April 14, 2010

No ghost of a chance as zombie Anglo stalks land

Posted in Banks · 233 comments ·
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Employ the hardest liquidator in town to do the negotiations — then move on and learn from this disaster

BACK in 2006, I first wrote about ‘ghost estates’ after driving back to Dublin from Westport. The description seemed to stick because it was simply putting a name on something that we were all aware of, as estate after estate sprouted up all over the country. It seemed logical to argue — even then — that these places would become the ghettos of the future. And so it has come to pass.

Yesterday, the head of NAMA, Brendan McDonagh, admitted that many of these developments would have to be knocked down in the years ahead. Extraordinary.

In fact, over the past couple of days, ghosts, ghouls and zombies have come to dominate the financial background noise. Last night, it was bulldozed ghost estates and the day before the ‘zombie’ bank Anglo nursing the sick company Quinn back to life. Where is it all going to end?

When I first saw George Romero’s 1968 classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’, I was transfixed. One of the lads on our road got it on VCR when we were about 12 or 13 and it gave me nightmares. The idea that dead zombies would eat the living freaked me out completely.

Worse still, that the dead zombies would band together to kill more living people and turn them into zombies seemed to me grotesquely believable. But of course it was just a movie, right? Clearly, the dead couldn’t eat up the living, no matter how sick they were?

When I see the zombie Anglo Irish Bank — clearly a dead company — taking over the sick but living Quinn Group, my boyhood nightmares come flooding back. When I see that it is taking over this company with my money, the nightmare is compounded. Here, we have the spectacle of the dead company nursing the sick company back to health. Bizarre.

The only reason we have this sick spectacle is because the State is choosing to keep Anglo open. This means your taxes will go into this black hole to reassure the creditors of the Quinn Group, which will allow Quinn to stay open and some day, maybe, Quinn will pay the money back to Anglo.

So again, the State has used the Irish people to bail out creditors. These creditors took a reckless gamble, whether they are bondholders in the Quinn Group or the bondholders and other creditors of Anglo. Why are we doing this?

Let us examine how the Irish Government managed to get things so back to front. The simple thing to do with Anglo would be to wait until the government guarantee lapses in October and then appoint a decent examiner who has 100 days to find a buyer.

If there is a good business there, someone will buy it. If it is rotten to the core, simply pay the depositors with what assets are there and see what is left for the other creditors.

No Anglo, no problem.

That is the simple tried and tested method that is used hundreds of times a day all over the capitalist world. There is a straight line from A to B.

All creditors — bar depositors — are investors one way or another and as investors they are big boys and realise that with every investment there comes a risk that unforeseen events might result in you losing your money.

So in the case of Anglo, it has liabilities of some €80bn, including €27bn of deposits. Let’s refer to the depositors as ‘trust creditors’ because they trusted the Financial Regulator who oversaw Anglo when they put their cash on deposits.

THESE people and companies have to be paid, no matter what. For the rest, it is a matter of where they come in the queue. The other creditors include the Irish Central Bank with €11bn and the ECB with €12bn. Then there are some €15bn in debt instruments, €9bn in other bank loans to Anglo and €2bn of the now infamous subordinated debts.

Simply put, all the non-depositors can get what the liquidator decides they get. They do a deal and lick their wounds and either they get back into the game or they don’t.

That’s the straight, simple way to deal with Anglo and, most importantly, it will cost the taxpayer nothing more at all.

When Brian Cowen says Anglo will cost €100bn to shut down, you know he is making it up because there are only maximum liabilities in Anglo of €80bn-odd. Likewise, when the Finance Minister plucks a figure like €30bn, where does his figure come from? This can all be done for zero cost to the taxpayer.

The spin that the markets would penalise us for operating the normal rules of capitalism is farcical.

Markets want to invest in the real potential of Ireland that is in our people, in our brains, in our education system. They want growth opportunities, not some fanatical debt-management agency, which insists on raising future taxes to pay for historical mistakes.

Now contrast this logical administrator route with the nonsense of the dead company nursing the sick company back to health.

Quinn owes Anglo a fortune, somewhere in the region of €2.6bn. If the Quinn Group goes into administration, as the new regulator wants, a new buyer wouldn’t touch these debts. They will have to be written off and therefore Anglo loses. So if we keep Anglo open, we, the taxpayers, lose.

In an effort to get the money back, the Anglo board has suggested that the banks inject around €700m more of our money into Quinn now to keep it afloat and prevent it being sold off in administration. This will bring up the company’s capital to the level required by the regulations.

So can you see what the problem is in all this? It is not Quinn, it is Anglo and the legacy of the mad lending of the Anglo management a few years ago. The reason Quinn is not the problem is because in administration the Quinn Group will merely be sold to someone else and will stay open, once its balance sheet is patched up.

If there are bits that are bankrupt, they will not be bought, the going concerns will be snapped up cheaply — as is always the way in a downturn.

The insurance business is apparently profitable, so this will be sold first. Then, the only internal problem for employees is whether the new buyer changes the culture of the firm.

For the workers, I can understand that Mr Quinn is a significant employer in the border region and the fear for the workers is that any new owner would reduce the presence in that region.

However, when seen from a national perspective, this is an entirely separate issue and one that can’t be solved cheaply by one ‘catch-all’ solution which puts us on the hook for Mr Quinn’s gamble on Anglo stock in 2007.

Shut down Anglo. Employ the hardest liquidator in the town to do the negotiations, move on and learn from this disaster. That’s the solution. That’s what adults do. The other choice is to remain children cowering in ghost estates, terrified by zombies. It’s your country, your call!


  1. David,

    This is beginning to resemble a pantomime with you as Cinderella and government policy as the Ugly Sisters. What you are saying is directly opposite to what the government are saying – you say wind up Anglo like any other insolvent business, negotiate the cent inthe euro settlement with the creditors, sell of the good parts and move on. The government say the creditors must be paid and there would be additional costs in contagion to other Irish banks and to the economy generally.

    If you were an Opposition politician trying to hold the government to account, what specific questions would you ask that would be within the government’s ability to answer?

    Unless these questions are asked and the government is held to account for its policies, then we are all children sitting back watching a performance of cartoon villiains and heroes, and we’ll boo and cheer because we don’t know any better.

    • zynks

      I think the question is rather simple: Was there an investor/bond holder pre-condition to lend money to Anglo based on an assurance by the Irish state to repay in case of failure? If not, when and why did this become the Irish tax payers problem? If yes, why was such assurance given?

  2. Very serious affair!
    This Bermuda regulator , who came home for less yes less money! is caught up in intriguing politics ? is he workign for Anglo? or for teh Government ‘s other interests? as Quinn has been put into an unreal spin? as for Anglo- of course it shoudl be liquiudated , and styop those who are currently lettign go assets to who, whether it is London or elsewhere ? accountability has gone out the window ofr the last 18 months ? next we will hear Bostonian money buys Anglo for a STEAL!! and then Irish are truly robbed ! after all that state support!
    Current Management is still to interwined with Old !

  3. led

    Watch this “Wallets Full of Blood: Houses on the Moon”
    Amidst the collapse of the Irish economy, the inhabitants of a rural hinterland begin to feel the touch of the dead hand of the housing market.
    Set in the notorious ghost estates of post ‘celtic tiger’ Ireland, Wallets of Blood features Dennis Hopper as the voice of Brian (Brains) Ahern. http://vimeo.com/3269259

    Pt 2 “Wallets Full of Blood: Zombie Banker Blues”. Scientists, troops and auditors arrive from abroad to investigate the total collapse of a small Republic.
    They’re looking for ‘Fingers’. His actions had hastened the spiral of the country into a bottomless liquidity trap. They want to interrogate him.
    Meanwhile an anonymous auditor, hiding out in one of the few sanctuaries which remain, spills the beans on the inhuman practices which led to the collapse.” http://vimeo.com/4292136

  4. The Wrong Stuff!
    Look again at the start of this piece. There’s another issue, another article. I too had years of argument based on the evidence of my own eyes – evidence glaringly obvious on any drive west. Any average person could see the mad developments, the empty buildings and the furniture stores at every roundabout. Only a knave or a fool could have remained silent or optimistic in the face of the evidence. We have therefore a test. Anyone in public life or a position of authority who failed to speak up against the nonsense, should now retire, having failed to demonstrate that they have either the ability, integrity or both required for a position of any responsibility. I’ve blogged on this at http://www.colummccaffery.wordpress.com

  5. lff12

    David, what scares me is the admission this morning of what most of us believed – that a large percentage of the NAMA loans were not being paid off, not making interest – and the recipients of cronyism between themselves and the banks whereby the banks had no real choice but to tolerate a level of redicivism that it will not accept from smaller business or personal customers because of the fear of it reflecting back on the balance sheet.

    Now the issue is not just the true losses that NAMA will make, but how they cope in the taxpayers interest, by making these guys pay without having to write off enormous losses.

    I think this was the fear all along.

    The second fear is that the only possible way to recoup these potential losses is to artificially re-inflate the property and land market in order to make these even potentially profitable – which means charging obscene rents to businesses who cannot afford it. NAMA is the ultimate lose-lose scenario. They cannot make a profit without costing end customers hyperinflated rents or purchase prices, and they cannot make a loss without hurting their own bottom line. There is no winner here, except for the totally arrogant builders quietly shifting their remaining assets into family names and offshore accounts.

    The claim they won’t do this is bullshit. There is at least one very notorious figure from Ireland’s corruption past living in Dublin in a beautiful 4 bedroom house which is in the name of his ex wife. I obviously cannot name names but most of you can easily guess who without much effort. Nobody has ever done a tap to prevent this or even ask why?

  6. MK1

    Hi David,

    DavidMcW> the head of NAMA, Brendan McDonagh, admitted that many of these developments would have to be knocked down in the years ahead. Extraordinary.

    I think it doesnt make sense for anyone or indeed business to spend money flattening partial developments. Better spend less money to make them secure.

    DavidMcW>So can you see what the problem is in all this? It is not Quinn, it is Anglo

    No, it is actually both. Anglo for lending Quinn (family) 2.8 billion and Quinn for taking it on. The problem with any group is that bad debts can bring good parts down. The insurance part is profitable from what I understand yet its capital adequacy is based on assets which have fallen in value, so needs an injection to keep it within the rules.

    The fact that it is so far behind (140m?) is a testament of how slow our regulators (and regulations) are.

    Quinn looks like a succesful business (man/group) that made several mistakes at the end of the property bubble.

    DavidMcW> Shut down Anglo. Employ the hardest liquidator in the town to do the negotiations, move on and learn from this disaster.

    NAMA is an attempt at a soft liquidation. I agree that Anglo should be shut down in an orderly fashion, and to all intents and purposes it is, even if it does live on in name and come out of the far side as a so-called good bank remnant.

    The thing that I find strange with Anglo is that it still has 27b of deposits, and is paying high interest rates on that, so continues to lose money as presumably it is paying out more interest than it is getting in. And the hole had to be shored up by ECB and Irish CB money.

    Anglo is a big hole, so where is the money? Did it dissappear? Nope, its out there, Follow The Money is the title of your book, and this is what should be done. Follow where that money went and at least attempt to get some of it back via tax mechanisms.

    MK1

  7. Deco

    Quinn+Anglo = “Qu anglo” an Irish taxpayer funded entity that seems to grow exponentially, cost a fortune, and produe no accountability. What was taking shape last week was more evidence of the ‘escalation of commitment’ approach pioneered by Calamity Brown in Britain, and brought to a fine art by Calamity Clowen here.

    We need to be brutally honest at all levels of society here.

    There is something extremely flawed about many critical aspects of Irish society. The predominant concept of management has failed. The concept of authority has failed the accountability test. The concept of personal responsibility that predominates in our culture is not sufficient, and produces gurriers who like to flee the scene as soon as their incompetence is revealed. The political establishment is circuslike. The media is purchased by the advertiser’s cheque book, which is usually based on some oligopolistic business arrangement. And IBEC have more power than any political party, even more than the GP. The institutions of state are a paper tiger. There to create the pretence that everything is correct in Ireland, and so that people will smell something other than the rot of corruption.

