December 9, 2009

Planet's polluters are moral equivalent of slave traders

Posted in International Economy · 156 comments ·

IN 1784, Matthew Carey, a young man who flirted with the United Irishmen, decided like many republicans at the time to emigrate to the USA and, more importantly, to the hub of American intellectualism, Philadelphia. Fuelled by ideas of solidarity, equality and human rights, Carey hung around taverns and meeting houses, giving talks and listening to others espousing the fundamental rights of man. Like many others he became a pamphleteer, writing short essays on the rights and wrongs of the world as he saw it.

In 1789 — only five years after he had arrived in Philadelphia — Carey published what became the most exciting and influential work of the final decades of that revolutionary century. He printed the first picture of the horribly cruel and degrading conditions on a slave ship. Using a print originally made in Liverpool a year earlier of the slave ship ‘The Brook’, Carey achieved what no other abolitionists had succeeded in doing: he visually depicted the horror. Up until then, abolitionists who argued that the slave trade was inhumane had failed to jolt popular opinion. But Carey understood the power of the picture over the power of the pen and by meticulously producing an image of just how many poor, sick and terrified slaves were packed like sardines into those fetid and cavernous decks Carey changed world history.

Initially 2,500 prints were made, but this number exploded as the scale of the crime became apparent. The print showed hundreds of humans cramped and shackled together with barely enough room to move. Carey wrote: “Here it is presented to our view one of the most horrid spectacles — human creatures packed side by side almost like herrings in a barrel and reduced nearly to a state of being buried alive, with just air enough to preserve a degree of life sufficient to make them sensible of all the horrors of their situation.”

Carey’s ‘Remarks on the Slave Trade’, as the print was called, proved to be a bombshell. He substantiated his accounts by giving readers his own personal testimony of the transatlantic voyage from Ireland, explaining to people who had never travelled across the ocean the horrible conditions on ships from Ireland where the poor were stuck below deck in huge terrifying swells without enough food or water. Bad enough as it was, he argued, it could be nothing like the slave ships.

His work was printed and reprinted across America and gave huge impetus to the abolitionist cause. From then on, the economic arguments that the slave trade was crucial to maintaining the prosperity of American and Britain and Ireland became secondary to the moral arguments about human rights. Many on the pro-slavery side warned of economic Armageddon. They contended that the world economy, or at least the Atlantic part of it, was based on slaves and cheap labour and that to abandon it would be tantamount to economic suicide. Yet the abolitionists appealed to a higher calling and in 1807 slavery was abolished in Britain and 1865 in America. And the man who got the ball rolling was Carey who, like so many other significant Irishmen of the past, seems to have been airbrushed out of our history.

Now consider for a moment the environment and the ongoing degradation of the planet. Could it be possible that countries and companies that continue to pollute and destroy the planet might well face the type of opprobrium that the last of the slave traders suffered? Might the economic arguments about the need for cheap sources of energy be blown away by concerns about the greater needs of the planet? Many environmentalists certainly hope so. People’s attitudes are changing rapidly.

The world is faced with a simple dilemma: how do we reconcile the demands of six billion consumers with the finite resources of the planet? Can we in the West assume that we can continue to take the lion’s share of the world’s energy to support our lifestyles, while the billions in the poorer world go without? More significantly, as the world’s population is due to rise to nine billion by 2014, what will happen to the price of resources then?

It is very clear that, spurred on by events like the Copenhagen Summit, there is a huge groundswell of opinion which is beginning to realise that we can’t continue living as we are. In terms of economics, on-going basic depletion of the world’s resources means that we are not at “the end of oil”, but we are at “the end of cheap oil”. And given the use of petro-chemicals in fertiliser, we are at the end of “cheap food”.

In fact, with the mass use of fertiliser, we are in effect “eating” fossil fuels. The same applies to water and the rest of the world’s resources.

Taken together, it is not pushing it to suggest that we might be at an abolitionist tipping point where all the old rules are torn up in an effort to prevent more damage to the planet and the ecosystem.

This presents a great opportunity because there will be huge increases in investment in green technology in the years ahead and Ireland should try to position itself to garner some of this new business.

As far back as April 2008, this column was arguing that we should prepare ourselves for this tectonic shift in the way the world economy powers itself. Since then, the smart economy fanfare of last Christmas Eve seems to have evaporated. So yes, yet again in Ireland we are late to see the opportunities, but hopefully — given the huge changes that are afoot — someone will wake up and it will be better late than never.

  1. Inert Article – David you must have been holding on to a cold stone when you were writing this.It is not in tune with the happenings of now at home it is too removed .There is Blue murder around us or it appears to be and a ‘Budget de Guerre ‘ appearing .First things first.

    • Ruairí

      Agree in general John. Though everything we discuss must be in the context of megatrends, that overarch every little piddly decision we could ever make in Ireland. Liam commented on the last article that we just got lucky in the last 15 years. And David’s often pointed that out, we just got lucky inside the Euro project and the economic cycles. We’re still lucky and that’s why the ECB hasn’t jettisoned us yet, despite abhorring our previous and current behaviour.
      I suspect David’s Sunday article will be the upper cut. This was just a feint or possibly a range-finding jab at our current economic enemies, waste and poor thinking.

    • bankstershill

      Seems to me like a plug for the success of the Copenhagen talks.
      who are you shilling for David?

      • bankstershill

        There is a startling Irony in this article which I’m compelled to elaborate on. And it’s to do with the economic philosphy of Henry Carey, the son of Mathew Carey and who became an ardent promoter of what became known as the ‘American system of political economy’, and who also went on to become Lincoln’s economic advisor during the civil war. Without getting into the details to much, one of the core predicates of the American system is that there is no upper limit to the resources available for economic development. The predicate argues that new resources are brought online through the discovery of new fundamental scientific discoveries, which in turn are the product of the human mind’s creative potential. So that it could be argued that all wealth is ultimately the product of the creativity of the human mind, and all future wealth, the result of the present but latent potential of the creative mind, which in itself is unlimited. On the other hand the opposing mantra of the British Empire’s free trade, and which presently to this day dominates the malthusian economic thinking and practice, was the belief that resources are fixed in their amount, and that as a consequence there is ultimately an upper bound to the population levels. Hence the public laments of the malthusian greenies at the Copenhagen conference to curb the growth of of population through the limiting of industrial activity, imposed by the pretext of the fraud known as global warming.
        So here we have an article linking the father of a man who was bitterly opposed to a malthusian system which believed in limited population and resources, to a present day cause which believes in the same crap. How Ironic.

        • wills

          Wow, impressive linkage banstershil.

          I read D’s article from the perspective were D is on the side of sustainability and NOT this fake green tyranny pinky and the brain claptrap.

          The sustainability ethic noticeably has been lost on the back of the fanatic greenies brash loud mouthed alarmist secondary school top of the class nerdy science.

          D i think in his article is getting too the relevant envoirmental question, wastage and over production and economy contingent on consumption.

  2. wills


    Excellent article.

    I agree entirely with all points.

    Sustainability is the future.

  3. Make. Less. Babies.

    Like Bill Hicks said: “Can you calm down on your rutting just for a couple of seconds until we can figure out this food, air deal?”

  4. adamabyss


  5. Came across this recently:

    Maybe we should be using some of the funds currently going to NAMA to at least run a pilot scheme and test viability.

    • Ruairí

      Agreed Mick, ideas like this would be placing us on the surest competitive footing we could be on. Maximising our resources so that we can play the international game strategically. If we just rely on lowering wages, then we will have competitive companies and poor workers. That seems like a bullshit way to live. We need wage competitiveness but only within the framework of smart business. Not cheap wages where there too many hotels, too many car dealers, too many of everything. Those who pay TDs and senior public servants 150-200k each should expect and demand life-changing ideas and implementation. Like Ardnacrusha in its day. Not trendy lightbulbs.

      • coldblow

        “… and in Roscomon and the County Longford
        Meath and Westmeath and Miltownmalbay
        And around Athlone and Claremorris
        And Ballyhaunis and Castlerea
        And in Ballaghaderreen and the County Leitrim
        Go where you will it is all the same
        All around the Border our lamps are shining
        With the electric light from the Shannon Scheme

        Our parliament from us was stolen
        By cursed fraud and by foreign plan
        But now thank God and they are restored
        And we’re sitting once more in College Green
        Just passing laws for the Irish Free State
        Which I hope and honour (sic) you will uphold her name
        And enjoy with pleasure our greatest treasure
        The electric light from the Shannon Scheme.”

  6. David,

    Anti-slavery was a progressive campaign which was a product of the humanist Enlightenment values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Today’s ecomiserabilism is borne out of a profound regression (in Western society) from the belief in the potential of human potential to improve life.

    Sustainability and sustainable technology are simply apologies for the lack of technological and commercial dynamism. Societies that hope to grow economically solely through cleantech will discover that long-term economic growth demands a business environment that is neither risk-averse nor sustainable.

  7. WOW – 6bn to 9bn growth by 2014 .Geeze thats just around the corner .Maybe property is not so bad after all !
    Now that David has informed us that we are eating fossil food when will we be getting ‘foot & mouth disease?’ Its the same fundamental diet as the cows.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Typo, should be 2041 I reckon.

      • laceyjody

        According to the UN, we’re locked into 9bn people by 2044, shortly after which global poulation growth is expected to level off. India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia should, combined, account for half of the increase. But population is still rising in some countries with exorbitant per captia consumption, like the USA.

  8. ian

    I would welcome your advice.

    3 Small children ( 1 with CF )
    Still have a job ( at the moment )
    In the process of selling our house
    ( hopefully )
    Thinking of emigrating (maybe France )
    Would you Yes Or NO

    Really don’t want to go but i don’t want my children paying for the casino culture that brought us into the gutter.
    All comment’s welcome.

    • gadfly55

      I am escaping to France in the new year, which is not utopia by any means, but is vastly superior to this sodden shambles of a sub-Arctic busted and bankrupt burst bubble of a fragment of an island. If you are interested in the future of your family, do the right thing and leave now.

