May 17, 2010

A matter of life and debt

Posted in Debt · 457 comments ·

I met a small businessman during the week whose business is down by a third this year. He used to have a business with an annual turnover of €1 million in 2008 and 2009.This year, turnover is down to €650,000.

So he is slashing prices and doing deals to stay afloat. He is optimistic that he can survive, if this is as bad as it gets. If there is another slump next year, he’s gone.

He also told me that one of his main landlords was his local council, which owned a site he used for storage. His business needs this land, which is not being used for anything else and is only useful for surface storage of machinery.

So his turnover has slumped, his prices have been slashed and his margin has evaporated, but the council still put up his rent this year. He went to the council, and explained that he was barely surviving and couldn’t pay.

The council responded by saying it didn’t care and it also had to survive. He made the point that, if he went bust, the council would get nothing, because there was no other business around to take up their land. The council acknowledged this, but said that, based on previous years’ margins, he could easily afford this.

In short, the civil servants concluded that, if he was still in business, he was wealthy enough to pay the extra rent. For them, there are only two states of private business: either you are open, in which case they can saddle you with any bill, or you are closed, in which case they will find someone else to pay the money.

The problem is that both sides are hurting. The council has seen its money dry up. The cash it was getting from planning applications, rezoning and the like is gone, so it needs to get cash somewhere else. It sees the businessman as a revenue source, rather than a wealth generator.

For the businessman, his business is down, his overdraft has been cut and his working capital is now his diminished cashflow. He is facing austerity, combined with a credit crunch and a rent hike. He sees the council as a bloated government organisation that needs to give him a break.

This is what austerity looks like in a hard currency system, and it is by joining up the dots, from bottom to top, that we see why our current obsession with the euro is killing us.

The euro limits the amount of credit in the country and forces deflation. But, without credit and inflation, the inherited debts will grind us all down.

When you have disparate countries in a currency union, you get huge variations in demand. In the good times, too much money flows in, creating the illusion of wealth. This creates expectations of inflation, so people front-load their spending to catch up with a moving target.

In bad times, too much money flows back out, creating the reality of stagnation.

This creates deflation where prices are falling, so people postpone spending and hold back. When you can’t print your own money in a deep downturn, the recession gets worse. It also goes on for longer than necessary.

The businessman in the above case goes bust – and, ultimately, so too will the council. Having squeezed all it can out of the businessman, it must turn to someone else or cut back dramatically. So taxes are raised. But the more taxes that are raised, the more the people who have money take their money offshore. We saw this classic behaviour in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s with deposit interest retention tax (Dirt).

If we don’t do a deal between bankers and debtors, where both sides take the pain and debts are restructured with a significant portion of debt forgiveness, we are simply going to blow the currency apart in the next big debt crisis.

The Greek crisis isn’t the real thing. It is just a warning sign of what is to come. In geological terms – given that we are all volcanic dust experts now – Greece is the smaller volcano whose eruption is the warm-up act for the really big one.

The most obvious solution is to change the currency arrangement by concluding that the German economy is too strong for the rest of us and should go off on its own with its own currency.

History also tells us that this conclusion is not radical, but actually quite normal. Either the government presides over this currency change in an organised fashion, or it happens anyway, in chaos, through capital flight, currency speculation and a financial crisis.

Consider what is happening now, just five days after the bailout that was supposed to save the euro. The demand for gold has skyrocketed in Germany over the past few days. Ordinary Germans are reacting to their government’s willingness to print money in order to bail out everyone else. Fearing inflation, they are buying gold.

Meanwhile, in Athens, the financial markets are full of rumours that Greeks are hoarding euro notes with German serial numbers. If Greece leaves the euro, they can redeem these German-issued notes at their full value. (The assumption is that euro notes printed by the Greek central bank will be worth much less.)

All the while, the euro is weakening against the dollar, yet politicians talk about having borrowed hugely to save the currency.

However, experience going back to the 19th century indicates that, after a huge credit bubble, the choice is simple: either you can save the currency or save the economy, but you can’t save both.

If European governments want to keep the currency, they must impose austerity on their countries in order to squeeze more out of the budgets to pay the debts that their countries and peoples incurred in the boom. They transfer the debts of the private sector to the state, or vice versa, with guarantees and backstops. So the marginal euro in tax revenue goes to pay the rotten legacy of history, rather than to build the foundation for the future.

What European governments don’t seem to understand is that you can’t have a weak economy with a strong currency. The only way you can sustain that is by borrowing even more now to plug holes, which is precisely what the EU is doing.

The fundamental truth that our establishment has yet to appreciate is that a strong currency comes from not having any debt, rather than from incurring more debt.

Real business thrives as long as the currency in use is accepted by all, and there is enough of it around to lubricate the economy. The history of currency changes is dramatic. There is no easy way to do it, but the wealth of a country is real wealth: the wealth of people, the brains, talent and the growth of the economy.

If an economy doesn’t grow but tries to pay back huge debts, it will turn into a debt-servicing agency, which hollows out the productive marrow of the society. This is not a recipe for success, but a harbinger of disaster.

If we want to be a dependency of the European Central Bank, then giving €7 billion (which we don’t have) to Greece is the right way to go.

If we keep going this way, Ireland will end up with a huge EU-subsidised public sector, a small but highly productive multinational exporting sector and hardly any domestic small businesses in the middle. Is that what we want?

  1. [...] inspiring stories about innovation in this week”s Sunday Business Post, and then there was one cautionary tale from David McWilliams on how harmful government can be to struggling [...]

  2. Does David have any innovative ways for combatting inflation by printing your way out of debt? Or how pensioners can protect the value of their savings? Inflation may well wipe out financial debt but it also wipes out financial assets. So should those who didn’t partake in the property bubble and put away savings instead. Should the old age pensioner who saved in An Post for their retirement for 40 years. Should all these people now be penalised for others actions? And going forward if incomes rise at the same level as costs then we will still have a €20bn annual deficit except that too will grow by inflation.

  3. G

    Piranha capitalism – what do you expect from an exploitative system, they are turning on each other for survival.

    Not only has council revenue declined, they too are sitting on inflated housing stock, which they tried to re-inflate but which they will soon have to offload, they have massive financial problems which they too are just keeping from the door.

    I was speaking to an auctioneer on Friday night who said he could get me a 4 bedroomed house within a stone’s throw of Cork City (needed some work ) for €100,000 (sale price €120,000), I guarantee you in 12 months this will be under the €100,000 mark.

    I walked with my father through a suburb of Cork city last night before we headed in to see Robin Hood (poor film), there was not a sinner on the streets, ghost town, there is a well known bar on the main street, my father said he knew the owner through his own work, he said the bar (a beautiful one) is failing. Last week, the guy went ‘missing’, his family had to go look for him, he is now regarded as ‘at risk’, mounting debts have him under serious pressure.

    As Chomsky said to me once: ‘it’s the specifics that are always difficult’. I suppose we all have anecdotal stories, but with banks, county councils behaving the way they are, as well as business people increasing commercial rents, there can’t be a happy ending, it is a second failing of government, first they failed to regulate and monitor an overheating economy, now they are failing to handle the fallout.

    Think it was either Krugman or Stiglitz who said it is a virtual truism of economics that you can’t have a recovery with rising unemployment. A lot of people are just hanging on, but there is at least another 12 months in this thing, a possible second wave of issues or double dip, this will be exacerbated by the complete lack of effective and credible political leadership.

    I admire business people who are fair and honest, who give a decent wage for a decent day’s work, I wish I was an employer or had that ability to be self-employed, I came close to it once and the money I made for myself was the best feeling in the world. I am amazed self-employed people, those who arguably take the most risks, who are the dynamos in the economy do not quality for social welfare etc, it is a disgrace and anti-entrepreneurial.

    • MK1

      Hi David,

      I hope all is well with you as we live through these interesting times and try to make some sense of them and direct our actions during them. Apologies if I have seemed impersonal in my previous posts but mainly due to time-constraints I just restrict myself to comments that cover the nitty-gritty. So, on to that now ….

      DavidMcW> I met a small businessman whose business is down by a third this year. So he is slashing prices and doing deals to stay afloat. .. one of his main landlords was his local council, which owned a site he used for storage … but the council still put up his rent this year.

      In a free market this business owner should use another ‘supplier’ for his storage requirements. ie: Shop around. Many businesses go under due to rising costs and reduced revenue which nevers returns to ‘acceptable levels’. A business must cut its cloth asap to reduce risk and losses. If that means moving, he has to move. (note: NAMA means that the market is being falsely supported from beneath and is anti-business and anti-competitive!)

      DavidMcW>The council responded by saying it didn’t care

      Did he expect anything different? Local authorities never did nor will they in their current incarnation. Staff only care about going home at 4:30!

      DavidMcW> The council has seen its money dry up.

      Local authorities have been under pressure for many years due to their own inefficiencies plus limitations on gathering taxes/funding. It is a part of the overall government operation and they should not be seen as seperate entities.

      DavidMcW> He is facing austerity, combined with a credit crunch and a rent hike.

      Welcome to the after effects of the credit bubble – everyone is facing these as the ‘previous norm’ was a false environment. Wake Up!

      DavidMcW> The euro limits the amount of credit in the country

      No, its not the euro, its the previous overuse of credit in the past. Dont blame the drink type or brand for the alcoholic having a hangover, its the fact that he was drinking to excess!

      DavidMcW>so people front-load their spending to catch up with a moving target.

      There was no need to “front-load” spending based on credit/borrowing, it was a frenzy, and like a tulip bubble where people front-loaded spending on tulips, it was totally unnecessary, not only in hindsight but as the credit bubble expanded on the way up. We, as a nation, were blinkered. Ireland 0, Credit Bubble 1. We lost, we failed. Not You, nor I, not him nor her, but “We”. Credit, its with O’Leary in the grave (poem).

      DavidMcW> when you cant print your own money in a deep downturn

      But the ECB CAN ‘print’ its own money, with QE methods and lines of credit, and bond buying and many other ways. Euro is a fiat money system, like USD, UKP, JPY, CNY, etc.

      DavidMcW> by concluding that the German economy is too strong for the rest of us and should go off on its own with its own currency.

      Well, what does too strong mean? Even weaker economies can tie themselves to a stronger currency and compete on other elements, such as lower costs and other competitiveness. No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can keep euro, we just need to be more efficient, right? The pain to get there is key. Like an overweight person who is trying to lose weight built up during the ‘boom years’, its not easy.

      DavidMcW>The demand for gold has skyrocketed in Germany over the past few days.

      Global demand for gold as a safe haven in choppy markets where many currency blocks have devalued (using QE) is not only a German thing but is a global trend. I dont believe that Germans rushed out to buy gold en masse or due to the Greek ‘crisis’.

      DavidMcW>Greeks are hoarding euro notes with German serial numbers. The assumption is that euro notes printed by the Greek central bank will be worth much less.

      This is a lemming effect, the blind leading the blind, all euro notes and coins are equivalent no matter which country they are printed in! Ignorance alas.

      DavidMcW> All the while, the euro is weakening against the dollar

      And what is wrong with a weaker euro for businesses and the economies of Europe and euro-land? Absolutely nothing, its GOOD news, not bad.

      You can have a good economy with a so-called ‘weak’ currency. Weak and strong are misnomers, better-valued (=weak) versus over-priced (=strong) are perhaps more accurate terms!

      DavidMcW> If an economy doesn’t grow but tries to pay back huge debts, it will turn into a debt-servicing agency

      But the debts have to be paid, its just a case of when. The ‘boom times’ were an illusion.



      • @Mk1,

        I think D’s arguments aren’t opinion so much as empirical data in support of evidence of economic decline that piled on top of external debt obligations make this decline a spiral downwards.

        “We can keep euro, we just need to be more efficient, right? ”

        Wrong, the debt spiral upward in tandem with the economic spiral downward means we cannot keep the euro unless taxpayers get ripped off by the Government and the banks.

        More efficiency is welcomed but at the cost of paying less for a public service expected to do more only draws money out of the economy.

        A more efficient tax regime with 60% tax rate on Ireland’s millionaires and high earners and tax exiles might help but will the foxes in charge tax themselves or halve the number of td’s and their salaries?

        Do we want to spiral downward attached to the euro anchor and the above scenario, or break free and get back to a fairer and more self sustaining model?

        Ireland blew the great euro experiment. Sadly without our incompetent Government and gambler bankers, it could have worked.

        Events this week may mean the choice is out of our control and we are thrown out of the club.

      • “(note: NAMA means that the market is being falsely supported from beneath and is anti-business and anti-competitive!)”

        Totally agree with this point. NAMA properties kept off market or in zombie state e.g. zombie hotels kept out of firesale is another screwing of business owners and young people in favour of a skewed market place that ups rents for property and land.

      • wills


        I’d agree with your counter points.

        I reckon though that D ‘s article is a deconstructionist exercise on the euro narrative.

    • Original-Ed

      You don’t have to be self-employed to be an entrepreneur, you simply register a company and the become an employee of it. Self employment is really only for sole traders and doesn’t lend itself to building an organisation. Okay, with a registered company, there are obligations like having to submit annual returns as well as tax returns and you may have to employ an accountant even though you’re small, but the advantages of a structured system far outweighs the extra demands when it comes to expansion. If all fails, you’re still an employee and are entitled to social benefits like all your employees.

      • pcor

        Not quite true; my wife is employed by my business; however she is also a director and thus not entitled to Social Welfare … we checked recently …
        I built up and sold businesses in the past, but it does not make sense in Ireland these days; if I decide to do something now it will focus either on US or Eastern Europe where there are still opportunities and signs of recovery …

      • LW1

        If you register a limited company and become a proprietary director of that company while also becoming an employee of your company you pay class S0 prsi contributions,just like a self employed individual which does not entitle you to social welfare payments should the company fail and you find yourself unemployed. So its not that simple as you put it G.