    BIN ANIB. It is as simple as that. Adopt the least cost approach. Our political establishment never adopts the least cost approach. They prefer the maximum patronage approach, a sure sign of a state culture of excess, and overconfident of it’s own “excellence”.

    We all owe David a great debt for never relenting on Anglo.

  8. Deco

    Brendan McDonagh’s testimony yesterday asks some extremely hard questions of Irish bankers and the concept of due diligence.

  9. Deco

    For those that missed it. A picture that says everything.
    http://www.thephoenix.ie/phoenix/welcome.do
    A Celtic Wild Cat. And Tiger.

  10. David – at last we seem to be getting to the meat of the crisis; and all is not gloom doom and bust.

    1) Its not NAMA that is the problem (as I have often argued) – it is what happened in 2008; particularly on March 18th; and on September 30th with the State Bank guarantee (which from memory the only commentator to sound alarm bells was George Lee). NAMA is a mechanism to deal with the aftermath of this – so could posters please stop NAMA bashing.

    2) When Ireland sold itself as an open economy at the turn of the century – we blew open the old duopoly of market dominance by AIB and Bof I. Had that status quo remained then we would not have had the problems of today – that is for better people than I to analyse the caveats of open competition in a small economy.

    3) We did not have the appropriate regulatory systems to deal with the influx of new financial institutions. And Charlie McCreevy saw no reason to introduce same (and Brian Cowen inherrited that particular chalice and being the cautious man he is – he let the status quo of 2004 remain).

    4) So we are now left with what to do with Anglo and Irish Nationwide. It appears that Minister Brian Lenihan was duped by certain individuals as to the extent of the problems – because had the full extent been known – then those 2 banks should have been let go there and then – as David suggests we do now. An enquiry has to establish what went on here. However there is a danger of tarring all the banks with one brush because while all banks were bad, some banks were much more so than others – and the reference here is in particular to Bank of Ireland.

    5) We now appear to have proper regulation systems in place – and that is a massive positive out of all this crisis (and perhaps the system had to blow up as much as it did to allow this to happen). That can be built on to re-invent Irelands financial services business; which will have positive feeds into the general economy,.

    6) Now is also the time (as Fintan O’Toole is calling for) to re-define our society and the structures within. Get that right and Ireland can sell itself as a place to live in; and do business in. And that would go a long way to solving our problems.

    PS – the vegetable patch is going well; early potatoes are well up; as are the onions and broad beans.

    • coldblow

      “Now is also the time… to re-define our society…” Allow me to step in there, Phil, and save you from yourself. This doesn’t actually mean anything (well not to me anyway) yet we keep on hearing it. Who will do the redefinition? The usual suspects: politicians, ‘experts’ and the media! The same people who couldn’t spot a stupendous bubble inflating under their noses. And then, when we have a redefinition, then what?

      We need action from our elected govenrnment and we want it now: announce an intention to wind down Anglo on expiry of the guarantee, call an election, introduce immediate measures for growth and employment. Alright, even a massive meeting at Clontarf to redefine our society! We want our elected opposition to support this and to sound as if they really mean it. That kind of thing… (!)

    • liam

      NAMA, and the philosophy that created it, most certainly is the major problem.

      Your conclusions are contradictory. You can’t argue that dealing with Ireland’s structural debt (which I agree has to be done) is right and support a piece of policy that will simultaneously deepen this problem, and magnify the negative aspects of Ireland’s ‘open’ economy.

      By the way, Ireland’s economy may be ‘open’ in an international sense: there are few barriers to entry for FDI and speculation but I’d personally question the idea that there is substantial competition within the country.

      The new regulatory regime is certainly a step forward (from nothing to something) but I wonder if its robustness has yet to be seriously tested. Government compliance with the regulators recent decisions may be driven as much by the fear of getting a roasting from Brussels as it is from a desire to regulate business in the best interests of the broader economy.

      You have repeatedly stated your support for NAMA and on no occasion have you offered any supporting evidence for your convictions, nor does any exist that I am aware of. I therefore find it hard to accept you point 1 above. Many here and elsewhere have offered very reasoned critiques of NAMA and further than that, alternatives that not only deal with the problem of the banks but have very clear benefits. I’d welcome a similarly unambiguous argument presented in favour of NAMA.

      You may argue in favour as much as you wish, you are entitled to do so, but reducing all opposition to it as ‘bashing’, as well as being mildly insulting, is seriously at odds with the facts as they exist.

      • Hello Liam,

        I dont think you read my peice very carefully. NAMA is a consequence of having to deal with the impact of the State Guarantee given in September 2008 (George Lee being the only person to sound the alarm bells). Its not the mechanism of NAMA but what goes into NAMA – and here we are talking about the garbage mainly originating from Anglo and Irish Nationwide.

        To date (contrary to what most posters have said over the last 6 months or so) NAMA has been keen to transfer loans at market valutations.

        Yesterday the new Regulator stated that Anglo was of systemic importance at Sept 2008 – so that somewhat takes the air out of Davids throw out the lot arguement.

        • liam

          Hi PhilRuss,

          interesting comment. The problem is what goes in to NAMA you say, i.e. garbage. And isn’t that what NAMA was set up to accept?

          You offer that it was a consequence of the guarantee, I’ll counter-offer that its a con-job concocted by the banks and the Government so that the banks survive and the Govt doesn’t have to admit to its cocking up of economic management for the last ten years. We can do this all day.

          That more realistic valuations have been proposed beyond the initial blanket discount announced last year is exclusively down to pressure from the EU, who are financing this thing. The Irish Govt has always argued that unrealistically high valuations were ok because a more severe discount would just mean further recapitalisation, so tweaking the discount rate was a a zero-sum game. That argument relies entirely on the twin assumptions that the taxpayer has an obligation to pay for all of this, and that negotiation with the banks creditors is impossible.

          Speculations about the motives of NAMA, which is after all a quango set up to deliver Government policy, are irrelevant.

          I have no idea any more what these people think they mean by ‘systemic importance’, its become just another buzz-word that sounds vaguely authoritative and is frequently used as an excuse to dodge making a well argued case. In other words, I’m prepared to dismiss the regulators assertions re decisions made in Sep 2008 because suggesting that this is directly relevant to the situation that exists nearly two years later is a stretch.

          The case for NAMA has not been made, it will never be made because there is no justification for it.

    • Deco

      Now is the time for radical reform of our concept of authority, accountability and management.
      But I am not in favour of letting an opportunist like Tintan O’Fool decide matters.
      The same Tintan O’Fool who wrote an article in the Irish Times after the last election urging his pals in the Irish Labour Party to make an arrangement with Fianna Fail, to have Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach, so as to deliver the sort of change that Tintan wanted. (namely ICTU running the country via two political parties). [...of course that is all history now....back in the bad old days of....2007 !!!]

      I don’t think that we have a proper system of regulation in place. Mr. Elderfield says that he is only starting. The rest of the IFRSA consists of the same stooges who were stupified blind by all the sticky stuff coming out the ass of Anglo Irish bank.

      We greatly underestimate the level of corruption and amatuerism that predominates in Irish public life. That includes media commentators who were propped up by the revenues into the property section of the newspaper that defined status, bad economic forecasting, bullish optimism, and conspicious consumption, during the debt build up….and who now position themselves as the trump card to make us forget about their part in creating the problem.

      • Deco

        Not meaning to be too hard on Tintan. There are times when I agree with him. But most of the time he goes half way there, starts philosophising, then makes silly assumptions and ends up leding himself nowhere. I share his outrage, but with Tintan the solution is always veering on the nonsensical.

  11. Malcolm McClure

    AndrewGMooney gone. JohnAllen gone. Furrylugs gone. Tim and wills teetering on the brink. Ghostbusters all. Starting to look like the Zombies are winning. Reading even a back issue of Phoenix is too depressing for words. Dragon’s Den and Lotto bring hope to the poor and oppressed people of Ireland? Attic extensions are the next Big Thing?
    Christ Almighty, what is happening here?

  12. Anglo Irish

    Despite my message board moniker I have no connection to the toxic bank.

    I absolutely agree that Anglo and that other failed property hedge fund, INBS, should be wound down promptly with only the deposits returned.

    NAMA is turning out to be an exercise in giving favoured non-value creating insiders (accountants, lawyers & auctioneers) an income through the next grim 5 years. Much better would have been a nationalisation followed by the sale of the detoxed major banks and the closure of the non-viable entities. This would have obviated the need for the whole exercise ….

    Cash flow is what matters, not historical accounting treatment.

    In Ireland it is always better to hire the hardest liquidator from “out of town”. Too often when an Irish person is employed to act in the public interest, the pressure to reward their “favour club” is irresistable.

    • @Anglo Irish

      That’s what should have happened. But the villians would have had to take a loss. So we have the save Anglo/NAMA clawback to stem their losses and get taxpayers to pay for as much as they can extract going backward.

  13. ColdBlow – an election!!!! That is the most cuckoo thing I have heard for a long while. There would have only been one thing worse for this country over the last 10 years than a Fianna Fail Government – and that would have been a coalition Government of the rest…… And the buck stops with those who elect them – you and me; the taxpayer; the electorate – or however else we want to dress it up.

    Here is the solution:

    1) This Government runs its full course and pushes through the medicine of regaining budgetary control.

    2) Those interested enough – i.e. the self publicists; the commentators; the posters; and those sufficiently enraged – set up a new political party (may include existing politicians). Use the time from now to the election to set out “Ireland of the Future” and take it to the Electorate.

    And it put it to the vote – then lets see if the Electorate is right…….

    • coldblow

      Alright, maybe the election idea was a bit of a rush of blood. I mean, would anyone in their right mind trust the electorate to do the right thing? But as the man on the telly says, “Captain, it’s a long shot, but it’s our only hope!”

      As for the medicine, I don’t think it’s working somehow. The patient has been involved in a frightening financial collision and has lost a lot of blood, so the obvious thing is to remove the little that remains and chuck it down the special Anglo machine which Dr Nick has set up in the corner at vast expense and which leads by a complicated network of pipes (that only Dr Nick understands) to the main sewer outside the building. This ingenious manoevre thereby regains budgetary control and the corpse is left owing billions. Yes, I think I understand…

    • mediator

      PhilRuss1

      Comments like yours to the effect that FG etc are all the same as FF are what has put us in this mess in the first place. FG and labour were not in government for the past 10 years so we do not know what they would have done but its a safe bet that it wouldn’t have wrecked the country to the extent that FF have.

      I dislike the fact that we have a tweedledee and tweedledum arrangment same as all democracies however with this arrangement if tweedledum misbehaves then you vote in tweedledee (stumulus response).

      We need FF out and by a huge margin. However FF know that they can rely on people like you to say (Oh they’re all the same) and therefore know that they can get reelected again and again because the Irish Voting public fail to punish them for screwing the country.

      The buck for what has happened to the economy stops with FF and those who elected them. There was some (very small) excuse for electing them in 2002. there was no excuse in 2007.

      PS Many of FF’s biggest supporters are teachers and public servants. Its about time they woke up and copped on.

      • Colin_in_exile

        Well said Mediator.

        PhilRuss is just a WUM (Wind Up Merchant).

      • @mediator

        Thumbs Uo, mediator.

      • Mediator – they did a pretty good job of wrecking the country in the 1980s.

        Recent comments re Garrett FitzGerald (decent man as he is) were absolutely spot on.

        Interestingly enough the only good Minister for Finance we have had in my lifetime (50 odd years) is Ruari Quinn. Brian Lenihan may loin him – but his health is a tragedy for not only him; but also his country….

        • mediator

          I agree with you re the 1980′s and Garrett Fitzgerald, I also agree on Ruairi Quinn, but the point is that politicians won’t behave unless we hold them to account, and we have failed to hold FF and indeed others to account and that is why our democracy is sick.

          Ultimately are politicians are representative of us as a people and our emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual state is what we see in microcosm in our politicians.

          We will only get “good” politicians when we as a people become better.

