November 8, 2010

Forgive the ‘legacy debts’ and save the economy

Posted in Banks · 221 comments ·

Let’s say you own a company. It’s a retail company which you set up in 1999. It traded well in the boom, but to grow quickly, you took on debts commensurate with your turnover. Every time that you wanted to increase turnover, you had to rent a new outlet and invest.

This took money – and, while you tried to reinvest cashflow, you needed to go to the banks because the costs of your premises and rents were so huge.

Your turnover hit €2 million in early 2006.You expanded by opening two new outlets to capitalise on the demand and you incurred more debt – but it was manageable because turnover was rising. You employed more and more people.

Trade was good, but your costs were high and margins were still tight.

You convinced yourself that, over time, you would get the systems right and the cost to income ratio would move in your favour.

After all, you were still learning, putting in the hours, but you were building something and you believed in the future. By early 2008, you had six outlets, a turnover of €3 million and debts proportionate to that figure.

You could service your debts out of your cashflow. Then, crash! People stopped buying your wares.

Today, your turnover has halved. You own a company, which has a turnover of €1.5 million, but debts appropriate to a company with turnover of €3 million. What do you do?

Do you borrow more to try to tide you over, so that you incur more debt to pay for already too much debt? Do you close down and sell everything to pay off the debt? Do you slim down and keep two of your six shops, which may trade through the recession? But even if two shops are trading at full tilt, they won’t generate the cash to pay the debts which were incurred for an operation of six shops and a turnover of €3 million.

You go to the bank and explain that there is no cash, and ask the bank to consider some negotiation on the debt.

The bank refuses and claims that it will now go after your other assets.

But you don’t have any. What about your family house? Didn’t you put that up as collateral? Well, yes, but it too has fallen by 50 per cent in value since the peak.

You leave the bank, despondent. Remember you still have three outlets that are trading well, employing people, generating Vat and income tax and corporation tax revenue for the state. You are also taking a modest wage out of it.

The suppliers with whom you have done business are also depending on you, as are their suppliers, and on and on down the chain.

If you close now, the ramifications will be felt far more widely than just your firm. What are your options?

Either you can enter debt renegotiations with the banks and your other creditors where they will get something – not everything, but you all stay afloat – or receivership, where you fold and your creditors get far less in the subsequent fire sale.

The banks refuse to budge, and you don’t want to admit to some of your suppliers that you can’t pay your bill because of the shame of not being able to meet your obligations.

So you try to trade for a bit more, but the figures don’t add up.

Reluctantly, you go into receivership. The receiver tells the creditors to line up in an orderly queue to see what can be salvaged from the business. The banks and the other creditors get much less than they would if you had all done a deal on ‘debt forgiveness’.

The business is closed, the jobs and tax receipts are lost, and all because the ‘legacy debts’ of the boom strangled a good but much slimmed-down business in the bust.

This is a typical example of what is happening all over Ireland now. More significantly, it is also the reason why the state cannot convince any investor that the country is solvent.

The people who use silly expressions such as ‘Ireland Inc’ do not seem to realise that Ireland Inc is only the aggregation of us, the Irish people. If our businesses are going under because of the legacy debts of the boom, our country will also default because of the aggregation of the legacy debts.

Debt forgiveness is essential if the country is to recover. This can be called default, renegotiation or repudiation. Call it what you like but, without wholesale reduction of the legacy debts of the last ten years, the Irish economy will become mired by the politics of retribution and recrimination.

True capitalism is based on the idea of the second chance. All of us who have ever tried something, ever taken a risk, have all failed at some stage.

In my own case, I have written books that sold over a hundred thousand copies; I have also written books that sold poorly. I have presented TV and radio programmes that were successes, and I have been fired from TV and radio stations.

I have invested in companies which have returned multiples of the original investment, but I have also had to write off entire investments because companies went belly-up.

This week in Kilkenny, with another investor/partner, I have put my own money into Ireland’s first economics festival If it works, we will succeed; if it fails, we lose.

That’s the nature of capitalism and enterprise.

Failure is part of the equation and there is no shame in failing – the shame is in not trying.

The ability to recover after a defeat, to dust yourself down and to get back up, is based on being ‘allowed’ to do so. If we allow a person to get back up, the only issue then is personal character and whether they want to have a go again.

I talked recently to a receiver who told me that, in his 30 years in business, he has never been appointed to a receivership twice with the same individual.

He told me that, when people make a mistake, such as borrowing too much in the first venture, they learn and don’t make the same mistake again.

He said that most entrepreneurs get back up.

But they are cleverer for the experience of failure.

We all know that failure and success are first cousins.

Therefore, the idea that we can run a healthy, capitalist country without debt forgiveness is ludicrous.

Debt forgiveness is the beginning of the recovery. It will have to start at the firm level and the individual level.

Ultimately, the state will have to renegotiate all its debts.

We will not have a successful fiscal adjustment unless it is accompanied by a national debt amnesty.

This is the way the world works.

The question is not if, but when.

The nature of default is what is important. If we are seen to have tried to pay, but failed valiantly and honestly, then we will get a second chance.

New money and new creditors will emerge; they always do.

The world is full of money. The reason it’s not coming here is that the markets expect a default or some sort of nasty financial event.

Why not bring it on, face the reality, and move on?

That’s what a capitalist economy, an entrepreneurial society is all about. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be?

  1. Puschkin the Black and White Cat

    The Cat is not impressed, old dogs don’t seem to learn new tricks, cats , well we just observe ! , it’s going down and no amount of good money will save the bad. NAMA is a terrible joke. Do we hit the ’70s or the ’50s that’s the one question left for the Cat to ask.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Spot on.

      Truly criminal when the right thing to be done is not even entertained. Charge of the Light Brigade.

      No doubt there’ll be an enquiry, that is if there is anyone left on this, the madest of mad places.

      Learning from history – Attenborough explains Easter Island

      • adamabyss

        Jared Diamond does a great book on this called ‘Collapse’. I highly recommend it.

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ adamabyss – Jared has done some interesting, stuff, his book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ was outstanding. Sorry the marriages didn’t work out, but at least you tried. Onwards.

          • adamabyss

            Thanks Gege, onwards I go. Funnily enough, the last business I worked for in the States was headed by a friend called LeBeau (is that your real name?) We were also in partnership in the Caribbean on a few projects.


            He was in Star Trek (Voyager) briefly too! He just brought out a good movie – The Scientist (2009).

            Yeah, ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ was the first of Jared Diamond’s I ever read but I think ‘Collapse’ is even better. ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ is pretty good too.

    • gquinn

      No, worse than that, the 1840′s LOL hahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaahahaha idiots.

  2. Dorothy Jones

    Trying to figure out where the positive concept of debt forgiveness can fit in with the scenario painted by Morgan Kelly in today’s IT?
    His piece is scathing, well-timed and frightening. It ends with: ‘…I have to hold up my hands and confess that I have no solutions, simple or otherwise’…and ‘we can only rely on the kindness of strangers’

    • Gege Le Beau

      Morgan Kelly’s article in terms of timing is quite something, mortgage defaults is the final piece in the financial debacle, it will push the Republic to the wall. I agree with him when he writes:

      //People are going to extraordinary lengths — not paying other bills and borrowing heavily from their parents — to meet mortgage repayments, both out of fear of losing their homes and to avoid the stigma of admitting that they are broke. In a society like ours, where a person’s moral worth is judged — by themselves as much as by others — by the car they drive and the house they own, the idea of admitting that you cannot afford your mortgage is unspeakably shameful.//

      We have a lot of maturing to do, the country is like some kind of adolescent, interested in status and image, lunacy.

      David McWilliams has asked on several occasions the following //Why not bring it on, face the reality, and move on?//

      The cards will have to be folded, an election called, FF eviscerated (FG seem intent on snatching defeat from the jaws of ‘political victory’ with their front loading of cuts and pawning the semi-states at the worst possible time i.e. when a state is desperate cash, can see the vulture capitalists circling already).

      Events are now firmly out of our hands, we are at the mercy of others.

  3. Great article.

    Also Morgan Kelly here,

    Gradually, thanks in large part to Angela Merkel, a
    european response to the woes of peripherals like Ireland/Greece is emerging.

    In spite of ridiculous interventions by Sutherland and John Bruton that every penny of our debt needs to be paid back, there is growing realisation that we have reached the point of no return and we are already in a state of default. The question is not whether we will default, but how we will manage an orderly default.

    IT would be best if there were a full consensus behind a workable and agreed package that could not only extend to peripherals, but also to individual borrowers/business owners exemplified and carefully illustrated by DmcW above.

    Our newspapers/media/policians should be involved in the hammering out of an agreed deal. Yet, amazingly, there is very little comment on the nature of what ought to structure an orderly default. Even Morgan Kelly, faced with the economic facts he outlines above, avoids this question and states he does not know of a way out of our current mess.

    There is a way out. We need to examine, discuss, test, verify the MErkel proposals Merkel, see outline below.
    “Chancellor Merkel is ultimately correct. A mechanism for sovereign defaults is entirely healthy. Had it been in place long ago, EMU would have been stronger. The proper timing for this was at the Maastricht Treaty, or Amsterdam, or at the latest Nice, but in those days the EU elites were still arrogantly dismissive about the full implications of a currency union. To wait until now borders on carelessness.
    Germany has agreed to give the EU’s €440bn (£383bn) bail-out fund permanent status rather than letting it expire in 2013 as planned, but only as part of a “Crisis Resolution Mechanism” that forces bondholders to share losses from any future bail-outs. The fund must be anchored in EU law through changes to the Treaties in order to head off legal challenges at Germany’s constitutional court. A draft proposal from Berlin– now serving as a working text for the European Commission– calls for “orderly insolvency” by eurozone countries in trouble.”

    “Details are sketchy, but this “Chapter 11″ for sovereign states would include an extension of debt maturities, a “holiday” on interest payments for as long as needed to let debtors recover, and a suspension of bondholder rights. The blueprint is akin to debt-restucturing schemes used by the International Monetary Fund. Under a Finnish proposal, there are likely to be “Collective Action Clauses” in all new bond issues to prevent minority bondholders blocking a default deal.

    European President Herman van Rompuy will be tasked to draw up a blueprint for the crisis mechanism. There may also be a Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM). Berlin is determined to avoid a repeat of the €110bn bailout for Greece when banks were shielded from losses, leaving eurozone taxpayers facing the full cost.

    Silvio Peruzzo, Europe economist at RBS, said talk of “haircuts” for bondholder at this delicate juncture could backfire. “The debt crisis in the eurozone periphery has not been sorted out. These countries need markets to keep buying the bonds, but investors are going to stay away if you open the door to private sector pain,” he said.

    It is unclear whether the latest bond jitters in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal is linked to growing awareness of the German plans. Each country has its own troubles. Yields on Ireland’s 10-year bonds briefly rose to a post-EMU high above 7% on Thursday, partly due to a stand-off between Dublin and angry funds facing losses on the junior debt of Anglo Irish Bank. However, EU officials fear that the proposals could make it harder for such high-debt states to tap debt markets, risking a self-fulfilling [[and ultimately intractable: normxxx]] crisis.”

    We need to see what these draft proposals are, interest deferment, debt repudiation, what are the terms of such a debt amnesty?

    • Also note beginning of the link to Merkel story above: “Germany has had enough. Any eurozone state that spends its way into a debt crisis or cannot adapt to a monetary union set for Northern rhythms will face “orderly” bankruptcy.”

      Merkel has to be very careful with German voters who wish to see peripherals punished and not left off the hook particularly at Germany’s expense.

      However, clearly ‘orderly bankruptcy’ in the terms proposed in the draft document represent an escape clause to the benefit of peripherals as well as Germany. Mutual advantage to all concerned must be a priority. Simply put, loss sharing must be fair and shared equally between debtor and creditor.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Merkel is playing to the domestic audience, she knows who lent the money, she is also aware of the possibility of contagion.

        Germany worked too hard to build its eurozone empire, some arrangement, however unpalatable may yet be agreed behind closed doors.

        Right now the unruly pupil is in Brussels coughing up and about to get a lesson from the headmaster.

        • I still cannot believe Merkel is singing the same tune as DmcW and posters on this list re ‘orderly default’ ‘debt restructuring’ while ‘every penny must be repaid’ morons like Lenny, Suds, John Bruton, Alan Ahearne et al cabal are totally silent on these proposals.

          Must be another case of:

          “I have my faults, but changing my tune is not one of them”(Beckett)

          • Gege Le Beau

            All about agendas. Things happen for a reason, whether you agree with the reason(s) or not is irrelevant – a lot of people and insitutions got money they should never have got but then we know the rules of the game only apply to the little people, no such thing as free markets, capitalism win and lose in the sense that it applies to the higher ups, the only item that matters there is the ‘bottom line’ and you make it anyway you can.