    • Bamboo

      RE: Auctioneer. I advise not to buy anything in “need of some work”. The cost of this work is usually very high and my experience is that builder’s rates and material haven’t come down at all. If anybody is interested in buying a property “in need of work “ I suggest getting a builder’s quote (even if you plan to do the work yourself) then subtract that quote from the price of the house and subtract the time and effort that is required to get the property in reasonable condition. On top of this – by the time you’re finished with the work the price of the property would have gone down anyway. So subtract that as well from your bid.

  4. European Commission management of the Euro crisis appears to be rudderless at the moment. Reports that Merkel had to be brought kicking and screaming by Sarkozy to the €750bn bailout table, plus Merkel’s alliance’s drubbing in local elections, plus all appearances the bailout has made matters worse for the euro, plus emergency meetings of eurozone leaders called for this week, all make the continuation of the eurozone in its present form less and less likely.

  5. ThomasFergus

    David, the establishment must be terrified of you. Anyone catch the love-in last Friday on the Late Late? Bertie’s old chum Bill Cullen rambling on about moaners, whingers and how JFK said we were the greatest people on earth……Keynsian stimulus for gombeen car salesmen and bankers, thatcherite austerity for the rest of us.

    • Pravda/RTE couldn’t block out the sound of silence from the audience when Rory described the emigration parties, or the newly qualified engineer two years without work, or the person scouring the adds doing everything, willing to do almost any work, unable to find it…..Ireland’s future bleeds away while our puppet Government becomes a debt collection service agency for Europe, …a Government of the bankers for the bankers

    • G

      Yes, if only the people were entitled to a house scrappage scheme.

      Nail the Greens publicly and have your mouth shut with gold.

    • Deco

      Eh sorry….I don’t watch the Late Late…..even if clowns like Bill Cullen show up to make fools of themselves…..

      Did anybody ask him any serious questions about his role in the Dublin Airport Authority, and the fact that the DAA met this recession by increasing the charges that they applied to the travelling public. That is not very business like, of Bill and his pals. It is more like the actions of a collection of gombeens. Even more ridiculous in the context that he has a hotel and it is doing much less business than previously…

      Bill wants Ireland to mean business… long as this means other people are doing the doing bit of the equation….

      • G

        Watched the segment with Cullen, Little etc (after yet another appalling interview this time with Alistair Campbell), string of generalisations, knock on doors, get up in the morning (4.00am of course, just like Condi and all the others), JFK, 800 years of struggle etc………as the French say: “La Ridicule”.

    • jay-joe

      Some one told me to watch this late late section specifically, Im no fan of tubbers generally. Have to say it pissed off greatly. Amanda Pratt telling people how lucky they were to be young and free… able to travel the world then come home ten years later with a wealth of experience. BS! Cant find a job, cant pay the bills more like young and with no other option but to emmigrate. Kinda the opposite of fredom no>?
      As for Bill cullen telling the ‘youth’ to go out and knock on doors, well Im not sure the 400,000 people on the live register have quite that many doors to knock on.
      Sending the out 200 Cv’s and knocking on doors with as Big bill precribes ‘a positive can do attitude’ when your constantly told to get lost is pretty much the definition of being delusional. Both of thee people need to get real and experience reality for a second, yeah it happened in the 50s and the 80s but their generation let it happen again. Lesson learned, I think not….

      • wills

        saw this drivel too on the late late and its real yes sir plantation stuff.

      • G

        Yes, thought Cullen was pretty vacuous, I have his book there but can’t find the will the go through it, whioch was probably speaks for itself. A lot of generalisations, maybe the guy did break his nuts, but if we were all up at 4am, selling cars till 10pm, there wouldn’t be a marriage left in the country, nor an environment worth speaking of – unsustainable business model- nor should people be forced to ‘prostitute’ themselves to the market, balance is key.

        Cullen whether intentional or not comes across as a champion of a highly exploitative system, his ‘knocking on doors’ takes no account of personal connections, assistance from others which he is bound to have got a long the way, it is a bit like the myth of the self made man, so integral to the Western capitalist model, we can’t all do it, his type of success is a bit like the lottery in terms of characteristics needed and ‘breaks’ along with the way, of course hours put in. I heard he is a decent enough man, but I just think he is either out of touch or he is deliberately being wheeled out for obvious reasons.

        I thought his comments could be construed as insulting to those in the audience, for people who had sent out 200 CVs, received 8 responses and no job interviews or others forced to upsticks and emigrate.
        Little seemed to make the same point over and over again, to be honest the panel and the interviewer struck me as the elite urging the bewildered masses on.

        The neoliberal system is the issue, the FF government is the issue, the banking elite is the issue, the great elephants were hardly touched on – all deemed too negative.

  6. HAC

    Its not to late for a real and lasting change which benefits ALL humanity!

  7. I read two things in the Sunday Business Post this week. The first was a “work to welfare” program that would allow unemployed to claim benefit and work, pay tax, if they also did community service. The Minister Eamonn O’Cuiv is at the very least being innovative and open to a more enlightened view of society that is not always black and white when it comes to operating with the Black economy.

    The second article I read was this one where he relates the struggle of a businessman on reduced turnover battling it out with the local council who insist on a higher rent for land that is rented to the business. The businessman is unable to pay the increase and the council refuses to reduce their demand.

    Is there perhaps compromise and a win-win opportunity to be had in all parts of society if there is a more open and innovative approach to resolving problems rather than trying to plug the cashflow issue of businesses or social welfare fraud reduction?

    What if the businessman were to undertake to provide the services of the machinery that are lying dormant on the disputed council rented ground and offer the use of that machinery in lieu of the extra cash being sought by the council. What is more that same machinery could be loaned out to the “Community Welfare to Work” sector of the community in which the businessman operates and the community benefits.

    In marketing terms the businessman gains much more than a reduced rent bill for the land, but a high profile within the community as his machinery is exposed on a more regular basis within the community and as such is more likely to be hired by members of the community as they need it in the future.

    You’re responsible to your community, to your customers, to your employees and to your suppliers. Serve them all and your rights thing tends to take care of itself.

    • G

      I find it astonishing that in a time of ‘national crisis’ and with lines from the IMF like: “The Irish economy is in the midst of an unprecedented economic correction. The stress exceeds that being faced by any other advanced economy and matches episodes of the most severe economic distress in post-World War II history” ~ that the government cannot pass emergency legislation whereby it dictates commercial rents and demands no increases.

      Labour’s Ciaran Lynch tried to introduce legislation pertaining to commercial rents in the Dail but it was defeated by 3 votes, so Micheal Martin’s lame performance on last week’s Frontline where he effectively washed ‘the governments hands of the issue’ by saying that rents were set by City and County Councils, is quite astonishing.

      It’s one thing having exacerbated a financial crisis by our own dealings it is quite another compounding it by failing to do the most basic things in the interests of the country as a whole.

      Still in hock to very narrow vested interests.

    • Re O Cuiv ‘innovation’, here’s the deal behind his innovation:

      1. Currently our zombie Government is blocking a whistleblowers charter that would protect those coming forward with information about institutional crime.

      2. Our zombie Government will not bring forward legislation to deal with white collar crime. This would have the form of a team of 3-5 special prosecutors knowledgeable on financial white collar crime, overseen by an experienced judge, or variant of this.

      3. Our zombie Government is blocking the election system itself by preventing bye elections in Dublin South and Donegal that will bring them down.

      4. Bankers/politicians responsible for the mess still in situ boosting their pensions in some cases, increasing their bonuses and salaries in other cases.

      • Deco

        I think that there might be a constitutional provision concerning by-elections having to be filled after a certain time limit.

        Cowen knows he is on a hiding to nothing, and is trying to shove everything out. Same applies to the GP, except they are better at distracting people from knowing it.

  8. Scruffy

    A few things have struck in the last few weeks.

    Ireland is more Boston than Berlin. But we all knew this. And, Ireland exports a lot to the UK.

    The actions by Europe to ensure peripheral nations can borrow and refinance their debt should be a net positive for Ireland. Lowering cost of borrowing.

    ECB buying bonds – well if they don’t make a good job of sterilisation then we’ll have QE and weaker currency – this is what the plunge in the Euro suggests.

    A weak Euro is just what Ireland needs, to export to its main markets of the US and UK.

    • G

      Funny was thinking of that line “Ireland is more Boston than Berlin” – have you ever been to Boston? It’s a small enough place, sure there are Irish there but that’s about it.

      She meant closer to Washington and the Washington Consenus/neoliberalism but she was probably looking for the alliteration and the not too direct comparison with the centre of US military and political power, didn’t want to give away the game entirely!

  9. Shop around? Private landlords?
    The penny hasn’t dropped their neither!
    I wanted to set up a small tourist orientated business in our local area, and like your business man I needed a place to store my units, these were water based units (paddle boats)
    I approached the local counsel as they have ample storage facilities in our area, just going to waste!
    I found the cost of renting out such facilities so expensive that it just was a non runner apart from the public liability insurance (another big story), it was amounting to 50% of my costs per year.
    I even approached a private property owner about storage on his vacant site, for a price of 25,000 euro per year I could have it, on top of that I would have to insure the property and pay the local charges, water, rates, etc .Total 85 to 95,000 in one year !( public liability 53,500 euro)
    The bottom line is it would cost me more to go into business than I would make out of the business
    The cost of doing business in this country is just plain ridicules
    So now I won’t be setting up in the first place.

    • Tull McAdoo

      “Your up shit creek so” sorry man ;-((
      Jasus i’ve waited all my life to use that line in that context. Again no offence intended.

    • The dreaded underbelly of NAMA is speaking to you there, inflated property and rental prices artificially propping up ghost commercial and residential property prices to maximise their transfer to NAMA value. Without NAMA the country would be awash with opportunities for you, the whole commercial/residential and land property market at the moment is a scamaranama ….fun starts when they begin to move/flood the stuff onto the market…..

    • Deco

      Thomas – that explains the problem with local authorities. They are supposed to be facilitators. And they sell themselves as facilitators.

      But they function increasingly as hungry parasites. They have gone completely overboard about their own sense of need.

      I bet they have a mini-quango in the local authority responsible for tourism, and another for job creation, and then another for enterprise, etc…etc….. The whole thing is dysfunctional.

    • Deco

      Mama Harney sez “shop around”.

      anybody not happy with the prices charged by the nail bars in Dublin, they can also fly to Florida to get one cheaper…..on a ticket from FAS…

    • Bamboo

      machholz, It sounds that you are storing e-voting machines. Remember the saga with storing these yokes and most of all who is paying and receiving the rent money.

  10. wills


    I reckon the last few articles are bringing the puzzle of the mess Irelands economy became very close to a clear picture of understanding for the average reader, so, excellent.

    The euro project and its cooking books opened the gates of a property Ponzi bubble scamaramadoo in Ireland and Spain and Portugal etc.

    The magical thinking of euro technicians over relied on human moral conduct, or maybe not, maybe the euro intelligensia knew the euro could be used as an excuse to centralize more power down the line, which has now arrived.

    Either way we are involved in a plotline full of intrigue, skullduggery and the rest of it and D drawing the story line out of the bits and pieces of info is really working.

    The picture is becoming clearer by the day now.

    The dots are joining up big time.

  11. AndrewGMooney

    I was concerned to read your article of 16 May 2010 headlined ‘A Matter Of Life and Debt’. My clinical observations and analysis are as follows:

    ‘Manic-Depression Economics’
    This Irish patient known as ‘F.F’ remains in denial with an erroneous self-diagnosis of imminent recovery. No appropriate medication regime is in place. Therefore, the prognosis remains grave. As you know, ‘FF’ had previously been placed under observation during a series of manic episodes which began in 2003. Whilst initially internally generated, it was soon discovered these manias were radically amplified by ‘street drugs’ sourced from economist-dealers who ensnared the patient into addictive metamphetamine-crack-cocaine-credit expansion. At the most florid stage ‘F.F’ even resorted to suicidal ideation, expressed as transference, whereby attending economic-psychiatrists were invited to kill themselves – verbally abused in a street patois as ‘cribbers’ and ‘moaners’.

    The patient refused to accept they were exhibiting challenging behaviour with difficult to meet needs, and discharged themselves to return to ever more extreme binges and manic episodes. We were unable to have them restrained under any relevant Economic Mental Health legislation. Having finally catastrophically crashed from these multiple manic episodes, the patient is now in a state of catatonic denial regarding the equally serious ‘depression’ element of their illness. The ‘antidote street drug medicine’ – the ‘Euro debt-deflation-heroin’, has tranquilized F.F’s pain for now. But this addiction blocks out any therapeutic cathartic irruption which could engender a dynamic healing crisis. My advice is that the patient goes ‘cold turkey’ from this Euro-Heroin, as you suggest. Despite the dangers of such a drastic treatment plan.

    Dr AndrewGMooney
    St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane

    ‘In the midst of life we are in debt, etc’

    • Deco

      Andrew – concerning FF – Family Firm – I see that the Labour Party (the original of the species version in Britian that is) is deciding between two brothers for it’s leader….does this not seem strangely amiss given for a country of 60 million inhabitants ??? Is there that much of a talent deficit that it is a choice of one of the two Millibands ? Hilarious this is the type of showdown that is avoided here in case it would make a political party look like it was a family firm….

      Britain’s got talent ? Well, there does not seem to be near enough in this extremely crucial area….

      • G

        Thought the same, two Milibands, two Bush’s, two Clinton’s, dynastic nature of Irish Politics on all sides of the house………perfect illustration of narrowness of the system and the ‘faux choice’!