    • Deco

      An election – a great idea….Replace the incompetent with the unwilling….and maybe even form a coalition of the unwilling and the outlandishly incompetent….

      I want them out….until I see what might happen next…or even a few years down the road..

  14. MarkC

    I think it’s too simplistic to disentangle the situation with Anglo from the budget deficit. If we didn’t have such a large structural deficit, letting Anglo go to the wall would be fine. But if that happens, bond spreads will rocket, and all of a sudden we can’t pay public sector wages.

    Much as I would love to let Anglo fend for itself I think that is something you don’t really address David.

  15. cautious-optimist

    David,
    I’m persuaded by the argument that Anglo should be shut down. However, what Iwould like to know is what happens in detail should that happen. Assuming every credit union and small firm with a few quid had put excess cash on deposit with Anglo what would the remifications have been if the plug was pulled overnight on Anglo? This is not a rhetorical question. I’d like some feedback as to how you or others think the fallout could be managed.
    Secondly, on the issue of bondholders being forward looking. Your bet is that they will forgive the debt, take what they can get cents on the euro and move on. You then suggest that they will be willing to lend to Ireland in the future. Perhaps they will, but it make take them some time to do so (years) and in the meantime where does the Gov get the money to fill the deficit between income and expenditure? You were in Russia. What was it like for the ordinary citizen when that country defaulted?

    The Govt can’t take the risk that all will be OK with the bondholders as regards future lending if they shut Anglo. So, in a nutshell I’m asking for a road map where the country shuts down Anglo, keeps lenders to the govt happy and avoids excruciating pain for the citizen!

    • Alan42

      The bondmarket had no problem lending to Russia under Putin after it had defaulted under Yeltsin .

      Russia is an interesting example of a massive transfer of wealth from the people to a tiny elite .
      I spent a couple of months travelling from Moscow to Mongolia a couple of years ago and what strikes you most about Russia is that there is no middle class . There is a working class and there is an ultra rich class . Maybe there is a middle class but they looked very poor to me .

      One of the most amazing things for me was that a lot of people want communism back and that includes young people who have no memory of communism as it they considered it a a fairer system . Anybody I spoke to were sick to death of the corruption and the ultra rich .

      Russians know that they were ripped off .

      • Alan – that has always been the case with Russia (I studied 17th and 18th Cent European History).

        They have never had a middle class. Middle Class is a good thing. Lets hope we havnt wiped out Ireland’s Middle Class……

  16. Now that the head of NAMA, Brendan McDonagh, admitted that many of the developments NAMA has, will have to be knocked down in the years ahead and it has emerged that there is up to 15% extra payments been paid out to the banks on the notion that their toxic assets will have a value of sorts in the next 10 years how does these revelations now justify the proposed payouts to Anglo, Allied and Bank of Ireland
    Europe must step in and stop this blatant robbery of the people of Ireland

  17. mogrady14

    Sign Anglo Irish Bank Closure Petition

    If you think we should close Anglo Irish Bank, the developer’s bank then:
    sign this petition
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/clo…ntee-extension

  18. paddyjones

    It is not the Irish government that is keeping Anglo alive it is the EU. They are our economic masters and they have decided to keep Anglo going for the medium term. In reality it is just a front both the Irish government and the EU know that the sovereign debt time bomb is about to explode.
    They are just treading water until default and collapse happens. The EU is putting up the money for NAMA , Anglo, NIBS, AIB and BoI they are in charge no Lenihan or Cowen.
    The IMF and the EU will be bailing out Ireland when the bond markets realise that by the end of 2010 we will owe 140 billion. How on earth will we beging to repay this. What they are doing is whenever the mortgage becomes due they just borrow more, this is unsustainable.It is economic suicide to keep borrowing and spending the way we are.

    • zynks

      Sounds like a fair assessment. What I don’t get is who wins what out of it. What I DO know, is who will loose a lot…

    • tony_murphy

      My guess is people in the ECB are rather embarrassed about what was let happen in Ireland..

      Just as well it’s not got much media exposure outside of Ireland

      Iceland and Greece are probably convenient distractions..

    • Deco

      Correct. The EU is all in favour of keeping Anglo in existence.

      EU policy on Anglo is the price that the Irish taxpayers are going to have to pay for the collapse of Depfa Bank, HypoVereinsBank, and SachsenLB.

      The staff of IFRSA should now take a bow, at the result of the incompetence. Before they go and play golf with the bankers. Free Umbrellas to the regulators. And maybe the odd free pissup as well. like….ya knoww….like….A grate way to do business, like…you know…. like you know….like

  19. coldblow

    Am I the only one to find this strange? There’s David on Prime Time last night and he and Miriam are both quite polite and maybe a little bashful as if those things he said in his book hadn’t been said after all and if they had well it was all forgotten about now and she is quite sweet really and isn’t cross at all, not really, not even strict as usual she only interrupts him a few times and he’s even allowed to carry on talking in a quiet sort of way once she has, she doesn’t hit him he doesn’t even get detention. And there’s that nice man called Eamonn and he agrees with David, yes they are gombeens, all of them, exactly, and that’s my point that’s why we have to move on and look to the future and I think Miriam interrupts him but he doesn’t mind really because he wasn’t making any sense anyway. I mean, am I the only one who finds this all just a bit odd, a bit surreal? Are we all dreaming or is David the only man alive in Ireland who actually thinks we should do certain things about what’s been happening in this country and it seems to make a lot of sense to me anyway except it seems just a bit too easy it can’t be that easy now surely there has to be a catch somewhere? And doesn’t anyone else think it’s just a little bit odd that nobody else seems to share these ideas which aren’t rocket science really even your grandad who’s deaf could understand and nobody else seems to be coming out and saying the same thing and agreeing with him in public? But they seem to think there’s something there in what he’s saying all the same just nobody wants to say it because… because.. because… This is where it gets interesting or does it? Is it kind of psychological is it all happening in the universal unconscience? Anyone? Wills?

    • wills

      Coldblow.

      Lets see emmmmmmm..

      I saw interview too.

      I posted a few articles back that I reckon David is in the middle of his own Hamlet narrative playing itself out in the public space.

      One of my family pointed out ‘sure David is even putting on his own play and Hamlet does this exact same thing too’.

      So, hope I do not bore any posters here but this is what I think on the collective unconscious side of things on this coldblow.

      David is a key symbol in the narrative playing out relating to the grip anti good holds in the balance between dark and light in Ireland in society.

      The agents of darkness are been exposed all over the shop and so we have paedo preists, crony capitalists, banker cartels and crooked public representatives etc.

      Social media arrival on the scene has thrown a black swan into the arena and put a cat among the pigeons pliers opening room for ‘reality’ to return in the back door.

      If you can remember back to the eighties popular culture reinvented itself through movies and music in a way which held a strong mirror up to the agents of darkness and by early 90′s the jig was up popular culture died on it s knees and the zeitgeist went away.

      Now, I reckon the zeitgeist is returning but this time in a way which cannot be undone and again its returning through audio visual and i reckon its social media.

      Meanwhile with the resurgent power of the zeitgeist / popular culture reigniting the forces of darkness are been rumbled through the flow of information.

      So David is in the middle of all of this just like certain artists were in ireland in the 80′s .

      Now David is working through his own individual personal story through his own personal unconscious at the same time he is channeling the narrative afoot in Irish life all the banker property crony capitalism etc.

      Now, I think david is struggling internally with tension between the two different narratives and trying to find a way through which matches up with his own value system whereby whatever he asserts into the open space he can live with down the line.

      Just like Hamlet though he is struggling with other forces like the flow of time which are moving faster than he is figuring things out and so creating an imperative for D to take more risk in his utterances than he is comfortable with.

      So, back to this primetime and vibe that we are waiting for D to crash through willy wonkas glass ceiling and break with the program and go realtime and fly with the truth.

      • wills

        appreciate feedback on this coldblow.

        • coldblow

          Hi Wills. I couldn’t reply yesterday as I don’t have a computer at home.

          Alright, I’m on for a jump down the rabbit hole.

          Your last 4 paragraphs are quite brilliant. This sort of thing had occurred to me but only in patches and I doubt if I could have articulated it. Nothing I can think of now that I can add there. Except that our own personal narratives are also intertwined with the external one in some odd, mysterious way.

          The earlier part of your post – interesting but I wouldn’t be too sure, although I agree about the theatrical/ symbolic bit. (just to clarify I know very little about psychology)

          I am not convinced that the agents of darkness are being exposed in the way you say as I think they are within ourselves but we are projecting them onto convenient (albeit guilty as hell) targets.

          Not sure I’d put ‘reality’ in inverted commas either.

          Also, I can’t comment on the 80s zeigeist in popular culture. All I can think of is New Wave in the late 70s early 80s. I was sucked into a black hole of secondary teaching in London in the early and mid 80s so all I saw of popular culture was refracted through the kids I was teaching – and that was enough to keep me clear of it. (I went to a party in 85/6/7 attended by teaching colleagues and they all stopped to watch the Michael Jackson Killer video – I couldn’t understand why they would do this.) So I have to pass here.

          But I’m open to persuasion on all of the above caveats.

          I’m interested in how people can think they think one thing but actually think, or rather feel, something entirely different. I’m interested how on say irisheconomy some of the more thoughtful commentators, while continuing to faithfully observe the agreed narrative, make occasional asides, some more oblique than others, about what might also be allowable as being true.

          I’m interested in the phenomenon of poor eyesight and look at things often through that particular window (same destination different train?). It is extraordinary the power of ‘wrong thoughts’ in this area and I have now satisfied myself beyond doubt that myopia is a function of the mind and has very little to do with the physical eye. In other words you see what you want to see (and refuse to see – ‘can’t see’ – what you don’t want or can’t believe or don’t want to accept). I have even seen it argued, and I think it’s true, that beyond about 4 dioptres of myopia glasses acquire a role of medicating your anxieties.

          While I am still down in the dark stillness of the rabbit hole one final idea strikes me. That is the idea of the family as a conspiracy. Well, it’s not an idea more reality. And that society is a wider version of the same thing where we all conspire to agree on a shared view, or myth, which has very little to do with the facts. This recalls Joe Lee’s p*ss take of the idealized world view of our fathers where this was such a grand place that half of them had to leave. The thing about families is that everyone has their defined role and status (Oliver James They F*ck You Up) and once you rumble this the job is not complete as the other members will insist that you continue to play your set role. And that’s always been my fixed image in my mind over the last 3 years about Ireland: the lights go out in the room and when they are switched on again everyone has grabbed and staked a claim to what was in it and there’s a telly in the corner and the Taoiseach is there, he has some bad news for you but he is smiling (he is your friend after all, one of your own) as he tells you what it is…

          I am now returning to normal consciousness, …3…2..(deep breath)..1… eyes open.

          • wills

            Coldblow.

            I agree on the observations and let me make links on some of them.

            Civilization is coming out of a slumber it has been in its evolution. A slumber which to me seems to be underway for 1000 years.

            The supernatural forces which call the shots in the organizing principles down here on earth are activating civilization out of the slumber and a return to its trajectory of awakening.

            There are people on who do not want this. They have been operating the system for centuries with ease and the last thing they want is a radical shake up and equalizing out of their system into a dynamic which ushers in a new system and renders the slumber party obsolete.

            The pressgang on civilization to shift its butt out of the slumber shatters old paradigms and introduces new paradigms and reinstates sexual identification.

            The slumber party goers are up in arms against this and do not want a shift out of the slumber and into awakening consciousness cause for them it means work effort more work more effort and living life in a state of awareness in a ‘real’ way as opposed to hanging back in what freud called the pleasure principle and passing the responsibility of living away from them as they push on dennis the menace style smashing and grabbing and bullying and using violence when noone is watching on innocence and the vulnerable shutting em up and enslaving them into a mind control program locking em into debt and so on.

        • coldblow

          Sorry Wills, you lost me there. Can it be expalined simply by the concept of protection of privilege through the ages?