            I suspect we haven’t been calling our own tune for quite a while, it is just more obvious now because we are insolvent. A the mercy of ‘strangers’ as Morgan Kelly correctly points out.

    • johninmunich

      Hi cbweb,

      That plan is for new debts, not the old debt that is hanging over Ireland. See,1518,727801,00.html

      • Hi johninmunich,

        Thx for the interesting link as well. Relevant parts in the interview here:

        “Schäuble: We are in the process of working out the details within the German government and at the European level. It’s already clear today that the new mechanism will not apply to old debt but only to new loans. I imagine that all bonds issued by euro countries will contain clauses in the future that specify exactly what happens to the claims of creditors in case of crisis.

        SPIEGEL: Specifically, they will only get some of their money back.

        Schäuble: In the event of a crisis. But the European Union wasn’t founded to create wealth for financial investors. I imagine a two-stage process. If a country is having financial difficulties, the EU will launch an austerity and restructuring program, as it did in the case of Greece. In a first step, the maturities of those bonds that come due in this critical phase could be extended. If that doesn’t help, private investors will have to accept a markdown on their claims, in a second step. In return, they’ll receive guarantees on the rest.

        SPIEGEL: And who will monitor the process, a European organization or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the Europeans already brought in during the Greek crisis?

        Schäuble: For well-considered reasons, we decided at the time that we would involve the IMF. It proved to be a good approach. There is no other institution worldwide with a comparable amount of expertise on restructuring or a similarly strong reputation on the markets. We can also use this expertise in the future crisis mechanism. After all, we have to convince the financial markets that the new rules work.

        SPIEGEL: You’ll also have to convince your fellow Germans. When the euro was introduced, it was said repeatedly that German taxpayers would never have to pay for the debts of other countries.”

        I am aware as it stands proposals refer to future bondholder lending. However, the details are only proposals currently being worked upon.

        Realistically, the old debt cannot be paid back and we are in a state of default. Unfortunately, discussing these terms today with Ollie Rehn we have the likes of Lenny and not Morgan Kelly, DmcW who can push for these terms to extend to old debt.

        It’s inevitable once this is on the table that old debt will have to be scrutinised to see if peripherals can bear the burdens required or not. Lending based on terms organising co responsibility for write off with bond holders will have to be extended to old debt. It’s a question of getting nothing back, or agreeing to a haircut!

        Put it this way: boil the kettle for too long and no water/tea for anybody; bondholders may want to get four cups of tea, but if there’s only three in the kettle, too much boiling is only going to increase the risk of no tea for anybody. That’s the point we are currently at.

        Bondholders need to be worked with to get the economy out of its present zombie state so that both bondholders and citizens get a return.

        We are a bankrupt, zombie state, requiring radical measures including debt writeoff to get life flowing back into the economy again. The precise metrics of how this will happen I can’t tell. However, I suspect the situation is not helped by the likes of Lenihan, Suds et al trying to con Ollie Rehn, Schauble, Trichet with the nonsense our debt is manageable. I do believe, the signal is out there for us to engage with Merkel to have a resolution currently being structured for future debt and have it applied to old debt. Perhaps, debt writeoff, co responsibility, will make it less likely in future that billions can be handed over to banxter morons like Seanie ‘no questions asked’.

  4. Gege Le Beau

    @ David McWilliams – nicely honest mid-way through the article. Show me a person who hasn’t failed and I will show you a person who hasn’t lived.

    Samuel Beckett puts it better:

    “Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

    It is in the rising and falling and rising again that we come to know ourselves, embrace the journey, but heed the warnings of the Oracle 1) nothing to excess
    2) know thyself.

  5. Capitalist solutions will not work in a creditism system. So David your ideas are not a runner. Spend you time informing the people about creditism WE DO NOT LIVE IN A CAPITILIST FREEMARKET WORLD.

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      The world is not full of money it is full of debt, we have been enslaved in a feudalistic system. There is no point in being a better slave when emancipation will be our only salvation.

  6. DarraghD

    That article could have been written about me David, only the scale was not millions but tens of thousands… I heard it said recently, “at the school of hard knocks, you tend to not get the taught the same lesson twice”… There is no shortage of spirit in this country to start small businesses up again, the problem is that if you have any sort of previous association with a bad debt then you are knocked down and you are knocked down hard. While legally you are allowed to jump back up, dust yourself down and go back at it again, in practice you are not because you are treated like a financial pariah. I’ve done it recently, but for the want of very modest seed capital, I must remain on the dole and when I say seed capital, I mean 2K in start up funds.

    Think about this for a minute, 12 times in the last 12 months I’ve been down in the dole office signing on, 12 times I’ve asked is there a scheme where I can get 2-3 months up front and sign off now and be done with it, 12 times I’ve been told, “sign the card and see you next month”…

    Nowhere in this country will you see a queue with as much potential in it as you will see when you are in the queue for signing on. The system is almost designed to keep you beaten down, entirely dependent upon state aid as an individual and going nowhere.

    It had occured to me on every visit to my dole office to sign on, “why is there not a hatch down here for folks who want to start up a business???” When I enquired as to why this is so, I was sent to FAS, so I went to FAS, I was sent from FAS back to the County Enterprise Board (they will only help you if you can match their funds and you have to also be exporting something!), then they sent me back to the dole office!

    It had even occurred to me recently to set up a stand outside the dole office to start up some sort of a self help organisation for folks going in there to sign on who might have a business idea that might be marketable, who are also running into the same pathethic smug, “sign the card and come back next month” attitude from staff. If this was a private sector organisation that was properly run, there would be feedback and improvement systems in place that would capture this problem with a view to better understanding it and then efforts being made to eliminating it but don’t get me started on that.

    I’m not pushing an agenda of endless state handouts for entrepreneurs here, the fact is that the state will continue to pay me 196 a week for as long as I am unemployed, so it is not just in my interest but it is in the national interest for the state to play ball here.

    • petercice

      Hi Darragh
      totally agree with what you are saying i have been there got the t shirt with starting up companies ect and the killing thing about it is in ireland if you fail on a business you are punished for it so long after the fact that it makes no sense.
      most entrepreneurs will have tried and fail in a number of ventures before they will have one that is a success.
      but the major problem over here is that there is no system of government backed loans ect for start up companies and this is a major problem at the moment.
      think about it if the government through one of its many departments was able to give a government back loan scheme for start up companies there could be a major reduction of the unemployed in the country immediately

    • Deco

      FAS is not about job creation. It is about “institutionalism” and institutional politics.

      I am actually coming around to the view that FAS should be dismantled and that the Department of Social Welfare should outsource it’s functions to the private sector and pay on the basis of the agreed metrics, like getting people vocational qualifications and getting people in employment. It might be cheaper, more transparent and more effective. And if the company doing the work are not delivering, then replace them with another company. FAS is a bottleneck in the labour market, and is not helping people.

      I know people who went to FAS to get assistance in getting vocational qualifications for the work they did for the previous decade. As usual employers don’t bother with this sort of thing, because the employees might leave and get better pay elsewhere. And it is always the better employees that move. 18 months later, and still no progress. Apparently if FAS are not prepared for your request, they cannot (will not) help. One of them is investigating getting the same qualification in NI. FAS can give a “letter of experience” – but this is of questionable use in other countries. I mean it is a “virtual qualification” and is the sort of nonsense that only has value inside in FAS.

      • Harper66

        you make valid points however a lot of fas courses were privatised.

        As I see it Fas had 3 main problems.

        1 – It is my understanding that under the ditherer 1.0 as you so aptly call him Fas was developed as a way of moving money around. For example training funds for other organisations. A billion a year slush fund.Hair dos in Florida and a nail bars for the missus. This was its primary function, providing training was a distant second.

        2 – Privatised course providers cut corners everywhere. As we have heard on liveline – students given answers for exams and graduates waiting months for their certificates.Fas argued they were not there to educate only to train – as if that is possible.

        3 – Needless to say, top heavy with cronyism.A massive machine whose main function is to ensure its own survival.massaging figures was the name of the game.

        I dont think education should ever be privatised.It should be in the capability of a government (granted not this government) to have a well run quango free education system.

        I would also be very wary of privatising anything in the current climate. I trust FG and ILP no more than FF. Maybe in time when the dust has well settled and knee jerk policies are not so likely.

        Finally the VECs were dismantled without much fanfare. the VECs ran a tight ship (granted they suffered that same top heavy over pay that was endemic in all aspects of FF senior public service Ireland)and they were corruption free. Still calamity dismantled them all,that is except the one in Donegal.

        • Deco

          Well…the way I look at it….before we privatize anything we need to examine if it has the potential to become a monopoly in private hands. The ESB, Aer Rianta/DAA, the ports, and Irish Rail are prime examples that fit this desciption.

          Second, example any companies with assets, which will end up being asset-stripped, and turned into a disaster zone. Coillte, Aer Lingus fit this example.

          Then we examine state assets that provide vital services, or that provide services that are to the common good. CIE would probably fit this category.

          Now this leaves the rest. FAS does not have any special assets. And it would not have a monopoly. It provides services of variable quality. Therefore any price we could get for FAS in this manner might be worth it.

          However, you did raise one extremely important point.

          Private sector training institutes have a tendency to help people get good marks, through sometimes honest, and sometimes dishonest means. In fact, they are liable to cheat, it the need requires. However, I think that in the long term this will not last. And besides people will take the issue seriously. Especially in the current jobs market.

          But in any case, the qualitative aspect to training/education is a very serious issue.

          Maybe we should abandon FAS, and let the various institutes of technology provide leadership for FAS ?

          Or maybe just get rid of the management hierarchy in FAS ?

          • Harper66

            the logic you applied to assessing the suitability of organisations is sound. Personally,I have a great distrust of privatising essential services.However not the point of this discussion.

            I would disband FAS. It would be very difficult now as it is not so stand alone anymore since the last budget when it was woven into the fabric of the Department of Education. A cynical move, which makes it hard to follow the tracks of what went on there during the good ‘ol days…

            No dount FAS is under FF protection. If FAS fell victim to corruption and cronyism, then the IT’s fell victim to the arrogance of the “boom” times and the waste that goes with such hubris.

            However,yes, a freshly humbled and refocused IT system could be ideal to pick up the educational duties of FAS.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Noone like you who has ideas and is willing to work should endure this. It is completely unacceptable. All the more so when one sees the directors of the ‘byzantine web’ company who filled much of our newspaper columns a year ago, continuing to trade and posting profits. Nauseating.
      You should do the idea with the stand!

    • Gege Le Beau

      Yes, been there as well. You’ll have to create your own hope, you won’t find it in those places. The unemployed have almost been criminalised at this stage (dole cheats) or seen as a burden that should emigrate (jobs strategy). It seems very much like a ‘by the numbers’ approach, stamp your form sonny and move along.

      The State as a whole is exporting people as much as anything else, not quite the export model we had in mind. A lot of people are finding out they didn’t quite get what they imagined (appreciating asset) when they signed the bottom line on that mortgage deal(death grip).

      • Deco

        “export led growth”. Another loaded phrase from the powers than be….exporting the workforce….definitely a growing feature….

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hello DarraghD,

      Have a look at the following link. I really hope this helps you.

  7. Deco

    I actually think that the scale of the liquidation that has yet to occur is preventing any money from flowing into the country.

    I am also beginning to think that if we do not have a default of the banks, that we will end up an implosion of some sort. Unfortunately because we followed the ideas of Gordon Brown and Dan Boil, we have nationalised bankrupt banks.

    There is a long list of things that do not work in a functional manner. Everything from a criminal justice system which makes crime pay for the legal profession, to a tax system which makes accountancy a great trade, to set of quangoes that makes advocacy of any political party a journey to a great lifestyle lifestyle. Then we have benchmarking which makes the civil service refuse to reform on the basis that the promise of reform is a bragaining chip that cannot be ever lost in future negotiations. We have the social partnership which produces consensus decisions that are always a consensus at the expense of the proportion of the population which is not paying membership fees to IBEC or ICTU.

    There is so much to lose, that the establishment must be hoping that those of influence in the media will show up with a road map for the whole society, that conveniently prepares their own survival. Therefore we should be very careful about the ideas war that will now proceed in the coming months. America was promised “change” and “hope” and ended up with Dick Cheney’s distant relative kicking the oil executives out and sticking former G-Sucks executives in their place. “Regime change” that amounted to a joke. And the media in the US made sure it happened. They made sure that the people were looking forward to being misled again. They will look after “our advertising sponsors”.