        • AndrewGMooney

          Deco+G: David & Ed are both absurdly talented, even if David is slightly tarnished by his association with the discredited and now departed Blair/Brown ‘Greenspan-ism’ nonsense economics regime. I’m looking forward to a real ding-dong debate to decide the future of the centre-left here in the UK.
          Very relieved there was no Lab-Lib pact with the Welsh/Scots Celtic fringe elements throwing their rattles out of their prams. Alex Salmond is sorely pissed, so something good has come of this bizarre election.

          George Osborne seems intent on crashing the £ with his scare stories so it could get pretty lively here, now the UK is following the path of budget deficit O.C.D like the rest of the EU. The UK economy is still in intensive care so it’s a risky call to make. I told friends that Darling was a surgeon, Osborne a trainee butcher. I’m not sure the ‘private sector investment strike’ is actually over in the U.K. We’ll see if Osborne’s up to the learning curve as he hits the ground running, etc.

          After the UK election, it will be fascinating to see if there’s finally a surgical operation to separate the FF/FG conjoined twins between now and 2012. Bruton has gone ‘off message Eurosceptic’, so I wonder if Gilmore can lure FG into a centre-left(ish) alliance? After the U.K has been Con-Dem’d to 5 years of the Ant & Dec show, anything seems possible….

          • G

            I wouldn’t get too excited by David Miliband’s ‘genius’ or ‘absurd talent’, this seems more cult of the leader of stuff, which has led to appalling places i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan etc

            Miliband made a spectacle of himself during the Georgian war and made some very provocative and inappropriate comments with not a moral leg to stand on given British actions both in the historical and contemporary sense, he was after British Foreign Minister and as such was spokesperson for two illegal wars which have killed millions and led to millions of more injuries and refugees, that is the absurdity.

        • AndrewGMooney

          G: ‘I wouldn’t get too excited by David Miliband’s ‘genius’ or ‘absurd talent’

          AndrewGMooney: What?

          I didn’t use the word ‘genius’ in relation to either David or Ed. Also, I didn’t say I was ‘excited’ by them as ‘cult leaders’, but that I was looking forward to a debate on the future of centre-left politics in the U.K. A slight, but rather important, difference. When you say ‘this seems more cult of the leader stuff, which has led to appalling places i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan etc’, I assume you mean George W Bush and his poodle Tony Blair? David Miliband is explicit in stating that Iraq was a mistaken war based on flawed intelligence. However, he did not make the decisions, he just had to deal with the aftermath:

          Georgia was/is a complex debacle. Unravelling complexity is not best served by simplistic analysis. The fact that Saakashvili was exposed as an opportunistic chancer doesn’t negate the equally bogus commodity-price inflated sabre-rattling of Medvedev. Thankfully the game-changer of Shale Gas will reign in Russian expansionist fantasies, preventing them from responding to every provocation within the tinderbox of the Caucasus with the backstop threat that they can pull the gas plug to Western Europe. Not any longer. Hence their frantic efforts to form OPEC-style cartels with such democratic luminaries as Iran and Qatar:

          Tell me, G, how do you feel about Russia and Chechnya? *rollseyes* You state that David Miliband has ‘not a moral leg to stand on given British actions both in the historical and contemporary sense’: Is this the usual ‘victim script’ whereby the behaviour of ruling aristocratic gangster cliques of previous centuries can lazily be appended to the peoples of modern Britain? It cannot. Britain is a bafflingly complex experiment in post-colonial multicultural complexity, reconciliation and renewal. As well as being a fading residual military power. Someone of calibre has to engage with these issues. William Hague is hardly likely to rise to the myriad challenges as well as David Miliband has done. If there is a future, its’ name is London. And I’d do a little more research on David Miliband before lazily implicating him in some tiresome colonial meta-narrative:

          ‘Born in London, David Miliband is the elder son of Jewish immigrants Marion Kozak, from Poland, and the late Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband, who fled Belgium during World War II. He has said “I am the child of Jewish immigrants and that is a very important part of my identity.” Both his Polish Jewish paternal grandparents lived in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw… During his visit in Poland in June 2009, Miliband visited his family tomb in the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw. He also stated that he is ‘one of the million Britons who have Polish blood’.

          Tired redundancies about a presumed ‘Saxon foe’ who no longer exists. Meanwhile the ‘neutrality’ debate rumbles on:

          I’d love to hear the name of a rising politician in Ireland you’d like to similarly champion and validate as potential political leader to unleash Ireland’s future potential. Who is that person?

          • Deco

            What has he done that suggests he would make a good Prime Minister ?
            Are there any candidates outside of members of one family ?

            He is favoured by the BBC and the Observer because of this assumption that he can be Blair 2.0. But, does the world really need another Blair ? (and yes some are cynically claiming that Cameron and Clegg are both trying to be Phony Tony also – in fact Cameron is being called Blair-lite, and Clegg gets labelled Blair-Plus). The British political options are being narrowed down to personality clones of the Phony Tony….Even the Dolly the Sheep must think this is a joke….

          • AndrewGMooney

            Deco: If either Miliband becomes leader of the opposition, that is the time when they establish credentials as future Prime Minister. Or not. ‘Are there any candidates outside of members of one family?’ Yes, other than the Miliband Bros, there’s the other family firm of Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper who are married. I had hoped Yvette and Alistair Darling would take on the challenge, but both have declined for reasons I cannot understand. I agree with you about the danger of style over substance. Brown is not a ‘performer’. Clegg or Cameron are, but you can be sure they wouldn’t dream of risking themselves in live ‘debate’ with either Ed or David. They’d be eaten alive. It’s a depressing scenario. From Bertie and his make-up expenses, to Blair and onwards. Reality T.V Elections. Video Killed The Political Star? Enough of Britain.

            Who is going to lead Ireland through the crisis years ahead? When I watch Enda Kenny I see a pleasantly photogenic middle-aged man who could just as easily be hosting a quizz show. I do not see a politician of substance or depth. When I see Brian Cowen ["I'll run this place as I see fit!"] I wince. To return to David’s final point: ‘If we keep going this way, Ireland will end up with a huge EU-subsidised public sector, a small but highly productive multinational exporting sector and hardly any domestic small businesses in the middle. ‘

            David recently wrote about a 2 speed Ireland, here he’s outlining a 3 speed Ireland. I think his analysis is spot on. but, ‘cui bono’? This article is great because it links the local to the geo-political. Ireland will be supported so long as the Euro remains functional. It’s in the interests of both America and France/Germany that there’s an Anglophone bridge between Eurozone/US to negate the absence of Perfidious Albion. But I also agree with David that this stasis may no longer in the interests of the ‘Irish People’ as a whole. Greece can never repay those debts. Everyone knows it. The US/EU/UK bondholders who made malinvestments in ‘Ireland Inc’ will just have to write them down and allow the Irish economy to re-emerge. This scenario applies worldwide, including the Chinese ‘sunk’ investment in the US.

            Anyway, I will be ‘retiring’ from this site for a year or two now. Other calls of duty. I’ve really enjoyed the debate. I’ve struggled to understand ‘economics’ but it’s been worthwhile. I hope the UK ‘experimental’ Con-Dem’d Coalition is effective, but I’m not optimistic. I hope a new political reality emerges to allow Ireland to reconfigure itself to new realities. But, again, I’m not optimistic.

            When I was growing up, some Irish people told me they mourned for their homeland and longed to return. Others told me they never looked back, they were glad to be free of the whole corrupt, clericalist cliques who ran the place. Everyone of them insisted I was ‘Irish, really, beneath the Brummie brogue’. It deeply saddens me to witness events as they unfold, but it appears the nay-sayers of my youth were right and the nostalgic returnees of Birmingham Irish now face the tender mercies of Harney’s HSE, whilst their children possible re-emmigration.

            I hope my health lasts till I publish ‘An Irish Childhood In Birmingham’. I think my position will be vindicated. Namely that the truth about Ireland can only be found in those who were ‘volunteered’ to leave. From the 30s to the 50s to the 80s to the 00s: Ireland is closer to Birmingham than Berlin or Boston. That’s not just a physical fact of geography. Brummies were bombed by Nazis, ridiculed for their accents, had their industries decimated by Thatcher, yet they remained stoic and dignified throughout. Just as all those Irish people I grew up with did, as they faced uncertain futures in exile from their homeland.

            It’s wonderful to feel so linked to two such different cultures. My parents came from the heart of Ireland to the heart of England. And they found that the values they had were shared by the Protestant pagans they had been taught to fear and loathe. Reality is complex. Simplistic solutions usually generate more problems than they solve.

            Ireland needs to pull out all the stops this time. I really, really hope that recovery happens. If DMcW’s analysis is wrong, I’ll send Lenihan a box of chocolates on his behalf! Sadly, I can’t see how David is wrong. He was a media pariah for calling the housing debacle. Now he’s calling the Euro/NAMA/ Sovereign Debt implosion debacle. I hope he’s wrong. But I fear he’s right.

            If you get to scan this comment David: Thanks for the books, tv shows and the blog. Hope the play is a success. Enjoy raising the kids. That’s as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned, although my dog gets a look in too.

            Money is ‘energy encoded’. But so is Love. Economics is both immediately and ultimately about the power of Love.

            So -goodbye, or possibly: Farewell!
            AndrewGMooney aka:
            ‘mad Paddy from Brum’
            20:12, 20/12, 2012 ?

          • G

            Georgia is complex but Iraq and Afghanistan can be waved away as a mistake – such hypocrisy.

            What do I feel about Chechnya?

            Well like Iraq and Afghanistan, it was no ‘mistake’, it was however an international war crime, one of the worst under the definitions of customary international law, namely that of aggression, which both Iraq and Afghanistan also both qualify. As Chomsky points out, if the Nuremburg principles were applied those involved would face lengthy prison sentences if not worse (he actually said every post war US president would be hanged for war crimes).

            I was not talking about the historical crimes committed by the British Empire (which are also worth mentioning but no need as Irish people are well versed), I was thinking of the crimes being committed yesterday, today and the ones tomorrow, illegal actions in the two aforementioned countries. Here is one of them, just one of countless ones

            I do not condone Russian actions, but I do understand them, I wonder how the US would respond if it found itself ring fenced by a ‘Warsaw-like Pact’ with military operations taking place in Canada (similar population to Iraq) and Mexico, plus an ‘incursion’ over the border into Texas, hmmmmmmm……………

            Miliband is awfully quiet on the Palestinians, and is a well known Blairite, and we know what that represents. The left within the Labour party know what they have in him hence the reluctance to support him.

            Saakashvili was arguably urged on by false Western promises (joint military exercises) giving a false sense of security, the West knew its hand was overplayed as contrary to intelligence, the Russians proved themselves well organised and moved swiftly, you can argue the merits/demerits of same if you wish.

            International relations is a highly cynical game, where countries ally themselves with those deemed suitable, you talk of the Russian bloc with Qatar which is on a par with the US and Saudi Arabia. No ‘great power’ has clean hands. But US actions (along with the subservient British partner in crime) in the Middle East and around the world have not made the world a more peaceful place, it has dramatically increased risks, and this is according to their own intelligence agencies.

            To paraphrase Norman Finkelstein, I don’t accept the crocodile tears for the Holocaust as not so subtle justification/reasoning for contemporary international war crimes; I always get suspicious when such things are raised in these contexts.

            You have an overly literal take, you should see the central thrust, which is international war crimes have been committed on a grand scale by the West which make Georgia look like a side show (not that that excuses that act either).

            The false choice of Conservative/New Labour, one business party masquerading as two political parties is a perfect metaphor for the state of democracy in the West, not too dissimilar to our own Dail.


            Full Documentary – American Radical

          • Deco

            Andrew – you must agree that there is something wrong with a political party that is searching within one family for a leader. It is a bit aristocratic almost. The fact that the outside contenders are all inside one family is even more absurd. There is something severely dysfunctional about the (British) Labour Party if this is the way that they carry on.

            I disagree with you concerning Gordon Browne. I think he was a disaster. And Vince Cable has basically said this already, saying that Brown left a mountain of problems hidden for the new administration to celan up. I just hope for the sake of the rest of the Brummies, that it gets fixed.

            I think you will agree with me when I say that Vince Cable has been far more honest in his political career than Gordon Brown.

            As regards Enda Kenny or Kenny lite. As he said after a career in politics lasting 35 years years, when he got criticism over George Lee being used as a FG ‘show pony’…..
            “I will tell ye now….I know what I have to do…..from now on….I am going to be myself”.

            (Exactly who has he been for the last 35 years).

            and forget about Gilmore. He is Bertie Ahern 2.0. Everything you’re agin, Happy Gilmore is agin. And everything you are for, is in favour of two. That is what is known in politics as a man of great political ability. In real life it describes a complete liar whom nobody can trust. In other words, Bertie-Ahern-like.

          • AndrewGMooney

            G: Thanks for those links to Chomsky, Pilger and others. You write with great passion and I respect your perspective even if you don’t value mine. I live in the U.K. As part of the election process, I’ve been trying to locate the least worst ‘ethics’ of any potential leader of this country. And, in this thread, I’ve been speculating about the same question with regard to my ‘ancestral homeland’ of Ireland. I have often fantasised about ‘returning’ to Ireland, but recent visits have show me I’m just chasing a childhood dream of safety in a world gone mad.