    • I have a criticism of David is that sometimes his points are too neatly parcelled up. Point in question on Prime TIme was his dismissive take on the 100,000 people employed in Multi-Nationals. His thrust being that its only 100,000 people and what about the rest. What he ignored was the spinoff effect (or multiplier effect) to the rest of the economy from having those people employed.

      • liam

        Thats a good point. What would you regard this multiplier to be? In developing countries it can be as high as 2 or even 4, but in a country like Ireland with its competitiveness problems, its probably closer to 1, which equates to 10% of the workforce.

        Having said that, the 100k figure I believe relates to US firms only.

  20. Philip

    There always has to be balance in rights. Right to work, Right to shelter, Right to Freedom at a global level. The harsh reality is that we live in a world where this is laughed at. Hence race to the bottom economics. Whether you like it or not, Irleand will never EVER be able to compete on the world stage and has lost its economy accordingly. This has been going on in Irleand since 1996.

    The above pretty well applies to all western economies. All shagged.

    How long this will remain to be the case will depend on how long China can use Dollars to buy materials and how long they can keep their internal population stable by keeping them busy working for the west….how long? 1 2 , 5 years who knows…I think it will be soon enough.

    As for NAMA and Anglo. We need to remember people generally were looking for stability. (It is not an Irish thing) Property was it. Bricks and Mortar. The banks saw the demand and jobs in manufacturing went to construction to keep employment up. That’;s all that happened.

    Forget about the Gombeens and the Zombies etc. These are mere symptoms of a fundamentally bigger global problem. Although, that said, I do believe we are on the verge of riots and instability. But maybe, just maybe, if people can let go of conventional ideas. And I say David McWilliams is being the biggest conventionalist of them in his naive belief in capitalism and globalism. Admit it…it’s broken and we need something else.

    • Colin_in_exile

      China is on course to become the first gay superpower state since Sparta (due to shockingly high abortion rates for female unborns and new technology arriving to help couples concieve male babies), so don’t worry about any shift of power to China.

  21. €80 billion book loss

    27 billion //less depositors
    ________________________
    €53
    €11 //less Irish Central Bank
    ______________________
    €42
    €12 // less ECB
    _________________________
    €30
    €15 //debt instruments
    _________________________
    €15
    €9 //other bank loans
    _________________________
    €6
    €2 // subordinated debts
    _______________________

    leaves €4 bn unaccounted for, what would this be?

    Agree with D’s article. Its time to wind down Anglo.

    Hopefully FF who’ve banjaxed the opportunity to govern this island well can be voted out asap

    At least FF are not like the Russians back in the day 1812 setting fire to Moscow to prevent it falling into Napoleon’s hands.

    …Are they bulldozers I see on yonder horizon:)

    • Deco

      No Cowen is a bit like Bonapart on the way to Moscow…..consripting everybody on a pointless campaign that will achieve nothing, and prove his own brutal ineptitude….

      • Colin_in_exile

        At least Cowen will have an excuse, the Irish excuse, “I had a bit too much to drink and my judgement was clouded”, the memoirs will say.

        Men have killed children in this country in road collisions and not spent a single night in the slammer despite being over the legal limit. Mr Eddie Halvey wore the green jersey.

      • G

        @ Deco..

        ‘………..a bit like………..’ being the operative words………………….

    • Original-Ed

      I was wondering about that 4 bn. It makes sense to liquidate even if the central bank has to loose its 11bn and add some more to meet the depositors 27bn. Can’t see an asset sale realising more than 30% of its liabilities and that would amount to 14bn from the taxpayer and not the 22bn that’s being considered by the government.

      • @Original-Ed.

        ECB already talking of a future fund for bank bailouts of this type. ITs normal practice to wind down Anglo’s.

        We’ll provide them with a text book case how not to do it >>

  22. stiofanc02

    The simple tried and tested method used in the capitalist world gets an Irish twist: Instead of a straight line from A to B. Its a crooked line from A to Z, Anglo to Zombie. Its more like an episode of “Scooby Doo Where are You? than Night of the Living Dead. That said, did anyone see Lenihan last night? I know the guy is sick but, he’s like a Goth or someone from Eastenders with the dark circles under the eyes. Time to take retirement and get the treatment and heal up. If this is the result of the heavy meds, he shouldn’t be in the post he is in. Given his record he shouldnt be in the post sick or not. Im certain it is not just his looks that are being affected. Someone had to say it. So there it is.

    • silentobserver

      To know just how unwell our finance minister is, do a search on pancreatic cancer prognosis. Much as I despise what his party has allowed to happen, and his in-eptitude in dealing with the problems, you have to admire his brave determination to maintain his responsibilities- most people with a diagnosis like his would have immediately ceased work. Like most minister portfolios, his finance ministry appears to be “on the job” learning. What concerns me is his ministry is probably going to be handed over to someone else in FF, who will also have to learn on the job- another opportunity for vested interests in the financial sector to run rings around them!

      • Colin_in_exile

        Our very own Lord Haw Haw Manseraw is waiting in the wings and ready to stop laughing at his own jokes to take the reins.

        How can you admire Lenny for what HE has done to US?

  23. Evening,

    I can hear the frustration in your comments and believe me, I feel it too, however, the only solution is the obvious one.

    Let’s keep it up.

    David

    • Alf

      Hi David, the same solution you have proposed many times.

      And it has always been obvious to those that have experience in these areas. Bank failures happen all the time and assets and very often the new bank emerges stronger without the debt. The weak are cut back and the strong are rewarded. There is really nothing new here except for those who try to pretend there is..The solution is a tried, tested and accepted method. And this is not for no reason either; history has shown it is the best way because it gives incentive to compete and rewards the stronger. The current policy is a dead end and the liars and cheats who try to muddy the waters are the real enemy of the economy.

      Just keep speaking the truth.

  24. ps200306

    Wanna come back to Anglo, but just going a tad off-topic briefly to mention an item heard on this evening’s Drive Time on RTE Radio 1. It was an interview with Floyd Butterfield, a scientist behind E-Fuel and the “Microfueler”. It’s an ethanol fermenter that produces fuel from your waste — everything from gone-off wine to the half-eaten curry chips from last night. And they have just started marketing in Ireland.

    It reminded me — we are going to be seeing a busload of Green Tech hype over the coming years. It pays to have your sceptical hat on for this stuff. I am not against Green Tech, quite the opposite in fact, I am a big fan. But there are outrageous claims being bandied around for the unaware to lap up. If we remember nothing else, it is that the overwhelming majority of Green Tech claims are unworkable, unsustainable, economically non-viable, or all three. It is the nature of innovation. That’s why Eamonn Ryan’s starry-eyed advocacy of electric cars on Prime Time last night left me bemused. There are enormous hurdles still to cross before that technology becomes mainstream. Moreover, there are companies out there happy to make a killing from early investors, instead of from end results. We’ve already had at least one major US company set up shop here to replicate the success of their process for converting offal to biodiesel. Fortunately, their pilot in the US died a miserable death before major investment happened here.

    I am not, by the way, casting aspersions on E-Fuel’s microfueler, it may well be workable under the right specific physical and economic conditions. But this area is a minefield of caveats of all sorts.

    For more info, here’s a blog I follow closely, run by a very qualified and well-respected bio-energy advocate, a former petroleum industry insider, with his feet firmly rooted to planet earth. Articles on the Microfueler (which are somewhat US-centric but worth reading):

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/08/23/another-journalist-fails-due-diligence-101/

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/08/26/an-e-fuel-microfueler-dealer-responds/

    • Colin_in_exile

      Eamon Ryan doesn’t live near Moneypoint, and he probably wouldn’t know how to cycle there, so he is blissfully ignorant of the exhaust that fuels his latest green-fandangled fad.

      • ps200306

        I don’t know about his particular level of knowledge, but certainly there are some scary characters among the greens. I remember years ago going to a lecture/presentation on the implications of Peak Oil by Colin Campbell, hosted by the Greens. After Dr. Campbell gave his spiel, a high-ranking Green talked about how Peak Oil was a godsend for Green policies because people would be forced to cycle everywhere, which was what they were advocating anyway.

        Great! Let’s not worry about the collapse of civilisation as we know it as long as people cycle! Some of these people are stark raving loons.

  25. AndrewGMooney

    @11: Malcolm McClure says ‘AndrewGMooney gone’. I’m still here! Reading, refining my views, enjoying the articles and comments. Actually, I’ve been busy organisign the ‘reception party’ for Pope BenedictXV1 if/ when he dare set foot on British soil, but that’s a whole other whirlwind…

    Ireland seems pretty crushed and demoralised. So, I don’t feel comfortable commenting because I don’t live there.

    I think there will be a complete implosion of the Eurozone. The important thing is that Ireland continues to avoid becoming the lightning rod for German fury at the delusional incompetence of monetary union without political union. The Greeks have a culture that allows them to face down any and every bully. Ireland lacks that confidence having largely been shielded by its’ island status.

    Greece will face down the EuroZone, the E.U, the IMF. No country ever met the euro-convergence criteria, not Germany, not France. Greece isn’t going to take any bullshit from Frankfurt bankers who loaned without due diligence. For all the fiscal proberty of CoreEuro, once they got to the City of London’s libidinous casino they behaved will all the probitity of a weekend stag group in Amsterdam. They’ve been found out. They placed bad bets, but still they demand a bailout for their lapses from Lutheran purity. It only takes Catholic guilt to provide a perfect penance.

    I’m with the Greeks, and the Brits after WW2. Debt to GDP ratio? 200% = Bond markets: Drop dead / Move to Dubai, etc.

    What is wrong with ‘Ireland’? What is wrong with Irish people that they think that a punishing penance is the way forward / out of animal spirit exuberance? National self-mortification as virtuous P.R? very bizarre.

    The saddest thing is that Dublin will return to it’s status as a guilty suffocated morge, in thrall to the noxious verities of the ECB.

    “i’ve been dreaming of the time when the ‘irish’ are sick to death, of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and spit upon the Brians alongside Cromwell”

    up Laoish!

    • Colin_in_exile

      Q. “What is wrong with ‘Ireland’? What is wrong with Irish people that they think that a punishing penance is the way forward / out of animal spirit exuberance?”

      A. Shure God is Good, it’ll all be grand in the end.

  26. wills

    David.

    On Anglo, its deposit book is 27 billion.

    As we all know, Anglo is insolvent.

    So it lookslike the deposit piggybank is empty so Anglo is relying on gov bailouts to meet customer withdrawals.

    This is why anglo is been fed cash in the back door so it can meet its obligations for its depositors as they pull their deposits 27 billion worth.

    irish gov have decided that Anglo blowing up and NOT meeting customers obligations on deposits would be dire for Ireland credibility on the international money markets.

    One way or the other the taxpayer is going to pay for Anglos customers deposits as they close out their accounts.

    This way dealing with Anglo means less panic and less attention been drawn to the fact that Anglo spent all the deposits loaned em all out and the bank is empty.

    So, the gov are winding down Anglo but on the QT to avoid egg on face internationally and what else would we expect.

    Anglo is merely a property Ponzi bubble inflater.

    • ps200306

      Wills, I think you’ve nailed it. There is a related aspect too … if the government were to show willing to default on deposits of Anglo customers, why would BOI and AIB customers not also fear the worst and create a run on all the banks. So this is not an option.

      There’s more too … a significant amount of Anglo’s borrowings have to be rolled over (i.e. renewed) BEFORE the guarantee expires. That’s not going to be possible if the gov. announces an intention to default. So we’re on the hook regardless.

      I posted a link about this before, will dig it up again. Basically, as you say, the only option is to plan on the QT to wind up Anglo, and it can’t happen for at least a couple more years, and the most we can save is a couple of billion of subordinated debt.,

      • ps200306

        Again, as I mentioned before, I think David is in danger of giving the misleading suggestion that we can bring in the heavy hitter liquidators and somehow avoid twenty-something billion of Anglo debt. From the tentative figures we have, that’s not the case … or at least we’d need to see some credible figures to back up this assertion.

      • wills

        ps200306.

        Spot on on the AIB BoI link in the chain reaction.

        And also P maybe the gov reckon full disclosure on this approach may trigger social unrest.