    • Colin_in_exile


      Best thing to do is ask Irish people who live in France about the pros and cons.

      Also, buy a book called Smart Choices.

      Its concise, easy to understand, gives plenty of examples and case studies, and allows you to formulate a decision, taking in all the variables. Its my manual for life. Good luck and enjoy.

      • ian

        Thank’s for the link.Have just ordered it.
        I suppose the only thing to say is the better informed you are the better choices you make. Pity our GOBSHITE GOVT don’t read these books.

        • Colin_in_exile


          You’re welcome. Its amazing our gobshite gubberment didn’t ban books like this one. It allows people to develop their own analysises and strategies.

          You can preview the first few pages and get a feeling for it for free online. Let us know what you think of the book when you’ve finished, and what decision you’ve made.

        • Deco

          I suggest that you get a copy of “The bankers” by Senator Shane Ross. If you do not have time, I will tell you now anyway – basically, Ross contends that Ireland is not ruled from the tent at Ballybrit – but actually the K Club (owned by Michael Smurfit). The leading companies on the ISEQ and all the richest businessmen in the country have apartments in the K-Club. They socialise, backslap each other, do deals and pass information. There is also an equivalent for Irish business people in Portugual. (I think it is owned by Denis O’Brien). That also has a golf course. Same thing there. Networks of gombeenery. The K-Club is the nexus of financial power in Ireland. Ditherer was just an opportunist who jumped on board and lost the plot. Unless we change intellectually, we will only be replacing one opportunist with another, and then another, etc..And from what I can see this is likely to occur !!!

          Senator Ross seems to think that our government is like a national version of county council. Basically the banks threatened to bring the entire country down. Biffo and Lenno pressed the panic button and gave them what they wanted. Two lawyers who did not know enough about economics to call their bluff. And they were advised by state officials in D2 who should be fired for incompetence.

          If Padraic Pearse was alive today he would not lead the volunteers from the agreed assembly point of a field by the Grand Canal at Maynooth to the GPO – he would instead make the shorter journey over to the nearby village Straffan, and occuppy the K-Club :)))

          I am begining to think that it does not matter who is in government-they would all blink. The Dail only has two economists and they both made errors of judgement in the last 18 months.

    • Deco

      Ian – let ‘herself’ decide. Actually she will decide anyway. France is no bed of roses either. Youth unemployment has been high in France since the early 1990s – especially in the most desirable places to live in the provinces. Your kids will have to deal with that some day. I imagine it takes a while to “fit in” in France compared to other English speaking countries.

      Personally I am not concerned about the “Casino culture” (as JH Kunstler calls it the “something for nothing mentality” – or as I term it “the gombeen mentality”. I make a persistent effort to not be supporting it. Was perplexed with the ANIB bailout, NAMA and the general accomodation given to the D4 banking sector. But I will not let the ‘gombeens’ decide anything for me.

      I hope you are not offended but there is a minor parallel with Irish people deciding to leave/ stay and the “Roy Keane in Saipan” saga. Basically there is masive anger/hurt/outrage/ at having been lied, screwed and manipulated by the Irish authority model and the incompetence that it creates. Like Keane you are fit to leave because you are fed up with the corruption that you are inadevertedly paying for, and you have seen through the charade. At this point you are a danger to authority because you can see what is happening. Keane attacked authority by spilling the beans in a newspaper article – and spilling the beans escalated the crisis. His point was that it was time to end the charade. The response was predicable enough. It might be that you have a “Saipan” article in you. One of the contributors, John Allen, has contributed insights on the D4 bank bosses. If you have then get them out of the system in case they need to be expressed. In doing so you are encouraging others to do likewise. Which is all healthy. Just don’t allow this sort of thing to end up being used by others who are trying to exploit the level of anger in our society. The point of expressing your dismay is so that you can be blunt honest about it.

      This website is great – it lets an awful lot of us analyze and criticize the authority model in Ireland. A lot of people in Ireland are fed up with the lies and the bullshit, and the pressure to conform to believing in it all. To deal with this, I advocate breaking out beyond the constructs that hold the current situation in place, at an intellectual level. This means continual and honest analysis. And then deciding to withdrawing support from the crooked oligopolists and price fixers who provide the profit incentive for the current scenario. If you stay, this means using the “Avoid the toll road” mentality. It is very hard work. It was even tougher during the boom, when the “lemming” mentality ruled the population.

      Just do what makes you all feel happy inside. France is a big country, so there should be plenty of options. There will be things in France that you will not like, and you will have to accept them and fit in.

      But it must be a decision made for positive reasons for yourselves.

      • ian

        Wow.A lot of anger there.Maybe you should buy a punchbag,paint BIFFO’S face on it and BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF IT. I’ve ordered mine on ebay.

        On a more serious note though,i agree with a lot of what you say.The
        problem I have is when this lot get the bullet,there’s no credible alternative to replace them.I’m not
        political minded but surely the time is ripe for a new party to come on the scene.

        People like DMcW ,Michael O Leary,Morgan Kelly,Kevin Myer’s,Bill Cullen,Alan Stanford,Medb Ruane
        would be able to make a better fist of it than the gombeens who are in charge now ( or those who are about to take charge ).

        Also I think maybe I have a “Saipan”
        article in me somewhere but that’s for another day,

        Thank’s again for the feedback,it’s much appreciated.

        • DaveH

          Hi Guys, I’m a new poster to the site despite following for some weeks now.

          Deco – couldnt agree more with your sentiments; and Ian, I think you echo the desire of a vast proportion of the population in calling for a new political entity to emerge.

          However, the thought of a political ‘dream team’ manifesting itself is unlikely.

          Unfortunately, I genuinely think that many of those figures who really care about the state of the nation are so disillusioned with the political system that they would be fundamentally opposed to becoming involved in party politics in this country as we know it.

          I worry that we’re that far gone that anybody who cares enough or who can see past the constructs of the political elite are just steering clear and withdrawing in the hope of self-preservation.

          I don’t know what it would take for a group of similarly minded people to a) make a decision to collectively enter the political fray b) garner the necessary support c) challenge the hegemony that has ruled the political roost in this country since the civil war??

        • wills

          “anger”!!!!! not atall, deco is in full mastery of his “anger”. Reckon you ought too take a look at possible ‘projection’ of your own “anger” there ian.

      • paddythepig


        Mick McCarthy was the most committed player I ever saw in a green jersey, a real fighter. Keane zoned in on some undoubted mistakes, and failed to see a lot of the good he was doing. Such as bringing on very mediocre players, and getting them to play very good soccer.

        He also made an issue of McCarthy’s Irishness, which I thought was a disgrace. Not everyone’s parents were able to stay in Ireland during the 50s, and as the ‘diaspora’ is one the buzz words on this site, Mick McCarthy deserved far better than to be called an ‘English c*nt’.

        Alf Inge Haaland deserved better than having his career ended by a vicious pre-meditated assault. And remember, Keane’s motivation for this was that Haaland slagged him verbally after Keane had attempted to kick him during a Premiership match and ended up injuring himself. We don’t need that kind of perverted and ridiculous logic.

        The yahoos then jumped on board, backing their native son, forgetting that every other player out there deserved respect, all having got to the World Cup by merit. No-one got in by pull or corruption, which you frequently and correctly criticise in your articles.

        We need the likes of Keane like we need a hole in the head.


        • wills

          Paddy, mick is not irish, he is from yorkshire.

          • wills

            barnsley. The media made out keane made an issue of it. Keane simply countered a false question trying to catch him out on his courageous stance against gomebeenism infected FAI.

        • Colin_in_exile


          You’re right about the Alf Inge Haaland issue, and you’re right about the McCarthy being Irish issue.

          However, I disagree with you on
          1. “Mick McCarthy was the most committed player I ever saw in a green jersey, a real fighter”. McCarthy did not deserve to get on the team, let alone be captain. We had Kevin Moran, David O’Leary and Paul McGrath, all superior centre halves, McCarthy was as slow as a donkey who was forever pulling opponents’ jerseys and fouling. McCarthy was Jack’s Yes man, and followed orders like going for fish and chips in Harry Ramsdens the night before a match.
          2. Mick became an insider in the corrupt FAI, and knew well not to change things for the better. The clowns in the FAI renewed his contract twice before qualification could have been secured, and guess what happened…failed to qualify for WC 1998, Euro 2000 and Euro 2004.
          3. McCarthy dropped Denis Irwin for a muppet, and when queried, he said Denis will have to prove himself. Denis Irwin happened to be the best full back in the premier league at the time. Utter madness!
          4. McCarthy could have avoided Saipan happening if he had swallowed his pride, and backed Keane in his demand for improvement for facilities and flight seats and concrete hard pitches etc…. We could have made it to the semi final in 2002!
          5. Expect Wolves to be relegated this season, and Ipswich to finish in top half of the table.

        • ian

          We need to get over this!!
          This episode divided a nation,set brother against sister,left Bertie cryin inta his cornflakes,Dunphy putting out contracts on the FAI.This has to stop, think of the “children”Paddy the “poor little children back home with their jersies” Paddy

        • Deco

          Paddy. Haaland and Keane. To be honest what I heard was disgraceful – but I am restrained from making a full judgement, without the facts.

          Anyway my point concerned authority. At the time the media, the state, the private sector had the herd in a happy consensus. Ever since people have been drifting wayward. The following year we had Hobbs and this RipOff Republic. Then after that we had PrimeTime Investigates analysing Irish drinking, drug talking, car dealerships, etc.. We had Brendan Gleeson’s film. An intellectual thread along the lines that there were a lot of issues that indicated that we were congratulating ourselves out of proportion with the real state of affairs in our country. But the problem was that a series of vested interests wanted us to congratulate ourselves out of proportion – so as to drive up the “feel good factor”. Suddenly a bombshell was dropped – Irish (authority/management) incompetence – read all about it. ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ etc.. The media became upset when it looked like people might switch off the TV and not watch the rest of the advertising. Er I mean the rest of the World Cup. And if the people are taken up of the sofas and seperated from advertising then civilization is going down the tubes.

