Negative equity, No feed from International Bondholders and buyers etc. was enough to set the sheepledogs Fahey, Ahearn, Harney, Dempsey et al off doing their roundup barking all over the airwaves. And sure with the exception of that poor auld collie from Donegal who spent the day chasing her own tail, did’nt everything go just swimmingly.

    Fine Gael seem pleased with their show trial performance winning the “Blue Ribbon” with 35% of the surveyed poll with “baby brute” taking the prize for best turned out sheepledog, while Labour pushed FF hard for second spot at 20%, but just lost out after their leader bit the Ceann Comhairle.
    I’m sure we’ll have the usual uproar at the presentation ceremony on Budget Day, before they all retire to the Dail Bar.

    Green Party issued their usual disgust at sheepledog trials and promised to keep an eye on all concerned on behalf of their supporters…..oops none left…..in that case carry onn their sheepledogs, were off to the West coast to watch the waves for the next ten years.

    This is Ciarain Mulloooouuuly reporting from the ploughing championships here in TULLAMORE.
    October 28, 2009, 3:02 am Reply

    • Deco

      Hilarious. But you give Coughlan far too much credit. She has been going around in circles for years, not one day.

      No mention of Cullen….barking mad…

      I would not take seriously an PR stunts from the DoF concerning how vigilant they have become concerning the behaviour of the banks. It is all window dressing for international investors. It is an attempt to say that officially Irish banking is not loaded with cronyism, nepotism and all the resulting incompetence.

      As useful as all the previous official announcements from the last few years….

  37. Tim

    Aha! You don’t copy the time hyperlink, you R-click on it and “copy hyperlink location”;

    That allows you to post the link to the comment.

    (I remember, now, that I have done that before – just forgot.)

  38. Tim

    Folks, you MUST see David Live on that link above, confronting Frank Fahey…. and Dan Boil (thanks, Deco, for the appropriate spelling ;-)

  39. JohnMarkham

    David,
    surely the net-effect of devaluing a currency is to reduce the cost of goods and labour sold in that currency.

    So if we (Ireland) can no longer devalue our shared currency, the alternative method to achieve the same net-effect is to reduce wages. Of course it’s harder said than done, but is there an alternative?

  40. wills

    David,
    My take on article is the following.

    Iceland’s bankster criminal syndicates were cornered and had no wriggle room to keep the ‘scam system’ going when the casino capitalist racketeering exploded. So, the real economy got a ‘get out of jail card.’

    Ireland’s bankster criminal syndicates were cornered too BUT had wriggle room and been utterly lost in their own hubris decided to GO FOR IT and see if the wriggle room could be used to keep the ‘scam system’ they were racketeering with, keep it going more by inventing NAMA into existence and crossing their fingers and laughing their socks off at the utter bald faced cheek of the NAMA dice roll and the fact that they may even pull it off and the fact that they can even try go ahead with such a blatant rip off scam and shut any dissent up and think that surely this means they really have Ireland all sown up and all to themselves to milk and fleece and milk and fleece and maintain an ‘outsider’ section serfdom forever and ever and ever, the end.

    NAMA is the sheer bloody two fingers from the bully into the face of the bullied.

    NAMA is the power elites taking a giant sh1t on the heads of the weak, the vulnerable, the dispossessed, voiceless and meek and it’s up to the strong, the courageous, the fighters too step in and fix the bully right on things.

    We’ve gone beyond economics to-night with David’s article.

    Irelan’s bankster

  41. wills

    Here’s a link too the next NAMA type level scam we are now been acclimatized for.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/136641/Secret-plan-for-Euro-income-tax

  42. Deco

    Many comments and contributions. Some are excellent.

    Sean Barrett is against NAMA. He makes this clear in the arcticle in the IT. But the thrust of the article is against yet another “FF-Quango-screw the taxpayer and the public” love in. This time being another charter for CIE. From my experience Sean Barrett has long been the most outspoken economist for the last four decades against all sorts of market rigging mechanisms – both state and private sector. And he rips apart Dempsey’s transport bill to shreds. (I mean Dempey’s legislative bill – Dempsey’s other ‘transport bill’ was revealed to the public in the Sunday Tribune two weeks ago – and that was even more disgusting !! We still have not received an explanation why Dempsey uses executive level tickets when he is far away from home, but mixes with the plebs in and out of Ireland….).

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1029/1224257603382.html

    In this case the good Professor of Economics takes on Dempsey and Dempsey’s cosy Ahernian stitchup with CIE of the transport market. The new Public Transport is full of the usual aspirational BS, but is really about stitching everything up on the ordinary people, so that you will be obliged to use a car and avoid the buses. The devil, as Lenihan discovered in the Anglo report last spring, is in the details and the appendices. Dempsey’s bill will ensure survival for the hierarchy and layers of managers and various sorts in CIE and the Department of Transport. It will be presented to the CIE workers as ensuring their job survival. But even if CIE ceased in the morning, good drivers and good bus mechanics will be demand. But FF/PD appointed managers will not make it in the real world.

