January 12, 2011

Citizens must fight rise of European bankocracy

Posted in International Economy · 195 comments ·
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I am whizzing through the Austrian countryside towards Vienna Airport on a packed train to get a flight back to Dublin. The efficiency of this place is extraordinary — as too is the male Austrian weakness for the hats with large luxuriant feathers sticking out of them!

Silly as it sounds, it is actually quite funny to see grown men prancing around with a veritable peacock’s tail growing out of their felt caps. But that’s what European culture is all about — the evident, wonderful and cherished differences between all the countries.

Here in Austria, the European-wide ban on smoking in public has not yet been introduced. As a result, the cavernous cafes serving delicious milky coffee with artery-threatening Apfelscrudel and cream, are a haze of thick cigar smoke.

As well as the smoke, the other thing that strikes you in Austria is that the country is so old. There are precious few children, teenagers or even young adults anywhere, but the streets are full of pensioners.

It feels both old and old fashioned and yet, the freedom to smoke seems stolidly obstinate and idiosyncratic. Above all, sitting in cafes, smoking — like hats with feather — is all part of a national culture.

Increasingly, Europe’s economies are being seen through the kaleidoscope of culture. The differences are no longer only religious as they were a hundred odd years ago.

Back then — and to widespread acceptance — Max Weber the German anthropologist was the first to make the point that economics could be cultural — or at least you can’t look at economics independent of culture.

He found — based on extremely detailed research of the professions and occupations in selected towns in Germany — that those registered as Protestants tended to work hard, save more and be more commercially successful.

Today in Europe it seems that there is a return to a form of Weberian selection. There are biases (barely hidden) in the financial press and financial circles about innate Latin laziness, Irish fecklessness and Greek corruption.

However, today in deeply Catholic Austria, the idea that the Catholics are uniquely lazy and indolent and the Protestants parsimonious doesn’t wash.

But the distinctions are between a core Europe of older, exporting countries that export machines and capital and a peripheral Europe of younger countries, that have weakened banking sectors and significant debts.

The Austrians are not too happy about this split because it means that ultimately they will pay the bill. However, their bile is not reserved for the citizens of the peripheral countries, but the banks and political elites of their own.

The news in all the papers here today is of the ongoing crisis in Europe’s debt markets. The idea that Japan and China are now actively buying the debt of some EU countries to calm the crisis is not going down well in Austria’s ‘Der Standard’ — the local paper. A headline in the financial pages this week read: “Der Fall Portugal wird zum Deja-vu fur de Eurozone” — the fall of Portugal provokes a sense of deja vu for the euro.

The piece cites the domino process, which started in Greece, extended to Ireland and now afflicts Portugal and, perhaps a bit surprisingly for those who don’t know the numbers, Belgium.

‘Der Standard’ goes on to highlight the fact that in a recent survey of the 10 most likely states to default, five were EU members of which four were in the euro — and Ireland was up there along with Greece.

My neighbour here on the train works for an Austrian company that makes big machines for railway tracks. They are a type of spirit level for tracks, making sure that the tracks are maintained and don’t warp. Now 30pc of his business is in China and that’s where he is focused.

When asked about the euro, he replied that it was and still is a bad idea, because of cultural differences, which he was keen to highlight. He said Austria is not Greece or Ireland or even Belgium but now Austria’s future was tied via the euro to these countries.

But on the other hand, as an Austrian exporter, like many German exporters, he explained that at least the crisis prevents the currency from rising. The weak euro — a direct consequence of the debt crisis — was helping him remain competitive against the rest of the world.

He suggested that if the Austrian and the Germans had their own currency, they would have currencies which would have increased dramatically in value in the past years. Therefore, as an exporter, he wasn’t that phased by the debt crisis which he believed would only be solved by mass debt restructuring, defaults and creditors paying.

When asked what about the Austrian banks who had lent to banks in Ireland, Portugal and Spain that might lose out in a default situation, he was dismissive.

“Screw them. They lent to bad companies. Why didn’t they do their due diligence. Have they never heard the expression buyer beware? If I lent to a bad supplier would you pay for my stupidity?”

This story displays the complexity of the entire euro debt and credit crisis, which is getting worse by the day. The citizens of the likes of Austria do not willingly want to pay for countries like Ireland but they equally understand that Ireland is not being bailed out but the banks that lent to Irish banks are being saved from the implication of their own greed.

What is going on at the moment is nothing more than a titanic struggle between the interests of the citizens of Europe and the interests of the finance industry in Europe. It is one the citizens must win. Otherwise Europe will be turned from a democracy — where broadly speaking economic policy is framed with the interests of the average citizen in mind, to a bankocracy — where economic policy is driven exclusively for the interest of the banks.