  27. From economy.ie;
    “Profile of Morgan Kelly

    By Karl Whelan
    April 13th, 2010

    Today’s Irish Times has a profile of Morgan Kelly. As is appropriate for someone who was correct in predicting the house price crash and its consequences for our banking system, the article is very positive.

    The implicit comparison in the first sentence with Nouriel Roubini is interesting. My sense of Roubini is that while his predictions of doom were less accurate than Morgan’s (I seem to recall Roubini being very focused for a long time on a dollar crisis as the source of the impending doom) he gets far more respect in the US than Morgan does here. For instance, it’s hard to imagine representatives of the US press going to policy conferences and declaring that Roubini should not be allowed speak at such gatherings.”

    My question is;
    DMcW supplied the economic cornflakes years ago to allow the rest to dine at the Masters Table.
    Whyso then no public recognition of Diogenes McWilliams?
    Shades of insider onion rings where the (rap)Scallion is without and beyond the Pale.
    I haven’t gone away , you know.

  28. wills

    David, if you are reading comments have a look @20.

  29. kop101

    To quote from an old Coen Brothers movie….”The matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you from the truth”, David You are the closest thing we have to a “Morpheus”, but where the heck is Neo!

  30. ps200306

    Ok, so here’s the link again that I posted a couple of threads ago. (Apologies cbweb, didn’t notice your question on a subsequent thread where I alluded to this without reposting the link).

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/04/03/anglo-what-are-the-options/

    Karl Whelan gives the best rundown of the options for Anglo, backed up by figures, that I’ve seen. There is considerable discussion in the comments below the article which are worth reading too. But in summary:
    1) We’re stuck wtih Anglo for a couple of years at least
    2) Then we can default on some subordinated debt
    3) We shouldn’t mention this until after the guarantee expires, and this may be the gov. plan (although this may be giving them undue credit for a modicum of common sense).

    However, I don’t know how I missed this, or maybe it only seems relevant in hindsight:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/1121/1224259238330.html

    This looks to be gearing up for exactly the sensible option that Karl Whelan envisages.

  31. Somebody posted a really good analysis of what happened during the 80′s regarding music or somesuch. Apologies. I’m shattered and can’t find it.
    Suffice it to say we could fund a new band called say, “The Zombie Gombeens”.
    Dressed up like Village People to represent the various Gombeen elements. First tune, a la Sawdoctors, “I have fallen for old NAMA cause the Land is in her name” and that sort of stuff.
    If there’s any entertainment types reading this, laughter is the best medicine and ridicule the most powerful weapon against Ego or Hubris.

    BTW, we’ve got up to 880 on the No2NAMA site. Any more for anymore? Everyone gets a super split if we win.
    Cheers.
    F

    • Ruairí

      Wibbly Wobbly Wondwer to close to NAMA game plan for comfort?

    • ps200306

      Gombeen! there’s no need to feel down.
      I said, gombeen, pick yourself off the ground.
      I said, gombeen, ’cause you’re in a new town
      There’s no need to be unhappy.

      Gombeen, there’s a place you can go.
      I said, gombeen, when you’re short on your dough.
      You can go there, and I’m sure you will find
      Many ways to have a good time.

      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.
      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.

      They have everything for gombeens to enjoy,
      You can hang out with all the boys …

      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.
      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.

      You can get yourself cleaned, you can strike a good deal,
      You can do whatever you feel …

      Gombeen, are you listening to me?
      I said, gombeen, what do you want to be?
      I said, gombeen, you can make real your dreams.
      But you got to know this one thing!

      No man does it all by himself.
      I said, gombeen, put your pride on the shelf,
      And just go there, to the N.A.M.A.
      I’m sure they can help you today.

      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.
      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.

      They have everything for gombeens to enjoy,
      You can hang out with all the boys …

      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.
      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.

      You can get yourself cleaned, you can strike good deal,
      You can do whatever you feel …

      Gombeen, I was once in your shoes.
      I said, I was down and out with the blues.
      I felt no man knew my L.T.E.V,
      I felt the whole world was so tight …

      That’s when someone came up to me,
      And said, gombeen, take a walk up the street.
      There’s a place there called the N.A.M.A
      They can start you back on your way.

      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.
      It’s fun to bail out with N-A-M-A.

      They have everything for gombeens to enjoy,
      You can hang out with all the boys …

      N-A-M-A… you’ll find it at the N-A-M-A.

      • That, on the spur of the moment my friend, is feckin brillint.
        Now, who’s going to record it.
        Pat Shorrt, where are ooo boy??

      • Colin_in_exile

        This has to get recorded and sent to the top of the charts! For the video, the Cowboy can stay, but the Indian will have to go (replace him with a pot bellied taxi driver?), Policeman can definately stay cos we know Guards love to have property portfolios in their back pocket, while the Builder can stay put too.

        Great work ps200306.

    • ps200306

      Alternative idea … a bit more Oirish. Maybe we could convince Ireland’s newest internet sensation to change the words of The Hucklebuck:

      Ah here’s the dance you should know
      Ah, baby when the regulator’s a no-show
      I say, grab your loan book then go

      Cook the Anglo books (yeah)
      Cook the Anglo books (yeah)

      If you don’t know how to do it
      Man you’re out of luck
      Pump your shares up (yeah)
      Then lend on their back (yeah)
      Start a little movement on the ISEQ
      Wiggle like a snake, wobble like a duck
      That’s what you do when you cook the Anglo books

      Ah here’s the dance you should know
      Ah, baby when the regulator’s a no-show
      I say, grab your loan book then go

      A little bit of Seanie (yeah)
      A little bit of Drumm (yeah)
      And if you don’t know how to do it
      You’re a total bum
      Golfing in Marbella (yeah)
      Houses on Cape Cod (yeah)
      Start a little movement with just a wink and nod
      Wiggle like a snake, wobble like a duck
      That’s what you do when you cook the Anglo books

      • Words fail me.
        There’s a gift there.
        I just posted the Village People NAMA thing up on No2NAMA and tweeted it to a few people including David McW.
        Jesus, if we got 5 of those out on a mini downloady thing for the kids, there’d be murder.
        What about ” Oh NAMA Boy, the regulators calling…………….”

        • ps200306

          Ok Furry, you’re definitely the ideas man in the band:

          Oh NAMA boy, the banks, the banks are calling,
          From phone to phone, they know you’re not “gone out”,
          The boom is gone, and all the credit’s drying,
          ‘Tis you, ’tis you, must go and be bailed out.

          But come ye back, when F.F’s back in government,
          Or when the L.T.E.V is achieved,
          ‘Tis I’ll be here, with credit once more flowing,
          Oh NAMA boy, the regulator will be peeved.

          • Enough.
            psdp@imagine.ie in the morning.
            There’s a song called the Motorbike locally which brings all this stuff into it. All we have to do is NAMAfy it then I’ll ring Pat Shorrt or whoever. It’s critical to touch a vein with ordinary people and the Irish do it through song.
            Davids articles are not read by most people because most people don’t read the SBP, for obvious reasons. So his message misses most of Ireland.
            If you’re up for it, mail me or call 087-144-0080. Don’t call too early (it’s 2.39 now) and be aware the signal here is poor so leave a message if needs be.
            Off to me bed and looking forward to the call.
            Good Person because I don’t have a clue what gender you ascribe to.
            Night.
            F

    • @Furrylugs,

      Re ‘shattered’, You are working too hard: Time to take the wife on a weekend surprise away.

      I believe its not hard to find good hotel accommodation in Ireland right now. Get in there b4 the NAMA bulldozers:)

      C

  32. It’s all starting to come out now in it’s entirety.
    All our cretins did was ape their betters, just like back in the good old Colonial days, except this time the doffing of the cap was fiscal rather than territorial.
    So widespread Treason and traitorous sellout.
    Anyone who has seen “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” knows the price paid for disloyalty.
    And to the (well known) man who scoffed at me in Galway about Cork shooting more of their own than the Enemy, I don’t recall much of an effort from Conamara in those days, if you’re reading this.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-borosage/was-bernie-madoff-the-exc_b_536950.html

    One thing is for sure, it’ll all come out in the wash.

  33. —- Smell this? —–
    or, longterm cultural changes are required

    As of February 2009, the costs in T=Trillion USD, all adjusted for inflation paint an interesting picture. (Sources: Bloomberg,UN, BBC)

    The war in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 come in at 0,7 T.

    U.S. bailout packages and plans 9,7 T

    European bailout 1,4 T

    UK bailout 0,9 T

    The debt of the poorest countries stands at 0,5 T

    Total value of global companies wiped out so far 14,5 T, that is more than 1/3 of global companies in deed!

    Ok, let’s slip some historical perspective into this, the costs for the Marshall Plan after WWII came in at 0,1 T, for what it’s worth.

    So here we are today, and the Fallout from the above, could have been found already in UNCTAD 2008, Cowen still was Minister for Finance, but let’s not go there, he was and he stays incompetent, a severe case of FF tunnel vision, a common diagnosis that counts for many, not all, but most of his close party friends. Bat O’ Keefee anyone, someone needs to put the full spot lights on him as well!

    http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/tdr2008_en.pdf

    Besides the U.S. housing scam, soaring commodity prices, and increasingly restrictive monetary policies in a number of countries s well as stock market volatility contributed to the fallout.

    As we know, those who pushed for the lax policies in politics and banks are now being payed by the tax payer. It is astonishing to say the least, that the events of the Asian crisis have not allowed the policy makers to come to different conclusions and decisions. It can only be understood from a different perspective that includes more than the small Irish version of this heist.

    The incentive mechanisms for investment managers were part of a culture that has enabled this global heist. This indeed has been warned of as early as 2005. Remembering Bertie Ahern’s statement ‘ Why don’t you go and kill yourself?‘ to those who warned that there are very dark clouds on the horizon. Let’s be honest, if anyone is in doubts that these people were clueless about the events unfolding, that they did not see it coming, or had not the informations required, let me tell you that you are mistaken. Of course they new what they were up to, they are incompetent and anything but clever, but they knew exactly what is coming down the pipe, they were part of it!

    The idolizing of gombeens has been essential in this cultural abuse of democratic principles. Bowing to the successful money lenders and a small elite of creamers that were hailed as the pillars of our society, the dance around the golden calf, Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice, I watched these with great interest in deed, as they were more than only indicators of an entire system in a state of collapse.

    Deliberately or not, you make up your own mind on this, Cowen did not learn the lessons of the Asian crisis, and whoever his consultants were at this time, they should be named and blacklisted.

    The IMF and US treasury bailed out Wall Street only a decade ago. Their public statement was a different one of course, attempting to help the countries in crisis. Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, as well as Brazil, Russia and Argentina were in the center, Wall Street was bailed out, and the Taxpayer in these countries picked up the tab.

    In Ireland, Anglo Irish Bank has polluted our economy with toxic mortgages, backed by FF sucker uppers who bowed to the likes such as Fitzpatrick, and put Patrick Neary in his Regulatory position. What a job, shut up, look away, and cash in.

    The Polluter’s Principle ignored again, and now we allow them to repeat the same methods they applied in the Asian crisis, where the purpose is to start it all over. I observed this before, and again, at the moment it seems like they are getting away with it, if the people do not oppose in significant ways against their politics of fear and deliberate disinformation.

    Yesterday I spoke briefly with a well established Solicitor and one of the very few persons in that profession that I give credibility and a degree of trust. I informed him that I plan to setup a non profit organization with the sole purpose to make funds and other support available for families in Ireland that are forced into default and sub consequently into the re possession of their homes. We will see more than 20,000, if not significantly higher numbers, in this situation sooner rather than later. International research suggests that 1 in 10 in arrears is going to default, depending on contributing aspects such as marriage breakup, or loss of income. This number will be higher in Ireland.

    On a side note, to those who might ask me why I want to do this myself, here is a short explanation.