          • paddythepig

            Deco, Colin, Ian, Wills,

            Colin, I agree about the Denis Irwin episdoe, it was a bad mistake. Show me the manager, or the person who hasn’t made a mistake. My point is that Mick also did a lot of good. After the demise of Jack’s team, he had to integrate a very young, and not a particularly talented group of players – Mark Kinsella, Gary Breen, Steve Staunton, Mattie Holland, Kevin Kilbane – with the likes of the two Keanes, Duff & Given. He brought them on a lot, and I remember the soccer they played in Japan and in the qualifying campaign ; it was constructive, the ball was played to feet, and players clearly were expressing themselves as best they could. He encouraged the lesser players, and they clearly all had time for him, otherwise they would have deserted him in Saipan.

            McGrath and Moran both played alongside McCarthy. Only O’Leary lost out. Mick was slow, but he was also brave, tough, physical, and played every gave for Ireland like his life depended on it. O’Leary was fast, but not as brave or committed in my opinion.

            Wills, you are wrong to question Mick’s Irishness. I remember, prior to playing the Soviet Union in 1988, seeing Mick in tears, psyched, proud to play for Ireland. It clearly meant a lot to him. He is first generation Irish, and deserves to play for his country as much as anyone else. I, and other young Irish guys playing soccer with me, were inspired by his attitude.

            Keane threw the toys out of the pram. Everyone else, all professional players, got on with the job, and coped admirably without him. If he could have kept his gob shut in Saipan, he would have gone to Japan a few days later, where the facilities were world-class. He abused his position as captain and best player to zone in on the negatives. Imagine if one of the lesser players had done what Keane did, everyone would have laughed and said ‘good riddance’. He was right, and everyone else was wrong. Right.

            On the broader point of style of leadership, Deco firstly you were wrong to equate Mick with failure and ‘corruption’ ; he was a decent guy who did quite well given the circumstances. Given a choice between leadership by encouragement and leadership by fear and retribution, I’ll take the former any day.


            PS : Ian, your post did make me smile. What a charade that interview was.

          • Deco

            Paddy –
            I did not mention Mick McCarthy in the Saipan Affair. I said that the issue was about authority, and that Keane got into trouble for spilling the beans on the FAI. No mention of McCarthy. McCarthy was doing as instructed by the FAI. He was the “go for’ for the FAI wasters who hid in the background. In McCarthy’s book he indicated this his disgust with the FAI over this. The media saved the FAI fat cats by focussing on Keane versus McCarthy. But a lot of people were able to see that it was the big bosses in the FAI that were being calling the shots. Keane inflicted a PR disaster on the FAI. It was a case of ‘let’s see how the FAI respond’.The FAI responded by outsourcing the dirty work to McCarthy. The FAI went to Saipan and the only thing that they seemed to have planned on doing was on drinking themselves silly. It was the ultimate corporate junket. The business preparations were not of relevance. Saipan was isolated and had enough booze to have a week long piss up. There are similarities with what happens in Irish business. Journalists were to take part if they wanted, and it was expected. In a way it was a pity that Keane kicked up a rumpus. It would have been more fun if Keane bided his time, allowed the boozing sessions went ahead as planned, and Tom Humphries reported that instead. It would have been the ultimate ‘caught with the pants down’ story.

            Keane and McCarthy were able to go beyond what happned in later months. But Keane and the FAI never forgave each other. Keane did the FAI a lot of damage. And this hurt ticket sales and was a threat to the advertising engine. When they have arguments using megaphone diplomacy, it is entertaining :))))

            Hemmingway said “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels”. Really what happens on the sports field is marginal to the society as a whole. But there is money to be made. Things are simplified. But newspapers like the Irish Daily Star depend on an ability to press the euphoria button and simplify the people. A classic example was the fans protesting at the French Embassy over Henry’s handball. The Irish do not need Thierry Henry to show them what cheating is about. Because the are so many capable cheats in Ireland already – banks, retail operations, developers, politicians, planning officials, and all sorts of gombeens. But Henry got the stick. It is only when it happens on TV, that people get moved to outrage. There was no protest over the bailout of Anglo Irish Bank. There were protests about NAMA, but the media downplayed the event (so as not to offend our advertising sponsors). There are big issues, and they need to be addressed because they affect bigger things than the TV schedule next Summer. I am suspicuous about any effort to accentuate the virtual existence, as it often serves to downplay the importance of the real existence. Ireland is losing in the of economics – and has been losing since about 2002. Pride will not fix it. Intelligence, honesty and hard work are required. And an awful lot of reform. And a hardheaded realism that will allow septic banks like ANIB, and INBS to fail.

            The Irish can be winners at sport. And in many areas Ireland has big winners-the winners who bring home the Heinehen Cup, the Grand Slam, GAA championship honours, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, or the Tour de France. Winning is about more than just wearing a green jersey. People who plan to be winners that end up being winners. Management cultures who plan pissups only end up being winners in having pissups. Winning does not come from compliance to authority, or spells of lemming like euphoria. But the FAI are proof a certain culture of management prevents success from happening, and preserves mediocrity. But the FAI focus on media contacts, and fully expect to get away with their agenda. In fact, they get away with it. They get away with it because f the compliance of others.

            The FAI got the attention because of Irish Libel law and the fact that if you spill the beans on an Irish company you could quickly end up in court over ‘damage to a person’s right of good name and character’. So with this aspect of Irish expression effectively repressed, a pressure release happened at the expense of the FAI. Maybe it is in the interests of reform in Ireland that we see an continuance of FAI incompetence – so as to show us how good the Irish can be at incompetence, and covering it all up :))) Now that ANIB are public property, some focus can also drift to ANIB.

            I enjoyed your comment about teflon crying into his cornflakes. The economic bust that Ahern left behind has not ruffled even one of his feathers. He tells us that he left everything in good shape. Well, I suppose life is comfortable on his state pension and being driven around everywhere in a state car.

            The Ahern age is over – an era when self delusion and losing the plot were in vogue. It ended like all such eras end, in total disaster. The idea of having a feel good factor purely for the sake of the feel good factor has been revealed to be a dangerous construct. It began with an article in 1998 called “Payback time”. And now “payback time” is being inflicted on Irish society for the mistakes that all of us made in the Ahern era. Ahern was a lousy planner. Even worse, when McCreevy started planning for the recession in 2001, talking about savings rates, and the need to put money aside, Ahern got annoyed and shafted him. This was typical of much of Ahern’s manoevring – whenever anybody did anything properly he had to get rid of them.

            If you don’t like the Roy Keane analogy, then just look at the Willie Walsh analogy. Walsh turned Aer Lingus around. Saved the taxpayer millions. Walsh had Ryanair in knots. And then Bertie Ahern let if be known that he wanted Walsh out of Aer Lingus. Walsh was so good that people were saying he should be running the country. Can’t have that.

            So now Walsh is running British Airways, and turning them around. He should be in Ireland running the country. But he was sent packing. He was too competent. People like that are dangerous.

            David McW – I have a suggestion – do an interview of Willie Walsh for Christmas in the newspaper. Apart from anything else it would show that the Irish can play to win and achieve their goals in a professional manner.

          • paddythepig


            I understand and mostly agree with the point you are trying to make about leadership culture in Ireland. I agree with many of the broader political points you are making. But I disagree with Roy Keane being held up as an example of the type of leader or authority figure we want ; I think he has made a complete fool of himself at this stage. Even John Delaney came out of the recent spat with more dignity than Keane in my opinion.

            I think as well you are jumping on the bash-the-FAI bandwagon a little. There certainly was a mafia at the top, and maybe there still is, but it looks to me like things have improved. Plus there are a hell of a lot of good things going on at grassroots, some of which are fostered by the FAI. Under-age coaching for example ; I attended some years ago a coaching course staged by the FAI, it was excellent. There were everyone from ex LOI players, to junior players to parents involved with Underage teams, to a young priest who couldn’t play football at all but who wanted to learn to play football so he could coach kids in his parish. In fairness, at the time, both Brian Kerr and Ian Evans took an active part, and bar the very odd FAI power-crazed eejit, it was really excellent. Basically, be careful not to tar everyone with the same brush.

            I can see why Keane was frustrated, but throwing the toys out of the pram – be it with Ireland, Sunderland, Man U – is not the way to lead. I think his arrogance and self-centredness was symptomatic of the bandwagon mentality of the Celtic Tiger – the herd very quickly rowed in behind the native rebel, delighted in a disgraceful piece of stereotyping and Brit-bashing, and forgot about values like respect and decency and patience.

            I do understand that people can be contradictory in what they express outrage about ; perhaps that is because they understand sport. Unfortunately, the other things you list are opaque to a lot of people.

            As this thread is about leadership, and what it should be, perhaps a better example of the type of leader we need is Brian O’Driscoll. He lived through the biggest failure of preparation of any Irish sports team – in the last rugby world cup – and still soldiered on despite the fact that the team was knackered before a ball was kicked. He didn’t walk out, throw a hissy fit, or belittle anyone. He got on with it, and did his best, and has since gone from strength to strength.


          • wills

            paddy -

            i’m not questioning micks irishness, he is english, from barnsley.

            Also, micks football skills compared too keanes are in division 3.

          • wills

            paddy -

            i relation too bashing the FAI i recommend we liquidate the FAI for all time, shower of fat arrogant wanna be’s who couldn’t kick a ball but ar$eways,

          • wills


            Wrong wrong wrong on keano throwing ‘hissy fit’.

            Hissy fit is for sheilas like mick, and that twat quinn and that pin up pounce whats his name from england with the quiff emmmm, cant remember.