            Sometimes I try to engage with the ‘realpolitik’ of MSM coverage of events. Perhaps you’re right and this is simply immersion in duplicitous propaganda. I celebrated Obama in his victory. I, initially, celebrated a centre-left victory of Blair in 1997 as some relief from the years of Thatcherite discord. I find it very difficult to absorb the implications of some commentators that you link to, that all of our leaders, present and potential, are part of a vast conspiracy of organised evil with no intent other than to murder, maim and destroy others at the slightest whim. It may be naieve, but I sometimes try to understand their worldview as something that is credible to them, that may have some logic other than slaughter, and that I may be wrong in my more pessimistic ‘doomer’ periods. Basically, I often think we’re fc-uk’d all round. Economically, politically, socially, ecologically. Kunstler. Bageant, etc. However, I’ve suffered serious bouts of depression since childhood and so I have to question these periods as possible evidence of illness rather than insight. Most people seem more content than me most of the time. Is it my psychology that’s causing me pain, or are they just deluded? Leonard Cohen was recently asked about how he viewed the state of the world today. He said something like “Looks like a butchers block, probably always did. Probably always will”.

            I think there’s a real difference between misguided foreign policy and deliberate genocidal operations. There’s no excuse for Abu Ghraib, Gitmo or cluster munitions. But there’s equally no excuse for Osama Bin Laden and his plan to vaporise London or New York:


            I try to consider all points of view. I’m not dogmatic or fixed in my opinions and I’m open to persuasion and debate. That’s why I’ve enjoyed taking part in this blog debate over the last few years. I’m aware of my inconsistencies and contradictions, but I see them as a strength to avoid dogmatic fixation.

            The situation in Ireland now seems so depressing and is likely to unfold here in the UK too, that I’ve decided to switch off the ‘analytical screens’ permanently and get outside in the sunshine to enjoy whatever time I have left on the planet, even if that’s a selfish indulgent betrayal of those suffering elsewhere. I won’t be commenting here again as I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable thinking on a country I don’t live in and visit too infrequently. I appreciate your perspective. You make some excellent observations whilst trenchantly expressing your opinions. So, thanks for that. Best of luck for your personal future. And I hope our collective futures don’t turn out to be an endless re-looping of history’s slaughter, mayhem and madness. I try to keep perspective and embrace humour….


            but sometimes, I wish I’d never had children…

            I regret the absence of Ireland from World Cup 2010, but I’m looking forward to 3 Lions looping at every pub in England this summer:
            Three Lions 2010 feat. Robbie Williams, Russell Brand, Baddiel and Skinner:


            It’s possible to be English and Irish. English and Pakistani. English and just about anything else. Ditto ‘being Irish’. That is the path of peace. Everything else is War. Hybridity is the new complexity. If there is a future: It’s called London. And, within a generation, the recent immigration to Ireland means a samller conflux of cultures and tribes will either transfigure Dublin or tear it to pieces. I hope it’s the latter. And I hope the Eurozone thing can be resolved. The UK does 60% of trade with it. Ireland does a lot of trade with the UK. We’re all in this together. Like it or not. All the best.

        • Josey

          Clegg is related to Tzar Nicolas II, the Milibands came to Britain from Communist Russia via Germany.

          Eton, Royalty and silverspoons. The elite never have let go of power, it’s inter-generational and very familiar.

          • G

            And Cameron is a relative of the Queen, what a web we weave.

            But we need not look too far for cosy relationships, see ‘our group of 40′

            TASC – Mapping the Golden Circle

          • Deco

            Thanks for the link G.

            I seen articles before in which Senator Shane Ross described the “incestuous network of relationships that exists on the boars of the major companies on the ISEQ, and the Semi-state sector”.

            Amazing in a country that is geared up for the knowledge economy, that so many old farts happen to be double-jobbing.

            And you know something. That picture is only about 1/3 of the picture. Throw in relations and school pals, political parties, sporting clubs and previously held directorships and you get a real spagetti plate of nepotism.

            It could also be called an abstract form of the K-Club golf course. Because so many of the participants in the diagram are patrons of the K-Club.

            Or maybe it should be termed the skeleton of IBEC.
            Time to end IBEC’s corporate governance of Ireland.

            If those rioters had any brain in their head they would attack IBEC HQ, not the Dail. The unelectedand unaccoutnable power in Ireland comes from IBEC. And nobody takes them one.

          • AndrewGMooney

            Josey, David Miliband went to a state funded comprehensive. No silver spoon. Just hard work and self belief.

            G, thanks for your detailed response. I’m wrapping up here on this site but hope I can respectfully but firmly respond as follows, whilst complimenting you on the tenacity of your arguments. I’ve discussed your replies with David (Miliband, not McWilliams :-)

            Iraq and Afghanistan are entirely separate issues. Post 9/11, Af-Pak initially involved the legitimate attempt to police criminal asymmetrical terrorist criminal gangs given sanctuary by Mullah Omar and other such progressives trading as ‘Taliban Inc ‘. It had legitimacy as a criminal investigation, not as a war, despite the delusional syntax of a ‘War on Terror’ preferred by the Bush/Blair hybrid demon. The tragedies of the Swat Valley evacuation are just the latest horrific consequences of the failure to direct absolute overwhelming will-to-power to blast Osama and Taliban Inc to smithereens in Tora Bora, and thus expel the alien interpolationslator/invader as in Al-Qaeda. The ‘Taliban anti-imperialists’ carry on burning teenage girls to death for the heresy of attending school, the poppy fields still need to be scorched by teenage boys from Bedford and Boston. Osama still needs to stand trial as a criminal murderer. It’s protracted, messy and dubious due to the tarns-regional energy supply matrix map situation; But is is really credible to validate a reclusive mediaeval Mullah above the tide and flux of Western Civilization? I think not. Matt. Trey. South Park, etc.

            Iraq has no relation to Afghanistan, in its’ vanity and hubris it represents the implosion and bankruptcy of the Neo-Con ‘Project For The New Century’. Rave on, Karl Rove! I cannot sensibly see how this is attributable to David or Ed Miliband. -raises eyebrow-
            Let’s not forget Stalin and his rather interesting solution to the Chechnyn problem.. I don’t recall post-perestroika politburos denouncing his pogroms. Or did I miss something? If you want to discuss the aristocratic gangsters from Cromwell onwards who repeatedly reduced Ireland to ruin you need to begin by discussing the indigenous Irish traitor warlords who facilitated the repeat famines, dislocations and enforced emigrations. Don’t bother with that absurd ‘national anthem’ and ‘Saxon Foe’ baloney. Hang on, doorbell rings. Oh, it’s Kevin Myers and Ruth Dudley Edwards popping round for a game of darts……I note your continued silence on the Shannon Rendition shitty-stick Situation.

            Oh, and careful with Russian paranoia. America is watching. There’s some serious nutjobs in Arizona who do, indeed, feel surrounding by hostile alien invading armies: ‘In Arizona, just say no to Latino heritage’


            ‘The meek vs the geek: Brothers Miliband battle it out. Their famous father Ralph was a Marxist, but David and Ed tread a centrist path.’


            I repeat: Forget Britain. This blog is about Ireland. I can assure you that right here, right now, there’s a young Polish boy/girl in Dublin or Waterford who is transfixed by Ed and David Miliband. And they won’t be hamstrung by the incestuous niceties of the FF/FG hybrid conjoined Eraserhead baby. They will just grow up amidst The Crisis then seize the moment, and lead Ireland to an impossibly unexpected realignment. Could also be a Lithuanian or a Brazilian. The ‘Agent of Change’ is unlikely to emerge from within the incestuous Galway bukkake orgy tent. Of that, you can be sure.

            ‘Miliband is awfully quiet on the Palestinians’. Nonsense. He’s also extremely vocal about a rapid Turkish pathway to the EU so Britain doesn’t experience a demographic crisis:

            ‘David Miliband in showdown with Israel over West Bank goods’


            Norman Finkelstein appears to be perilously flirtatious with identity, recoiling from the world-historic dramaturgy of Holocaust. Rebellion against inherited identity politics (non-white,, Jewish, Muslim, Irish) can provide temporary emotional ventilation, but still leaves it to the grown-ups to organise the body bags on the battlefields. Yet again.
            The most depressing aspect of Ireland in 2010 is the loss of cultural confidence and the obsequious pandering to the new financial clericalism elite of rating agencies and so on. Sinead was right: PTSD as Cultural Script.’You have an overly literal take’. No, I have a ‘lyrical-satirical-surrealist-art-terrorist take’ I am the Cultural Taoiseach of the Post Collapse wasteland. I am The Second Uprising of 2016. And, I mean it….man!
            ‘The false choice of Conservative/New Labour, one business party masquerading as two political parties is a perfect metaphor for the state of democracy in the West, not too dissimilar to our own Dail.’

            I agree with this analysis. Except that ‘Next Labour’ as David Miliband calls it in dismissive disregard of ‘New Labour’ grasps the critical necessity of A Living Wage For All. I cannot see the Trustafarian Notting Hill dinner party clique of Cameron and Clegg agonising as to how single mothers and fathers in Belfast, Birmingham and Boston(Lincs) struggle to survive the coming balanced budget fanatic O.C.D ‘efficiencies’. Ditto D4 dinner party cliques are unlikely to agonise about social welfare crises as they rip the piss out of Vincent Browne.
            My first contribution to this site was a completely off the wall linkage of Hindu philosophy with Joseph Schumpter’s ‘creative destruction’. I remember hitting the ‘send’ button thinking , oh dear, that was a bit off the wall, But it turns out my initial analysis of Ireland Inc was hopelessly timid in its’ questioning probing. This is a great site. Better than wandering around pubs in Dublin trying to find out what’s really going on. Wish you all well. Hope it all works out. But really, I have to get ‘match fit’ now. 20:12, 20/12, 2012…..Connaught Square, Digbeth, Birmingham, Eng-Eire-Land…..


          • AndrewGMooney

            Goldbug, thanks for the link to that Fox News report on Afghan opium. As the ‘blowback’ of narco-terrorism reaches across the Rio Grande, the question arises: Is Mexico the next Afghanistan? Decriminalise cocaine and heroin, create a ‘managed market’, buy up all the available crops and instigate a comprehensive amnesty / treatment programme for users / addicts in every possible country. The ‘war on drugs’ policy thinking needs to evolve alongside new policies to contain assymetrical terrorism. War is fought to be won. You can’t ‘win’ a war against ‘drugs’ or ‘terrorism. Al-Queada? You just have to neutralise it with genuine Islamic civilisational progress.


            Obama has to roll back the catastrophic foreign policy errors he inherited from the Bush/Blair regime. He has to begin a dignified roll-back of the delusional C21st American Empire before it bankrupts the U.S. The ‘arc of instability’ that Wolfowitz and other criminal charlatans thought would ‘protect’ American pre-eminence had put it in mortal danger. Thus was the planetary empathy after 9/11 squandered.

            There are some battles worth fighting (tracking down Osama, vanquishing the Taliban, facing down Mexican drug warlords, Somali pirates), whilst absurd opportunistic ‘regime change’ adventures like Iraq must never be countenanced again. ‘Playing the Chaos Card in the Middle East’:


            Bush/Blair destroyed the trust of a generation in progressive foreign policy agendas by their manipulative ‘mental reservations’ about WMD’s in Iraq. David Miliband was up to the challenge of addressing these nightmares. There was a concerted campaign to get him to lead on this for the entire EU, but his heart is in becoming Prime Minister of the U.K. Thank goodness, given that Alistair Darling and Yvette Cooper seem to have given up. ‘David Miliband tells EU’s foreign chief how to do job he rejected’


            So, why am I banging on about David and Ed Miliband on a blog about Ireland? Because I cannot see any equivalent talent rising through the incestuous conjoined twin ranks of FF/FG. I don’t live in Ireland at the moment, so I don’t follow every nuance and inflection of debate. At some stage the current regime will stand down / be swept away. Who will take over when Cowen and Lenihan step down? Enda Kenny?! Is Gilmore really an agent of confrontation and change, or will he just enter a compromised alliance like the Greens? Maybe there could be a poll here on the preferred choice for next Taoiseach?

            Ireland is no longer ‘neutral’, it is subsumed under the rubric of EU foreign policy no matter what was pretended to advance Lisbon2. Shannon Airport is not a ‘neutral’ refuelling stop. Full stop.

            To conclude: Hoping and praying for massive recovery leading to sustainable future prosperity for the islands of Britain and Ireland. Hoping and praying for the end of centuries of delusional thinking and adversarial ‘patriotic’ national identities based on historic ruling elite cliques. Cliques to be replaced by win-win alliance of the myriad tribes of these fascinating islands. Now the cancer of religious bigotry has been exposed if not fully excised: The possibilities for the future are simply immense. Ireland really is closer to Birmingham than Berlin or Boston.

            Many thanks to all contributors for providing a fascinating education on present day Ireland. It’s helped me lay the ghost of my father and grandfather to rest. And the ghosts of those who died in the Birmingham Pub Bombings of 1974. Helped me to write ‘An Irish Childhood In Birmingham’. Best wishes to all in the turbulent years ahead. Goodbye. And thank you.

          • G

            @ AndrewGMooney

            Too many comments to make about your post, simply don’t have the time to challenge the inaccuracies.

            Suffice to say, reducing two countries to the Pentagon abbreviation Af-Pak says a lot as do other comments which hint at the benevolence of the Western mission in pursuit of criminals and narco-terrorists, all pretty Imperial.

            Let us be under NO ILLUSIONS the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are illegal and are the scene of appalling war crimes.

            John Pilger once again nails it better than I can………..

            “For Clegg, as for Brown and Cameron, the horrific weapons used by British forces, such as cluster bombs, depleted uranium and the Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of its victims’ lungs, do not exist. The limbs of children in trees do not exist. This year alone, Britain will spend £4bn on the war in Afghanistan. That is what Brown and Cameron almost certainly intend to cut from the health service.

            Edward S Herman explained this genteel extremism in his essay “The Banality of Evil”. There is a strict division of labour, ranging from the scientists working in the laboratories of the weapons industry, to the intelligence and “national security” personnel who supply the paranoia and “strategies”, to the politicians who approve them.”