    From August 2009 to March 2010 I had an exhibition of some of my recent work in the castle of Glenveagh National Park and other areas around the Park – Amongst other activities, I am a fine art landscape photographer, and also print and frame myself – One weekend I was teaching landscape photography in the castle, which was a test to see if people like this activity, and it just happened that one of the participants sat on the board of a local charity that I had on my mind to support with an auction since I showed my work on the Photokina in Germany but travels to Canada and other stuff delayed it.

    So I spoke with her, and informed her that I plan to donate large format museum grade prints in the value of Euro 6,000 for an auction that I arrange in Glenveagh Castle. I spoke with the park management about it and got the green light to use the castle for an evening. I spoke with the lovely Lady who runs the restaurant and tea rooms in Glenveagh and without any effort she was on board supporting the idea of an auction evening. So this board member gave me a contact, which I called the following week in late August and informed her about my activity, outlining that I am going to do this in late November early December, and already have spoken with local press and arranged the Castle for the venue. As they are heavily involved in fundraising for their good cause, dealing with elderly people in the last days of their life, I suggested that we create a list of Invitees for the evening from her database, a select set of no more than 120 people, 20 of which I will invite myself, and asked her to forward me the list so I can go ahead and prepare the Invitations, she agreed and appeared to be very happy about my offer.

    To make it short, I must have send about 15 emails, and made around 20 phone calls in the following weeks, leaving my messages on two numbers, to herself and the other person I was in contact with.

    I never got this list of Invitees, they never answered my calls, or got back to me in other forms. You might imagine by now, I felt a little stupid, here was I, chasing chase after people that I offered 6,000 Euro worth of prints with the goal to raise 10,000 Euro for their cause. In December 09 I stopped contacting them, and never heard a word back ever since.

    In the initial contact with them and the first discussion she suggested with enthusiasm her favorite person for this job of auctioneering, a well known local to be the auctioneer on the evening, just I knew who that was in deed, this well known local is one of the bigger crooks in the estate and property development profession, and I should have listened to my gut feeling when his name was on the table, I probably would have spared me time and efforts that I spent on this.

    This is the main reason why I intend to set up a non profit myself now in an attempt to ease some of the pain that will come to our people beyond doubts.

    This pain is much higher in the developing world, where commodity dependent economies are exposed to the shocks of this crisis, the destabilizing factors to which the Worldbank contributed many years, and now the economies in tatters are of major concern in this context. In other words, the architects of this heist have blood on their hands in deed! This was outlined as well in the above mentioned UNCTAD report.

    Let’s smell the roses, the system is broke! Period. Full stop! On all levels the collapse is evident, and we are in for a long ride. I can only laugh at reports that fill the news propaganda channels here, ‘We turned the corner’. This is all BS and serves gombeen purposes only.

    As long as we refuse to admit that we are in for a long ride, as long as we refuse to admit that we need to change more than only the Financial Regulator of this country, we are delusional and in denial.

    The scandals and coverups concerning Anglo Irish Bank has much wider international implications than they want you to believe.

    Best,
    Georg

    tbc.

    • Forgot one….

      World military expenditure 1,3 T in 2007

      Since the Asian crisis, from 1999-2008 military expenditure increased 45% globally and stands at somewhat 2,4% of global GDP.

      Source:
      http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex/resultoutput/trends

      I am not equipped with the detailed analytical economic brains like Dr. Gurdgiev or David and others, but I do not really need this to be able to see how little percentage of global GDP would be required to get a hand onto this crisis much quicker, taking military expenditure into consideration. (shrugs)

  34. Morning,

    Furrylugs I wouldn’t loose sleep about not being credited by academics for being the first to see this disaster brewing. My Dad used to say to me that one of the ways you could live a sane life in this country of ours was to learn to forgive people for what they say about you. So much nasty comment has been flung at me by all sorts of economists, journalists, opinion writers etc – people I have never met largely – that the only way to look at it is through the prism of forgiveness. Bear no grudges and move on. I like to try to keep economics popular so that more and more people can understand it. Some, who think economics is harder than it is, find this difficult to accept. Maybe it threatens them – so they hurl insults and don’t acknowledge the record which is self-evident.

    My advice is “na bac leo” and on we go!

    Regarding the other comments on Anglo. K Whelan’s dissection of the balance sheet on the irish economy site is a must read. Then armed with these numbers we know who is in the creditor queue and we either liquidate or not. Its simple. It is just about taking a decision now.

    Best David

    • tony_murphy

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your persistence in highlighting the madness that is current Irish government economic policies and offering explanations and solutions which even ecomonics illiterates like me can grasp.

      The DOF and Government have blinkers on. They see and hear only what they want to.

      Your solutions are always logical and simple.

      Einsteins says “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” which builds on Occam’s razor

      I work in IT, I write computer code. I work in 1′s and 0′s. Right and wrong. Black and white. Simple and complex. I make hundreds of these decisions everyday.

      The best code is the simplest code. Complex code is more likely to fail. Simple code is easier to comprehend and so easier to fix/change if necessary.

      Complex solutions costs loads of money, both while implementing and then while fixing and more often that not, do not work. That suits professional classes involved in NAMA/ANGLO etc

      Complex code keeps computer coders employed

      Simple code makes them redundant

      • tony_murphy

        … actually it doesn’t make them redundant really, it allows them to go on and create better more innovative solutions to other problems

      • Original-Ed

        Spot on! I still write in assembly for controllers. The difference between Engineers/Scientists and Lawyers/Accountants is that the former takes something complex and makes it simple, while the latter takes something simple and makes it complex. To them complexity = time = fees.
        Years back, a well known company in the US had three buildings on a research site – one for researchers, one for admin and one for meetings between the two – that was to avoid, the come into my parlour thing.

        • Colin_in_exile

          “The difference between Engineers/Scientists and Lawyers/Accountants is that the former takes something complex and makes it simple, while the latter takes something simple and makes it complex.”

          I couldn’t have put it better myself. Great insight there Original-Ed.

    • mediator

      David,

      Many academic economists (I am a financial economist) do acknowledge what you have been saying because it mirrors what we have been saying when we meet for coffee or in the corridors. An interesting thing I have found is that many most of my accountant colleagues were and are very pro establishment (positive about the boom, now positive about NAMA etc…) whereas I and my colleagues became known as naysayers and prophets of doom. This persists to this day. I have been lecturing about ponzi schemes and bubbles using our own housing market as an example since 2002 at least and I know many of my economist colleagues held the same view. However many of us are not interested in courting the media (privacy etc…), unfortunately this left a space for mouthpiece “economists” like Jim Power etc to dominate the airwaves and provide RTEPravda and the so called independents with content. This persists to this day, Power was on the frontline again last Monday talking guff and Pat McArdle etc… are still being given a platform in the Irish Times.

      When I point out the shosrtcomings of NAMA etc to my accountant friends they usually disagree and I can see that for many of them its because they have skin in the game, but also I think its because they are from a group that does so well out of the status quo, and because an accountants education includes very little free thinking or problem solving outside of formulaic approaches.

      Keep up the good work but please when you’re dealing with Miriam, Matt and George, don’t let them
      get away with repeating Brian Lenihan’s guff as truisms ie (Equating Anglo with the Irish Sovereign People)

    • David,
      Thanks for the response. Parsimonious envy tends to embitter me somewhat. You have my continued support as always. Drive on.
      BTW; holding down the alt key and entering 0225 gives you a fada as in Ná Bac Leo.

      Now just imagine that. I’m the only person in Ireland able to correct David McWilliams!!
      My ego knows no bounds henceforth.

    • G

      Academics (with exceptions that prove the rule) are high priests of the prevailing ideology.

      One should not expect ‘credit’ from those who play a role in maintaining a corrupt system. They by and large do not challenge power, they are servants of power, think this a truism.

      The astonishing levels of poverty and illiteracy in Ireland – university class are largely silent.

      Use of Shannon by foreign military forces? Largely silent.

      Shell to Sea campaign? Largely silent.

      Mismanagement of the Irish economy – well this is a bit different, because it is so big it is impossible to ignore, but again there were people who by their own admission ‘got it wrong’ (even though well paid to know otherwise and get it right). Some of these people are now on the bandwagon shouting blue murder.

      One of the reasons why academics busy themselves with esoteric topics is because a) it gives them ‘power/control’ over an unknown area of a largely unknown topic so few can challenge them etc b) it deflects away from the most pressing issues of the day. Keep to that and you may well get the Professorship, sure, write biographies about ‘hero politicians’ etc, great, but actually start using your brain to tackle social issues, write about social injustice, lead campaigns etc, well try that and see how quickly you are closed out of the coffee room, branded ‘weird’, ‘loose canon’, ‘disruptive’…………

      The role of the education system
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq6lFOhLJ0c

      The Fate of an Honest Intellectual
      http://www.chomsky.info/books/power01.htm

      Ideology & the ‘Intellectuals’
      http://www.jstor.org/stable/30059471?cookieSet=1

      • G

        “Mass education was designed to turn independent farmers into docile, passive tools of production. That was its primary purpose. And don’t think people didn’t know it. They knew it and they fought against it. There was a lot of resistance to mass education for exactly that reason. It was also understood by the elites.

        Emerson once said something about how we’re educating them to keep them from our throats. If you don’t educate them, what we call “education,” they’re going to take control — “they” being what Alexander Hamilton called the “great beast,” namely the people.

        The anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious. And for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.”

        ~ N. Chomsky

        • G

          “In the age of money and profit, academic subjects gain stature almost exclusively through their exchange value on the market. Twice as many students major in business studies than in any other major. The liberal arts increasingly appear to be merely ornamental, a dying vestige of an age not dominated by Gilded Age excess and disposability. Whereas the university was once prized as a place where students learned how to be engaged citizens educated in the knowledge, skills, values, and virtues of democracy, today they are trained to be workers and adept consumers. Educational value is now measured according to cost/benefit formulas, and the only rationality that matters is one of economic exchange.

          Education is increasingly reduced to a narrow instrumental logic, only recognizable as a form of training, just as teaching is removed from the language of social and moral responsibility, critical imagination, and civic courage. In the age of increasing specializations, pay for grades schemes, excessive instrumentalism, and an increasing contempt for critical thinking, higher education is producing new forms of political and civic illiteracy, turning out students who have little understanding of the complexities of the larger world, unaware of their power as social agents, and removed from those capacities that combine critique and a yearning for social justice, knowledge and social change, learning and a compassion for others. And the outcome can be seen in a growing generation of young people and adults who are barely literate, live in an utterly privatized world, and are either indifferent or complicit with a growing culture of cruelty.”

          From Henry A. Giroux’s “The Corporate Stranglehold on Education”
          http://www.counterpunch.org/giroux09082009.html

        • Insightful.
          Thank you G.

      • Malcolm McClure

        G: That Chomsky link is brilliant. Reminded me of the climate controversy at the University of east Anglia. The report by Lord Oxburgh into Professor Jones et al has just been published and is the expected lightweight whitewash, put out and buried when everybody’s attention is diverted by the UK election manifestos.
        Chomsky says ” if they become too disruptive or too obstreperous–or you know, too effective–they’re likely to be kicked out. The standard thing, though, is that they won’t make it within the institutions in the first place, particularly if they were that way when they were young–they’ll simply be weeded out somewhere along the line.”
        Sadly true. The system is looking for team players and doesn’t want anyone rocking the boat.