    A new approach to capitalism is the one thing that will get us out of this mess. We need to allow the rich to take the hit for funding ponzi schemes. This means that bank bondholders like Russian Kleptos in their yachts, and FIRE outfits in Frankfurt and Paris take the hit for lending to the corrupt Irish elite.

    In the binge eras, we were instructed by continual advertising to let it rip. Now, we see the consequences-loads of junk and loads of debt, no money, and no jobs. The media is terrified that people might actually realise just how much bullshit is in circulation, that the media exists on the basis of getting a slice of the profits made from getting people to buy bullshit of which their judgement should steer them clear.

    The FIRE economy is in tatters. And bailouts for the well connected are not putting humpty dumpty back together again.

    If we had the brains to nationalize no banks, then we would be in a position of allowing all the debts to be repudiated, and we could use the Pension Reserve fund to carry the pensioners and the social welfare receipients through a three years period of austerity.

    Unfortunately, because we decided to nationalize the banks we are suckered into hoping that this LTEV stuff will come good.

    All the things that got us into this mess have been refused any introspection with the exception of FF. It seems that there is an orchestrated campaign to blame everything on FF, so that all the other nonsense that continue as normal. This is dishonest intellectual. We have the ILP already getting ready to be the next FF, and Gilmore getting ready to be Ditherer 2.0. There is even funny business involving state funds in the background, with a media outlet, the Old Schitzo of D’Oliers Street telling us that those finances are in order, so that beleivers are not woken from their slumber. It is a case of that loaded phrase “same difference”.

    Thanks David for the article, and for telling us that we are not running capitalism properly. And we are not running socialism properly either. Both have been mismanaged by a widespread desire for ‘massive rewards’ from little effort – or in plain speaking “laziness”. Both have sucumbed to the Richelieu model of authority, this being that authority must become stronger as result of every farce it creates.

    • adamabyss

      Deco, I agree with you when you say that the media tries to feed the public a load of dishonest propaganda to keep their ‘advertising sponsors’ happy, but in that context how do you explain the Irish Times publishing Morgan Kelly’s article today? Shouln’t that blow the safe right open (if everyone in the country would, or could read it and understand it, that is)?

      • Deco

        Well, it is too late….and the thing is gone anyway…so at this stage it is important to be remembered for something other than having Dan McLaughlin (“bullishly optimistic”, “consumer spending will accelerate even further”) every Friday, and Austin Hughes (“very soft landing”) across the page from him, when the binge was in full swing…

        I suppose the IT has to make it’s own institutional survival….and in a country like this where the crooks are in charge they will go along with it or else get punished.

        When Kelly wrote his first article concerning the banks in 2006 (or thereabouts) a senior Manager in Anglo phoned up the IT and told them to get Kelly off the paper.

        In 2003, Eddie Hobbs had the Rip-Off Republic program. He took the p155 out of Johnny Cash (Minister for fun) (eh…little did Hobbs know). And he lambasted the financial recklessness that was evident in 2003 even. A few days after Seanie fitz was on the Maid Marion show telling us that Hobbs was bring something vulgar, cheap and dangerous to the Irish media. (in other words he was attacking vested interests). After that Hobbs was contained by getting personal finance programs, and prevented from any serious debate.

        I have listened to Hobbs several times on Newstalk, Today FM and TV3 ridicule the state’s various schemes. He is rarely ever on RTE anymore, unless for set answers to set questions…..He has to be contained…

        • As has David McWilliams and Constantin Gurdgiev though RTE/Pravda would appear to have realised that the bould Doctor might be onto something after all, to wit, the Government are witless.

          • silentobserver

            Yes. Get a sense that the penny is finally dropping at rte- the governing bodies, and VI’s are actually completely useless, and should be given no mercy when reporting on their continued ineptitude, and treated with extreme suspicion (which is actually the job of the media). It seems David McW, Constantine, Brian Lucey, Morgan Kelly, and Hobbs have actually been speaking the truth- pity the journalistic (and more likely editorial) skills over the years haven’t been up to scratch until it was all too late! “Economic Traitors” is exactly the right phrase!

  8. Anglo Irish

    Sadly the choice made by our gutless and moronic establishment insiders is to save themselves while condemning the state to certain penury.

    All the legal advice of the past 3 years has been of €0 value but has come at €m in cost. The Nama budget of €1.6Bn in professional fees is the modern day equivalent of famine exports.

    • Pedro Nunez

      subscribe, 4 legs good, 2 legs bad, who regulates the regulators, not the executive, institutional capture or gombeenism in ROI’s case

  9. idij

    I can see where the article is coming from in so much as something needs to be done, and we are in a vicious circle of one problem feeding directly into and amplifying another, but despite the message about learning, I think the proposals are about rewarding failure directly, not learning from it.

    The theme recently is generally:

    “Don’t pay your mortgage, oh, and keep your expensive house. Don’t pay your loans, oh, and keep your business and it’s earnings.”

    “Save, oh, and kiss your savings goodbye when we leave the Euro. Keep renting, oh, and also bail out property owners while you are at it, etc.”

    I can only see one learning from those lessons.

    Now, maybe we don’t want receivers and bailiffs running wild in what are exceptional times, but you can see how some people might take exception to the proposals.

  10. adamabyss


  11. jay-joe

    Hi all,
    Reading David’s article and contrasting that with Prof. Kellys’s one in the Times, there is something I can’t square. David is pushing a mantra of try try try, while Morgan Kelly predicts nothing but financial doom and social gloom. I cant figure out how David can suggest the small start up entrepreneur trys anything – invest savings or take a loan – given if what Morgan Kelly predicts is only partially proved right their business venture will die. Killed by the system being bankrupt, no state business supports, no availability of credit along with higher taxes and rates. Basically is anyone that trys -and takes a risk- in this climate just a fool?

    • Deco

      Maybe Morgan Kelly has not considered default as an option ?

      Bonds are reaching even higher now. It is getting to the point where the Irish state will not be able to borrow. In fact the bond markets are looking at the ability of the Irish state to sustain the massive commitments, and coming to the conclusion that the state’s financial commitments are too great.

      “No banker left behind” has turned into an expensive disaster. Cowen should have allowed capitalist consequences for capitalist misadventure. But the idea of consequences is completely oblivious and anaethma to the cultural mores of contemporary Ireland. We have written consequential eventuality out of existence. The boom would last forever. Things will keep getting better. More where that came from.

      Constantin Gurdgiev has been taking shots at this for the past two years, about how the state just keeps growing until it will eventually collapse in a heap.

      To quote the Younger Bush….”this sucker is going down”. This will be a massive shock. It will result in a serious dent in consumer confidence and the media will have to make sure that they still get their advertising revenue….

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi jay-joe,

      You ask a very important question. Many entreupaneurs are now trading with companies abroad or Irish companies who are exporting. It is very difficult to trade internally but people are still doing it. But you are right it is extremely difficult. One thing I can tell you with some conviction Prof Kelly is very much mistaken if he thinks the true patriots in this great Republic, this great nation are going to give up and die because I sure as shit ain’t. So you have to look deep inside and ask yourself the following question. Am I going to give up and die or am I going to find inner strength and look to myself family and friends and pull through. Forget the idiots in the Dail. They are simply not woth your energy. The country although in dire straits is nowhere near the tragedy of the famine for example. The IMF went into Britain in the 70′s and people still got on with their lives. I feel it is the best option for us now. Loading more debt onto our national balance sheet is only going to make the work out period after national default longer and more difficult.

      • Julia

        Just heard Denis Healy on the radio. He was chancelor of the Exchequer in the UK in the 70s. He called in the IMF in 1976 because their debts were 6% of GDP. Ours is 32% of GDP now. Hungary’s debt is 9%. Anyway, the UK got themselves out of trouble in two years apparently.
        Healy said that the IMF didn’t tell them what to do. He pointed out that politicians are always glad to be able to blame the IMF for the measures they bring in, however of course, politicians decide where to make the cuts and how high the taxes go.
        I suspect that many people are not really feeling the pinch yet from the austerity measures. Certainly not the customers of Avoca Handweavers which was packed today, Tuesday, in the middle of the day. Not a cut price shop.
        Vincent Browne pointed out the other night that there are 37,000 individuals in Ireland earning E150,000 and more every year. Between them they earn more than E3 billion. Each one pays a total 27% in tax. Vincent suggested that they should pay 37% of their earnings in tax. Sounds like a good idea to me. I could certainly live with that. We’ll see on the 7th Dec.

        Well, I heard some one today forecasting that we have approximately 60 days left before we call in the IMF.
        Batten down the hatches and get out the sand bags. We’ll be building houses out of them soon.

  12. Philip

    David, thanks for clearly outlining the mechanics of business survival through booms and busts.

    I wonder what are the bankruptcy laws for countries that go bust. UK is 1 year, Germany is 6 and I believe there proposals to bring it down to 6 for Ireland (from 12 I think). If one goes bankrupt, there is have means of directing earnings to one’s benefit without 3rd party oversight. With Olli Rhen about, I think we can safely say we are effectively at this stage already. We have defaulted. All that is happening is receivership. We left examinership mode when the yields went beyond 5%. All Olli is trying to do is manage the crystallation of losses.

    I continue to question whether we have loads of money around. Maybe we do. But actual debt must be 100s of times more. The Global Debt to Asset ratio must be running at 100s if not 1000s. It’s waffle and needs a little bit of crystallizing. I guess Sutherland, lenihan, Aherne and the lads are all about trying to dodge this day. They want deeds in exchnage for the notes they have on assets. That’s all that is happening now.

    I would wager that 50-70% of our politicians are effectively bankrupt. The political ramifications of dumping TDs from office due to their debts will create a vacuum which Olli et al are too unwilling to let happen.

  13. paddyjones

    Welching on debts is the last resort for scoundrels.In accounting terms there is always a debit for a credit. If there is a default then there is a loss taken by the lender. If a businessman defaults on debts the banks take a loss when banks take a loss they pass it on to the government who then in turn pass it on to the people.
    Welching on sovereign debt is immpossible the debt always stays on the books, the lender or bondholder may take an accrual against the debt but will always keep the debt on the books.
    An economist will say “we have a large sovereign debt” an accountant will say ” we have a debt of 150 billion” . Accountants bring realism to the situation.
    A default is a transaction and there must be an accounting entry for that transaction. Default is not a meaningless thing it has real consequences.
    DMcW thinks that wishing away debts will be tolerated by bondholders is not going to happen. They will still look for their money maybe in 10 or 20 years as happened with Argentina when it defaulted, the debts were still owed even though it could not repay them at the time.
    Working in business as I do I would not do business with someone who welches on debts , I would stay well clear of them forever.

    • Deco

      If Ireland does not default, I would love to know where Ireland is going to get the money to pay for the past decade of binging and wasting….I agree default is terrible….but the clowns telling us that we should be “bullishly optimistic” to quote Dan McLaughlin of the BoI, should have told us about default around 2003/2004 when Ahern discovered that he socialist and let 800 quangoes bloom….

    • Philip

      Accountants – good ones, look for the value. A good accountant will not kill a company (one with a reputation of doing good business) to get that money -if at all possible.

      Not all people who have debts they can no longer service are scoundrels.

      The reality of the 150Bn is whether you can lay your hands on it. The other reality is the music faced by accountant who approved the risk of 150Bn.

      It’s a complicated world which will not be helped by unhelpful labelling of people.

    • paulmcd

      Paddy The scoundrels, to which you refer, include the incompetent buffoons who to date have been “managing” our economy.

      The scoundrels also include those German and other financial institutions who lent recklessly to banks like Anglo, many of which would be managed by qualified accountants.

      Accountants who know their economic history know that financial institutions which CONSISTENTLY grow their profits at high double-digit rates (20%+ is the warning signal) ALWAYS operate at very high levels of leverage and ALWAYS FAIL. Honohan has referred to this phenomenon. History just keeps repeating itself.

      I am related to an accountant who was an employee of a well-known merchant bank in the so-called City but, after the 90-91 financial crisis, he turned to a new career in academia in London. Generally speaking we do not agree with one another on issues to do with finance, and we do not maintain personal contact.

      HOWEVER, IN 2002 WE BOTH AGREED TO STEER CLEAR OF ONE INSTITUTION: ANGLO-IRISH BANK, which was destined to fail sooner or later. A bit like the dot bomb bubble, failure was going to be difficult to predict, but the writing was clearly on the wall by 06.