            Full article – Warmongers of the world, unite

          • G

            @ AndrewGMooney

            Also worth picking up a copy of Edward S. Herman’s “Triumph of the Market”

            Here is an extract – The Banality of Evil (deniability or following orders just doesn’t cut it with me, part of the system, then part of the system)

            On Shannon, well I would agree with Chomsky’s comments in the Mark Little ‘interview’

  12. SM

    I’m considering taking any surplus cash out of my business bank account and buying gold and silver with it. Not certificates, but actual gold and silver if possible.

  13. paddyjones

    Public spending has to fall if we are going to get back to growth. I know this year we will cut another 3 billion maybe more but the real issue is to start repaying the debt which will only happen post 2014. It is all happening at an incredibly slow pace it is like slow death, I wish we could take this pain as quickly as possible so we can start again. That means downsizing the public service and increasing the private sector.
    I don’t think the public servants understand the problem. I spoke to two nurses over the weekend and they both bitched about the cuts with absolutely no understanding of the issues. I explained to them that it was the EU who are demanding the cuts , they are in the driving seat but they still don’t get it they just demand more and more.
    It is only when they are faced with unemployment that they will begin to get it. They take home 3 or 4 grand a month while a nurse in Poland takes home 200 euro a month.
    I wish we could cut all of the deficit now and stop this messing about waiting until 2014. The bond markets will seize up long before then and the ECB cannot buy any more government bonds. Here in western Europe we have gotten used to an expensive lifestyle we must now cut back and the sooner the better.

    • Dilly

      I know people who are on 70/80k a year, and they complain to me, that they have no money. They say they are struggling. It scares me, becasue it makes me realise just how crazy things are in Ireland. What ever happened to the simple rule “spend less than you earn”. We are in for one hell of a correction soon. Someone called it “the great unravelling”. When people earning that much money cannot get by, we are truly screwed. But, when you try to explain this to people they look at you like you have two heads. Everyone seems to think they are entitled to more cash, simply because they are Irish, and we are the greatest nation on the planet.

  14. Financial Suicide by Stealth :
    Am I reading correctly what the newspapers are saying in relation to contributory pensions being made ‘means tested’ ? Contributory pensioners have always paid PRSI over 40 years in some cases and its system qualifies the recipient / beneficiary the Contributory State Pension.
    Are they seriously considering to Stop this ?

    • Black Cat

      One of he aftershock programmes said there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the younger generations to the older generations, and then they say that our generation will have to pay for the older generations pensions as well as our own. If people don’t need the money why give it to them, I’m sure they will take it off only the very wealthiest. I know some very comfortable pensioners with undeclared incomes on the side, the scams and tax evaders should be dealt with and means testing may be a way to expose some of it. The younger generations can’t be made to take all of the pain.

      • jay-joe

        Anecdotally I see this were I live.
        A retired couple built a house in their back garden (Urban Dublin) so not a big site, maybe on the 200k mark. Leaving a 4 bed semi-d wich was sold for 575K to a guy in his mid 30s with a family. The older couple are both former state sector employees with, I know, relatively good pensions. The guy in his 30s is paying I would guess upward of 2k a month just on his mortgage. Painful sure, but also his tax is paying off the pensions of those he bought from, while the literally sun themselves in his back garden. The younger guy I feel needs the money slightly more given he has kids, and their quality of life both in terms of what their father provides via his own income and the benefits they receive from the state via his taxation (schools, healthcare ect) are perhaps mitigated by the fact the older generation are so secure and have, for all intents and purposes huge disposible income based on the younger guys debt and future tax commitments. When you consider the difference in wealth between these neighbours (in a working class area) there is perhaps 1 million euros of a welath gap between mr 30 something and his debts, and mr 60 something and his retirement fund. Dont know about the morals of it but it seems that anyone born after 1970 is pretty much just sitting around waiting for their parents to slip off the mortal coil just so they can clear the debts which the owe to that paticular generation. In the mean time the kids go to substandard schools while the infrastructure of the state they live in is neglected. All in all a bit of a disturbing prospect I think, especially given the Govt will take a nice bite of inheritance tax at the end…..

        • paulmcd

          “In 1973, a report by a Government-appointed committee (the Kenny Report) recommended that local authorities should be empowered to acquire land for housing for which the owner would receive its current (typically agricultural) use value plus a maximum of 25 percent.”

          The Wm Cosgrove FG Government of the time failed to implement the Committee’s recommendations – the vested interests of too many landed gentry at stake.

        • Black Cat

          I found the quote about it from the sunday business post – doesn’t sound too worrying. My last two landlords were pensioners with multiple properties bringing in rent and farm land to boot. It seems unfair that a person earning minimum wage with large outgoings on rent/mortgage can’t even get a medical card yet an elderly couple who have everything paid for on 1400 a week can. Its just not fair to the young.
          Meanwhile, the minister also spoke to The Sunday Business Post about possible cuts to the state pension. He said his budgetary assessment could not ignore the state-funded pensions of those over 66 years who were also earning significant sums in the private sector, citing bankers as an example.

          ‘‘Many contributory and non-contributory pensioners have nothing but their pension,” he said.

          ‘‘However, it is possible to have a very significant private income and also be getting a contributory pension.

          Once you’re 66, you’re entitled to be in full-timework and get a contributory pension.

          ‘‘Someone on €50,000 to €100,000 a year should not be considered ahead of unemployed families that have a big mortgage. I don’t think I could rule out this group of people [high-earning pensioners] without a backward glance.

        • wills


          Great link here on the baby boomer economy wreckers by freidman.

    • Deco

      Cowen and the GP are softening us up for more tax increases. They have released statements in recent days concerning “the need for more revenue”.

      We are about to see taxation kill off what is left of the Celtic Tiger. We might do well to study how the originalof the species, the Tiger economies of East Asia coped with a debt crisis in 1998.

      A country that is similar in population and reliance on external trade is Singapore. Singapore also makes an interesting study, because it does certain things completely opposite to Ireland. In regards to property it is the direct opposite to Ireland for example. The streets are clean. The crowds at nighttime are civil and sober. The government is transparent. The state is efficient. Transport is very efficient.

      Did Singapore adapt to the 1998 crisis by taxing the life out of the economy ? Did te Sing equivalent of Vinnie Brown berate the Irish for not having more riots ?

      Did South Korea decide to increase it’s cost base ? Did Taiwan ?

      We are programmiing our economy to the point that it will become a costly and uncompetitive place to do business. And the taxes, and charges are not working. In fact they are driving behaviour the other way, and are costing a fortune to implement and police. (But then maybe that is the idea, drive money into quangos and state bodies to take charge of these issues ??)…

  15. Deco

    For the past few years there has been a lot of talk about “giving more power back to local authorities”. Now if you give power to local authorities, you have the take it away from somewhere else. I assumed, rather naively, that this meant a reining in of the excessive centralization that exists in Ireland. This is a good objective, because it removes/undermines the role of local TD as glorified county councillor. Surely such a move would result in councils becomming more thn talking shops and politicians could think about national policy. Surely the state would operate more efficiently without having TDs lobbying several arms of the government to get a few street lamps installed.

    Well, that was the PR presentation of what happened. That was the theory.

    The practice is clearly different. Really central government did not hand over any significant power. Really, all that happened was that a serious of jobs were created in the various local authorities. (As you can imagine staffing these positions was hardly meritocratic). Lots of local taxes and levies were in place. (So that local authorities could be self-reliant). And the central government seems to have let councils rack up enormous debts, without giving them any sunbvention.

    Some councils used this freedom to absurdly. They went imperial. A classic example was provided in David’s book concerning Nenagh. Mullingar also provides an outstanding example of the need to build a complex that could run four counties let alone one.

    The councils are as broke as municipal authorities in the US Sunbelt states. But still they must continue to function. So they are literally taxing everything that movesunder their remit. Officially Ireland is a low tax country. But as Eddie Hobbs said the other year when having a good sneer at the Minister for Fun (now called Johnny Cash) – that is a load of nonsense.

    Local authority tax regimes actually create a barrier to entry into business. Local authorities also provide enterprise boards to encourage entrepreneurial activity. It is bit like sticking the car in gear and having the handbrake on. The purpose is to perpetuate the myth of their own signifigance. And if they can get away with that they can provide jobs for the boys.

    The problem is that it is actually causing us more inefficiency than it is worth. Which is why the cars are all speeding down the M1 to get stuff cheaper in the North.

    We operate at a cost base that cannot compete. Nonsense from Michael Martin, Calamity etc.. about us being in higher value services is not rubbing off. It sounds great on the RTE news, but the people are marching with their feet. If people want to restore business in their own town centres they have to be loyal to their own providers. These businesses provide jobs for local kids who want to go to college, and keep communities alive. But the behaviour of local authorities, as if every drop of juice must be squeezed out before they will relent is making things much, much worse.

    Ireland is not an efficient place to do business. And most of the time (though it is changing as David’s example shows) Ireland does not mean business. The performance of the government in the SR Technics debacle shows us that we either mean business or we become losers. The media seemed more interested in the fact that Michael O’Leary wore runners to meet government ministers. Superficial nonsense needs to be forgotten about. The problem is that the state in it’s various forms has become obsessed with superficial nonsense. Like going Imperial on the building programs. Or having all these bodies to encourage enterprise to divert attention from the harm that other parts of the government are causing.

    We have fall in love with sophistication. We need to stop all the BS, and fall in love with simplicity, otherwise we will never get out of the quagmire. I would not count on that happening however.

  16. Deco

    I think we have a cost problem, and it has nothing to do with the Euro. If we dropped the Euro in the morning and went for Punt 2.0, the same inefficiencies and power based economic rent seeking regimes would remain in place. We would be uncompetitive with a devalued currency. The only thing is that oil and other imports would be more expensive. The capital base would be depleted. Cash would be scarce. And Irish people would live outside a hard currency regime. If anybody thinks living in a hard currency regime is tough, then try living outside one.

    • Deco

      But either way, whether inside the Euro or outside the Euro, the sacred cow that is the Irish concept of lifestyle is in for a very serious and harsh reckoning. If we protect our productive economy we might be able to generate enough wealth to preserve some form of civil society. Unfortunately this is a big jump down intellectually for a culture that has been toxified with stupidity about the importance of pride since CJH rose and learned how to press the national emotional button.

    • Deco

      We had our own currency in the 1970s, and that solved none of the problems that we are facing now. In the end we got clobbered when the inflation ended.

      And that is the problem. Inflation is an option that is exercised until an economy is bankrupted to the point that it can no longer function. Britain in 1979, Ireland in 1982 being prime examples.

      • liam

        Whatever way this is cut, one comes to the same conclusion every time. We have a system of Government which is unfit for the task of 21st C leadership, the primary evidence being the shower of self-interested fuck-ups that pass as public representatives in Ireland. Until this is fixed, changing currency, fiddling with the tax system, dissolving of the banks etc won’t make a jot of difference, we will be in the same position again in another 20 years. And 20 years again after that.

        • Deco

          Well, actually maybe “blaming the system” is not enough. In fact it is a soft way of analyzing it, as if to say “nobody is to blame” (because we don’t want to undermine anybody’s self concept).

          The people that operate in it, and that are in charge of it have a lot to answer for also. There is a statement “behaviour breeds results”. There is a behavioural problem also.

          • liam

            At the risk of this becoming a circular argument, people adapt to their environment and it turns out that Irish politics selects for swindlers and cute hoors. Make no mistake, I’m not absolving anyone of blame, yet I don’t see the Gardai beating down the doors of any bankers or politicians either.

            We will be in the same position again in another 20 years and 20 years again after that, because we have been here before and done nothing about it.

  17. Local Authority Tax ( a’ la dalkey supreme ) :

    sea View Tax .1%
    cockle smell tax .1%
    a waves roar tax .1%
    U2 sound tax .1%
    musical fame tax .1%
    vroom vroom tax .1%
    organic food tax.1%
    bella sorrento a’ caprese tax .1%
    talking shop cafe tax .1%
    rugby club badge tax .1%
    poodle poop tax.1%
    piddle doodle water tax .1%
    roseanne mug tax .1%
    negative equity tax .1%
    church tax 0%

  18. Malcolm McClure

    Full marks for shoulder to the wheel, Deco, MK1, cbweb, laughingbear, AndrewMMooney et al.

    Why is the applecart not moving? Because it’s upset and lying on its side.

    David diagnosed this problem above when he wrote
    ” the marginal euro in tax revenue goes to pay the rotten legacy of history, rather than to build the foundation for the future”.
    IMHO we need a Bonfire of the Vanities, get rid of non-productive politicians and public servants, tear up all the contracts and treaties and start afresh. Done quickly and cleanly, in five years we’d be well ahead of where this applecart is taking us.

    • Deco

      We also need to cull the quangos. And getting rid of some government departments would also be a good idea. Forever. We don’t need a department of Forestry. The trees will grow themselves and department officials will not make any difference. And it should be part of agriculture. And so on.

      The problem is that you will see quango-crats doing everything int their power to justify their need to exist off the tax revenue base. The time for reforming it was when Ahern was going around blowing it upand making it into an imperial mess.

      Government in Ireland is far to complex. The professions have a vested interest in complicating everything.

  19. Bareme du Terre :
    Merrion Square Mandarins are, as we speak, constructing a new ‘bareme’ for Irish property tax and will be a fixture to be applied all over the country.There are going to be essentially two taxes on properties namely :

    D Living debt
    D unLiving debt

    Essentially the Landlord pays the owners tax as in its present form to be amended and the occupier will pay another tax .Eventually an apartment with a bareme in Dalkey will cost €2,000 pa with the breakdown to be 60% and 40% respectively.