        There was an excellent review in the Times Higher education supplement that discussses academic attitudes, worth quoting here in full:
        US scholar claims intellectuals played ruinous role in a century of horrors
        4 February 2010
        By Melanie Newman
        Intellectuals – and particularly academics – have been accused by one of their own of making the world a worse and more dangerous place in the 20th century.
        Thomas Sowell, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, claims that academics cling to their opinions even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
        In a new book, Intellectuals and Society, Dr Sowell says intellectuals, whom he defines as the “producers of ideas”, have probably never played a larger role in society.
        Yet he says that unlike other professionals, they are rarely held to account.
        The constraints on business leaders, doctors and athletes mean they face “high and often ruinous costs for persisting in ideas that turn out not to work”, Dr Sowell explains.
        “No such inescapable constraints confront people whose end products are ideas and whose ideas face only the validation of like-minded peers.”
        That is particularly true for academics who “control their own institutions and select their own colleagues and successors”, he argues.
        Professors are not fired because they vote for disastrous campus plans or advocate policies that turn out to be catastrophic for the world.
        However, not everyone falls foul of Dr Sowell’s damning analysis.
        He excludes Chicago School of Economics professor Milton Friedman, as he was “atypical of the intellectuals of his time”. Scientists such as Albert Einstein are also spared, as there is a “history of prevailing beliefs among scientists that they were forced to abandon in the face of contrary evidence”.
        Others are not so fortunate. Dr Sowell attacks philosopher Bertrand Russell for advocating British disarmament in the 1930s and accuses Karl Marx of a “fundamental misconception” – that labour is the real source of wealth.
        As a more recent example of an “unaccountable academic”, he cites Paul Ehrlich, professor of biology at Stanford University, who in 1967 predicted worldwide famine.
        Dr Sowell says that despite his incorrect prediction that “hundreds of millions of people will starve to death” in the 1970s and 1980s, Professor Ehrlich retains popular acclaim.
        Intellectuals and Society accuses academics such as Professor Ehrlich of having a “huge investment of ego” in a particular set of social or political opinions, and of pursuing a vision of a world in which intellectuals are exalted and form “a self-anointed vanguard”.
        The concept of academic freedom enshrines intellectuals’ lack of accountability to the world, Dr Sowell adds: “From unaccountability to irresponsibility can be a very short step.”
        Asked what principles he would put in place to govern academics’ contributions to public debate, he said: “This is not a book about proposing reforms. It is a book that seeks to understand the general patterns found among contemporary members of the intelligentsia, as well as what they’ve said and its impact on the societies in which they said it.”
        That impact has been to “narrow the scope of the freedoms enjoyed by ordinary people to run their own lives, much less to shape government policy”, he concludes.
        melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

        • ps200306

          I don’t buy any of it. The value of anybody to society, whether a doer or a thinker, a businessman or an academic, is in the realm of ethics. Nobody has a monopoly on that.

        • Garry

          Its human nature Malcolm.

          Nobody wants to write off anything they have invested heavily in whether its money, time, effort, relationships whatever…. And rightly so, loyalty and perseverance are admirable qualities.

          But e.g. for every person who made their fortune persevering with something when everyone said they were mad, there are thousands who became mad trying to make reality fit their vision.

          Economics, philosophy indeed most academic disciplines have no obvious accountability. So we end up with people who have invested heavily in some bollocksology ending up almost as a keeper of that faith and making a negative contribution to the area they have spent their life at.

          Combine that with relativism and intelligent people come up with awful bollocks sometimes.
          In my own industry, one of the big problems is changing direction when something is wrong… apart from the egos and personalities, the amount of pointless work involved means that the temptation is always there to just say it’ll do…
          And thats in a game where the consequences will always emerge. I’d hate to think about the inertia caused by legacy investments in pseudo sciences like sociology or economics.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Garry: That’s a profound and thoughtful response. Churchill said ‘Scientists should be on tap but never on top’. Much the same could be said for anyone who has spent their lives following a single narrow discipline. Change happens so fast that academics seldom catch up with what is important now to the average Joe . When they foul up, its just academic, and Joe just shrugs.

            Successful businessmen usually have well tuned antennae for change but when they foul up Joe hurts and resents it. Paradoxically, if those kinds of people can be persuaded to act selflessly in the common good they can be effective leaders. I don’t know whether Albert Reynolds is the best example we have seen but he was effective until he was brought down by the Brendan Smyth affair.

            I wonder how Ulick MacEvaddy would handle the challenge?

          • This is the tone of realistic analysis we should be engaged in. The baby can be thrown out with the bathwater and we end up with our collective noses cut to spite ours faces.
            The Titanic is gurgling and our eyes should be on the path of least resistance for survival.
            Now if anyone can come up with a better mixed metaphor, feel free.
            I think those of us who’ve been here a while should start looking forward. No-one else will.
            F

      • @G

        As usual, terrific links. Funny how Chomsky regards Finkelstein’s a tragic story. Emily summed it up nicely,

        “I’m nobody! Who are you?
        Are you nobody, too?
        Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!
        They’d banish us, you know.
        How dreary to be somebody!
        How public, like a frog
        To tell your name the livelong day
        To an admiring bog! ”

        Have I ‘bog’ spelt correctly?Lol. Cheers, thx again for the links.

  35. —- LOOKING FORWARD —-
    or, systemic risk control, Karl Wheelan is right but…

    ‘In capitalist society health is the capability to earn, among the Greeks it was the capability to enjoy, and in the Middle Ages the capability to believe.’ – Ernst Bloch, The principle of hope -

    In one of Karl Wheelan’s articles he was questioning when the ESRB, European Systemic Risk board will be implemented. This board is supposed to work in from of a supervisory authority to avoid the magnitude of this disaster to ever happen again.

    ESRB, shiny shoes, and powerful words but haven’t we heard it all before? The Morgan Stanley’s of this world wanted us to believe that there are mechanisms in place to prevent a crisis on the scale of the 30s to ever happen.

    In deed, one major contributor to the disastrous situation is the fact the there was no systemic risk control, not in Ireland, not in Europe. Risk control in banking is currently scrutinized in hearings on Capitol Hill where bankers are asked questions, and the events are broadcasted.

    Instead of being questioned, David Drumm ‘enjoys’ his stay in Cape Cod, and apart from a visit by Charlie Bird, he probably has gained some undesired popularity in his chosen location by now and might be on the move soon again. It is a big blue planet you know, and with money in your hands you can settle wherever you see fit. Why he was allowed to leave the country is beyond my comprehension.

    Sylvie Goulard is reporting on the establishment of ESRB which has a long way to go of being implemented, not before early 2011 as possible move can be expected here, and even this remains to be seen.

    Their agenda looks like this:

    - Institutional balance between the EU institutions

    - Involvement of ESRB in decision calling an emergency situation

    - Should warnings and recommendations be binding? Should there be sanctions for non-compliance?

    - Future evolution and review clause

    Definition of financial stability, adequacy of the scope of mandate and powers in order to achieve financial stability

    One can see that this is still in an early stage.

    Sylvie Goulard said, ‘if these authorities were not empowered effectively to control banking and insurance groups or other financial players operating on the level of the single market, it would be the whole European economy which would suffer. …. A crisis of such a magnitude should never happen again without us at least having done our utmost to try to prevent it.’

    Naturally, bankers are not too happy about this tendency. They prefer the secrecy they are used to operate from within to be able to perform dodgy deals and create new financial gombeen instruments with the legal advise from the likes such as Maples & Calder.

    Karl is right asking for this, but we need to learn some lessons first, and looking towards the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, we might find some lessons here worth thinking through.

    Their panel was a good example of how global pooling of knowledge is vital for the successful generation of valid data to generate political pressure. The IPCC is a unique network in that respect, and as well as global climate changes affects us all, so does the fallout from this financial heist.

    So what could the equivalent look like, because in it’s currently proposed form the ESRB I am afraid will not have all the key factors that are crucial for it’s successful implementation.

    The IPCC was represented in public by outstanding scientific personalities, chairs, and they did not stand for any school of thought, or ideology, which enabled the needed impartiality and balance.

    Again, the IPCC is not the research body itself, it pools and documents, draws up scientific progress reports, and presents the findings to the international community, in form of a summary for policy makers, the latter is somewhat difficult as political actors are involved, hence questionable.

    Overall, this structure, while opportunities for improvement are there, has enabled a working solution and is unique.

    I think that the well intended ESRB activities are setup for failure in that respect, because this requires a IPCC style approach and needs to be on an international basis, and involve more than only finance and economy.

    Besides Economic risk, geopolitical global risk, environmental risk, technological and societal risk needs to be covered at the same time in specialized pools under the same chairs. This would enable policy makers to be ‘mandatory’ informed, ‘I did not read that PWC report’ is not an option, about longterm risks.

    Markets are somewhat blind to the future and more concerned with short term and mid term solutions.

    This form of risk reporting is crucial to the changes we are undergoing by means of globalisation, and it does not exists currently.

    Inefficiency is the underlying problem as well, old gombeen like political structures, are blocking progress on that front. Just look at the DOHA which is on ice since the talks started in 2001, and only a few days ago, Ministers failed again to enable the poorest country to enter developed markets with their products. De facto, they did not even talk about anymore and were only looking towards the financial mess. Hence, the last WTO meeting was a complete failure in that respect, again.

    The problem of the poorest countries being systematically denied access to the North is systemic and I would assume an international panel as described above would have this highlighted in their report presented by their chairs, and create political pressure to be sufficient to enable change.

    There are 15 million people dependent on cotton production in Africa, however, the global price is subsidized, I call it fixed by USA Interests, hence the long overdue DOHA promises were never meet, because political pressure is insufficient.

    So yes I fully agree with Karl here, but we have to be very careful what and how we implement here, to be as efficient as humanly possible, and to include ROW, all else is tunnel vision.

    We need the 360 degree view here, not a focus on europe or single countries who might have the strongest position. Our knowledge pools are incomplete, forms of protectionism and secrecy procedures are still performed, just think about the unanswered simple questions who the senior bond holder in anglo are. Such secrecy should be abolished, and the pool extended towards a global approach of consulting in matters of risk prevention.

    We are all connected in some way or the other, and these interrelated factors are not being taken into account.

    This must change!

    Best
    Georg

  36. SLICKMICK

    How has Fitz Junior managed to retain his cushy number @ Anglo?.

  37. Posters, thanks again for the informative links. They’ve interrupted my work schedule again, but I really appreciate them. So here’s a comment I left on the following link, you get the drift:

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/04/03/anglo-what-are-the-options/

    Good to get some black and white figures.

    I believe a number of your assumptions re wind up of Anglo are fundamentally flawed.

    Lets take item 3 in your list:

    “The ECB loans will be collateralised by a selection of the bank’s better assets, meaning they can grab the underlying assets if they’re not paid back, so no gain there from a wind-up.”

    I’m reminded of a recent interview with Brian Lenihan in a Sunday newspaper on April 1 that included the note (Brian grins) when Brian made the poind, do you not think Mr Trichet (President of ECB) wants his
    money back.

    I’m sorry, but I believe the joke is both on you, Karl and Brian Lenihan.

    It is now current policy in dealing with future financial crises in member states, as advocated by Merkel, Schauble, Sarkozy, Lagarde to wind down effected rogue banks such as Anglo.

    If the Anglo matter was properly dealt with by due diligence by a competent Minister for Finance, calls would have been made.

    Item one, (Call to Trichet)Anglo is banjaxed, they’ve stolen all our loot. We need to wind it up now. Our ECB won’t get its €11.5bn, your going to have to forfeit your €12.5bn as well.

    Items 2, 5, 6

    These are for negotiation based on sums available on assets valuation and what other aid buffers ECB and
    Irish State can offer.

    Deposits need transfer to other banks to firm up and strengthen their balance sheets. Again there are I assume imaginative cost saving ways to achieve this on behalf of taxpayers.

    As well as figures, we need imagination, creativity and a sharp eye for expert negotiation.

    I believe Merkel, Schauble, Sarkozy, Lagarde are embarrassed the way taxpayers in Ireland have been
    taken to the cleaners.

    You should be too on the basis of this apologia for government incompetence.

    Anglo needs to be wound down immediately.

    • tony_murphy

      What I’d like to know is when and why did the ECB put so much money into Anglo?

      When and why did the Irish central bank put money into Anglo?

      Would anyone in there right mind hand over 12 billion to crazed gamblers? any due diligence done before investing?

      • @tony_murphy

        Great questions there. Anglo needs a full forensic inquest, not alone on its current balance sheet, but a blow by blow annotation/audit of all its transactions over the past 15 yrs. Bound hard copy please to all taxpayers!