      When someone writes the definitive history of today’s Crisis, accountants who forgot the lessons of history will loom largely in the pantheon of the great incompetents who allowed the situation to develop.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hello Paddy,

      I am not an accountant so forgive me if I ask a stupid question but I presume that the reasons losses are accrued is to write those losses off against future profits to lower the tax payable? I have seen many accountants Paddy run companies into the ground because they are the complete opposite of an entrupaneur i.e. presenting accounts for the last quarter as opposed to forming a vision for the next one. The people who will lead us out of this morass are the visionaries not the bean counters.

  14. Deco

    Well….it looks like there will be another by-election in December. Possibly two.

    Waterford is waiting 13 and counting. D-South 8 months.

    Because of the precendent of the Pearse Doherty case, the ruling for the next two should be faster decisions.

    Not sure if this is related to the behaviour of the bond markets. (Taoiseach Kennylite or Taoiseach GimmeMore is not exactly inspiring confidence either).

    For entertainment check Dan Boil’s twitter, where Boil explains that the remaining by-elections should take place at the end of March.

    Of course, when the Court makes it’s deliberation, and it becomes apparent that the GP are schemers….and another PR stunt “u-turn” takes place….

  15. Gege Le Beau

    Icelandic ‘Home Guard’ prevents foreclosures

    • shtove

      Where have we seen that before?

      The banks will be driven off one day, just like the colonial landowners were. Problem is there will be violence before it plays out.

    • Deco

      I think we are moving towards the formation of Land League 2.0.

      Maybe it will be called Mortgage Holders League of Ireland.

      Interestingly enough, I remember reading a few weeks ago about a farmer who was being evicted from land because of a repayment backlog to the BoI. The other farmers showed up when the bank decided that he was to be dislodged. This tell us something about practicality that exists in the countryside, which has been advertised out of existence in the suburbs.

      Among the farming community it seems that being in trouble with the bank is not some sort of shame attached to getting into trouble with the banks. The farmers do not laugh at the neighbour who falls, but rally around him to give him some support. Maybe there is not the same sense of “show” that exists in the suburbs ? Of course much of the entire economy is based on the show staying in operation….

      Of course, before there will be such solidarity, an awful lot of pride must dissipate.

      Humility will scare the establishment when it arrives, because it will mean that the outsiders will make the most direct and the most pragmatic decision every time, and will not be concerned about superficial concerns which uphold the established order. It means that the outsiders will be immune to any form of control.

      • Gege Le Beau

        I think if history illustates anything, especially in Ireland, is that when large numbers of people get together on an issue (like the Land League or Daniel O’Connell’s mass political rallies before that) then it is almost impossible for the people to be defeated.

        As was captured beautifully in Attenborough’s Gandhi:

        British Brigadier: You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India!

        Gandhi: Yes. In the end, you will walk out. Because 100,000 Englishmen simply cannot control 350 million Indians, if those Indians refuse to cooperate.

        It takes issues for people to rally around, which we currently have an embarrasement of, hard to get people motivated during the Paper Tiger period, but now that the bottom has fallen out of society and people are a lot more aware and angered by what has taken place at the top, then the possibility of this kind of organising is a lot more realistic and quite frankly, justified.

        Direct action/social resistance as in the Icelandic case is very effective and certainly a massive step forward from the atomised society that neoliberalism and its supporters in this country tried to create.

        While we are on the threshold of default, we are also on the threshold of massive and far reaching social change. The Ireland of Novermber 2010 may well be unrecognisable from the Ireland of November 2011. Cornelius Ryan wrote ‘The Longest Day’, we are looking at possibly ‘the Longest Year’.

        The road we travel is ultimately up to the people, the by-elections challenges by FG may prove the final straw for FF, but FG certainly do not fill me with confidence, best we can hope for is a government led by Labour.

        From a friend……we too are at a crossroads.

        • Deco

          None of them give me any confidence.

          Maybe if George Lee started his own party. He was right to quit FG, but he should have stayed in politics as an independent, as possible focus for a new party.

          I am not giving any support to a class obsessed clique who are waiting to take over FG from within (Coveney, Hayes, Baby Brute), and neither to the ILP clowns, SIPTU complete with slush funds, and Ditherer 2.0. and his funny business.

          gege – if you are serious about the left, try Joe Higgins or People before profit. Neither have had their snouts in the trough – but the ILP have been in power before and they had a swell time abusing the government jet, before Johnny Cash or Noel Dempsey even thought it was an option. The Old Schitzo on D’Olier Street wants us to ignore the misdemeanours of their crowd, and to never forget those they oppose.

          There are younger and cleaner options available on the left. Candidates that have not yet been corrupted.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ deco re: the left – not realistic but take on board your points. ILP only credible alternative at the mo.

        • shtove

          I mostly agree with what you say, until you mention Labour – the other road to Hell.

          Political parties are the tools of vested interests like the banks and unions.

          Let people go bust and wipe out their debt. Stop jacking up taxes. Reduce state interference. Allow people to get on with their lives and manage the risk for themselves.

      • adamabyss

        Good on those farmers.

        • Deco

          The farmers in that case in Sligo seemed to be sticking by one another. However, for some reason, there is not the same level of trust in urban areas. Maybe it is something to do with different professions or something. Or maybe just not enough trust to stick together. Another consequence of the level of corruption and institutional misbehaviour that exists in Ireland.

          I have listened to Karl Dieter (not sure about the spelling) talking about the mortgage holders issues in the past on the radio. He seems to be the one person who can be relied upon to provide straight answers, and he does not bow to the banks.

          He recommends that mortgage holders in arrears negotiate with the banks, and treat the various phases from the banks as a negotiation process. He also has a very common-sense appraoch to the issue. This is usually a sign of somebody who does their own thinking, and is not creating an elabourate stance to serve vested interests.

          • adamabyss

            Also, the impersonal nature of living in urban areas and the relatively high-density (as compared to farming areas at least) of such places. Notwithstanding the genuine issues you had with our planning / density strategy as previously documented Deco.

            Those farming families may have been neighbours for generations. People are just not as friendly or as supportive of each other, the closer you get to the city; having said that, I’ve only been back here less than a year and Irish people are a lot friendlier than most. But will they take a bullet for you? At this point, I think not.

            With tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people in mortgage arrears, that’s a lot of potential ‘Mexican standoffs’…

      • coldblow

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Land League essentially about the farmers getting full rights to the land? In other words they were looking for something for themselves, right?

        In Kavanagh’s book, Tarry Flynn is stitched up by his neighbours. His mother buys land from one which turns out to be useless while they conspire to prevent him gaining access. One of them tries to make his point by using physical force and Flynn pushes him down in self defence. The other man feigns injury and threatens to take a case. A subsequent scene where Tarry and a friend look in through the window while this neighbour and his family rehearse what they (and Flynn) are going to say in court is comedy gold.

        In the end he heads off with his rakish uncle and leaves the whole sorry mess behind. He sees his former life through new eyes, how small and petty it is. As he leaves the parish he turns for one last look and his uncle advises him: “Close your eyes and you’ll remember it better.”

        Isn’t one of the points David makes in his books that the rural classes successfully managed to ‘colonize’ the civil service and PS? I can’t see any salvation from that quarter.

  16. Cemetry White Washing Liquid

    I agree with the message of David’s article and believe it was written with an ‘accountants mindset ‘ rather than an ‘economist mindset’. Nevertheless he delivered the message very clearly.

    I would like to ‘shadow think’ on this topic .When I was reading it a number of things came to my mind as follows:

    1 Ascendancy Class : When the State was founded De Velera guaranteed the Landed English Ascendancy Class that they could keep their wealth and the State would not demand it .This was a political decision eventhough many of their forebears had aquired it by the sword and or deception etc in an earlier time past .It does appear that David is attempting to give a new meaning to the word Ascendancy Class in 2011 whose wealth now is spread world wide under the Casualty Ward of NAMA but this time the pain of an earlier war is not something that happened in the past but is now ahead of us.So this is forward planning to auschwitz camp . The shadow of the squinting windows comes to mind when political / financial decisions are made in any new proposal . How can any Sovereign State justify to exterminate themselves in this modern world ; and

    2 Many Actual Loss making businesses will want to avail of any opportunity and who will only again make more losses no matter good or bad times so why forgive their debts ?; and

    3 Becoming a failed business is a real education and will always happen to every business. The trick is not to make the same mistake again but that does not mean you wont make any mistake again . Its better that the business learns in a cost effective way and not using a sugar daddy ; and

    4 In the past the ordinary people did not have to contend with the 4th Estate and their Media Restraints .It was easier to understand and collaborate facts among the masses and make whatever decisions they wanted, to the side they had chosen .Nowadays there are veneers of shades of darkness that blinds the rationality of the ordinary people and when they are divided they are conquered ; and

    5 Blood is thicker than water and what it takes it will take no matter ; and

    6 Ronan O Garas Economics has a new meaning now for supporters it basically means the players and the rugby unions must take a hit and reduce their profits

    Big News here in France today is ciggs go up by 6% to 70% what the Irish pay.

    I read Morgans article today, I gasped many times doing so .

    • adamabyss

      Well said John.

    • Julia

      Well said John. Incidently, re. 1 above, isn’t the Irish State still paying ground rent or some kind of token rent to the Brits for Leinster House, the home of our Dáil?

      • Deco

        Unbelievable. There was a case in the West of Ireland over Lord Lucan (the real one – not Liam Lawlor) and ground rents and tenants giving him the fingers.

        Once again a bunch of ordinary Joes with more courage than the entire state system….what is about authorit in this country, that it is continually letting everybody else down ?

  17. paul

    @ Gege Le Beau
    FG looking for by-elections now after Sinn Fein successfully got the first court ruling reminds me of the kid who robs the orchard after his friends have already gotten away with it.
    First will always be first.
    Why didn’t FG act first?
    Because they’re the same as FF!
    Mary Lou got shouted down on tv when maybe she should have been listened to.

    • Deco

      Yeah…the FG move seems a bit opportunistic….They know the case will be a victory.

      It must be the fist time in decades any opposition party actually read the Constitution and decided to use it to stop government policy.

      A pity they can’t read Article 45, in relation to the bank bailout, and the behaviour of Anglo and Permo over that big 8 Billion loan that “matured” after 72 hours…

      I wouldn’t mind but FG are the Lawyers party, and none of them seem to know how to use the Constitution to stop government policy looking after vested interests…..or maybe they know….and they are turning a blind eye…..

    • Gege Le Beau

      @ Paul – I know – looks absurd.

      Labour forced O’Donoghue out. Sinn Fein got the court victory on the by-election in Donegal, hope they win the seat judging by the candidates on Vincent Browne right now.

      Think Kenny thinks the office of Taoiseach is his birth right, he brought FG back from the dead but he is not the man needed, but hopefully he will stay on and allow Labour to benefit, the only thing Kenny has managed to do in recent times is to hold off a coup what does that tell you, not even his own crowd have faith in him.

      Sinn Fein’s star is rising but they need depth in their squad otherwise will remain on the periphery.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Gege,

        In case you can’t see the wood for the trees regarding Sinn Fein rising to the top Ireland is in fact sinking to the bottom and you know you always find bottom dwellers at the bottom. When Germany sank to the bottom in the thirties look who took control over there.



        • Gege Le Beau

          While historical parallels can be useful we should always remember that no two situations are the same. I don’t agree with your Sinn Fein/Nazi anaology, now if you had said FF and………

          • michaelcoughlan


            If you read my post again you will see that I didn’t equate Sinn Fein with the Nazis. The parallel I drew was between our failed economy and Germany’s allowing in extremists. That is all. Despite their many failings FF has no blood on its hands.

  18. Deco

    Prof Lucy lets over the situation in AIB. (I have watched the deafening silence from RTE and The Irish Times on AIB for months. I remember when AIB got caught as anchor loan provider for the collapsed Stuyesvant Village Property collapse….the IT reported it three days late, and RTE ignored it altogether. The loss was greater than AIB’s capitalization….even back then).

    Basically AIB needs the state to stay solvent. But the state is not staying solvent because it is spending 20 Billion a year to stand still, before the banks get any money. That 20 billion is the cost of the Irish lifestyle every day.

    So the ditherers in Kildare Street need to get their collective heads out of their collective arses and cut out the pantomine politics. I see Michael “extension” Lowry wants to change the rules on gambling as his price for supporting the budget. What a useless gobshite !!! If Pearse, Connolly, Dev, Collins, Yeats, McBride and the entire lot of them still alive…they would all order that muppet to be shot. Healy Rae is laughed at because he wants potholes filled, and jobs for South Kerry, which is a local dimension to national problems. Despite all the derision JHR is fixing real problems for real people. The fact that he has no national perspective, means that he fits in perfectly with all the rest of them in there.