    If you really want to improve Irish transport, then consider abolishing the department of transport, (because it clearly is not doing it’s job properly) and allowing bus competition in Dublin. The manner in which Dublin Bus bombarded competition at Circle Line – and drove Circle line out of business should be an indicator for us all.

    Apart from that, can somebody tell me why there is a bus lane on the M50, and no bus service. Is this a conscious decision to prevent any reduction in the amount of money the NTR (classic Irish gombeen profiteering operation) are sucking out of us ??? It is not working here, because I deliberately avoided the toll booth for years.

    • Tim

      Deco, Barret taught transport economics to Michael O’Leary.

      Dempsey is a fool; he has made a mess of every single portfolio he has held as a minister.

  43. tony_murphy

    I wasn’t sure what a Gombeen meant, so I checked on wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gombeen_man

    I know a lot of Gombeens!

    I’m not sure how you would categorize Lenihan though. The boy who was brought up with a silver spoon in his mouth – who probably never had to worry about where his next punt or euro was coming from. I don’t think he has any respect for money or the ordinary Irish person. He either seems to think it’s OK to borrow 90bn – and somebody else will pay for it – they always do, or he really is all about transferring wealth from the ordinary person to the elite.

    Also, for those interested – not sure if you got access in Ireland – program on Bertie Ahern
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t1tk
    Seems that the Galway tent has moved to Rugby matches now. Seemed to have a dig at Lenihan over this?

    BBC produces so many good podcasts, I’d recommend you all get downloading

    • Deco

      I seen Ahern on the BBC’s World Service program “Hard Talk”.

      It was the softest interview I ever heard of Ahern. Stephen Sakur was practically in awe of the Dithering One.

      Pity there was no phone in section – it would have enable some of the half a million unemployes to register their opinion of the rat.

      And yes there were moments of Ahernian philosophizing that would make you want to puke….

      Concerning the rugger matches….some hilarious stories going around….builders….choppers….AngloIrishBank…..other large Irish banks….rugger clubs…..loan executives…..rugger matches….tickets…etc….contempt, jollies, expense accounts, champers, synergies of arrogance in groups, backslapping, and all that male ‘bonding’ nonsense….

      The type of nonsense that stops up becomming a more meritocratic and transparent society.

  44. MK1

    Hi David,

    Have you thought seriously about this aspect: that NAMA IS PROBABLY ILLEGAL and should be challenged in the European courts.

    On what basis you may ask .. on the basis of open market and competition law breaches. The Irish government will (if it pays over market prices) be active in a market and preventing private businesses and individuals from competing in that market. (ie: properties that should come on the market when a loan defaults wont). By competition law, they will be ABUSING market power and dominance, which is against both Irish and EU competition laws.

    Now, we cant expect the local Irish system and courts to stop it, but the EU courts if presented with a proper case could. In this scenario it would be the EU courts versus the European Commision sanctioned NAMA scheme.

    Who can fight such a case? And would NAMA have to be put on hold in the interim, ie: could they get a ‘stay’ on the legislation, whilst the EC court process runs?

    For those against NAMA, that may be the only way to get it stalled or halted.

    Over to you David ….. plus everyone else here.

    MK1

  45. DarraghD

    I have to say, just looking back at David’s articles over the last 24 months since all of this began, I sense a turn in our hosts attitude towards the people who have brought us to this place…

    I can see David having a “George Lee” moment imminently, I’d even go a step further and suggest that our host is now turning the bedsheets at night trying to stop himself from becoming a part of the political solution to this disaster we are now in. I can only imagine the frustration you feel David looking at this sh*te, and that is what is it, sh*te you wouldn’t see on your funniest Fr. Ted episode…

    • tony_murphy

      George Lee made a terrible mistake becoming a politician.

      The internet and social networking is what will make a difference

      • DarraghD

        But what internet and social networking technology can never provide is leadership. What this country is bleeding for now is positive and meaningful leadership, that is all that is standing between us and immediate job creation. But we have a Minister of Enterprise Trade & Employment in Mary Coughlan who genuinely believes we can do nothing to improve the employment situation in Ireland at this time.

        And nobody even questions her on this?!?!?

        All the chess pieces are in place now in this country for a revolution. The only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because the majority of the people in the country (the private sector workers), are unrepresented. By virtue of their lack of political and social representation, they are leaderless.

        Look at the public sector unions calling people out onto the streets… Imagine if you got the ununionised private sector people out, (those that are out of jobs, unemployed, taking pay cuts, in arrears on their mortgage), imagine they came out onto the streets, you’d have a different reaction from those people if they were properly organised.

        • tony_murphy

          A leader would be nice, but it’s not going to happen. Not in a country, where in my opinion, many in the 2 main parties are still living in the 1920′s. Most of them practice parish pump politics. The rest are busy bailing out the bankers, developers and the rest of the elite and selling out to the EU.