            Keane got ireland into the world cup in japan all on his own. he literally dragged ireland into that world cup in an olympian display of loyalty too this country and its future and you post that inane dribble about him. Gutless

      • wills

        Deco -

        Could not agree more with comments posted by your good self above.

        This website is one of very few open democratic forums of debate dedicated too stripping away like an onion the corrupting black propaganda in place hiding behind which we find the K club, banksterism, corpocracy and mercantilist power obsessed freaks, preying on the lower downers.

  9. gadfly55

    Now, analyse the benefit and dependence of our consumer lifestyle upon the labour of the workers in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam apart from the exploitation of natural resources from South America and Africa at no benefit to the population. Apart from the direct correlation between hydro-carbon energy production of goods, distribution of goods, and consumption of goods , the operation of post-industrial society relies upon control of capital and intellectual property, patents, brands, trademarks, licences, royalties, etc. to extract payment from the production and distribution system without responsibility for the people or the environment, who are left to the devices of their government. As we can see, the citizens of an advanced democracy such as this country, are perfectly willing to prostrate themselves for stability, security, and authority. The problem is the relentless elevation of individual appetite and desire for gratification with no regard for consequences, either for society or for the planet. We have met the enemy and it is us.

    • wills

      Good read, but, i ain’t the enemy, nor my family.
      I don’t do short term gratification.

    • Colin_in_exile


      I’ve heard of the self hating Jew, but the self hating Paddy is a new one to me.

      The vast majority of us here did not go crazy buying up property or SUVs. We’re here because we’re followers of David’s economic philosophy. Perhaps you meant to email that to Fingers or Seanie?

    • liam

      If your suggesting that we’re eejits for choosing Hummers instead of Nissan Micras, it might be instructive to look at the matter of choice

      As in we have none.

      Choosing between a small car and a gas-guzzler is a false dichotomy, neither is sustainable in the longer term. As I have said before, the basic unfairness of the Carbon Tax is that it is directed at consumers, who are not in a position to chose between IC or electric cars (compare the supporting infrastructure), or to buy a house built to Passivehaus standards instead of burning kerosene all winter long, or to take the non-existent or unreliable train instead of driving.

      The enemy here are the private interests that produce all this crap, and sell us the illusion of choice. The “consumer driven change” concept is a mythological beast created by Government that ensures they don’t have to tackle the status quo. To blame all of this on the general population is I think unreasonable. We should be (active) citizens, not (passive) consumers, and give the Government a mandate to do something about this.

  10. Ian – I am a Francophone so I always say its a great place and easy going .My bolt hole there is Nice and thats where I am now until 22nd .Its hilarious watching the bankstas down here hiding with their politico friends .Everything here is fully regulated 500% and the State spends its money very well on fantastic infrastructures.

  11. gadfly55

    The collapse of the current global system in human catastrophe beyond any conception of scale in the film 2012 is the only event capable of dislodging the current arrangements in favour of global corporate control and private equity domination of liquidity beyond the reach of any government of G20.

  12. All Careys came from Tipperary .I wonder how they keep population control under wraps .Oh yes….emigration.

  13. gadfly55

    The desert fathers of early Christianity fled the collapse of the Roman empire, into the deserts of Egypt. Fuge, tace, quiesce, were the three words to guide them. Escape or flee, don’t be babbling or be silent, and learn to find tranquillity, calmness and discernment in your spirit. We are exactly at the opposite point by becoming global, twittering uselessly, and being completely bamboozed with images and information to the point of idiocy and despair. The entire culture is now oriented in the direction of chaos and disintegration. Wise persons are advised to escape from any dependency upon the present system, become self-sufficient as much as possible, and learn to enjoy life without the clutter and debt of consumerism.

  14. Revolving Twist :
    I think the Earth once upon a time started to change directions and is now revolving in the opposite to what it did and likewise the population movement .Presently everyone is moving from East to West and intelligence is moving the opposite direction as in internet, mobile phones etc .This will not change in the foreseeable future.
    In a different world people did move from West to East as in the Mayans to Ireland….or westland as it became known afterwards .Maybe it was Eastland then!

    • Ruairí

      Interesting megatrend John. Weiss Inc ( cover this theme for the financial / cultural sphere by their new association with the, an organisation set up after the Depression to study underlying rhythms that are expressed in the phenomenae of our daily lives.

  15. wills

    FF gov pleasing it’s new NWO masters with introduction of the scamarama known as carbon tax.

  16. Colin_in_exile


    You must have been reading Jesse Ausebel’s Paper on Five Worthy Ways To Spend Money.

    While this paper is written with the USA in mind, we could adapt it to Irish circumstances, and maybe prosper from it.

    • wills

      never ceases to amaze me how meddling do gooders can be.

    • Colin_in_exile

      I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but can I ask you wills, did you read it before you commented?

      • wills

        rockefeller = FAscism,

        • Colin_in_exile

          I’ll take that as a No, based on a percieved conflicting idealogical viewpoint to your own.

          • wills

            your answering your own questions now on my behalf, thats fascism too.

          • wills

            It’s very simple colin.


          • Colin_in_exile

            Wills, it was a very simple question I asked, only requiring a Yes/No reply, and your reply was “rockefeller = FAscism,”, which was not a Yes/No reply, but judging by that reply, it led me to believe that you did not read it, and because your original reply was at 4.26pm, only 2 minutes after I posted the link, I now think it is safe to conclude that you were unable to read the whole paper in under 2 mins. Also, your contention that it is a Fascist University, while humourous, lead me to believe you were not inclined to have read the paper.

            I think you’ll find Jesse Ausebel is far from Fascist in his thinking, but I get the feeling you’ll never find that out for yourself.

            Note, Throughout Rockefeller University’s history, 23 of its scientists have won Nobel Prizes, 20 have won Lasker Awards and 14 have garnered the National Medal of Science, the highest science award given by the United States.

          • wills

            Colin -

            Funding is all. Funding is available and the brain’s fall in behind.

            Take a look at the photo of the characters who are in charge,

            A picture sometimes tells alot more than words do!

            I mean, look at wilie o d, or ernie from sesame street i mean bertie from sesame street.

      • wills

        Too many scientists making a living out of doom.

  17. Malcolm McClure

    We need to get a sense of perspective on the global pollution problem. Most opinion formers live in densely crowded cities; flying from one capital to another they easily forget about the vast spaces in between.
    It’s worth remembering that if everyone on Earth came to live in Ireland, each person would occupy a space 12 feet square on this island. Certainly it would be a bit crowded, but Bord Failte would doubtless be happy to find each of them a bed.
    Pollution might be a problem, but we could adopt Glasgow’s solution with its sh1t ship coming down the Clyde every day to dump its contents opposite Paddy’s Milestone. The mackerel lap this stuff up, so our trawlers’ nets would be bulging. Since all the Scots, Welsh and English would be in Ireland we could use that whole island to grow wheat and barley. The Indians would soon organize themselves to make chapatis for everybody and the Chinese would make beer. So with fish, chapatis and plenty of beer, who cares what happens to the carbon dioxide?

    • Ruairí

      Malcolm sir, you have brought great cheer to the hospitality industry. Welcome one and welcome all.
      LIke I said to a hospitality ‘consultant’ one time, who didn’t understand sales growth of a high-end product (indeed who didn’t understand jacksh1t), why didn’t you build twice as many rooms while you were at it, you could have filled the place to the rafters.

    • liam

      Your numbers area bit off, its more like 110 sq feet (about 10m2) and even more of we stack ‘em high.

  18. Ruairí

    All hail the United irishmen and their noble objectives.

    But Jesus David, this sounds fierce like Ryanair ????

    “The print showed hundreds of humans cramped and shackled together with barely enough room to move. Carey wrote: “Here it is presented to our view one of the most horrid spectacles – human creatures packed side by side almost like herrings in a barrel and reduced nearly to a state of being buried alive, with just air enough to preserve a degree of life sufficient to make them sensible of all the horrors of their situation.””

  19. Ruairí

    “In terms of economics, on-going basic depletion of the world’s resources means that we are not at “the end of oil”, but we are at “the end of cheap oil”
    Why not re-appropriate our oil resources? And take the diplomatic war from the US and Britain. Why not? If we are on the precipice, cornered, then let’s pull out the big guns and go out fighting. Jesus, this is OUR country. Stop tipping caps to foreign corporates and grow some balls.

    • Tim

      Ruairí, I agree completely. But a government that produces a budget like today’s that cuts what’s important, takes nothing at all from the wealthy, including bankers who caused the problem, upsets mothers and delights alcoholics, will never have the balls to do what you say.

      “Inverted Robin-Hoodism”, is the dominant ideology of today’s budget.

      • Ruairí

        Yes Tim, unlike the rapparees of old who were protected by the locals, precisely because they invariably helped them financially and almost never robbed them (pure pragmatism), this rightwing government is going to run out of rope. Anyone who now thinks that their granting of houses to young ones with a baby is because of leftwing sentimentality must now clearly see that the aid via houses is purely offered in order to soak up housing owned by their HAVE friends. Pure and simple. All actions of this government are filtering practices. There is no coherent ideology though, not even a pure rightwing one, just mé féin and stayin alive.

        • Colin_in_exile

          All the more reason then to end the rent supplement allowances being given to single mothers. Tell them not to have children they can’t afford. Tell them to use contraception when they’re having the ride with the local stud or choose abstinance.

          You think the government has the balls to do it? Imagine the outcry from all the do gooders, liberals, lefties, the p.c. brigade etc…. Colm O’Gorman from Amnesty International will be writing letters to the Irish Times about it outlining his Outrage!

          Please have a look at this website.

          • liam

            You would expect so alright, though there are far better and cheaper (but complex, long term) ways of dealing with the single mum problem than simply withdrawing SW benefit (benefits which shouldn’t be necessary in the first place). Trouble is, this is directly related to the resource problem. It will eventually be realised that the resource constraint problem will be dealt with in one of two ways: civil conflict, or targeted optimum population levels.