    But Lowry is a complete idiot altogether. I mean he is not doing what he is supposed to be doing. There is a smell attached to what he doing anyway.

    Next up, a public announcement that there will be a sale of state assets…..”To reassure the financial markets”.

    If we had real leadership in this country, it would be castigated and sent into exile. It would destroy the cosy consensus. Worse it might even lead to the people finding out what was really going on….”Safe pair of hands” instead….One insider after the next.

    • Pedro Nunez

      If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly,
      Enough vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
      And falls on the other,….. We fail!
      But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
      and we’ll not fail.
      Act 1, scene 5 Macbeth

    • Gege Le Beau

      Source of advertising revenue, how many AIB commercials have you seen on RTE-PRAVDA with people ‘I am with AIB’, radio ads like the one this morning on the way to work ‘Mr. X received a gratuity for his time in making this commercial’.

      They ignored Kelly’s article, biggest item in the country bar the EU Commissioner jetting in. Brian Cowen on 11%, all part of the ‘Lets see how low we can go’ campaign. FF backbenchers have a decision to make.

      • Pedro Nunez

        ‘Be with AIB, coz is leatsa e’

        Ah, Ireland…That damnable, delightful country, where everything that is right is the opposite of what it ought to be
        Benjamin Disraeli

      • Deco

        Correct….Be with AIB non-stop….and then when you go to them they have no money to loan…this is rubbish. Those ads are to let Pravda know who is in charge. Likewise AIB advertising every Friday in the IT Business Supplement.

        Cowen on 11%. A serious issue considering that the alternatives are shysters.

        Concerning the FF back-benchers doing a heave against Cowen, (or what John McGuinness calls the “officer class” around Cowen) – the GP have let it be known on repeated instances, that if there is a heave against Cowen, the GP will pull out of government. And the said FF backbenchers will be out of their jobs.

        The Tail that wags the dog….

        Cowen might have a miserable 11% satisfaction rating, but from the GP perspective, that is a massive acheivement when compared to their own poll numbers, which are in margin of error territory despite all the slick PR stunts.

  19. DarraghD

    @Deco, yeah fully agree, George Lee should have had the nuts, and the courage of his convictions, and set up his own political party, however him having been utterly insulated against all the economic reality that he was used to reporting upon, within the twilight zone that is RTE, taking a punt on himself was the least likely thing that George Lee was minded to do.

    • Deco

      George Lee, Arise your people need you. And you are a decent old skin, the real deal. And heck, you are even an economist. And we need one in charge…

      • Gege Le Beau

        amazed at this George Lee fetish, the guy is gone, think we need to move on.

        • coldblow

          HI Gege, I’ll see your George Lee fetish with one “Mick” Collins fetish. No, I think he showed up FG for what they were and the massive spin from the the party activists after his resignation was damage limitation. I think he did us a service in bringing this out.

          • Gege Le Beau

            All I know is everyone has their take but few people actually know what when on or why he left. I have my own views on it, but as I said time to move on lest we all turn to salt.

        • Deco

          An honest man entered politics.

          And the fact that we notice this means that we have a fetish. Such absolute rubbish.

          No, actually, it just means respect for an honest man who told the truth about the political system, and the Kildare Street Circus.

    • Colin

      Why didn’t Lee simply leave FG and become an independent backbencher? His vote could have been used to put this corrupt government under huge pressure. Could he explain to us why he’s let FF/Greens off the hook, allowing them to wreck the country because of favourable Dail arithmetic due to his resignation?

  20. Deco

    Scanned Morgan Kelly’s article. He left out the fact that IBEC and ICTU run Ireland using proxies in Kildare Street. Heck, it has even got to the stage where Casino Operators from Las Vegas can get a proxy in the Dail, and decide what happens with national policy.

    Kelly makes one very critical point. He states that we should have used the behaviour of three financial institutions in not disclosing their financial situation to the authorities in a transparent manner, to kick them out of the gaurantee. I have been saying this since the Permo-Anglo loan scandal broke. We had the legal standing to kick Anglo and Permo out of the gaurantee on the basis of that loan. That would have finished Anglo – but saved us billions. Those Anglo Bondholders who are lobbying in Brussels would have been stung, and Brussels would have issued some sort of fatwah against the Irish state. But they can only go so far, before the Germans start to wonder what exactly is going on in Brussels. Likewise, all those loans by Fingers that never went through formal procedures were sufficient evidence to kick out Nepoto-INBS.

    Why did this not happen ? Because too many influential people in Dublin, and in Europe would have be stuck with the bill. Simple as that. Don’t preach capitalism to the rich, because they only believe the part of it that suits them….

    • Deco

      I am just wondering why the hell this was not made more of an issue. David McW went on about it once every fortnight, and Prof Lucey also….but where were the others. Legally, the government was in an excellent position to get rid of Anglo Banglo, and Nepoto, and serve a clear warning to Permo.

      Having it declared publicly, by somebody who should know, when it is already too late, is as useful as candle in a hurricane…..

    • coldblow


      See post of 9.53 of 8 Nov. to the effect that the Guarantee was on the banks’ liabilities not on the banks themselves:

  21. Tim

    Folks, have a look at both posts here:

  22. zohan

    FF agenda
    We must stay solvent….first we sell all the silverware….then we suck up all the EU’s €440bn (£383bn) bail-out fund to keep our highly efficient public servants in the lifestyle they are accustomed to and perhaps we could even bankrupt ….Germany !

    Debt forgiveness ………….WAKE UP PEOPLE.

  23. Does ‘new money’ mean new investment or a new devalued currency?

  24. wills


    Final sentence article reads………….

    ‘That’s what a capitalist economy, an entrepreneurial society is all about. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be?’

    Isn’t that what we are supposed to be? asks David.

    Isn’t that what we, are, supposed, to, be?

    Is it?

    Its what I reckon we are supposed to be.

    Its what the media tell us we are supposed to be.

    Its what the politicians tell us we are supposed to be.

    Its what the banks and white collar classes tell us we are supposed to be.

    Are we, though, a capitalist economy, entrepreneurial society?

    The answer is YES, but its a yes with a number of clarifications.

    1 ~ The capitalist economy is rigged. Mechanisms are in place to control the free enterprise system and manipulate it toward the interests of an insider / ruling class.

    2~ The serf do all the entrepreneurial work and the real wealth is transferred upwards into the insiders accounts.

    • Colin


      Succinct and accurate analysis there.

      The question has to be asked now, why would an Irishman/Irishwoman bother to stay here to fight the system just to make ends meet for themselves while the elite feather their own nests from the fruits of the ordinary person’s blood, sweat and tears?

      • wills

        I moreso reckon the average citizen can get sussed on the *insider game in town* and make the prerequisite moves in order to work oneself out of its maze.

  25. paulmcd

    Have just finished reading Morgan Kelly’s article.

    Maybe I have been sleeping under a rock, but I missed all the shenanigans relating to the repayment of 55 bn of senior bank debt during September.

    Perhaps I need to re-read his article because I am puzzled as to why he accepts the Government’s worst-case figure for Anglo of 34 bn as realistic, especially given the existence of the infamous Promissory Note for 30 bn and my calculations relating thereto on Bank HOLIDAY MONDAY LAST:

    paulmcd says:
    October 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    If my calculations are correct, why should hedge-fund managers wait till 2011?

    Those who want to get ahead of the posse will be doing so before year end.

    • paulmcd

      Media in the Irish Republic are ignoring the activities of hedge funds in shorting Irish Govt Debt. You will need to google the topic for more information under the banner of Belfast Telegraph.

      • Deco

        Though…no doubt they will cover it in great depth when it is already too late….as usual…uphold the status quo, and tackle the status quo in a way that will acheive nothing at the same time.

    • It’s this simple Paul. In September the EU agreed a 104bn budget to run the whole of the EU for next year whist the Irish Banks borrowed 63Bn to pay back 55Bn(Give or take 10Bn -at this stage who’s bothered).
      The country is truely up a canine orifice.

      • Tull McAdoo

        I would not be surprised if FF recall Pat “the cope” Gallagher from Europe to fight one of the By-elections above in Donegal. Stroke Politics FF style. Gone Flanaghan .Indeed.

  26. Tull McAdoo

    A huge apology from me to Jim McDaid who has worked tirelessly for years trying to find ever more elaborate ways to spend Lottery money above in Donegal. Jim has decided to call it a day, so in the best traditions of this forum let me ask our resident hostess Miss Gladys Knight and her wonderful Pips to extend the same courtesy to Jim as she did to the Bull/ Johnny Cash on his recent departure to South Kerry.. Gladys extends her apologies for not being able to keep a straight face…….So take it away Gladys and Jim on that midnight train to Lifford……

  27. adamabyss

    Funny story, I was having a nervous breakdown in Newark airport about six months ago; second marriage just broken up; hadn’t slept for a week; waiting 12 hours for a flight back to Mammy in Ireland; next minute I see Michio Kaku walking in my direction, despite my bedraggled state, I had to say something to him – ‘Michio Kaku! I love your books!’. He gave me a smile and a wave at least, cheered me up for about a nanosecond. ‘Parallel Worlds’ (great book) is right. Life is truly bizarre sometimes.

    Another weird one; spent the whole summer of 2004 in Ireland, despite residing in the Caribbean at the time. Before travelling back to tropical paradise, I decide to visit friends in Spain, then one day roaming London between Gatwick and Luton, then 10 days in Hungary visiting the first wife. So I go on a 24 hour MDMA bender in Central London, never even pulled back the cover on the hotel bed. Dropped the bag there in the evening, picked it up in the morning. When I’m in Luton waiting for the Easyjet to Budapest, I spot a guy (from Manchester — Irish family though — McCabe) I used to work with in the Caribbean (dodgy Internet gaming business); he’s on his first trip to Blighty in ten years.

    AS I’M TALKING TO HIM, I see the Psychiatrist I used to work for when I was a student Psychiatric Nurse in London, in the early nineties, come through arrivals with his wife. I haven’t seen him for ten years. I want to go over and say hello but I can’t get away from the English / Caribbean guy because we are so surprised at the coincidence of us meeting in the airport — I expected to see him back in the Caribbean anyway.

    This Psychiatrist had a policy of never prescribing anything for his patients that he hadn’t tried himself. He took a dose of chlorpromazine once and said it was like ‘an elephant sitting on my head’. He’s probably a Sir by now — very upper class and polished, but used to commute between his hospitals in North London on a high-powered motorcycle — all leathered up too — Dr. Patrick Campbell, fascinating chap.

    Sorry, about this I’m stone cold sober (don’t drink). The moderator will probably delete this. If anyone sees me in Kilkenny this weekend, avoid me like the plague, all the study at Maynooth and the current travails of the country is over-stimulating my brain! Good night Ireland!

  28. makings of a great novel there!

  29. Deco

    Some people might find this interesting.

    To be honest, cannot understand why INBS was not wound up on day one. It is NOT of systemic importance. In fact it is only of importance to the Fingers clique….

    • We have to thank Mss Olivia Green, INBS whistle blower, for this information:

      Fast tracked loans to FF politicians. Both INBS and Anglo were part of the croney banker inner circle of FF. Systemic for getting croney loans that is!

      • Deco

        In “The bankers” by Senator Shane Ross, there was an FG TD who lost the rag with “Fingers” over the fact that “Fingers” seemed to sepnd more time in Leinster House than anybody else. He got “Fingers” banned for a period of three months.

        Another aspect to “Fingers” was that he sponsored the annual golf tournament for TDs, for a period of something like two decades. Like Breffni O’Brien (the Irish Madoff) Fingers was a high profile appearance at charity social events in South East Dublin. Great for the image and all of that.

        Every crook in this country makes a big deal of charitable he is. Make a big show, and then go back to business the next day, lining your pocket and looking after your mates.

        This is the standard procedure for somebody who holds a position of authority and who is abusing that authority and having a good time. Always maintain the veneer in good order.

        McCreevy has been caught – and strangely enough, he rarely commented since. In the larger context, there is an established pattern to be sustained. It seems that every second one of our EU Commisioners have been caught in some form of financial irregularity or another. Pee Flynn, Suds, and more have appeared in front of one Tribunal or another.

        “Fingers” himself maintains that nobody in the Dail should make a move to take his pension pot – because he has so much information on so many in there, that he can incriminate many of them. He can threaten to let loose and hit them where it hurts, and they don’t even know it.

        In effect, none can point the “finger” at “Fingers”.

  30. Deco

    And Permo is also in a spot of bother. The one bank that did not yet go looking for a capital injection from the state.