  20. starseed108

    Just to say that Richard Dowthwaite, living in Mayo, an alternative economist has written great books on a way to run the economy that works! I wish they had listened to him, before they went mad for money. We all know that walking on the beach and playing with the dog gives us more pleasure than the drive often out of fear to have more of this that and the other!

  21. Alf

    Hi David,

    Bleak stuff indeed. The Euro rose then quickly dropped after the EU announcement. I believe the ECB policy has effectively locked in the vicious cycle of deflation that you outlined. I believe this realisation is some of reason for the decline but also that the debt guarantee will eventually force to a zero interest rate policy.

    The Euro-zone problems are unique in history. We have a policy of states guaranteeing banks and now in return the banking system guaranteeing the same states. Added to this, there is unique inability for nations to stimulate their economies with newly minted cash. Economies badly new fresh money but existing bank cash will likely flow to buy ‘ECB-guranteed’ government bonds. The combination of low interest rates and guaranteed juicy premiums will effectively freeze credit from the citizens while keeping the banks and governments happy.

    It’s like a game of musical chairs with the citizens left standing.

  22. Tim

    Folks, Very interesting research from Tasc showing the real Golden Circle in Ireland – (via Constantin Gurdgiev):

    • wills

      Tim, thats one hell’va link there, jebus…!!!!!!

      • Just was about to post it. :o) Thanks Tim

        Note that this is just one single Layer, the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

        Due to the lack of information available on other sectors of the economy, this
        research provides a snapshot of a wider ‘golden circle’ that is yet to be fully mapped.

        • P.S.

          Now put the tea-shocks and others diaries beside it…. No further comment!

          • Tim

            laughingbear, you can get the diaries at:



          • Put this in context that Ireland was / is the center of european hedge fund carrousels, with advisors like Maples & Calder and the likes….

            Further consider that the same people are still acting by the choice of our FF overlords… page 40

            Take into consideration that no protests are staged on a scale that can be called significant enough to bring this to an immediate halt….

            Note that Cowen and Lenihan in conjunction with the G20 and Euro Bureaucrats brown nose the IMF and literally invite them…..

            Well…. Canada is an option, Ireland is not.

          • P.P.S.

            As stated recently to a friend, the real best are not the markets or speculator or bank managers or golden circles, …. but the people of a Nation who know it and do nothing, they are the REAL beast.

            Pretty much all I have to say about it.

          • LW1

            Could you please inform me of what groups in Ireland are capable of organising mass demonstrations to voice the peoples unrest and disgust at what is hapening in this country to the ordinary men and women who pay the taxes this government has , is and will continue to squander for the foreseeable future. I ask because everybody seems to be disgusted with the situation but there is no one leading or organising any sort of protest and I want a voice. In France they demonstrate on a regular basis who leads and organises these types of march , why does it not happen here? If we don’t do anything nothing will change and it will be business as usual for the elite.

          • liam

            LW, understand your frustration. I would ask the question what exactly would the purpose of these demonstrations be, beyond a basic expression of anger? I don’t believe the Greeks are in a better position despite their robust activity. We need a far more intelligent approach to this problem.

  23. o Tull McAdoo
    Ref 8
    I believe it’s up the creek without a paddle and no offence taken!
    As for the E – voting Machines, I’m not in the golden circle lads, and the circles I hang with would try and flog them back to the state as fine pieces of art with historical value and energy efficient, as they will never be used and they can put one in every town square in Ireland (for a small price and a sizable donation to the local big wigs of course !)
    Anyway, things are not that bad I still have a few bob and I will try something else without having to lick ass in the town hall
    If these people ever had to work for a living they would suffer a stroke.
    never mind in case any of you want to vent some frustration out on the political establishment then come along to the Dail to-morrow evening 19.00 hrs and help tell the crooks inside we’ve had enough of them!
    Anybody looking for a lift from Wicklow Town I’m your man with a car!
    Contact me at 0860666321

  24. Tim

    Folks, good ol’ Constantin’s been busy with the BoI rights issue today:

    Exclusive analysis of Bank of Ireland rights issue: how much did we lose on our original investment?

    • Deco

      As usual nobody in the Media picked up on the fact that the taxpayer got screwed again. And then we have the dividend from AIB which got turned into shares, because AIB could not let the cash out.

      The media are too busy licking up to the banks. They might pick on the odd banker like Seanie, or Fingers. But they never damage the “good name” of either of the Duopoly.

      “Don’t offend our advertising sponsors”.

      Well done Constantin once again for seeing what others choose to deliberately ignore !!

  25. Tim

    Folks, some good news: Linkedin to setup International HQ in Dublin:

    Well done, IDA! (and well done Irish workforce!)

  26. Tim

    Folks, “Would Ireland be sticking to its current course of fiscal rectitude if there wasn’t some guy called Gunther or Franz to answer to every Friday?” (via Stephen Kinsella).

  27. Tim

    Folks, on the Frontline shortly:

    Michael Kennedy (FF), Brendan Howlin (Lab) Constantin Gurdgiev & Brian Lucey

    … worth a look?

  28. “”If we keep going this way, Ireland will end up with a huge EU-subsidised public sector, a small but highly productive multinational exporting sector and hardly any domestic small businesses in the middle. Is that what we want?”"

    I’d humbly say David, that if you wrote this a year ago, it would be timely.
    But today, it is actually what we have, in effect.

    • Original-Ed

      I can see us becoming an EU back-office type economy like Scotland is within the UK, processing welfare benefits or some other state functions.

      • wills

        Already are, on the news today, UK and Ireland putting up stiff resistance at new EU legislation on Hedge funds.

        Apparently Ireland is a ‘back office’ for the ‘City of London’ hedge funds, go figure eh,..

        ..brings us back to my hypothesis last year that Anglo was a bridgehead for the city of london.

  29. Remember this??
    There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!.
    My feelings – as usual – we will slaughter them all.
    Our initial assessment is that they will all die.
    I blame Al-Jazeera – they are marketing for the Americans!
    God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis.
    They’re coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks.
    No I am not scared, and neither should you be!
    Are these the Americans? People remain silent and placate the Americans. By God, they only deserve scorn. We slaughtered them yesterday and we will continue to slaughter them.
    I told you yesterday that the shock has backfired on them. Indeed, they are shocked because of what they have seen. No one received them with roses. They were received with bombs, shoes and bullets. Now, the game has been exposed. Awe will backfire on them. This is the boa snake. We will extend it further and cut it in the appropriate way.
    We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid.

    Right. Now read this.

    • O’Neill said in a Bloomberg interview from his London office yesterday. He predicts the euro, currently around $1.2375, may fall to as low as $1.20.

      Well Mr. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Global Economist Jim O’Neill, watch it going below 0.80 cents come summer 2011 or even earlier!

  30. axel therepy – the pull of the Full Moon is beginning so brace yourselves .Its a mighty force .Crack & Crumble will make headlines while Bluff & Bluster will remain on the sidelines and Wright & Rong will be the menu du jour .

  31. stiofanc02

    Hey does anyone know what happens to my tracker mortgage if we leave the €uro? I have a simple plan to get people off of trackers but am afraid to approach the banks as they will steal my idea. It is a win win idea for everyone but dont want to get shafted by those low lifes. Anyway, if there is some knowledge about what happens to trackers if we leave I would love to know. By the way if you havent seen David in a live setting go to the Abbey. Saw him speaking (for free)in Dungarvan 2 years ago and he is great.

    • roc

      If you have a viable idea to get people off trackers well you can be sure the banks would be more than happy to keep you in comfort for the rest of your life!

      But if you’re a born and bred entreprenoor sharp enough to really maximise your gains and turn yourself into a billionaire from your valuable idea, then you might patent your idea as long as you can demonstrate an inventive step that would not have been obvious to anyone else.

      Then you can charge the banks to the hilt for the use of your idea and become the next Michael O’Leary, god bless you!

      Isn’t the knowledge economy great!

    • LW1

      I think you should keep that idea to yourself and leave me keep my tracker ,one thing that actually makes me smile when I think about it.

  32. I got to see on Pravda/RTE last night
    the PBS Frontline documentary on Brooksley Born, ‘The Warning’ a must see to understand the creaking boat full of OTC Derivative holes the American economy is sailing in at the moment.

    Also should be seen against Obama efforts to regulate the Over The Counter Derivative Market in the US and Osborne sensitivity on more regulation of hedge funds in UK

    “Alice in wonderland of derivatives, a big creaking time bomb”

    “Expect repeats of the financial crisis, significant disasters because of this regulatory gap in setting up regulatory frameworks”.. to manage these through the 90′s till now.

    • wills

      Saw it too cbweb, really good info on the backstory to the ‘supposed’ ‘unexpected’ collapse of this CDO pyramid scheme, NOT!!!

      These paper maker loopers knew it was a POnzi scheme from day 1, and spoofed they did not, and made a mint on it, BILL CLINTON and his team knew.

    • Black Cat

      Thanks for the link to the Aftershock series, no one could watch the one about the ghost estates and not say that FF have not ruined the country.

  33. Posters & taxpayers,

    From Gurdgiev

    “But what about taxpayers’ buy-in into BofI under this deal? Well, if the value of this offer is negative at the buy-in price of 55 cents per share, think what the value is for the taxpayers, who bought at €1.80 per share! Ok, let’s do the maths: we have post-rights price of BofI at 81.9 cents, for which we paid 180 cents – the net return is the loss of 98.1 cents per share bought by the Irish Exchequer… Amazingly, there is no reason for this loss whatsoever – as an existent shareholder in the bank, Irish Exchequer is entitled to participate in the same deal offered to all current shareholders. we, therefore, could have limited our losses to 24.75 cents per share from 81.9 cents per share and still done the same deal!”

    Forgive my stupidity, am I missing something here? According to Gurdgiev, we bought at €1.80 per share and according to him we could have bought at post-rights 81.9 cent. If the buyin price was 55 cents, then we could have limited our losses to 26.9,according to my Math, not the 24.75 cents per share he mentions?

    Also, anybody like to do a layspeak on post rights and what is going on here? Plus any other info that makes this more transparent.

    So, is the Irish Exchequer not entitled to a refund?

  34. Velocity to Debt – I must be very frank , this week I have never sensed the acceleration of the demise to the dark bottom pit that I am experiencing with people I am meeting and observing around me.It is frightening .
    I am questioning everything I ever learned and attempting to prioritise them some other way.Essentially my mindset is on ‘ a subsistent closed system’ that is tax free and without any ‘hard currency’.I am thinking of ‘people with a belief system ‘ such as quakers , amish , monks etc .We have to start again at the beginning of values and learn to treat them with reverence.
    There is ‘Life and Debt ‘ in hard currency but outside that there is none.

    • wills

      John ALLEN.

      It seems to me what you maybe bearing witness to is an inherent obsoloesence within the power structures kicking in.

    • wills

      Some type of quantum evolutionary shift ‘kick in the ar$se”.

    • Can’t eat money, can’t drink coins, can’t make love to a portfolio, ain’t no such thing called sustainable, what’s left is the fact of interdependency and respect for all creation that would open a door to different values for common good.

      • Black Cat

        Hear, Hear, we may have to go through a prolonged period of suffering first though. I would like to see us growing our own food like the cubans do

        • Went shopping today, green beans from Kenia, Parsley from Israel, tomatos from spain, etc etc.

          Yup, I fully agree, it would be nice to have more farmers markets that offer local produced high quality food, from eggs, fish, veggies to cheese, cutting out super value and the likes.

  35. Deco

    Prof Paul Krugman discusses the parallels between US debt levels and Greek debt levels by saying that there are few parallels.

    Quotes from Krugman that you should check in 12 months time.

    { US has a much lower level of debt }

    { the US has a clear path to economic recovery }

    { The US economy …finally…is producing jobs }

    { Britain — which is in worse fiscal shape than the US }

    { So here’s the reality: America’s fiscal outlook over the next few years isn’t bad. }.

    Well, there you have it.

    I think that Nouriel Roubini is far more accurate in his assessment of the situation. Roubini’s assessment is that the US is worse than Greece. Taking into account that many US State Administerations (NY, NJ, CA, Illinois, NV, NC) are teeting on bankruptcy, and many US municiplities are also in serious trouble. Then there is the website which basically states that the US government is fudging the figures far worse than either the Greeks.

    America is not Greece. There are 40 Million Americans on food stamps. And this number is rising every month. No such statistics exist for Greece. And besides Greece is sufficiently small to be manageably bailed out.

    • Deco

      I have come across this link. This is another commentator who comes on the side of Roubini, and is contrary to Krugman. (And if he is contrary to Krugman, then he is contrary to the current US Administration. In the Western Media currently, criticism of the current Obama/Geithner/Rubin Administration is not tolerated).

      Anyway you can listen to Taleb for yourself and decide.

      Taleb expects the US Treasury Bond market to be unable to find a buyer. When this happens the US Fed will (print money to) buy the bonds. Then after an interval – based on the velocity at which the new money hits the system, and where it goes in the economy, there will be a bout of hyperinflation. After which there will be more failed bond auctions. (I am suspicious that the Bank of England have been doing some of this already – witness the latest UK inflation statistics. And I am also suspicious of the US Fed Reserve doing the same thing in the process rescuing Wall Street. And the ECB has not got to the point of deciding that it is policy – with the result that Germans, Dutch etc.. are chasing gold.).

      Also another update – the German authorities have banned short selling. We did that about the same time as Anglo went under, I think.

      • AndrewGMooney

        Thanks for that link Deco. At 9:28 Taleb says David Cameron ‘understands the problem’ and he seems hopeful he can sort out the UK mess.