        Presumably the Garda Inquiry will give this to us??????????????Not

  38. Our ECB, I do mean our own Central Bank..

    I should say comments to the above quoted url post very interesting, particularly the following from Karl I take issue with above:

    “3. I do favour winding down Anglo. I don’t favour the bank defaulting on its ECB loans. In any case, as I
    pointed out in the post, they are over-collateralised loans, so they can just keep the collateral after a default. ”

    Doesn’t appear to know much about bank bankruptcy or wind down if you ask me.

  39. Really interesting Vid here between O’Neill of Goldman Sachs and Roubini debating Battleship economics;

    http://www.ft.com/cms/885d7916-e3aa-11dc-8799-0000779fd2ac.html?_i_referralObject=15655107&fromSearch=n

    • Deco

      Looked at the link. Very good commentary from Roubini (not so impressed with O’Neill).
      Roubini pointed out the relevance of the Greek crisis – it is not Greece, but actually Spain that is the real problem. And there are other obligations that are

      • I thought O’Neill sat sanctimonious over Roubini as though he really knew what the plan was. Which, as GS chief economist, he probably does.
        China seemed to be the next province to rape and now that Greece, or even the EU are spent, like locusts they’ll move on.
        How in the name of Christ do we stop these people?
        And I am a Christian man. This is Evil personified and contrary to all basic teachings across all religons.

  40. @Furrylugs,

    viewd that but found the following also listed at your link, from Stiglitz a lot more interesting:)

    http://bit.ly/a8BcKR

    Stiglitz complains of slow US reform

    e.g …”Financial Product Safety Commission, we exempt a majority of the banks, we encourage move from derivative to exchanges ……problem the banks like non transparency…….Leaving everything to the discretion of the regulators means a recipe for the minimum regulation”

    • if u havnt found it, its 4th down on link above, list to right, click play button:)

    • More from Stiglitz here Colm.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IByNW4xlbE

      A little bit of optimism.

      • @Furrylugs

        Glad u mentioned optimism. Havn’t mentioned this b4 but i do feel sore done by the propagandists for the NAMA Trojan Horse filled with flesh eating zombies:) as a merchant of doom.

        Au contraire, I regards the Save Anglo/NAMA merchants as true merchants of doom.

        I do belive there’s hope for every individual and/or group of individuals to achieve great things with change.

        They can also achieve the opposite eg as in treason against taxpayers. Auschwitz, Belsen, Trenches 1916, add your own examples…our present crap but a small example, but don’t believe they can’t make it worse!

        The whole global financial services paper money industry is infected by a contagion of abuse goes without saying. What to do about it, how to live with it, that’s interesting!

        Stiglitz may be overly optimistic on how it can be fixed. Look forward to the video.

  41. La H -Bomba Economics

    http://openlibrary.org/b/OL16835018M/H-Bomb_of_economics.

    Tuesday night I was invited to listen to the author of the above in Bay & Resort Hotel in Monaco and it was all in Italian . I wore ear muffs to listen to the interpretor while I watched many cartoons demonstrating his points .Those in attendance were bankers and maybe Gods Bankers too. This author is a philosopher and his mindset is worth digesting and perhaps might give us an insight from from out side the box.

    I am writing this too to mark my diary to ensure my professional body allows me the credit in my annual continual education report.
    The author is a comedian too and his words are like holding the hands of gnoochi and penne pasta and swimming with them in bolognaise .

    By the way the Dinner afterwards was free . Did wonder was the Irish taxpayer paying for this .

  42. Afternoon,

    On Sunday I wrote about the Greek bailout and said – in direct contrast to the mainstream commentators who said on Morning Ireland etc that the bailout would work – the following;

    “I sense that smart bond investors will use any putative EU bailout as the last opportunity to sell. The clumsy ones will buy, believing the government and brokers’ spin.

    But as they realise that Greece’s problems haven’t gone away, the positive euphoria accompanying the EU bailout of Greece will dissipate”

    This afternoon, Greek bonds getting hammered trading at 7.5%. Markets as I expected have sold the bailout. Default on the horizon.

    David

    • G

      Numbers only lie if they are cooked like in Anglo.

      Markets will tear Greece to financial pieces and then the people will tear up what is left of ‘institutional Greece’.

      Raw data like this is useful, any useful sites for up-to-date intelligible market data would be most appreciated.

    • @David 43

      Good call !

    • Deco

      David.
      The Greek crisis, is solved again today. A bit like FIAT standing for Fix It, Again, Today !!!

      Apart from the fact that the market is a mixture of people carrying many different motivations, and the fact that the participants all have varying levels of gullibility, we are seeing a process of governments providing reassurances, and those reassurances being tested and broken.

      The Greek State Revenue collection process is highly disfunctional. And the Greek Public sector is even more disfunctional – loaded with cronyism from both the right (descended from the military) and the left (the former Marxists). They are both supported by people who have the same selfish motivations. The problem with the Greece, is that there is no political centre. And the Greeks themselves have responded to the crisis by submerging themselves into loyalty to the political movements that are the source of the problem, and these movements are inherently incapable of bringing about a solution. (Don’t be surprised if the same debacle is repeated in Spain and in Portugal).

      Ireland has a crowded centre, and a splintered noisy left, but no right in the political establishment. This is because there is no need for the right to be represented in the political establishment in Ireland. It is completely unnecessary due to the enormous presence of IBEC in influencing the media via advertising, and the rest of business via the Duopoly being the banker of 80% of businesses. IBEC already has direct influence on national policy, and does not need a political party, in order to exert leverage for big business on the state. And in addition IBEC can rely on regulation Irish style to stay out of IBEC’s way. Classic examples being Banking regulation, and Competition Policy.

      Here is another possible reason why Greece is not going to get a bailout to prop up it’s dysfunctional political establishment.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/7591027/Greek-aid-in-doubt-as-German-professors-prepare-court-challenge.html

      Another issue which gets no coverage anywhere is the fact that there is an election in progress in the Netherlands. And the Dutch taxpayers are even more opposed to bailing out the Greeks than the Germans.

      So, there will be no bailout for Greece.

      The responsibility for remedying the state of the Greek state finances rests with the Greeks. The Greeks have to consider Thomas Jefferson’s maxim concerning security and liberty. Greece is a sovereign nation. It is just that none of the Greek politicians understand what that concept really means.

      But, then last September, most of the Irish politicians were equally ignorant of what it means. So along with the Greeks, we also have to become more responsible.

      • @deco,

        Thx for great info there. From your link:

        “Dr Wilhelm Hankel, professor of economics at Frankfurt University and one of the four litigants, said the EU-IMF bail-out throws good money after bad. “The whole manoeuvre merely delays the day of reckoning. It is not in Greece’s interest to accept the money because the wage cuts and tax rises being imposed will lead to an endless economic depression. They should step out of the eurozone voluntarily, devalue, and restructure their debts with IMF help. That is the path of economic sense,” he said. “In the end, the only way to save the euro is to shrink the eurozone. There are other candidates”.”

        They say this case to be a cliffhangar. Do you know when there will be a ruling?

        I kinda disagree with Hankel above though, that “It is not in Greece’s interest to accept the money”

        You see wage cuts and tax rises plus public service cuts did not stop us from accepting €54 billion plus bailout money from the ECB.

        And who would those other candidates be, d’ye think?

        Life jackets and fasten seat belts everyone, turbulence ahead!

        • coldblow

          “They should step out of the eurozone voluntarily, devalue, and restructure their debts with IMF help.”

          Three elements there. Aren’t the first 2 what David has been calling for all along for Ireland? But not the third element. Wonder why the German wants them to pay back their debts. Could it be because they are mostly owed to Germany? Here’s the problem: the Germans shouldn’t have allowed their savings be lent to irresponsible children. They want it both ways. Money lending, like share holding and dealing and anything else you can think of, surely has its responsibilities and lenders can’t just hide behind the legal formalities. Is there a French phrase, force majeure? So a country puts its own perceived interests above its legal debt commitments and invokes force majeure. (I should be careful here. In an Irish context of course force majeure would operate in reverse: the elite puts its own perceived interests above those of the people. I can just see it now, when they come up with New Settlement after the dust settles and we are (nearly) all left the losers: in all the op-eds, on the radio, in the Taoiseach’s grave but avuncular tv Address to the Nation: Force Majeure, Force Majeure… nods head sagely.)

          There are differing views on the significance of this legal challenge. A few days ago I posted a link to a recent Hutton article. Probably nobody read it – not to worry, I don’t read all the links either! But it concerns the danger, in the face of the refusal to address systemic trade imbalances, of each country going its own way, starting with the US and China.

          • coldblow

            I forgot the sentence before:

            “It is not in Greece’s interest to accept the money because the wage cuts and tax rises being imposed will lead to an endless economic depression.”

            As cbweb says isn’t that just what we’re doing?. Now, if only Lenny had given Wilhelm a bell after going down David’s gaff he could have got the same advice. Maybe another 39 German economists might join him in a letter to the IT.

    • SlightlyBonkers

      indeed. when the banks were falling about 2 years ago I was asked by someone close to me if they should buy BoI stock as the gov about going to “step in”. I had a look at the financial statements of BoI and stated in no uncertain terms that this was a dud, and a dangerous one at that. a cash injection, Ir easoned woudl weaken the state and as long as there was no fundamental change in the business plan or effort to quarantine the infected loans, there would be no improvement.

      anyway. rewind back a decade or more, when eircom was going to float. an opposition spokeman encouraged all who would listen in a provate converation that it woudl be a great investment. he also boasted to a fairly young group that the sexlife was great as a politician. pathetic I thought, that’s not what i came here to ehar. he’s now a bookmaker. What are the odds he’s gettign laid now? It was never based on lokos and charm.

      Anyway. point is, that people by and large think there’s magic in the national finances and the gov has a bottomless pool of money. a politician’s word is enough to make rain.

      until such time as the mass delusion goes, the littel folk will believe in the concept of a bailout and be fed drips and drabs until such time as the only people who know what is really happening have made their deal to get the lat few cents in the dollar before the price hits zero.

      i am sure this is a mdoel that is repeated throughout history, it’s so simple. you haev the knowledge on how the markets work, on how deep investigative journalism goes, and hwo people are confised. you know there are several grades of investor that might buy your bonds, from newbie working in private banking to old hand after 50 years on wall street. you knwo that the pyramid can be sustained by the people who know least, and the financial industry reaally is a pyramid, with most control by a few people with most knowledge.

      were more knowledge available to mroe people the chances of a stroke like the one david describes above woudl be less as there would be less time for the old hands to prepare to get the last few dollars from their investment.

    • A default is pretty unchartered territory is it not?
      A break up of the Euro?
      Next Sunday give us your view on the repercussions of a break up.
      My assets are in Spain so I guess I would be a Peseta multi-millionaire and in no worse a quandary than the new Irish Punt.
      Nobody would affored holidays in Germany or France any more.Goodbye to my annual summer holiday trips to Austria & Bavaria?

  43. martino

    The Gods are angry! John Allen and others, what do you make of this Icelandic volcano? I’m stranded in Liverpool, should be flying to Germany now, British airspace is closed, nothing going in or coming out. The cost will be high, natural justice perhaps? I’m getting the ferry back to Dublin tonight, better off at home, although a pint of ale here costs only £1.85. Thing is though everything is part of a chain, even in food and drink you can see how hierachial the Anglo style economy is. And despite the natural warmness of the people, there’s a menace of poverty hanging in the air. Lot’s of drug addicts too, and the surreal atmosphere of election in the background. Third world immigrants everywhere too. None of it makes any sense. Anyway, over and out from Liverpool.

  44. G

    Someone may be trying to re-invent ‘myhome.ie’ – ‘Green shoots as Spring buyers emerge’ apparently in the property market….

    My kingdom for an independent media!!!!

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/property/2010/0415/1224268365444.html

  45. France & Germany are not agreeing on anything at the moment and ill feelings predominates between them . This very bad for the Euro and Greece and only makes matters worse.

  46. Deco

    time these two overpaid wasters resigned their seats and apologized for the wholescale incompetence.
    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/put-pressure-on-these-spineless-wonders-2138642.html

  47. D’ye know. I really miss Lorcans input here, right at this juncture. And to those of you who are new, he was shit hot, to coin a phrase.

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