    Permo is border line systemic importance. I think they will cope. In fact they should be commended for not looking for taxpayer support yet – and I have slated them over the Anglo funny business, and the super mortgages.

    I suspect that Permo have taken a hit as a result of comments by Morgan Kelly concerning the state of the Irish residential mortgage market. I mean they are number 1 in the line of fire, if Prof Kelly’s thesis is correct…

  31. paulmcd,

    There’s a preso made by Anglo Irish Bank part of the Government set of archive documents here:

    Looking at the spread of the Anglo loan book between US/UK internationally and locally, €34 bn seems about right, means a total writedown of 50% approx, where losses under 50% locally are matched by gains over 50% internationally. A Junior Cert student could do the math!

    • paulmcd

      CB, Your link leads to documents published in 2008. Perhaps you meant to provide a different link?

      To suggest that losses locally will be only 50% on commercial developments and land banks, when by and large these ‘investment’ are not required, is extremely optimistic.

      I am not very well informed on international property markets but a gain of 50% (over what timeframe?) seems more than a trifle optimistic.

      • paulmcd

        I don’t believe that Anglo will realise any gains in overseas markets because if such prime real estate actually existed it would have been sold by now.

        As for Ireland, the story of recent weeks speaks for itself. Commercial real estate will fall by a considerably higher percentage than residential. There are commercial developments which are unsaleable or unlettable or BOTH.

        In some instance newly-developed RESIDENTIAL units are being parcelled up for purchase by cash-rich investment funds/individuals, but at discounts of 80% and higher.

        The Anglo figures you have discovered are another example of head-in-the-sand calculations from the School of Wishful-Thinking Economics.

        I will be sticking with my best-case scenario of 60 billion of losses related to Anglo, split between NAMA/AngloNamaBeag

        • paulmcd

          I meant to say Taxpayer/NAMA/AngloNamaBeag

          • Also, you have to factor in NAMA, the trick whereby the taxpayer cushions the losses. Losses without NAMA ? Go figure how much the taxpayer through NAMA is putting into Anglo, add those figures to the losses at Anglo and you get a true figure, but we won’t get those figures for another decade!

      • Hi Paulmcd, re “Your link leads to documents published in 2008. Perhaps you meant to provide a different link?”

        Nope, these are the last documents I could find related to a full public disclosure of Anglo’s loan portfolio. Plus the loan book would have frozen after that date because of the meltdown. Clearly though, we should demand the publication of the data that S&P would have had access to in a preso similar to the March 2008 doc above.

        For benchmarking analysis and workups of polyNAMA losses I figured an Anglo 60% loss locally against a 40% loss on the international loan book with leeway of swings on the positive and negative that would balance each other.

        Before the official publication of losses at €34 billion, I published a forecast of €34.5 bn loss two days S&P came out with similar approx figure when government were flagging losses at €25 bn.

        See also

        I presume that Anglo promo preso would also have been part of the working documents related to the decision by Government on the guarantee.

        The figures you can use are a snapshot taken at 2008. What you take into account after that is the bursting of the bubble and losses since then.

  32. Those worried about their money or a run on the bank might like to remind themselves of the specific terms of the guarantee scheme for deposits:

  33. A little Fianna Fail Fairy Tale from 30 March Last (best read on April 1)

    “Our determination to deal with this imbalance in our public finances through firm and decisive action has engendered real confidence in our economy on the international stage. The world out there believes in us and in our ability to work our way through our difficulties and return to growth.

    Jean Claude Trichet said: “In the case of Ireland very, very tough decisions have been taken by the government and rightly so,”

    More recently, Mr Trichet’s colleague, Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo on the ECB said: “The Irish measures are very courageous. They are going in the right direction.”

    The French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde said: “Ireland has set the high standard the rest of us must follow”.

    On a recent visit to Ireland, the German Minister for European Affairs, Dr. Werner Hoyer said: “I think there is a deeply rooted trust and confidence in this country’s ability to sort out its problems. … There is a fundamental belief that the Irish are going to solve it.”

    Already, we have reaped the benefits of this growing confidence. Since last April’s Supplementary Budget and the announcement of the decision to establish NAMA, borrowing costs have fallen and our bond spreads have halved. This trend was reinforced by last December’s Budget which outlined the next stage of our plans to return to a sustainable fiscal position. That is why we must retain our fiscal discipline.

    Having stabilised our public finances we must move to the final phase in stabilising our banking system. There has been much criticism of the length of time it has taken us to get to this point. I reject that criticism. Crucial pieces of the jigsaw had to fall into place before we could embark on this ultimate phase of our bank rescue.

    First and foremost, we are in a position to do what we are doing today because as a sovereign we are now fiscally stable and credible.”

    Errr…………….fiscally stable?

    • Lenny: What’s this Merkel business about bond holders being asked to share write down in default risk? Didn’t I tell ye our taxpayers are a proud bunch and we demand to pay back every penny we owe?

      Ollie: Don’t worry Brian, we know that! That’s why Angela is only talking in the future tense, perhaps a small adjustment to the Treaty for future lending? Nothing that should concern you!

      Ollie(Thinking to himself): This man must be the biggest brainless moron I’ve met in my whole life. Better take another look at his four year plan! Glad I came over to see the books for myself.

  34. Gege Le Beau

    11 houses repossesed out of 83 cases listed in court yesterday.

    Heard lawyers are going to represent people pro bono and challenge the banks for reckless lending, could be a further game changer. Maybe these are the same people David McWilliams highlighted in a previous article.

  35. [...] Forgive the ‘legacy debts’ and save the economy [...]


    If Donegal sw returns the FF candidate, it should be kicked out of the 26 counties! Maybe the Brits will take them in ? Good piece about Iceland on world report on rte 1 on sat, ditto Paul Somerville whose podcast was taken off the Marian Finucane site and is now on YOUTUBE.

  37. DarraghD

    I think we need to look at the phrase “legacy debts”, and try to somehow see if we can distinguish between those that are a part of the solution and those that are a part of the problem.

    I’m not for any form of debt forgiveness that provides for some individual who has been hoovering up properties for the last ten years, having debt forgiven and being left with an investment portfolio.

    That doesn’t make me a begrudger, I just think the message that we need to be left with at the end of all this, is that if you want to create wealth for yourself, then there is no avoiding the reality that it is a very tough business, and the notion that anyone could make it rich by taking no risk, by leveraging equity in one property against the purchase of another, that the old notions like, “you can’t go wrong with property”, “it’s a no-brainer”, etc, etc, and that you can work a 3 day week touring your property portfolio and playing golf with your bank manager, without having an entrepreneurial bone in your body, that we do not send out a message that this kind of parasite can expect to enjoy debt forgiveness.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t need any debt forgiveness because in relation to my own business that failed, I invested my own money in the business and I lost it. I don’t have any bank looking for a cent off me and in that regard I suppose I’m grateful for how things sometimes pan out, because when things look a turn for the worst on the sales front, the bank refused me any facility, so I suppose thank God for small mercies. Equally I don’t have a property so I’ve no debt concerns there.

    What I do need though, is access to micro-finance.

    In the UK, someone in my position would have the hand taken of them if they went into a local social welfare office and said that they wanted to start a business. I’d be sat down, my business plan examined, and deal would be reached along the lines of this, “Ok, you need 3K, there’s your 3K, you’ve three months left on the dole, your dole for months 4,5 and 6 has been paid to you up front, good luck and God bless”…

    But in Ireland, it makes more sense to go down to the dole office to sign on, get in the queue, sign your name on the card and keep your mouth shut.

    I say it again, until we get to a place in our heads where we start thinking along the lines of, “we need a hatch down in the dole office for small business start-ups, micro finance is available up to a limit of 3K but if you sign on the dotted line, you are out of the benefit system for 12 months, but by all means feel free to take a punt on yourself”…

    If we could start extending ourselves a bit like this, start thinking outside the box a bit, start connecting up our problems and putting in place what are nothing less than logical and obvious solutions, then we will start creating jobs and opportunity.

    In relation to the above idea to set up a hatch in every dole office for those who want to take themselves off the dole, I hear the argument that we can’t just throw 3K or indeed any amount at anyone who has a business idea, but I can tell you for sure that a whole voluntary body could and would emerge around such an initiative, not unlike the BNI (Business Network International), organisation, that would provide a support environment for those who signed up, weekly meetings to share problems, where members would be expected to assist each other with sales lead generation, pool resources, and most importantly, provide tuition where most businesses fail, which is around the area of sales creation, financial planning and keeping proper books, tax compliance, etc.

    It’s really that simple in my opinion, we need to start making smart, obvious and logical local decisions to help enterprise and stop shiteing on about “FDI”, “we’re waiting for an improvement in the global economy”, “it’s now a knowledge economy”, “oh wait a minute, it’s now a green economy”…

    Buzzwords and politically encoded soundbyes have provided nothing for this economy.

    • Sounds a brilliant idea but probably needs some tweaks, more finesse to iron out a few gotchas.

      1. Say you can draw down future payments up to a level of 3k and you are out of the system up to/until you reach the 3k mark that future payments would give to you, so work out the number of months you would be due payments for, plus amounts and the total!

      2. Say you got full time employment before the time window has run out in 1, you agree to owe back the full amount due calculated as a sum of payments from the time you begin work to the end of the time window you bought into.

      3. You agree to some form of business mentoring system that would evaluate your business plan, approve it and monitor it.

      4. You get assistance on marketing/accounts and attend a monthly get together of others on the same boat or affiliate with BNI in some way as you suggest.

      5. If you are a success, you agree to offer zzz amount of time as a volunteer to assist the programme.

      6. Local business community to be involved with the view to scoping for further support and investment.

      7. Free business premises for startups for tba initial start up period.

      8. You agree to attend a free technology course on SOA, Search Engines, Online Payments, web site ecommerce, marketing promotion.

      etc…..the fact is, Enterprise Ireland, FAS, usually are interested in businesses of 10 people or more, not the micro businesses you have in mind. France has much better support for businesses at this level. Have a look here:

      This country needs far more support at the micro business level to break open the network of medium sized businesses, that often maintain an exclusive members only club run on nepotism, croneyism and political affiliation:)

      • adamabyss

        Yeah, good work DarraghD. Regarding cbweb’s response I think point 3. is crucial. You wouldn’t want people submitting any old nonsense and what’s more you’d need a transparent appraisal system so as to avoid the insiders approving plans (and the 3K+) for their crony pals. Even if the documents were only published publicly in a retrospective fashion, it would be a start (so people wouldn’t have their ideas robbed before they could bring them to fruition).

  38. Gege Le Beau

    Americans cut through the bull!

    Grant, Brynjolfsson Interview About Ireland Debt Crisis

  39. DarraghD

    You hit the nail on the head cbweb. If you are dealing with the County Enterprise Board system, you are in all reality looking at the following obstructions:

    (1) You have to be manufacturing something to qualify for support. They expect your idea to have high export potential.

    (2) They have no funds to lend to people because their budgets have been cut. They hide fact this by telling applicants that they actually have funds available if you can match their funds. If you had funds in the first place, you wouldn’t be going to the CEB for support.

    (3) You are looking at a 6-12 month processing timeframe when dealing with a County Enterprise Board (board members are all politically appointed, read whatever you want into that, but I have found them catastrophically USELESS when I approached them), at the end of which you will be referred back to option (2) above.

    What we need is a hatch in every dole office, and if you present yourself at this hatch on a Monday, you get to formally present your idea within 5 working days in front of a body of competent private sector and public sector people (as distinct from the politically appointed knob ends that you’d be dealing with in a CEB), and you are drafted very rapidly into a support system, (depending on obviously how developed your micro business plan is). If you have the development work done and you have the idea ready to go and it makes business sense and you can demonstrate the ability to give it a good shot, then you should be looking at going at it within a fortnight of knocking on the hatch, if you have the right idea and the preparation all done.

    People who start up businesses, they are allergic to the kind of political beaurocracy and waffling that you run straght into when dealing with a County Enterprise Board. Form filling for the sake of form filling, being told “no”, because you don’t tick some stupid “export ideas only” or “manufacturing ideas only” box, this kind of political gombeenism, gimp like behaviour, it can the spirit of enterprise out of any person.

    When I think of where we are at in Ireland right now with supporting job creation and the torturous beaurocracy that passes for support for small business start-ups, it reminds me of back in the 1800′s when prison wardens used to be employed to stand over a man in a prison yard to get him to move 5 ton of rock a day to the other end of the yard and then back again to where it was originally, part of the lesson was to demean the man and strip him of dignity, part of the lesson was to turn him off crime by making him carry out the most useless kind of work possible.