    • wills

      ‘peak oil’ is a myth too hide market rigging.

      • liam

        Are you seriously proposing that there is no supply problem? We have all the oil and gas we need forever? If not, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the price will be driven my market economics, rarity = high prices, whether that is caused by deliberate manipulations like speculation or hoarding etc doesn’t matter, its still a problem for us.

  20. Ruairí

    “As far back as April 2008, this column was arguing that we should prepare ourselves for this tectonic shift in the way the world economy powers itself. Since then, the smart economy fanfare of last Christmas Eve seems to have evaporated. So yes, yet again in Ireland we are late to see the opportunities, but hopefully – given the huge changes that are afoot – someone will wake up and it will be better late than never. ”

    Hear hear David, but is there anything of substance coming from the Farmleigh encounter? is there a commercial visionary push to stand beside the likes of

    We don’t need to just be creating wind turbines and green energy production jobs, we need to be showing the world how an island economy can push the visionary envelope right out and maximise every available commercial, ethical and technological avenue currently available to us. We know certain technologies can reduce our costs and give us advantage but is there major structural change required? Yes.

    If so, where is the blueprint for this? I have many ideas. But where are my political masters’ roadmaps. I see only tinkering at the edges. e.g. electric car rollouts but no structural planning changes. Water taxes but no water asset upgrades.
    This Dáil, not just this government, is bereft of ideas and most importantly visonary zeal. Where are the change agents?

  21. Deco

    “Planet’s polloters are moral equivalent of slave traders”.
    I disagree. Pollution might be wrong. But it is not the simple topic being depicted.

    British Nuclear Fuels is polluting the Irish Sea, Britain, the North Sea, and Scandinavia. But who exactly are the exploited – most of the pollution is happening in Britain. Yes wasteful usage of the earths resources is happening. And future generations are being robbed.

    Second the main driving force of the Abolitionist movement was religious sentiment. In the British Empire this was Wilberforce. In the US this existed in the Aboltionist movement who helped slaves escape up the Mississippi or across the Appalachians with a network of safe houses. The abolitionists contained a strong Presbyterian and Methodist element. The abolitionists became the core element of what was to become the US Republican Party, which led by Lincoln, won a massive and bloody civil war in the US to settle the matter. In response the Democratic Party got elected for two generations in the Confederate Eleven for two generations – instituting the Jim Crow laws in the process. The great liberal republican hero, ardent secularist and swashbuckling imperialist of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte, was very certain on where he stood on the issue of slavery. The British ended slavery in their territories in the Carribean. At the same time naval succes was undermining French rule. Soon there was a slave rebellion. Bonaparte sent the troops in to murder the ex-slaves into submission. Except, the Haitians were saved by an outbreak of tropical disease amongst French troops. Had this not occurred things would have gotten very very nasty. It was left to the Duke of Wellington to ban slavery in French territory after the French were defeated in 1815. Incidentally none of this was a problem in Spanish America because Rome instructed the Spanish King to ban slavery in the 1500s as a result of discomfort about the treatment of the natives in the Silver Mines. The ironic thing about abolitionism is that it was driven by the very conservative forces that the neo-liberal neo-Marxist advocates in the West, are continually attacking. Wellington-the principled grand old man of the English Conservatism, Lincoln-the founder of the US Republican Party, the Calvinist element in Protestantism, and the Catholic Church. And now we can throw an Irishman on the run from the authorities into the mix – though he gets absolutely no credit at all.

    The real problem for the third world is that the wealth in the mines, and the hydrocarbon deposits are sold for funny paper money to the industrial world. How funny ? well just look at all the money that has been printed to bail out the bankers. The third world needs to exchange real wealth for the same money. Cheap commodities means lower interest rates. And lower interest rates mean higher property prices, and more leveraging in the West’s Financial system. In the past decade the West has gone politically correct about it all. But underneath there is this sinister desire to suppress the price of raw materials. Business as usual for the UN Security Council big 5 with arms sales, and money stashed away in London banks by corrupt government officials.

    Beijjing doesn’t bother with such niceties. Beijing can buy the regime with tools for killing and interrogating. Local infrastructure gets upgraded so that the material gets transported out efficiently and on schedule.

    The picture in today’s Indo is inaccurate. On top of the fat Western consumer, you should put a Commisar from Beijing who now lives of the fat western consumer who lives off the skinny third world miner. The picture predates China’s expansionism into the Third World – based on a model used by the US in Latin America since Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson invented ‘US Foreign Policy for Latin America’.

    The level of pollution is a reflection of the level of convenience in our economic model. Cheap raw materials mean a higher level of consumption can be entertained. And the sheeple can be pleased as they sit down and watch another episode of reality TV, wall to wall sports coverage, reruns of war films, ‘the shopping channel’, ‘talent’ competitions or soap operas.

    To reduce pollution, we would need to consume less and make things last longer. But in our world of manufactured consent, we are actively being programmed by the media to do the opposite. For all the claims of freedom in the West, there are still some fairly obscene social mores in control to prevent us falling out of line with what Richard Doutewaite called the “growth illusion” based on consumption.

    The high leverage economic model being advocated across all Western societies, and the high cost social economy that we are all requesting, is completely at odds with paying more for raw materials. But nobody will be honest about it. Definitely nobody in Copenhagen at the conference.

  22. econarchist

    You are right, David, it is the vested interests, and not public opinion or any rational economic argument, that are holding back the changes towards sustainability.

    Last week the IFA president Joe Walshe and MEP Maireád McGuinness completely rejected Paul McCartney’s modest suggestion (too modest in my opinion) that people should reduce carbon emissions by going without meat for just one day a week. Meat production has other harmful effects as well by using land and water to grow crops to feed cattle instead of people.

    I’m afraid that the Copenhagen conference will turn out to be a non-event because politicians are taking part in it just to present a green image of themselves. If they really want to encourage other countries to burn less fossil fuels they should lead by example instead of preaching. The last time that world leaders got together to do a deal on the environment at the G8 meeting in Japan last year, their greatest achievement was to agree on the level of carbon emissions in the year 2050, which shows how urgently they view the problem.

    Individuals can only do so much, by changing light bulbs, insulating their homes and cutting down on car use and so on. Industries and governments have to play a major role as well by radically overhauling the systems of transport, agriculture and power generation. Until then, even the most environmentally aware people will be forced to lead unsustainable lifestyles.

  23. Deco

    Concerning the PIGS and the ECB and the Euro interest rate, this is the next shoe to drop. Actually this is a heavy boot, that hits the floor with a thud.

    As long as we are borrowing we liable to suffer fallout from this sort of event. As the ratings agencies are spotting the obvious.


    Sorry, but the renewables aren’t going to be enough. I’m afraid anyone who thinks otherwise has simply not done their sums. Nuclear power is absolutely necessary; inevitable. Our political leaders (perhaps I should say political followers, as they do not shape public opinion but rather are slaves to it) will never contemplate this until it becomes totally–and painfully–undeniable. They will then bleat that things have changed (or perhaps that nobody could have predicted this) but it will all come at least 10 years too late to avoid major economic disaster.

    • Ruairí

      Agreed, nuclear power is something we must grapple with asap. But John, we must change our structures in order to cut down on energy usage, not just seek the magic pill to keep the ball rolling. That still leaves the energy haves and the energy have nots. A culture of consumption and waste.

      e.g. the much-heralded scrappage scheme. Crashes are as a result of human error almost always; almost never the result of machine failure. The issue of safety is parlayed out to confuse and ‘emotionalise’ the issue. Bottom line, not renewing car stock is a better use of energy and resources than renewing it. But as we don’t have a balance of payments to worry about, and equally don’t have an environmental cleanup after car manufacture, we simply don’t care.

      No, we need vast structural changes to allow more efficient use of diminishing resources. This is commercially expedient too in the longterm.

    • liam

      Its definitely an option we should consider, yes, especially given that we have possibly got some uranium about the place. We would easily contract the Japanese or the French to build and run one or two facilities for us. But its no more a long term solution than coal or oil. I wouldn’t say absolutely necessary either, the numbers don’t support that. Basically, it comes down to available land area, which is not (much of) an issue for us.

      I have always believed that our bizarre political opposition to nukes is just basic Brit bashing.

      • bankstershill

        Fast breeder technology actually allows for a virtually unlimited fuel cycle either by convertering the more abundant U238 into plutonium or converting the even more abundant thorium in U235 during each fuel pass. There really isn’t any such thing as so called ‘Nuclear waste’ ,its just that the more prevalent PWR design can’t breed new fuel. The PWR design can only fission the U235, which after enrichment, only accounts for 4% versus 96% of the inert U238. So in terms of output, the potential for breeder technology is huge compared to for example the silly windmill gimmicks which all the eco priests are claiming to be the way of the future. Thats why China, India and Russian are building as much Nuclear generating capacity as their resources will allow. Real policies grounded in real science and real economics.

        • liam

          Partisan name calling aside, thats a very good point. As I already said, Ireland most likely has usable quantities of Uranium that would suffice for a couple of interim light water reactors of well proven design.

          I’m not a nuclear engineer, but my understanding is that FBR’s are not well developed as yet, and although waste may be minimal there are substantial (but by no means insurmountable) challenges in the reprocessing needed to take advantage of the breeding properties. Plus, they still need fuel, but certainly much smaller quantities

          An even more far out idea apparently is to use uranium to kick start the breeder, then feed it with thorium, of which there are relatively huge supplies. This technology has not advanced much beyond the drawing board though, probably because uranium (and lets face it oil) is still fairly cheap. Only India is actively developing this tech. Since it barely sips at the Uranium, this is a real multi-millennial option.

          Like I think you might have been trying to say, a substantial challenge is to educate people to the fact that nuclear power is historically the safest industrial means of electricity production. However, this stuff is not cheap, and there is still an excellent chance that renewables will be part of the future energy mix.

          • liam

            “a substantial challenge is to educate people to the fact that nuclear power is historically the safest industrial means of electricity production.”