          The internet means that people can be informed and can influence decisions by their behavior as a result. Take climate change for example, with the help of the Internet, I made an informed decision not to eat red meat anymore – because I know the impact of me eating red meat has on the environment.

          Social networks – sharing information and discussion will have a much more positive impact than some TD sitting in the Dail being told what to do by a whip

      • Your Right Tony,.start emailing your local politician , make it personal

  46. Philip

    The way David has presented this article on how the currently overvalued Euro is sucking value out of the working / wealth generating part of the country and moving it to money handlers who get to make make more money for nothing suggests that it’s not just us Paddies being taken for a ride but also our fellow working Europeans. They too are being ripped off by virtue on an over valued currency which is being leveraged to save financial institutions as the expense of jobs in Europe. So, for this reason, there has to be another rationale.

    My take is that there is 1) attempt to allow a transfer of assets which supported bad debts under central control…by the ECB or some Euro land registry maybe… and 2) Keeping the value of the Euro high allows wealth generating businesses to fall further into debt and their assets become subsumed under a NAMA type operation. It’s like the old land redistruibution that occurred during Dev’s time…except in reverse. And it’ll be all legal. Quite clever really and we become renters and employees to the “state”.

    • tony_murphy

      I watched a program on Warren Buffet on BBC. One of his golden rules is to never get into debt. He has a fortune of something like 40 billion – so he knows what he is doing when it comes to money.

      • Saw the same program , Warren Buffet is principled and see what he is doing with this fortune , sending it to Africa to bring them in on this cycle.
        You should also take a look at this 93 year old man’s vision of where we should be going this is his second movie but a MUST WATCH now …http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7065205277695921912#

        We Need Change Now , enough talking about it we should be spending this NAMA money of Energy projects and commercial advanced argiculture not giving it back to those who put us in this mess

    • Garry

      hadnt thought of it that way

      My take is sterling and the dollar are losing value. and theres a game going on between China and the US on their currency.
      China buying up commodites and locking down resources rather than having trillions of $’s…. but keeping their currency low…

      I don’t understand the Euro/ECB position which is to keep a strong currency. But theres a lot that I don’t understand… :)

      I dont really buy the attempt to transfer assets to central control. But I have been banging on about the creation of a new landlord class of corporates for years.. It is so obvious….

      I see that as a natural consequence of doing bank bailouts… the banks emerge stronger than those who rescued them… because debts dont disappear they are heaped onto the rescuers…who will be charged by the same banksters for the privilege of rescuing them. And when the load gets too heavy for the individual rescuers; the banks are the only ones with the real money….

      There may be some agenda to transfer assets to central control; but I don’t think a agenda is needed… its a logical progression, its where the future profit is….

      Convert as much funny money as possible (an Iceland whizz kids gambling debts) to as much real stuff as possible (ownership of icelands fishing rights)
      Or Irish houses/land etc..

      End result the same but whether its a plan or a conspiracy or its just that wealth can always change direction and take advantage quickly….

      But Ive no real idea what is going on,

      • wills

        Garry: Very informative. Can i suggest what’s going on, and see what you think.

        The capitalist – type system we live in in europe and USA is mercantilist two tier system.

        The top tier hold the power.

        They employ different schemes from decade to decade in accordance with technology and ever increasing data and intel.

        This is it.

      • MaxKeiser

        Garry you probably know a lot more than you realise.

        The US Dollar is finished as a world reserve currency. Oil will soon be traded in another currency etc…

        See George Soros ~ especially Part 2

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hexj-TMkWqk

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbjuEsx0HW0&feature=related

        It makes little common sense for the ECB to tout a strong Euro, making (German) Euro zone exports more pricey ~ unless that is of course you want to make a name for your self internationally.
        Just like say a new University like DCU — it needs to build a reputation on the national & international scene so it works it’s students to the bone compared to those in Trinners or UCD.
        Then DCU produces better Grads that go on to win better jobs with better prospects than their more cosseted University rivals & crucially its “good rep” grows.
        Ultimately DCU becomes the established standard replacing the old guard.

        Except for UCD & Trinners read US $ & £ Sterling, & for DCU read ECB / European Union.

        For hard pressed DCU under-grad read, Irish / European taxpayer.

  47. brenr6

    Hi

    Is it being suggested that this country is continually being run for the benefit of a very small number of people. If thats what David thinks I would prefer he just came out and said that. Im still of the view its more incompetence than any sinister conspiracy that has us in this mess. Lets not forget we put these people in power. We continually re-elect people who are clearly corrupt and have been found to be so. We are ultimately to blame for our situation if you ask me. We wont change this until there is a fundamental alteration of the current poplitical lansdcape and in our voting habits. We need new parties run on proper, principles by competet indivdual. Let the gombeens so prevalent in our electorate carry on voting for the current lot like turkys in a never ending Christmas – the rest of us should move on.

  48. wills

    bren6 read ending para’s of his article above, it’s there in print. Insiders Vs outsiders. What more do you want?

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