    If you ever tried to engage with a state agency in Ireland, you’ll be left feeling like the 19th century prisoner carrying rocks across a yard and back again, while all the time achieving absolutely nothing, being sent from Billy to Jack to Joe, zapping you of the drive to get up and running, while the well paid public sector worker behind your application smirks at you with that “ah sure I’m grand Jack…”, no doubt just like the prison warden in the 19th century jailhouse used to grin at the rock ferrying prisoner in the 1800′s as he trapsed across the yard with rock after rock, probably in the knowledge that he would have to carry them all back to the original spot again…

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hello DarraghD,

      I am not sure if you saw my post above with the links so here they are again.



    • coldblow


      What you say makes a lot of sense. As I said before I don’t understand the reasoning behind benefit, job seeker’s allowance or whatever you call it. If you lose your job and have money in the bank over a certain modest level (what is that I wonder?), money which has been saved with an eye to the future rather than frittered away, I presume you have to spend it first before you are eligible. How does that promote prudent responsible behaviour? It’s just another absurdity.

      Crotty quoted the Biblical dictum: You shall earn your bread by the sweat of your brow and said it didn’t apply in Ireland as work has historically only been available for half the people. He proposed a national dividend, funded from land and interest taxes etc, for which everyone is eligible. This would cover, or go a long way towards covering, your basic needs. If you want more money, then work for it. Seems fair to me, though I think it should be withheld in the case of antisocial behaviour.

      I presume the reaons they won’t advance even small sums to would-be entrepreneurs is that there would be no shortage of wasters who would take the money and p*ss it up against a wall.

      That kind of bureaucracy is a menace. How can it be improved? Well, if authoritarian solutions based on targets and “efficiencies” were introduced my guess would be that it would make matters worse as people would be too worried about being disciplined to challenge the nonsense or to use their own initiative and common sense. A light touch might encourage laziness and inefficiency, perhaps slow “innovation” and delay the introduction of even more complicated procedures. On the whole I think the latter would do less damage to general wellbeing.

      This seems to be universal. In the US they’ll return a letter unless its address is correct to the last comma even though they know full well where it’s destined. You have Kafka. There’s a story by the Italian author Vittorini (in Piccola Borghesia). Or “An Eochair” a short story by Ó Cadhain, where a civil servant gets locked into his office by mistake over a weekend, they call in the OPW etc etc and he ends up dying there – although Ireland seemed to be relatively free of this kind of thing. I think it’s a kind of mental illness to be honest.

      • coldblow

        When I say I don’t understand the reasoning behind the rules for benefit I mean I don’t see a satisfactory philosphical framework behind them (you can claim benefit only if you have exhausted your other means as you are seeking work, even if work is not available). Nor is there much evidence in terms of practicability or simplicity (as DarraghD shows). So, if they are not firmly rooted, it seems the Govt can move them around as they see fit.(?)

  40. coldblow

    Did anyone else read this article by John Drennan in the most recent Sindo?

    “It was a chilling indication of how the terrible failure of our political leaders has created a system of political and administrative leadership that increasing resembles that of a small, none too efficient, fascist state.”

    Strong words.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Good post coldblow.

      Gege Le Beau has pointed this out with some excellent posts and links proving the fact that Ireland is in fact a corporate dictatorship controlled by sociopaths. We all know the incompetence in Dail Eireann. I feel the politicians know the writing is on the wall and will breathe a huge sigh of relief when the IMF comes in. The IMF will rationalise the whole place and we will all know what austerity means then.

      The Politicians will be thankful that outsides are swinging the axe. You can almost envision it already howling abuse and scape-goating the IMF for their own failings but secretly delighted that someone has the guts and backbone to do the right thing for Ireland. I still love my country though. The citizens as always will restore our great Republic NOT the scumbags in the Dail.

      • Gege Le Beau

        IMF would not be pretty.

        I hope for a deal with the Europeans, of course with a new Irish government, hopefully Labour led as FG are as bad as FF if not worse.

        • michaelcoughlan


          Labour will certainly be in the next administration so long as they don’t lose sight of the goal. If there are any labour minded people out there it is worth remembering the words of the late Ted Kennedy: “Compromise is not a dirty word”. I just hope they reveal credible alternatives and are simply boxing clever by not revealing their hand this side of an election.

          • Deco

            Don’t worry about the Irish Labour Party and compromise….they are well used to it….the last time they were in they compromised themselves every day they were in power….when Spring was staying in 800 Dollar a night hotels, Burton was directing the the government jet to go transcontitental to get in some clothes shopping, Frank Ross was giving jobs to party activists, and Micheal D appointing freinds to state jobs in a mad rush….

            Eamon Gimme-More and his clowns are shower of pretenscious crooks desperate to get their snouts in the trough.

            So no need to worry, because the ILP have loads of compromising, and Ditherer 2.0 can box just as clever as Ditherer 1.0 – who used the phrase boxing clever a lot. He can act and pantomine better than anybody in Kildare Street.

            As regards credible alternatives, a lot of people have found a credible alternative that is far more effective than another collection of hoors in poiwer on the take…people who are getting up and leaving the country for good.

    • Pedro Nunez

      subscribe, gombeen contemptous fascism, TTFO FF shysters, but why don’t they go!

  41. DarraghD


    Thanks for the link Michael, I’m going to research that FirstStep option now. I’ve absolutely no shame in saying that after dealing with the dole office and the CEB system, I’m not a broken man yet but as Justice Kearn’s remarked in his recent High Court judgement, I’m not that far short of it.

    • michaelcoughlan


      I am delighted you read the link. This is how we will renew our great Republic one citizen helping another. Fuck the idiots in the Dail. Don’t waste your time on time. Find Irish citizens of like mind and start at the grass roots level. Even if it is true that this Republic has failed then we will start a new one and Ireland will continue to live. The French are on their fifth Republic I think. If ever the words of Luke Kelly in his following poem were more apt it is now. I would advise anyone to listen to him in the spoken word and if not moved to tell the truth are you really only the living dead?

      For What Died The Sons of Roisin?
      (Luke Kelly)

      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it fame?
      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it fame?
      For what flowed Ireland’s blood in rivers
      That began when Brian chased the Dane?
      And did not cease, nor has not ceased With the brave sons of ’16
      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it fame?

      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it greed?
      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it greed?
      Was it greed that drove Wolfe Tone to a pauper’s death
      In a cell of cold wet stone?
      Will German or French or Dutch inscribe the epitaph of Emmet
      When we have sold enough of Ireland to be but strangers in it?
      For what died the sons of Roisin, was it greed?

      To whom do we owe our allegiance today?
      To whom do we owe our allegiance today?
      To those brave men who fought and died
      That Roisin live again with pride,
      Her sons at home to work and sing
      Her youth to dance and make her valleys ring,
      Or the faceless men who for mark and dollar
      Betray her to the highest bidder.
      To whom do we owe our allegiance today?

      For what suffer our patriots today?
      For what suffer our patriots today?
      They have a language problem – so they say,
      How to trespass must grieve their heart full sore.
      We got rid of one strange language
      Now we are faced with many more
      For what suffer our patriots today?

  42. Gege Le Beau

    Interesting one………not sure how we can go on paying in this climate.

  43. Deco

    What do you do when you have no money for the prison service anymore ?

    This is what happens when a state system runs out of money. Dermot Ahern tries to put a spin on it.

  44. uchrisn

    Due in part to the ECBs failed policies it now ‘owns’ Irelands economy.
    In a negotiation with any Irish government over repayment of debt it holds all the bargaining power. It can stop buying government bonds and crash our economy. It can charge us 10% to borrow money if it wants.
    The ECB can just print more Euros. So they can give the money to Ireland really through a ‘rescue fund’. They will quite rightly point out that Irish doctors and government employees in general might not deserve to earn as much as they do compared to their french counterparts.
    They might also point out that our corporation tax is just not fair.
    Expect to see our debts covered by the ECB and our wages and taxes come more into line with the rest of Europe.
    Personally I think this is fair.
    The sooner Irish people realise that the wealth of 2005 is not sustainable but was caused by a bubble the better.
    I have tried to see who actually owns the ECB and can’t find any exact information. Which would lead me to believe it could be privately owned like the Fed.

    • Pedro Nunez

      Re: “Irish doctors and government employees”, FFS tell the lawyers and judges who have upheld the interests of cronyism in this state against the public and who still refuse to pay the levies and pension reductions the rest of us took a year ago and who life more prolifigate lifestyles than even the ascendancy did who we supposedly chucked out 90 years ago.

      Even Ernest and Young got big bucks to audit and verify Anglo accounts that are now obviously fairy stories.
      Doctors would be ridiculed in open public forum and struck off for such negligent incompetence but the Irish taxpayer is supposed to dig deep to fund this political and professional culture of incompetence.

      • uchrisn

        Pedro good point Re the other excessive professional salaries. However the point I am making is that the ECB is going to want to force those on the government payroll to be paid less, this may include some lawyers and judges. Even within Ireland there has been many people demanding that the higher paid government payrolleees should have salaries cut.
        The Irish people will have to control those not on the government payroll by bargaining better for their products/services.

      • uchrisn

        Thanks Michael, each countries central bank is basically a shareholder who reaps profits. However who owns the respective central banks, especially the Bundesbank? Again it is not easy to find information about who owns the respective European central banks.
        I want to know, how can I be a shareholder in a central bank?
        These guys can’t make a loss from the ECB only a profit. See below.

        Net profits and losses of the ECB are allocated among the euro-area NCBs according to Article 33 of the Statute:

        Allocation of net profits and losses of the ECB
        33.1. The net profit of the ECB shall be transferred in the following order:

        (a) an amount to be determined by the Governing Council, which may not exceed 20% of the net profit, shall be transferred to the general reserve fund subject to a limit equal to 100% of the capital;

        (b) the remaining net profit shall be distributed to the shareholders of the ECB in proportion to their paid-up shares.

        33.2. In the event of a loss incurred by the ECB, the shortfall may be offset against the general reserve fund of the ECB and, if necessary, following a decision by the Governing Council, against the monetary income of the relevant financial year in proportion and up to the amounts allocated to the national central banks in accordance with Article 32.5.

    • uchrisn

      Forgot the bankers. They are overstaffed and overpaid, thats one reason they are making such losses. The bankers should now be put on a pay scale less than nurses as the country has bailed them out. Flight of talent. What talent?

  45. Alan42

    If I went into a failing company ( which I have ) and found a bunch of ex school teachers , country solictors and mini property tycoons in upper management running the place into the ground . I would sack them . I would hardly pump in a load of cash and say ” see you in 6 months lads “

  46. Can we stem the rotten and dumb argument that huge salaries whether in education, politics, health have to be there to attract the very best because that is what the international market for guys like these is.

    No, it aint.

    We are a tiny economy with a tiny population, a GDP that is only 6.8% of Germany’s! These guys are not being recruited to run the public health service of Germany, UK or France.

    Their salaries should reflect the miniscule population, the smaller public service. Arguably, some of these guys metaphorically are JCB’s when what we need is someone with a spade and shovel to dig a small hole in the garden. They will have far narrower responsibilities than their equivalents in other countries and their salaries should reflect this.

    This contagion is everywhere with politicians demanding salaries in the same league as that paid to OBama.

    At present David Cameron Prime Minister receives £142,500 including a salary of £65,737 as a Member of Parliament

    Cowen is the 4th highest paid politician in the world and gets paid more than Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron!

    Still managed single handedly to drive the economy over a cliff in 2007/08 pushing for 8% + spending increase as the storm clouds of recession everywhere were flagging no, no.

    It’s hard to change old spending spree habits when power has gone to the head and caution is thrown to the wind and your critics who actually know something about economics are told to go commit suicide…

    What about the FAI, Trapattoni affair….
    This is where Dennis O Brien ‘tax exile’ squandered his €2 ml conscience money on his own personal vanity project: to get Trapattoni to Ireland.

    Top of the agenda should be radical salary capping for the public service to €150,000.

  47. Astro Nomics : I predicted in a recnt article that the week to Xmas will be °Fire Related ° .Currently there is a vast nuclear train making its way from France to Germany and with more waste uranium than was in Chernoble . Now just suppose someone throws a fire cracker . What will be the relevance of Ireland as a Creditor to ECB ?

  48. wills

    Debt forgiveness only for the insiders / elites.

    The serfdom class dont benefit from such grace.

  49. wills


    Debt forgiveness must be costed to the beneficiaries of the POnzi property pyramid scam.

    That goes without saying though!