            Some interesting discussion here on the nuclear option:

          • bankstershill

            China is actively engaged in the construction of FBRs. Also there is another facet unique to nuclear technology and which is often overlooked, and that is the quality of nuclear energy. Due to the extremely high temperatures generated by the fission process, there is available a much higher transformative capability. In particular the temperatures, as a by product, not only have the potential to instantly desalinate sea water through evaporation, but can actually efficiently disassociate the water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen. Its a general physical principle that process’s always occur more efficently and therefore more cheaply, the higher the temperature. The hydrogen can then be piped to consumers or alternatively may be combined with carbon to produce a liquid synthetic fuel, and which incidently to keep the greenies happy is carbon neutral. So in addition to our Nuclear energy we could, as a by product, have in addition, a synthetic fuel/ hydrogen economy. In addition many isotopes which have applications in medicine and material science are produced during fission, leaving open the possibility to also build an entirely new industry based on the synthesis of isotopes/nano technology.

          • liam

            Interesting stuff, a lot of possibilities there. Would be interesting to run the numbers on how many reactors, how much fuel etc needed to generate x-amount of the various by-products needed.

            I believe though, that India is the only country currently working on thorium based FBR’s.

            I think that hydrogen production was one of the major selling points of the hugely expensive ITER programme. I’m not sure though that the consumption of artificially produced hydrocarbon fuels is any more carbon neutral than burning the stuff we get out of the ground. Its certainly way less energy efficient, which is the more relevant point here.

          • bankstershill

            The synthetic fuel and/or hydrogen generation are a free byproduct of waste heat. How is that less energy efficient than all the energy that has to be expended in bringing crude to the surface, refining it and then transporting it to the pump. Producing synthetic fuel is carbon neutral because the release of carbon dioxcide when the fuel is combusted is balanced by the consumption of atmospheric carbon when the fuel is created

          • liam

            I’m not sure you’re wrong. Air extraction of C from CO2 is possible. Not sure what is the state of the art there, but as I say, it would be great to see if this adds up, and how long we could run with it for.

  25. wills

    Everybody clean up their own back yard first before going around sticking their oar in.

  26. Tim

    Folks, the fact that the entire Labour Party abstained from the vote on the “Carbon Tax” motion in Dail Eireann speaks volumes.

    The memebrs of An Dail are elected to represent the people through the voting process – not abstension.

    I am all-for “green technologies”, but the GP using budget-time in the Dail tonight to continue arguing with FG over the counting of every frog in Ireland is beyond ridiculous. Placing an extra tax on the transport industry, the supply-chain of trucks and vans using diesel, is ridiculous.

    I installed a solar-hot-water-system last February, but there is some kind of collusion between the government and the private-sector suppliers, whereby the “Grant” from the government for the installation is completely wiped-out by the VAT on the purchase of apparatus+installation. It is a sham. This is not “encouraging people to switch to sustainable energy”.

    I wanted to use wind-power to generate domestic electricity; the installation-cost was prohibative, at €28k, so I could not do it.

    Photo-voltaic panels are not efficient-enough to justify their use, yet (except as an experiment, if you can afford it), so, what we have here is “lip-service” to sustainable energy, really.

    What we have here, in this budget, is what I think wills would call a “smash-and-grab” by the government, masquerading as a “saving-the-economy-Green-and-sustainable” budget.

    It is what I call “Inverted Robin-Hoodism”; stealing from the poor to give to the rich. People earning less than €30k pa for their labour, will take a cut of 5% and a banker who earns €500k+ will pay NOTHING, as a result of this budget.

    That may be “Correct” in some actuarial sense….

    But that is “Wrong”, Folks!

    • liam

      PV is actually a winner in the longer term, if you can install enough of it. Forget about small scale wind, the ROI for a domestic installation is longer than the design lifetime of the equipment. Better to invest that cash in a wind farm company.

      it would indeed be nice for the state to provide some incentive to ween us of our oil addiction. I’m still a fan of the idea of a long term loan, equity guaranteed, to release the value in peoples homes in order to make them more energy efficient.

      • wills

        Your at it again liam with this fake green tyranny orthodoxy.

        • liam

          Wills, Tim is attempting potentially expensive modifications to his house, and I’m merely advising what the most cost effective ones are, what the hell is wrong with that?

          It is also true that Ireland depends on finite, decreasing and increasingly expensive supplies of fossil fuels for its energy supplies. Somewhere in excess of 96% of all Ireland’s energy is derived from imports. Dependent on the self interest of the oil companies as well as the whims of OPEC and Gazprom.

          Basic facts wills, something you seem very determined to ignore in pursuit of deluded fantasies about secret governments and manifestly ridiculous conspiracies.

          I am under no illusions about how these facts are manipulated to pursue unsavoury policies, and in the context of Ireland this is embodied in the Carbon Tax, on which I have already made my opinion clear: it not in any way justified by science nor international treaty. That does not mean that these problems are not real and that we can happily go on consuming and with our current energy infrastructure.

          You are peddling the denialist, pseudo-sceptic lies of the Oil companies, you are supporting the very undemocratic corporate vested interests you claim to oppose. Wake up and smell the bullshit wills.

          • wills

            And again Liam like the rest of the ‘know it all’ and ‘have it wrapped up in a nice neat velvet box’ fake green cohorts play’s the man and not the ball. In the Gutter posting.


            1) i am not sitting around been laizy as you inferred snidley in a post back on another article and i’d appreicate you withdrawing that infantile slur.

            2) Pinning me as a consp…. theorist put’s you in the usual bunch of eejits who declaim such diatribes when on the defensive, but if you get your warm feeling inside from it like you do liamee then whatever i say ain’t goin to deter your little thrillfull remarks.

            3) the only thing i peddle is a bike, what about yourself, do you use a car, or airplane????? I don’t.

            4) You’ve assumed, mistakenly, i am not an environmentalist and you ought to have asked first before getting on your fake green tyranny soapbox with your slurs.

          • liam

            I’m fairly sure I haven’t attacked you personally wills, and if it seems that way then I’m sorry. I am not sorry for characterising your opinions on this matter as unhelpful at best.

            1: I would suggest that you are highly selective in the evidence you chose to judge and biased in how it is interpreted. Your position is that “I will be proven right”, my position is that I reserve the right to change my mind in the face of new evidence. That I would characterise as intellectual lazyness. Doesn’t mean you are actually a lazy-ass, I’m sure you do your fair share and more.

            2: You have suggested that there is a tacit conspiracy to defraud the state and delude the taxpayer with what you describe as a scam. Have you changed your opinion?

            3: Ah yes, very good, I see what you did there.

            4: I am unconcerned as to what labels you use to describe yourself. I am concerned only what what you represent as “the truth” regarding climate change etc. having no basis whatsoever in reality. Worse than that, in an effort to make a valid point about political manipulation, you would throw away any discussion on or reference to the science, thus playing in to the hands of another set of vested interests.

            God only knows why you chose to jump on a comment about Tim’s house mods to make your point, I’d be curious as to how you made the connection there, particularly as I have actually warned him off one of the mods he was considering as it was a waste of money.

          • liam

            Actually, your third point cuts right to the heart of this silly disagreement: the matter of choice. Some things I suspect we can agree on:

            The state, Ireland in this case, acts primarily in the interests of capital rather than the citizenry

            Capital exercises a disproportionate and in the long-term negative influence on the many in pursuit of profits for the few.

            There are implications specific to our environment and quality of life as a result. I would say that the main way this is achieved is by robbing us of genuine economically equitable choices.

          • wills

            Liam -

            Apologees accepted on that one. All clear my end.

            Now, on tim’s post you posted ‘our oil addiction’. There are a high % of citizens who do not incur an oil addiction and it’s an imprecise term used by the ‘fake green tyranny’ brigade too propagandize their ignorance to the masses and scare monger their agenda into reality.

            I am going further asserting there is a ‘collusion’ between vested interests too transfer wealth from poor too rich in an ongoing time frame i am stating it as truth. It is truth writ large.

            There is a cosy cartel of interests robbing the general classes in USA , UK here, europe, asia, russia, china back around too ireland.

            We are not operating in a free market economy. It is rigged in the favour of a bunch of dennis the menace wasters going around gang busting the lower downers.

            On the labels front i don’t give a flying fish what i am labelled as once the mis labelling is been used too slur, slander and mis represent the truth, which i am hoping you are not doing.

            Liam i am not jumping on you for god sakes i am constantly addressing your ideas and position in a socratic debate and i assert you are merely entertaining daft notions of climate change cos it fits in with a world view you hold which from what i can gather is a malaise widespread across culture to day which is a view point suffering of a defeatist giving up ones survival instinct mindset. Always landing the individual in double think.

          • liam

            lg_101 a-la, its a spam account, channel opener only. Much to discuss still I see.

          • wills

            doublethink right there liam..

          • liam

            An expectation of an intuitive leap on my part.

            Daft notions of fake green tyranny revealed as slander, infantile (anal retentive?) slurs, defensive diatribe, soapbox pronouncements, derived from a defeatist surrendering of will, caused by the accommodation of fundamentally contradictory beliefs. Got it. A futile case, dismissed? Well played in that case, with far more style than a Gogarty. I stand appropriately chastened, if not enlightened. Otherwise, and more probably, just unenlightened.

            I have expressed, poorly, on these pages views which appear to be either irrelevant and/or a minority opinion. There is some risk associated with that as well as a lot of tedium.

          • wills

            Liam , nailing yourself to the cross ain’t gonna fix anything but if you are happy who am i too say anything too the contrary on what you decided upon me lord!

          • liam

            No nails or crosses involved, just recycling your assessments, almost word for word. I did think about it wills, and considered that you may had something useful to say from which I could learn. Turns out you might just be trolling.

    • wills

      Oh by the way , once again your value judgement on ‘fake green tyranny’ i think stinks.