        I’m surprised, given that Cameron seems to fudge and compromise at every turn, reneging on his ‘cast-iron guarantee’ over Lisbon Treaty, jumping into bed rather than sticking to hard-core Tory values in a minority gov before seeking re-election for a full mandate.

        I sincerely hope that Taleb is right and that Cameron fulfils the ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ script. He says he’s a ‘one-nation Conservative’ and seeks to hold together the factions within the Dis-United Kingdom. I wish him well. Particularly with regard to Northern Ireland. I can’t see how he can ringfence it from the cuts without causing mayhem in England. And I can’t see how he can withdraw extraordinary public funding without causing mayhem on the island of Ireland. I assume he will slash UK corporation tax to Irish levels at some stage to try and ignite an Ulster Tiger? Sadly, I think he’ll be torn to shreds by the Rabid Right in his party for the ‘treachery’ of forming a coalition with the liberal democrats, Con-Dem’ing the UK to a 5 year fixed-term Parliament of fudge. I wanted a 3 way coalition, Gov’t of National Unity. I think it will happen at some stage.

        Anyway, I keep saying I’m done here! So I’ll finally shut up. Have always enjoyed your contributions whilst not agreeing with them. Best to you and yours in the turbulence ahead.

        • Deco

          I hope that Taleb is right about “cometh the man, cometh the hour”. But we are talking about a politician here, and there is every chance that it will be only talk.

          That phrase “cometh the hour, cometh the man” was on billboards in the run up to the last rugby world cup with a picture of a prominent Irish rugby player. And when the hour came, the said rugby play was completely off form in training. A national newspaper broke the story that he had massive gambling debts, and all sorts of problems going on in the background. The rest of the media rowed in behind him. It was bad for the “Green Jersey” nationalism. It was bad for the lemmings.

          And then six months later the rumours about the gambling were admitted, and the said player admitted that he went into it in the wrong frame of mind. But during the event, the only thing that mattered to the media was that everybody was watching and that advertising revenues were maximized. And a compassionate sheen was put on the whole thing. One man does not win a tournament or save a country. It takes a team of committed individuals with ability and guts to get it done. Team Cowen is a beta version of Team Ahern, and Team Ahern were for a long time lucky way beyond their level of incompetence.

          At the moment most political leaders are in fear of the bond markets. In his book The Ascent of Money, Neil Ferguson states that everything, at the end of the day, depends on the bond markets !!!

          If NI tax levels come down, which is likely, then we could be in trouble here. We have not mastered the economy, part of knowledge economy. This is visible from yesterdays job losses.

        • wills


          So far cameron is on message and sticking to his guns. Give him a chance you might be impressed.

    • Deco

      Here is an article with Roubini latest comments concerning the bond market.

      Roubini is giving an extremely stern warning to the US in particular concerning it’s debt levels and borrowing binges.

    • coldblow

      Deco, thanks for the link. I heard that for once the US media have been going on about Europe, something they usually ignore. This is how the article begins:

      “The real goal of US conservatives in hyping the Greek crisis is to dismantle the American social security system… It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, and the crisis in Greece is making some people – people who opposed US healthcare reform and are itching for an excuse to dismantle social security – very, very happy. Everywhere you look there are editorials and commentaries, some posing as objective reporting, asserting that Grreece today will be America tomorrow unless we abandon all that nonsense about taking care of those in need.”

      That’s a bulls eye.

  36. wills


    EU offering new legislation on Hedge funds.

    Stiff resistance coming from City of London and also of all places, POnzi Rep of Ireland.

    The news today reports Ireland is the, I quote, ‘back hedge fund office of the city of London’.

    Now there is a topic to brainstorm.

    • Black Cat

      Can you explain it more simply

    • Do you have url for that?

      see here?

      Tussle over Eurozone wanting to set up new clearing house banks for hedge funds to be located in the Eurozone e.g Paris rather than London.

      Do we know if Anglo was acting as an investment bank for CDS and derivative trading?

      If it was, and its loan book is exposed to hedge funds trading on derivatives, if it defaults it could cost many multiples of its present liabilities to both itself and other gamblers in the market, meaning its liabilities could be far more than stated?

      The whole hedge fund business is so interconnected if you pull one string the whole Emperor’s suit of clothes comes apart?

      • wills

        too right cbweb.

        Also, is Anglo in of itself a CDO skip to close it s doors when it is wound down as is happening with the gov funneling in the back door taxpayers monies for Anglo to honor its depositors closing their accounts.

        • Never thought of it like that, but your right. Basically they’ve turned Anglo into a CDO hedge fund primed with taxpayers money to pay off depositors/developers maybe the one’s who actually made billions selling useless scams during ponsi time and other actor gormless banker players like Dukes, who let’s face it, hasn’t a clue what’s goin on behind his back.

      • Black Cat

        Thanks cbweb, useful link

    • Deco

      As a kind of a backroom dealership in all sorts of funny financial ‘products’.

      Of course the problem is that when you criticise our regulation standards, you are effectively saying that a defined number of Irish people will have to do without jobs. That is something I am reticent about.

      And besides, raise the rules here, and the business will only go elsewhere.

      • wills

        I disagree,

        Adam Smith would disagree too.

        The only way to liberate free market capitalism is to reject its rigging and scamaramadooing and show through example the magic of the free market working.

      • Deco

        Wills – I take your point. Regulation is no gaurantee that things will not blow up every now and then.

        And besides the interest rates have been regulated, and the inflation statistics have been fudged all over the place. And this is a form of regulation.

        In fact artificially low interest rates is the perfect tool for generating perpetual asset bubbles. Just look at the career of Alan Bubbles Greenspan.

        • wills


          I think my take on free market capitalism as I see it does involve regulation though and its true nature.

  37. wills


    You posted @ 14,
    ‘Local authority tax regimes actually create a barrier to entry into business. Local authorities also provide enterprise boards to encourage entrepreneurial activity. It is bit like sticking the car in gear and having the handbrake on. The purpose is to perpetuate the myth of their own signifigance. And if they can get away with that they can provide jobs for the boys.’

    A cult is running the affairs of our society and siphoning off the productive sector the riches it produces in order to get away with its cult vices.

  38. Tim

    Folks, this is what Gurdgiev said on twitter:

    “My old Prof. John Cochrane on Greek Bailout in today’s WSJ – a must read!”

  39. Tim

    Also, especially Ruairí, you might have some thoughts on this piece, re gold peaking:

  40. paulmcd

    Taxpayer Funds Being used for WINDOW DRESSING

    It seems all the banks have been using an accounting technicality to generate false profits.

    • paulmcd

      Clearly, our banks should have been put into administration immediately. I have no problem with depositors being refunded or having their funds transferred to a good bank but bondholders should not have received a penny.

      To tell you the truth, I was not aware that bondholders were covered by the Government’s guarantee.

      Lenihan and his henchmen are proving very effective at hushing things up.

      BTW, what was the final outcome of the FG move to force the “Government to introduce legislation to cause, with immediate effect, the cessation of the payment of Ministerial pensions to members of both Houses
      of the Oireachtas”? Was a report on the outcome carried by RTE/PRAVDA news?

      • wills

        Also, are not the bondholders merely hedge funds and mutual funds and international money lenders who suck in all the monies any ways into their econ system hidden away behind the castle walls out of sight from the fiat paper money econ system the rest of us are al in.

        • paulmcd

          What irks me is that there are likely to be very rich, tax-evading, Irish citizens among the bondholders who will use the services of lawyers, if necessary, as intermediaries and who will hide behind off-shore corporate entities.

          Lenihan must realise this, but typically he has his head buried in the sand.

    • paulmcd

      These “profits”, of course, are more than overwhelmed by the massive losses; but they serve to rig the game as far as tier-one capital ratios are concerned.

      • It would be interesting to see the detail of what exactly tier-one and tier-two capital reserves the Irish banks hold, tier-two especially interesting, what paper based CDO’s paper hedge fund based money, if any, they’re holding backed up by Moody’s AAA and the like?

        Why buy these bonds back especially now with the euro falling and risk of default increasing?

        • paulmcd

          As far as I can judge the banks can buy in a multiple of the taxpayer injection because the uncertainty relating to the status of Irish bank debt means that the bonds are trading at substantial discounts to their face value. I am assuming that they are shown at face value in the books.

          A bank can therefore replace 3-billion face-value bondholder claims on assets by throwing away a fraction of this amount in our taxes.

          Thus the face-value amount becomes part of the State’s stake – the tier 1 stake – in terms of claims on assets; and the tier-one capital ratio is “improved”.

          100% of our taxes used in this manner is money lost in a needless way. The nationalisation should never have happened and the bondholders should be wiped out.

          • @paulmcd

            Thanks for that. I need a further explanation though:)

            “A bank can therefore replace 3-billion face-value bondholder claims on assets by throwing away a fraction of this amount in our taxes.”

            My understanding is that the original taxpayer stake at say €1.80 per share had preferential rights to avail of a repurchase of shares discounted to €.55 per cent share.

            See gurdgiev blog


            I’ve made an effort to probe this but the finer ins and outs I’m attempting to make sense of them here.

            What I understand from your post is Government i.e. taxpayers injection was valued in terms of bonds to the value of say €100 * X.

            A buyback of those bonds because their value has declined allows for a
            greater number to be bought back meaning as you say “tier 1 stake — in terms of claims on assets; and the tier-one capital ratio is “improved”

            Because the bondholder claims on assets are reduced in the buyback, proportionately the taxpayers stake in the bank goes up?

            Re “100% of our taxes used in this manner is money lost in a needless way. The nationalisation should never have happened and the bondholders should be wiped out”

            Totally agree. We are turning taxpayers into bigger zombies than the banks. Banks should be allowed to fail. Instead, we are propping up incompetent management, a bank with a failed business model, instead of letting them go to the wall.

            What we’re doing is allowing the contagion effecting the banks spread to taxpayers. Moral hazard is breached.

            There are plenty of banks worldwide with better business models than our own zombies that could come in and do their job, at much less cost to the taxpayer.

            Instead we get bankers whose bank accounts, salaries and pensions should be frozen and administered by the State , who should be fired and standing before the courts, getting poured a fountain of taxpayers money while taxpayers get screwed.

          • paulmcd

            @ cbweb
            Gurdgiev is looking at the issue of new ordinary shares to help with the recapitalisation of the banks. I have not looked closely at this, but assuming that existing ordinary sharesholders (excl Govt) will be buying at a more highly-discounted price than the Govt, using taxpayer funds (or accepting shares in lieu of dividends due to State) then this is clearly a bad deal for the taxpayer and amounts to a government subsidy of that portion of the cake held by remaining ordinary shareholders. The Government is doing its utmost to avoid the label semi-nationalised being applied to Bank of Ireland.

            My comment on BONDS applies primarily to ANGLO or any other “covered” institution which leveraged through the issuance of bonds in the past.

    • Deco

      Gurdgiev warned that state banking policy is transferring debt from private sector banks who behaved recklessly onto the taxpayers of the country. And this is now what is exactly happening.

      And nobody says anything. The media have said nothing concerning the behaviour of the Bank of Ireland. Bought out once again for the advertising penny.

      • Media? You mean the media that refuses to report on the trilateral meeting that took place in Dublin last week? That media ;o)

        • Deco

          Media – plural term, the singular of which is mediocre :)

          The greatest flaw in modern society is the assumption that the media are in any way objective. They are not. You have to take everything they produce with an ounce of scepticism. And the greatest joke of all is this tendency to categorize a half baked discussion as analysis. Especially if it designed to take place along expected lines….


    I was talking to a Jim today, a carpenter who installed the kitchen an other stuff here. Of course we talked about this mess, his business is at a virtual stand still.

    Astonishing to me, he told me that he knows of two places where he lives, where FF stands in front of the church and collects for the party, and…. people throw money at them.

    He called them ‘die hards’ and thinks there are a great many around in deed. He must know, he is Irish, I am not.

    Can’t really comment on this, other than shaking head in disbelief

    • Dilly

      Where i am originally from (west), FF still have plenty of supporters. I know it is scary, be afraid !. When ever I talk to these people, the conversation always comes back around to ‘”Da Boys”. They are all hoping that there will be a sudden recovery in the economy, and these people who kept the faith in FF will be first in line for a “dig out”, or a few strokes here and there. This is why they have stayed in power. Everyone is trying to get their fingers into that greasy till, and they are so deluded, no one has realised the till is empty.

      • Do you think that around 25% of Irish population still fall into that ‘da boys’ group?

        • liam

          The thought that such people exist makes me depressed, but what can you do. I think though that these types must number very few in terms of the total population. FF are welcome to scattered regional and rural power centers, I can’t see many in suburban Ireland subscribing to this kind of thinking.

          btw laughingbear, hurry up and sort out that website! I wanna see more of your work.

  42. Tim

    Folks, an interesting convergence is occuring, eadair DMcW, Max Keiser, Roubini and the facts before our eyes and ears:

    You should listen to @maxkeiser and his latest podcast.

  43. paulmcd


    Extract from letter I sent to Members of the Oireachtas, last November

    “. . . I predict that Boucher will be allowed to keep the extra €120,000; and Colm Doherty, the new AIB Managing Director, will recognise government weakness and ensure that, in the fullness of time, he will receive the €630,000 which the Minister rejected last week.”

    Now read link below from yesterday’s Independent:

    EXTRACT from article: “Mr Doherty is getting an annual salary of €500,000 and a cash allowance of about €148,000 instead of a contribution to his pension fund. He is set to announce in the group’s forthcoming annual report that he has withdrawn from the AIB Group pension scheme.”

    So last November Brian Lenihan announced publicly that he would limit the salary of the new CEO of AIB to €500,000 in accordance with the CIROC report.