    It is utterly unacceptable to cost out on debt forgiveness to the non beneficiaries of the bubble pyramid scam of the last 10 years!

    • crossroads

      Re. wills, ‘Debt forgiveness must be costed to the beneficiaries of the POnzi property pyramid scam.’

      Some form of wealth tax would be needed to sniff out where the money went and take a slice of it back.

  50. Pastor of Muppets

    While it’s interesting to follow the academic cut-and-thrust on here about how to wiggle gracefully out from under our massive national debt burden (I don’t think we’re going to be able to simply pay it off, not in generations), it’s not actually going to make one bit of difference. We, the people, are not actually in control. We haven’t been for a long time (if ever) in this country.

    We’ve all contributed thousands of virtual column-inches of opinion to dissecting the faults and failings, proposing our own solutions, hacking at or supporting the efforts of others and so on.

    It’s not going to change anything and frankly, and I mean no disrespect to thinking and inquiring minds who contribute of their time to enriching the debate, it’s not going to create one job, save one failing business or prevent a single home repossession.

    So, it’s time to think a little differently. Nothing radical, but bear with me. It might involve a little contribution on the part of contributors here of a slightly less virtual type than is normal but I think it might be a worthwhile experiment. Thought experiments are a useful analytical tool but after a bit, as an engineer, it’s always fascinating to see if lab conditions translate into reality.

    So, I propose a plan and it’s fairly simple.

    We have a lad on here, a ‘failed’ entrepreneur by his own admission. As point one, at least he tried and if he failed, has at least one lesson to learn from. I take heart from this – I’m told I smacked myself and the furniture/floors/walls silly trying to walk but the lesson must have sunk in as I only end up on my arse these days through drink, ergo, it is at least possible that one can learn from past mistakes and that perseverance can occasionally pay off even if the face of a force as immutable as gravity.

    He’s also keen to dust himself off and have another run at it. More power to him. We need more like that in this country.

    As a third point, he’s managed to keep a clean sheet with the banks, being responsible for his own losses. Another plus point.

    Fourthly (I think), all he lacks is some seed capital, some 2-3k. Not an impossibly large sum if one has it, a bit of a sticking point if you’re to try to get it from the state. Or indeed, what we laughingly refer to as ‘Banks’ these days. (Yeah, their business plans these days must be a howl to read, a bit like the howl investors in Ireland PLC will have come spring when we go back to the bond markets – so who are the banks to judge us?)

    So, if we can’t all bring about massive economic reform by the power of responding to internet blogs, how about trying to start just one business (for now) by starting our own micro-finance programme?

    It doesn’t require (for an initial experiment anyway) anything more complex than sticking 20 or 30 yahoos on a nag down at the bookies. Think of it as a bet – a bet that we don’t actually need banks or venture capitalists.

    Or, maybe in lieu of some hard cash (which some of us might have been left a bit short of thanks to FF and whatever muppets propped them up of late), maybe some can offer their talents and time?

    I’ve propped up at least one small business locally by applying my talents over the last year or so, while those without the vision or good luck to have someone to help have gone to the wall in the same industry.

    I’d be happy to risk a few hours a week and say 30 quid to see if a man could get back in business. Anyone else feel like taking a shot in the dark and trying to wrest control back into the hands of the people?

    I guess if we can get one initiative up and running on a paying prospect, maybe something more formal could be put in place (anyone want Micro-Venture-Capitalist on their CV? lol) than merely getting your 30 quid (or whatever you can afford) back, plus the warm fuzzy feeling of actually having done something that matters?

    • petercice

      hi pastor
      some very good points above also another idea could be that experianced people or people with some business knowlage could come together and set up groups in areas so that they can offer free advise ect to people starting new ventures so that they can learn some of the things to look out for

      • Pastor of Muppets

        Hi Petercice,

        Business or technical knowledge, life experience, a few quid to ‘gamble’, I’d take all offers if I had to make a business succeed, including taking a bit of charity or help to make it work (we Irish are great at charity when it comes to giving it overseas, and stingy buggers when it comes to the man next door). I’m in my 40s (and 18 ’till I die) and have worked in everything from sheep farming to IT security testing and everything in between (it’s been an interesting life so far). I have no probs in throwing out my spare time and talents to any good cause. I’ve seen how it can make the difference between a small business survive or very, very likely fail. So I know this model can work, at least sometimes. I have no fear of failure and if you want to really motivate me, just utter the phrase ‘it can’t be done….’ – that’s like a red rag to this bull. Some might say there’s nothing sure in this life but death and taxes – I say, ‘just try taxing a barter economy’. (Apologies to Mark Twain, I think, but he only had it half-right there.)

        I can’t see why we can’t (on a small business level) pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. It might take a bit of charity and a few folk pulling together, but sure what the hell else will we have to do while the current economic storm breaks around us? Wait for some multi-nationals to parachute 500,000 hi-value jobs in to us?

        No. I can’t see that one happening any time soon and I’d feel a lot more pride in seeing a locally-grown small business creep slowly into profitability and set the model for more of the same.

        Britain might have once been ridiculed as a nation of shopkeepers, but at least it was local indigenous industry that served well for decades. Now they (and we) have Tesco et Al and the death of the local high street. Progress?

        We already have a forum where we come together – it can be right here. (Or anywhere else on the ‘net these days). We all have some talent that’s applicable to some business that needs a kick to get started or a pull out to keep going.

        I have no doubt at all from watching what people on here (and similar fora) write and how they write it that they’re mostly intelligent, highly literate, experienced people who actually *think*. That experience probably covers a huge spectrum of work and life skills. (Don’t knock ‘life skills’ – I know some very, very canny buggers that haven’t a PhD to their name, and aren’t concerned about it.)

        No better place to start. As I say – all it takes is one success – and then we build on that.

        The trick now is to forget about terms like ‘local’ in a geographic sense. We here. We’re online. Distance isn’t really an object.

        • Dorothy Jones

          Yes. That’s a very solid approach. I’ll make a modest contribution and if my time is of any value to the project, I will be happy to work on it for a half day as required. Any suggestions for a forum from any of ye who are web experts? If this could be a pilot project of collective effort, it could lead to something…..

          • adamabyss

            Sorry, didn’t see this comment (don’t like this forum’s format but that’s the last time I’m moaning about it).

            Yes, I guess you are ‘in’.

    • Harper66

      Welcome Pastor.
      Hats off to you. An excellent idea.

    • adamabyss

      Good idea I’m in. I could drum up the 30 Euros even though I’m a penniless student. And I’m willing to put in a limited amount of time as well as long as the purpose is clearly defined and transparent. I can add numbers and write and that’s where all knowedge begins. I won ten GBP the other day simply by clicking meaninglessly a few times on the Walkers Crisps website – I’ll put that in for a start.

      • adamabyss

        …knowledge even, spelling mistakes annoy me.

        • Pastor of Muppets

          Me too but I wouldn’t worry about the spelling. I know dyslexic millionaires…and spell-checkers are not yet perfect either. (and real fun when you work with even American English, whatever the rules of that are…)

          I also wouldn’t worry about thresholds on contributing. Last time I checked, any charity going would accept coppers quite happily. 10 euro, 10 cents, it’d all add up. Concern, Trocaire etc, while happy to take a direct debit, still don’t turn their nose up at any contribution.

          This could be like gambling, or investing in the stock market. Don’t bank on a return, much less a profit and never, ever, invest what you can’t afford to lose.

          It is a crying shame that we’re forced (or perhaps at last a good thing) to try to help ourselves. Face it, as a mate of mine put it ‘The rich uncle in Europe has died, and left us no legacy, the monthly stipend is no more…’. We’re now at a point where *we’re* the lenders of last resort. The real shame really lies with a government that’ll happily try to buy votes with social welfare payments but will piss all over someone who’ll offer to trade that safety net for the chance for a man to try to make something of himself and the economy.

      • adamabyss

        Some very impromptu thoughts -

        1. Identify the indvidual (privately if necessary) how much is needed and a business plan / budget.
        2. Accumulate the intial working capital through some agreed online payment method – like as one of the other contributors frequently enthuses about. Stay far away from the banks. Keep it in ‘escrow’ (mutually agreed and supervised – no need for lawyers) until we reach the first agreed target.
        3. Don’t disavow meeting in person to thrash out ideas, although online will suffice for now. Pleas keep drink out of the equation though – no pubs, unless we are drinking tea.
        4. Online presence from the off for the business, e-commerce, Facebook page (can be only viewed by participants initally), Twitter feed etc. Facebook made me thousands in revenue in a small business on a tiny Caribbean island – people down the road would use it to find out about my business, even though they could just call or drive around the corner. It takes ages to get in the local directories sometimes. Cable and Wireless ‘forgot’ to put us in the first year and we had to wait another year to get in the phonebook / yellow pages – daft.
        5. Following on and related to 4. – consider viral marketing, cheap, fast and effective.
        6. If any of the previous points I’ve made before are utter rubbish – don’t be afraid to say so and point out why, but politely.
        7. Time (and timing) is of the essence, therefore no time-wasters.


        • Pastor of Muppets

          See, people are thinking hard already, and contributing their experience/ideas… more of that please!

          Forget worrying about FF/GP, whatever our next government will be, what the interest rate in the bond market will be in March etc. It’s not going to help you. Or me. Fun to discuss, admittedly. Regardless, whatever the fallout, it’ll be inflicted on you anyway.

          I was going to apologize for sort of hi-jacking the thread but then I thought ‘How many revolutionaries apologized…

          And decided in true Irish style ‘feck it…’

          • adamabyss

            You’re not hijacking anything. People go off on their own tangents all the time and I’m more guilty than most. Let’s see what the response is like. Time for talking is over as far as I’m concerned. Yes the economics is fun to discuss alright but we can’t influence the bigger picture; we can only start at the bottom.

          • adamabyss

            I’m not sure who the ‘failed’ entrepreneur is Pastor, I’ve read every post on here for months but there could be a couple of candidates. I guess it could be DarraghD, but it doesn’t matter for now. If the plan is viable, we can move forward. If not, we can maybe find another one.

          • Pastor of Muppets

            Yes, there are a number of folk out there (or in here) who have ideas, drive, vision, experience but that are obviously completely sidelined by ‘the system’. And it’s a pity, as they’re probably the very people that any possible economic recovery can be based upon. As with any investment (be that time and/or money), they and their ideas do need to be examined. Rather than the current system of having to have been a proven success prior to investment (in which case often they don’t need help – the catch22 of start-ups), I’d like to see a pool of candidates from among ourselves offer start-up ideas that need a minimal cash investment (but maybe more on the advice / practical help front). Right now I’m wondering if I was that small business, how I could pitch my idea without the fear of some sod nicking it and doing the whole cronyism thing to grab some funding from whatever state agency their relatives are in….stories of that happening are rife. And unfortunately, they’re not just fairy tales…. ideas anyone?

          • petercice

            Hi Pastor
            i really like the idea and you can count me in to help in any way i can

          • adamabyss

            Does that mean you are ‘in’ Dorothy?

          • Dorothy Jones

            @ Adamabyss
            My word is my bond – yes

          • Pastor of Muppets

            Well, 3 radicals and counting. If we get a bit of interest, I have a bit of web space I can donate where I basically can install anything we might need – blogs/forums/etc. Might make communication handier without diluting DMW’s blog.

            Apparently, I now need to do a bit more research into online Escrow facilities and the whole concept and history to date of micro-finance.

            I’m handy enough at the whole web/computer thingy but it never fails to amaze me the areas I get sucked into and have to learn more about. Who’d have though FF could provoke just one man into life-long learning, just to get rid of them and their gombeen system….it’s about the one small thing they could possibly be lauded for….

          • adamabyss

   is another one Pastor. I’ve used it for years. It had trouble with the Feds (who hasn’t) but it seems to have survived while others have crumbled. Of course a lot of people use PayPal and would be familiar with it but it’s always been a bit too conventional for me. I’m out of touch with online currencies a bit myself so would need to refresh my knowledge.

            When I said ‘escrow’, I didn’t necessarily mean in a legal sense. Just something everyone would be comfortable with. As you know, trust is very important in business; you wouldn’t want some poor desperate soul running off with the seed capital. There’s way to facilitate it without incurring legal fees.

            Webspace would be good. I’ve no creative talent for web design myself but enjoyed operating and monitoring the back-end of things. Would be easy to knock up a Facebook page, I’m very familiar with the functionality but we don’t need it today. Facebook is not all about socialising, you just use it as a portal to redirect people to your own e-commerce. Just needs basic content unless it’s a completely web-based business. I guess you know most of this already anyway. No harm in repeating it though or brainstorming.

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