      Climate change is normal and the earth balances itself out in multi varied ways and will continue to do so into the future and any so called violent fluctuations in temperature are attributed too models manmade, so, imperfect right liam!

      Computer models through which the manipulated data is collated and hashed through and the like is man made. Man made computer models pushing man made instruments to conclude on the fact that CO2 is going too kill us all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • liam

        “fake green tyranny” are your words wills,

        Why do you adopt such an extreme interpretation of my position? Yet again for the umpteenth time I am compelled to ask, at what point did I assert that CO2 was going to “kill us all” or anything even remotely as extreme as this??

        Why do you persist with such a populist and negative interpretation of events? Your are constructing an argument where there is none wills, fighting against an opposition that is not offered.

      • liam

        Oh by the way , once again your value judgement on “mathematical modelling” is incomplete.

        Climate change is normal and the earth balances itself out in multi varied ways and will continue to do so into the future and any so called violent fluctuations in temperature are thus hard to attribute. Models man-made, so, are imperfect wills.

        Computer models through which directly measured and proxy data is collated and normalised using widely accepted techniques applied for the last two centuries in a range of fields, are derived from man made hypothesises that are refined through each iteration of a model. Man made computer models do not in any way support the proposition that CO2 is going too kill us all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Tim

    “Resistance is futile!” RT @eimearmccormack: RT @Littlesapling:Warning! Warning! #primetime #budget10 (via @mcj66)

  28. wills

    “THe Budget is a declaration of war on the poor”…

    Quote from vincent browne show.

    I agree.

    • wills

      or, ‘inverted robin hoodism’ which is worse ‘cos at least with war you can see your enemy attacking.

      tim i put your coined phrase ‘inverted robin hoodism’ pass a few people to – day and the response was unreal on it’s accuracy.

  29. AndrewGMooney

    Hi David,

    Thanks for an uplifting article on a very bleak bludgeon of a budget day. It’s certainly time to break for an interval wherein Adam Smith 2.0 syncs with Web 3.0!

    We are all part of this ‘mass summoning/mass consciousness event’ which is ‘the apocalypse in slow motion’: Spinning faster in a variety of personal, societal and environmental gyres. We have been enslaved by our ‘thought-forms’; the basis of our current realities and the basis of any possible future reconfigurations of said realities.

    Whether it’s Pollyanna techno-corporocratic B.A.U Cornucopian / Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian / Islamic Fundamentalist or…..something else: The Future can only emerge from within the eye of the hurricane at the centre of each and every human mind. ‘Man In The Mirror’, ‘Earth Song’, etc.

    My first comment on your site suggested that there was ‘nothing new under the sun’ and that the insights of Joseph Schumpeter were just a re-hash of Vedic economic scriptures. The human consciousness space-time-reality Matrix is entering into a learning experience with regard to Slavery. Having treated the Earth as our Slave, our delusions are gathering momentum as we reach warp-factor. Gaia has rebelled from enslavement and is unleashing a ‘creative destruction’ which Schumpeter could not have imagined, and which cannot be stopped, only influenced by our contrite awakening from the thraldom of ignorance.

    You rightly highlight that the sands of time have covered the impact of Matthew Carey’s work, but I think music is the unifying link between West Africa, Ireland and America. All possible solutions are contained within ‘The Physics Of The Blue Note’ which was carried by the Mandinka on The Middle Passage:

    ‘The important thing to note is that with the exception of the first tone and the octave, none of the other tones of Mande balafons correspond to the tones of Western major or minor scales. The second degree is flat by 28.6 cents, or about a quarter of a half step (an eighth tone). The third degree is flat (compared to a major scale) by 57.2 cents, so it is significantly flat (this may be the origin of the “blue note,” or flatted third in African American blues and spiritual music) The seventh degree is flat by 71.6 cents, which is, again, significantly flat and corresponds to the African American flatted seventh tone in blues (mostly treated these days as a minor seventh).’

    We must not fall into the trap that Einstein warned us about, trying to solve conceptual and existential challenges from a lower level of complexity. The music of West Africa is a Weapon of Mass Forgiveness. Toumani Diabate being the ambassador I would promote to the U.N.

    Words of the poet, voice of the singer, footsteps of the dancer, brushtrokes of the artist: All will be required. No doubt it’s possible that such a figure will emerge within the orbit of the new post-collapse Irish culture. Possibly around 20:12, 20/12, 2012? Shamone!….LOL!

    The expansion of consciousness we need to allow the planet to heal is evident in many places, and that inspiration will come from unlikely places in space, time and ‘history’. New variants of ‘economic thinking’ must emerge from all cultural perspectives on this planetary mass summoning/mass extinction event.

    I can buy the Barbaric Relic with a clic. I’ll believe in the BRIC /commodities story when there’s as much fever to purchase/preserve/ ‘own’ an acre of the biosphere as there is to hoard gold:

    Brazil: ‘Gringos’ should pay to save Amazon
    President da Silva speaks before summit aimed at halting deforestation’

    “Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
    Sold I to the merchant ships,
    Minutes after they took I
    From the bottomless pit.
    But my hand was made strong
    By the ‘and of the Almighty.
    We forward in this generation
    Won’t you help to sing
    These songs of freedom? -
    ‘Cause all I ever have:
    Redemption songs;
    Redemption songs.

    Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
    None but ourselves can free our minds.
    Have no fear for atomic energy,
    ‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
    How long shall they kill our prophets,
    While we stand aside and look?
    Some say it’s just a part of it:
    We’ve got to fulfil the book.’

    Joe Strummer is alive and well channelling Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ on YouTube. So there’s hope, even if it’s no longer of the audacious variety!

    ‘Only after the last tree has been cut down;
    Only after the last fish has been caught;
    Only after the last river has been poisoned;
    Only then will you realize
    that money cannot be eaten.’

    Native American Cree Tribal Prophecy

    Best wishes.
    Adam Smith 2.0
    aka: AndrewGMooney
    ['Mad' 'Paddy' from Brum]

  30. Tim

    Finally! I am allowed to “log-in” (is anyone else having that problem? I have been “locked-out all night!)

    Ian and DavidH, I strongly urge you to wait; read for a while, before you attack the likes of Deco and wills.

    These are very helpful, educative and productive posters, here – but, judge for yourself (wait a while, first, though).

    As people begin to understand the real ramifications of today’s Budget, more comments will appear here.

    wills, feel free to use my coinage anywhere you can: we must spread the word on the “Inverted Robin-Hoodism” any chance that we get!

    Ruairí, you are playing a blinder, again; thanks for coming back – we need you!

    Let’s keep at it!

  31. Tim

    Deco, you do not need a defender.

    They will see…..

    Just keep doing what you do, please?

  32. liam


    Plenty of people are already awake to the possibilities. Ireland has some advantages that really place it head and shoulders above other developed nations in adapting to the absolute certainty of increased energy costs, and supply insecurity. The most important of these are a low population density, and plenty of land to spare. We also have significant wind resources that happen to be accessible from agricultural marginal land in the west. Spirit of Ireland has been mentioned several times, and while this won’t entirely solve our problems, it provides flexibility and is really a no brainer economically. Hell, we probably even have Uranium.

    Supply is one thing demand is another. We are around the EU average at roughly 120kWh per person per day in energy use. A heck of a lot of this is transport, and electrifying everything gives us a huge win, since we can take advantage of the high efficiency of electric motors, rather than IC engines who’s energy efficiency is thermodynamically limited.

    That’s just an example. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what we do, but we do need to do something and a plan that adds up is entirely achievable for Ireland, and will be a lot less painful for us that it will be for many other countries. Not only achievable but a huge opportunity.

    You would do well to check out the work of this other David:

    This book is a tour de force of the energy supply and demand options available to all countries (though it is focused on the UK). No politics, no waffle, just the basic numbers that count. I’d strongly recommend anyone with an interest in this stuff to obtain a copy.

    • liam

      Forgot to mention: hard to imagine an energy revolution that is not based on trade. Everybody has fantasies for energy independence, but guaranteeing supply will require cooperation with others. If we become net energy exporters, so be it but our contribution will likely be small and we have no fall back in the case of low frequency, high impact events like the occasional hurricane that clobbers us every few decades.

  33. Andrew – welcome back stay around over the season to enrich the contributions here .
    There is more than music that connects the Atlantic corridor from West Africa to Ireland and that is the ‘ Curragh’ boat .The reason is that the original name is African and it means ‘ splash boat’.This is understood by the front uplift design to ride the waves .The mother boat of this is known as the ‘Gal’ .This is a far bigger version and holds many people and its name comes from the Walof language in West Africa.It is on the Gal that many arrived in Ireland in another time and in another world .Thus some places/ families along the Western Seaboard have been given names such as :
    SeneGAL, GALway, GALlaghers
    PortuGAL, DoneGAL, GALlowglasses;

    Also a Shannon Estuary boat : GAndelow
    I located the hull of an ancient Gal in western Africa and would love to renovate it ….any sponsors?These boats are not made any more .

  34. Tull McAdoo

    I don’t think that Jackie Healy Rae is a full gombeen, but just uses that veneer of gombeenism to get re-elected here by the plain people of South Kerry. Now I know some of ye are shocked by Jackie’s stroke of the new 42 bed OSSSpidal for KINMARE, but you see that comes with the territory down here, with “the Bull” and all-Ireland football medals.
    Jackie gave the game away on himself here a few weeks ago when I overheard him singing in the Snug of the Pub. After some exhaustive research on the net (ye can thank me later) , I discovered that when the veneer of the flat cap, top coat, etc are stripped away, this man is exposed for the double life he leads as a singer in Vegas, Judge for yourselves.

    • coldblow

      Don’t tell anyone but he’s an extra-terrestrial. I had a Close Encounter with his election bus – hard to describe… kind of cigar, saucer, ice cream van shaped. Swooping down on me in a swirl of bright lights, polkas and slides it departed just as suddenly as it had arrived and left me on the pavement feeling confused and disorientated.