    Now we learn that the CEO will receive €648,000 – €18,000 more than the sum the Minister originally rejected last November.

    As you will learn from reading the article, Mr Lenihan’s Department would not disclose this information.

  44. Tim

    Folks, LRK, via twitter:

    “€ seems to be consolidating below 1.22. Guess German actions mean that all there is left to short now is the € itself. Could get messy..”

    Furrylugs, I hope you are watching.

    • The All Seeing Furry has the Eye on it all.

    • Deco

      It actually suits Merkel fine to allow the Euro to get cheap. We are entering a double dip recession (check Roubini’s latest comments, the budgetary problems in US states like CA, NJ, IL, – or check the price of copper). The stimulus plans are wearing off on the continent. But somebody somwhere has to keep buying Beemers, right ? So the Euro drops. The Greek crisis is dragged on for months. Spain finally gets the message that it needs to stop wasting billions. Italy ignores the message. And exports from Germany, the Netherlands, etc..continue to maintain a slow steady supply. And Merkel has less of an unemployment problem. Of course there is the problem of the price of oil – but that will go down as a result of a double dip recession anyway.

      Oh, I have just remembered….nobody in our government is talking about preparing for the double dip recession…..all they ever talk about is preparing for the recovery.

      I just hope that you have all wised up to the official Ireland version of what is going to happen by now. Believing what you are told is a recipe for disaster.

      • nobody in our government is talking about preparing for the double dip recession…..all they ever talk about is preparing for the recovery.

        I just hope that you have all wised up to the official Ireland version of what is going to happen by now. Believing what you are told is a recipe for disaster.


        Of course not, our government is too busy defending their record of incompetence and cronyism as the one and only government who would have tackled the inherent economic problems which they – ROFLMAO- did not see coming, and the opposition is too busy bickering instead of organizing large scale demonstrations in this country.

  45. ‘ A matter of life and debt’ –

    I am reminded of the days of a long ago when I was twelve and I entered a fishing competition in Atlunkard Rowing Club on the Abbey River , Limerick .This is an area steeped in fishing and rugby and packet & tripe .I had decided to enter for the fun and fishing was not something I was then use to .I borrowed a bamboo stick and some gut and an old reel .Many were along the banks and seem to know where to go and had live baits that looked so juicy .I had none and had no idea where to fish from.I walked around to look for a worm and eventually found a very small one under a stone and placed it on the hook .eventually I caught a small roach and it was so small I put it back into the water .Others were catching good fish and I was not.I knew I was not fishing in the right spot or did I have proper bait.I decided to fish over the sewerage pipe and I tied on my weekly allowance of six pense that had a hole in it .I had received it originally from the bicycle repair man as change and had no idea what to do with it .I had no worms now .
    Eventually I caught the biggest fish, – Bream and the largest lot of fish all big Bream.
    I was asked how did I do it and I said I had decided to give my fish a choice by giving them money and then they could spend it to buy any kind of bait they wanted.
    Somehow it worked and maybe you can eat your currency afterall.

  46. @Tim 42

    Great link. Max Keiser in top form:
    “Short the euro, hedge fund assassins, naked short those countries, so much criminality involved, hedge funds going to make sure they will be completely obliterated, the banks that we baled out are shorting, they are European banks. If you give these bankers unlimited amounts of money, they will eat you… they can’t stop, you’re guaranteeing your own destruction along with the bankers.”…

    Here’s interesting interview with Jim Rogers along the same vein:

    “JIM ROGERS: What do you mean too big to fail? There’s no such thing as too big to fail. Listen, there are plenty of banks in Australia, America and other places who have been doing what they were supposed to, minding their manners, not going doing crazy things, waiting for these moments to come so that they could come in and expand their market share and grow and prosper. Now, these people are being held back by all these “banks that are too big to fail” because the governments are giving them free money and saying, “OK, now you compete with the competent people.” I mean, George, this is horrible economics and it is outrageous morality. Not that politicians care about morality. “

    • Rogers from March last year but still relevant!

    • Deco

      Correct. These inept banks should not have been bailed out. Cutting their bonuses, while rescuing their careers is pointless. I wonder what Rogers would make of the Anglo debacle, or the Nepotismwide bailout ? Bailing these people out is ensuring that they are able to continue their seizure of the ISEQ companies amongst their own cliques and cronies. Deciding who gets credit and who does not. Seeing everybody’s business plan submission and then letting their pals in on where to make money and alerting other cronies about possible competitors.

      The rot should be allowed to continue unchecked by PAYE money bailouts and the inept should be allowed to fail. Let a younger, fresher, and hopefully less clique ridden generation take over. And let some sunlight in on the morass, so that we will get a clear picture of what amatuersim and bullshit does to an economy and a society.

      One thing is certain, you won’t see anybody say anything like that in the Irish media. Nobody is allowed communicate in a direct common sense manner, or be so abusive to the banking sector and the political establishment.

      (our advertising sponsors/political masters would not like THAT !!!). The establishment will offer you change, as long nothing changes in any meaningful way, and as long as the whole thing is still rigged and rotten with corruption.

      • yep, When they say we can’t let OUR banks fail, that’s precisely why they should be let fail, because OURs means FF, nepotism/croneyism .

        Unfortunately, OUR’s doesn’t mean in moral hazard terms ‘the taxpayer’

        We need ‘out of the euro’ its becoming a graveyard for zombie banks and countries and poseur political play actors. Its political model has failed to address an economic fault line that has brought about PIIGS.

        As an open flexible economy shouldn’t be too hard for us to return to the euro, let Anglo especially default, the others clean out top management and former directors at the least. We should prepare for this plan B as the European project comes increasingly more at risk.

        Problem is we’re becoming a zombie state on the obituary list or at best held on life support by zombie politicians feeding on the remaining morsels we can extract from Europe.

        While nepotism and croneyism and a failed system of who you know rather than what you know, is still feeding on the bones of our economy and in control of all the puppet strings. They may have been shaken, but they’re not stirred!

        Propaganda enabled and fed by Pravda/RTE of course.

        I should say I’m very much pro Europe, but not pro Euro!!

  47. Deco

    Here is a site that you might want to forward to all that you know.

    Great idea. Get rid of the lot.

    And maybe we could have a competition on the banking sector a bit like them stupid TV “talent” shows….which banker do you want to evict…..Fingers ? The Doc ? Rich Butcher ?

    It would have to be on the internet, because there is no way the standard media would do any of this…

    • Deco,

      ‘Get rid of the lot’ as well as pandering to useless negative destructive impulses could also be a lazy excuse for not exercising the smarts and the grey matter between the two ears.

      So the impulse should be not to destroy for its own sake but to renew and build up better.

      Our present circumstances demand we should give a lot of thought to how to do this.

      In principle I agree with a cleanout, but lets ensure that what’s replaced is a real cleanup, otherwise we get cleaned out as before and maybe even more so with even bigger gobshites than were there before:(

    • liam

      Thats an interesting idea. Contrast this though with the TV debates in the UK. Surveys showed massive swings in favour of the Lib Dems, and then we have polling night…

      I’ve always though it would be fun to put a NOTA (None of the above) option on the ballot paper.

  48. A thought:

    All the Government plans re saving the banks, NAMA, balance of payments deficit reductions are all hitched to the wagon of return to growth. This means they have bet on the wrong horse. What they should have planned for is recession.

    This is because all the economic indices and forecasts for the forseeable future e.g next 10 years for the eurozone point at recession, deflation. The US economy also because of US need to deal with its own debt obligations should face a contraction as well. Hopefully the US won’t introduce quantum easing by massive military spending based on a war somewhere.

    So our investment in the banks is money down the shore. Our investment in NAMA, flush the toilet again. Balance of payment projections and spiralling debt obligations…last to leave please switch off the light.

    The lights begin to come on when you plan for recession including default option!

    • wills


      I would look at it as more a case of re routing the cash as opposed to it been flushed down the toilet.

      The cash is still out there in the ‘insiders’ econ system or flowing back into the ‘outsiders’ econ system one way or the other.

      The problem is the cash itself been weaponised as a medium of exchange as diverting the value of labour away from the personage unfairly.

      • Agree with you there! It’s been touted the economy is being saved for the taxpayer, or the money will yield a return even a profit for taxpayers.

        That this is good husbandry of the economy based on what’s best for all. Not at all, this is Rubbish, its been siphoned off taxpayers through so called austerity measures, higher taxes right back into the pockets of bankers and croney insiders, those who drove the economy into the property meltdown wall.

        Meanwhile the scam continues while taxpayers are groomed by a tutelage propaganda emanating from Pravda RTE and FF flag wavers in the media.

        Lets face it, the croney insiders have sold Irish taxpayers a pig in a poke. They’ve turned our sovereignty upside down, we’re now a vassal state sold into perpetual servitude to their croney bondholders.

        Through salaries, pensions, croneyism, political appointments, anti competitive or disaster deals such those done by DDDA or quangos such as DAA anti O Leary deals, insiders get their percentage off the top.

        On the positive side, the Emperor has no clothes on. When push comes to shove, the house of cards will fall down.

        There should be possibilities then of renewal and rebuilding to improve on if not replace crap that’s led us into this.

      • MK1

        Hi Wills,

        wills>The cash is still out there in the ‘insiders’ econ system or flowing back into the ‘outsiders’ econ system one way or the other. The problem is the cash itself been weaponised as a medium of exchange as diverting the value of labour away from the personage unfairly.

        Agreed. Cash is a medium of exchange but it does not mean that its exchange is equal in value to the work put in. Cash is an unfair system and fiat cash/money even more so, all this you know of course.

        You are right that the cash ‘lost’ is actually out there somewhere, if held in cash rather than in an asset that has depreciated eg: land. So anyone that sold out and held cash at the end of the musical chairs that was our credit bubble will be quids in, some by many millions. Its getting this back through a ‘clawback’ tax which is the key.

        Revenue and the Gov CAN do this for example by placing a special wealth tax on anyone resident (that spends more than 30 days in this country) OR NATIONAL OR a passport holder who gained their extra wealth (lets say >2m) during the years 1996-2008.

        cbweb> This is because all the economic indices and forecasts for the forseeable future e.g next 10 years for the eurozone point at recession, deflation.

        Deflation is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it is not too fast. Its all about scalar rather than direction/vector, the same with inflation. Benign inflation (eg: ECB’s target of 2%) is manageable, but so too is deflation of -2%. And growth can come with deflation prsent, eg: look aty Japan’s GDP in Q1 today, quite healthy thank you very much!

        And how much debt do they have, oh my!


  49. @ G 10

    also from Pilger:

    “As for journalists, our task is to censor by omission and make the crime seem normal for you, the public. For, above all, it is your understanding and your awakening that are feared”

    Not only applies to war, but also it seems crimes of moral hazard against taxpayers, perpetrated not only by journalists but by news organisations such as Pravda/RTE!

    • G

      Yes, the blood is washed away, the corpses burned and the cameras show up to see ‘democracy in action’…………………….

      Thank God for independent media like or Counterpunch, Truthdig etc

      Christ if I had to actually live in this imposed bubble of house makeovers (back on Pravda/RTE last night)……..they did show a programme on the scam on Wall St. regarding derivatives and failure to regulate etc, think it started at 11.20pm or something ridiculous, finished after midnight so everyone was safely in bed, but still goes down on the ‘current affairs sheet’, God forbid house makeovers starts at 11.20pm, the country would never recover.

      As Coetzee wrote: D-I-S-G-R-A-C-E!

    • Note Pravda/RTE! has failed to educate the public about the bank bailouts, about how NAMA works, the bank bailouts work. Vast majority of taxpayers know next to nothing about these financials.

      Nor do the public understand the true impact of our borrowings for the state finances except through catch all phrases such as ‘rising taxes or austerity measures’.

      Any measure of dissent is met with deliberate dumbing down of alternatives or packing with spokespersons ready to rubbish alternative viewpoints while the real scope and depth of the subject matter gets ignored.

      Programmes rolled out to describe Government policy end up as apologias for Government policy with minimalist participation allowed for opposing viewpoints.

      No full exploration of alternative methods or approaches in dealing with financial policy are ever seen on Pravda/RTE. If at all, these may be reduced to condescending sound bites from ‘ the lads ‘ as Kenny calls them, rather than detailed in depth discussion that these topics demand. ‘The lads’ being maybe Gurdgiev or Lucey, who, lets face it, arn’t the best of communicators to begin with and when each of their input is reduced to a few soundbites, no chance they’ll make sense to anyone.

      In summary, we are in the midst of a financial crisis the public gets very little information about. Reliance on information from outsiders or independent broadcasters is required but hardly exists apart from some independent programme makers such as recent ‘Ghost Land’.

      Pravda/RTE is Government PR exercise in the main.

      Its a strange thing, but we have here developing in the media in Ireland a discontinuity between what the people know from hearsay from e.g emigrating relatives, and what they see/hear on Radio/TV.

      Very much what is developing here is a mirror image of what was looked down upon from here, censorship propaganda media from totalitarian regime countries.

      Financial news is cover up news and propaganda news either from blustering Dukes who won’t let us peer into his tier-two trough, or Lenihan who cloaks his ‘screw you taxpayer’ mask with another mask as ‘saviour of the banks’ .

      Failure to dig deep into the bones of the real story behind our financial meltdown is nothing more than failure of our media, which ought to be a pillar of democracy, the result a bankocracy of disenfrancised taxpayers.

      Taxpayers through D and various other independent thinkers with their own independent observations can see better than Pravda/RTE what’s beneath the surface.

      Time for Pravda/RTE to do some catch up and give us some real news for a change

      • wills

        A really good read in how the insider class mind control the outsider class in keeping the faith with the paper money counterfeit scam scam scam.

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