      Hypnosis later revealed a repressed memory of being examined by strange capped figures removing my vote by surgery.

  35. Tull-
    What vuneer my bouy tully shur we all dont know who we are never mind where we are so how do we know what direction we are going at least if i can show the plain people in south keerie their new Ospital they will believe anything i will say….. now move on tull and pick a nice girl for yourself.

    inacarcerated in keerie

    • liam

      I love the comment about Russian farmers buying up land as if they know something we don’t. This from the country that gave the world Lysenkoism.

      The Tamiflu article was pretty interesting.

  36. G

    To claim that some Irish guy kick started the move to abolish slavery is the same mistaken overstatement that doomed our economy.

    William Wilberforce played the major role in Britain, plus there were cynical British economic considerations, not the impact of an appeal to some higher power.

    The claim (I had to check if it was April 1st) denigrates the work of many thousands of people including the master African-American orator, Frederick Douglass (who incidentally spoke out for the cause of Irish liberty in Cork, Dublin and Belfast) and said the conditions of the Famine Irish were on a par and in some cases worse than slaves in North America – see the The Narrative of the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

    David think you need a holiday, saw you speak in Cork, was unimpressed, light on detail, the foul language was cringe worthy, and embarassing with my father and grandmother present, expected more.

    • Ruairí

      In fairness, although its not the way in polite company, the atmosphere of the GB Shaw-themed open air asylum that is Ireland 2009 lends itself to a bit of Tourette’s syndrome.

      I have it myself, as does almost everyone here FFS (Fianna Fail sepsis).

      Listening to the despair of people who, rightly or wrongly, are in debt or have lost their jobs or have taken cuts without seeing a true ‘balanced’ budget (a morally balanced one), it is easy to lapse into Tourette’s syndrome, it is easy to want to cry.
      It is easy to want to give them an extreme left of centre wake up call.

      I think the government cutting the dole of the very young may come back to bite them in the form of unrest and engineered riots. I used to joke about kids rioting because they had no mobile credit (source was DmCW article way back), but I genuinely believe now (remembering how ideological and action-oriented I was at 20/21) that the government may have regrets over treating young citizens as less than citizens. Rightwing jackboots have a way of being amputated.

      Keep writing David. YOur writings on your worst day beat Dermot McCarthy’s speechwriting on his best days.

      OH I wish I had a King Canute to push back that f**kin Holy Sea(e)

    • Malcolm McClure

      G and Ruari: I get your anguish. Ireland has always been noted for its colourful use of words.
      But the careful use of language was never more important than it is in the present crisis.
      David is an accomplished speaker but I agree that he could take a month off with his family and hopefully come back refreshed. Some of this slave piece seems like it is recycled from a dusty thesis written 20 years ago.

      • G

        I’m not being anal on this, I went out of my way to attend, brought family members, my father setup his own business when made redundant in 1984, with 4 kids to feed, has worked 5 and a half days a week ever since, got no assistance from the State – a more honest, hard working man I do not know, denied education because of an impoverished background, we show up in the university to listen to a talk, granted tailored for university students with suitable anecdotes about working in bars, kitchens and customary expletives, my father was shaking his head, probably one of the few times he stepped foot in the place.

        We are all human, but we should aim for the highest intellectual standards, it was an opportunity to really impart and influence (a position of considerable responsibility) we have to raise people up, not stoop……..

        Sorry David, you’ve done some useful things and written some articles I liked but that night just stuck in my gut. The proper, precise use of language is critical, especially now.

        • Ruairí

          In fairness G, I do agree with you. While being a prolific colourful language person myself, it is still unedifying to hear it in the wrong company. Am I a chauvinist? Probably.

          POssibly the influence of head d balls on the panel has unduly influenced David! They do look as if they are trying to frustrate him on purpose. There’s a time for laughter but some of them seem unaware of when to actually let the pathos of one od david’s commentary incisions seep through…….

          We all know of course that the leader of leaders, An Taoiseach, has issued profane language within Dáil Eireann. And of course today we have a Naive Party member Mr Gogarty telling Emmet Stagg to take a run and jump!

          Its clear that there is a lot of anger about.

          Pity that someone can’t really get in under the collar of Brian Ceann and Mr Wimpy……..

          Go On david, hit them hard son on Sunday.

    • bankstershill

      Totally Agree G.
      The character of many of these articles is fanciful horse sh*t. I mean he still could have made it more plausible,but probably didn’t know, that Mathew Carey was the father of Henry Carey who became Lincoln’s economic advisor and who incidently came up with the idea of the greenback in order to finance the civil war. It was such ideas,along with others, which contributed to the Union’s victory over the Confederacy. So in a way it
      could be argued that Henry Carey freed the slaves. But wait a minute, David is probably reading about this,this very second on Wikipedia or something, and will probably pen another nebulous article on the subject in a couple of weeks.

    • coldblow

      In fairness to DMcW, “in fairness” being ever on the lips of a work colleague, as in “in fairness Maradonna did apologize later” in the same breath as denouncing Henry as a cheat. “In fairness” he did make that very comparison between the Irish and Black Americans in 19C New York in his Middle Opus. But in fairness also to yourself DMcW does have a rather uber-demotic style and he is obviously aiming at yoof over the heads of middle aged daddy-os. I think some people dismiss him on account of that, confusing style and substance. But again in fairness he is perhaps succumbing to the tendency of all extraverts towards manic levels of activity and to skimp.

      • wills

        Coldblow -

        Been an extravert myself i do agree a % of extraverts tend too be ‘whoosh in enthusiasm’ and some may be manic. D is neither.

        G : D’s oratorial flushes are merely embellishments and garnish too paint his ideas to grab attention. a few curse words under passion for the truth is not alot too be too concerned about when one is dealing with radioactive material and sticking your neck out doing it.

  37. tony_murphy

    I watched this iplayer programme – such a shame that people outside of UK can’t access iplayer. Perhaps one day they will have a subscription service. Irish peoples license money is so wasted on RTE and it’s fat cats

    It’s about human population growth. Sir David Attenborough, anyway, basically the human population has gone into exponential growth since the 19 century. Prior to that 2 adults would on average only be survived by 2 of their children, but that’s all changed. In 50 years, the population of the earth has doubled. It’s set to double again in next 30. We don’t have any problems now relatively speaking. Lucky we live on islands. We should extract ourselves from the EU and start building walls.

    My guess is that air travel is about to be restricted / made far more expensive. I’d guess Medicines will be as well. The might even try to engineer a new plague. I’d guess AIDs was an attempt that hasn’t really worked

    Speaking of pollution and is this how TD’s spend tax payers money?

    • liam

      Agree re the iPlayer, happily though, I am lead to believe that there are, ah, alternative means available should one wish to watch this show. Ahem.

      Resource constraints are already forcing a reduction in population of Japan, people are simply refusing to have babies due to the costs. Current projections indicate a 30% population reduction by 2050.

      Re AIDS etc, an alternative reading is that infectious diseases tend to propagate effectively in areas of high population density. If we had no cities, the Black Death would probably not even have been noticed. Viruses and bacteria evolve like any other species and a side effect of our experiment with urban dwelling is the creation of a new and rich environment for naturally mutated pathogens that would simply have died out back when we were hunter-gatherers. There is evidence for this in Africa, where malaria was a marginal health issue until Europeans came along and built cities near the water supplies (and thus right on top of the breeding grounds for malaria carrying bugs).

  38. MK1

    Hi again David,

    Yes, I agree that with the end of cheap/easy oil, energy supply chains may change and Ireland certainly can try and participate in that. However, we dont have any extra smarts or key attributes which make us any more likely to be a key player than any other country.

    We could have been a player in Oil as it burgeoned just as much. Indeed we have some gas but we are no gas experts. We have wind but Vestas is a Danish company. etc, etc. There are opportunities all the time but we are small and there are only so many things we can do before we can get sufficient global recognition.

    We do Guinness. We do Irish whiskey. We do Aran jumpers. We do Pharma. We do Agri. We do some ICT. We did manufacturing. We do services. We do EMEA admin headquarters and international call centres/sales offices.

    There may be plenty of green grass, but do we do solar, wind generators, tidal generators, electric cars/transport, batteries, etc, etc, etc?

    DavidMcW> And given the use of petro-chemicals in fertiliser, we are at the end of “cheap food”. In fact, with the mass use of fertiliser, we are in effect “eating” fossil fuels.

    I did a small bit of desk-based secondary research into this. Yes, fertilzer components, specifically NH3 (ammonia) is used on 70% of global food and contributes 2% to its mass. Yes, it is currently manufactured from natural gas where N2 is combined with H2 (which comes from the natural gas) to form NH3. Haber process.

    But we aint consuming fossil fuel, it is onlty about 1.4% of our food intake. And the H2 component used to manufacture NH3 could be created by other means, such as electolysis (eg: solar, wind), albeit less industialised at present and therefore less efficient and more costly.

    But as the price and supply of Natural Gas goes up, the balance in the equation changes. However, there would seem to be a good supply of Natural Gas into the future and more so than Oil, from what I remember anecdotally. That Pickens guy in the US is always ranting on about it as a way to solve the US’s energy problems.

    But at some point, Ireland could use its fluctuating unlimited(?) energy sources of wind and sea to generate H2, and thus NH3 …. maybe.


    • liam

      I think the suggestion is, and I have heard others say similar, that modern agriculture relies on petrochemical fertiliser and pesticides, as well as considerable automation and mechanisation, to the extent that modern agriculture is essentially the process of converting crude oil in to food.

      No doubt there are solutions though.

  39. tony_murphy

    oh look, who is out to make money out of global warming

    they guy who today admitted what we all knew anyway, that he would go to war with iraq wmd or no wmd

    • liam

      Whatever you think of what they are doing, it is illegal actually for them to make a profit since they are a registered charity. How many oil companies are registered charities?

      Agree re Blair, why on earth would anyone want to listen to him?

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