Looking at the stolid burghers of Vienna yesterday and mindful of their own troubled history, my money is on the citizens, not the banks.


  1. shaneomeara

    I hope it was Apfelstrudel they were eating.. That Apfelscrudel stuff will kill you!

    Having lived and worked in Germany and Austria for a combined 4 years, your article rings true.

    However, I am not so sure I would put all my money on the citizens… *banks* will have their say somewhere along the line…

  2. adamabyss

    subscribe.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adrian Weckler and others. Adrian Weckler said: New word of the week RT @davidmcw: New on the site: Citizens must fight rise of European bankocracy http://dlvr.it/DBVjF [...]

  4. atchman

    Excuse my cynicism, but don’t we already live in a bankocracy?

    We can keep on exchanging our hard labour for worthless ECB paper and the slow painful destruction of our aspirations or we can detach and start something new. Starting with a society with regulations that actually protect people instead of raping their every interest.

  5. We need to take the guarantee away from banks and give it back to citizens.

    • John Q. Public

      It was given to the citizens too.

      • Citizens’ guarantee from FF:

        “We guarantee to bring in the IMF, to take your taxes to pay all the debt of private casino banks, to pay reckless bondholders, to wreak your economy, to force all your young people to emigrate, to give our developer friends all the cash needed to build their own private ghost estate outside every rural village in Ireland…..need I go on!”

        Lol

        • CitizenWhy

          You get right to the realities. Well done.

          • John Q. Public

            The reality is there is €100 Billion of Irish personal savings being protected by the gaurantee which makes us feel safe. Maybe some of this could be tapped into to help solve a few problems. The only thing is who could you trust to use it? Nobody.

          • coldblow

            John, that’s an important point. David addresed it in his article last week about Irish savings taking flight to Switzerland. It reflects badly on our governance.

  6. Plutocracy is what we are living in. Citizens of Europe versus the Banks and EU Governments. Irelands fight so far all of one Cement truck one mass demonstration an election possibly in March an excellent call for a referendum by our host. Some other commentators today are very pessimistic for 2011 predictions of “victory” for the citizens at a cost of no financial system. http://ourfiniteworld.com/2011/01/06/the-oil-employment-link-part-2-looking-at-more-detail-underlying-history-chanels-prophets-of-do
    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

  7. ladygee2

    cbweb,
    I hope that you’re not one of these people who say one thing and then they go away and do the exact opposite when the time comes? For example, saying that you’re not going to vote for FF in the coming election if interviewed by some pollsters and then go into the polling booth and vote for them??? Fianna Fail and the Greens along with the bankers, speculators, developers et al have brought this country to it’s knees. Do you want more of the same? I certainly don’t and the majority of the citizens of this country don’t either!!! Anyone who goes away and votes for more of the same would want to be completely off their heads!

    • @ladygee2

      Judging by that remark you havn’t been reading my posts:)

      FF’ers need to be rewarded for their contribution to society here in Ireland with a resounding ‘No’ in every constituency!

      To be honest, the alternative doesn’t look at all great. And we are a vassal state of the EU/IMF puppet masters.

      We’ll have to give the opposition to FF a chance! They can’t wreak the place worse than the FF’ers have wreaked it!

      No vote from me for the balaclava SF’ers though!

      • A lot of posters on this forum are considering voting for Sinn Fein

        • OK, but don’t shoot me in the knee – for not voting SF:)

          • What have balaclavas got to do with voting and what has your knee got to do with the situation?

          • Fergal73

            Pauldiv – why are you even asking?

            Balaclavas – Sinn Fein and the IRA link is strong.
            Knee? – IRA asides from murders, were also known for knee-capping those who disagreed with them.

            Parties with historical ties to violence (much like dogs or paedophiles) are more likely to re-engage in those activities.

            Sinn Fein even denied being the political wing of teh IRA! Do you doubt Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams role in influencing / orchestrating some of the atrocities of the 80′s and 90′s?

          • No doubt there are some good people in SF. For example, I take hy hat off to Caoimhin Ui Caolain in the Dail today who asked the penetrating question, was there anybody else in the company sometime later,he nailed Cowen. “He went to a golf outing with Mr Drury and Mr Fitzpatrick……its true when we came in, you came over to see me(Cowen couldn’t deny the following as he remembered being spotted by Caoimhin with Alan Grey, a Director of The Central Bank, Gary McCann, Smurfit Cappa CEO(he was previously a director of Anglo)….shooting the breeze..talking in a social way….

            This the same Gary McCann who resigned as a director of Anglo in 2009? http://bit.ly/hwTKcE

            Cowen was out with his cronies that day doing business the FF crony way!

            The big topic of the day was concentrated on Anglo.
            He was briefed firstly by Seanie, then by Gary McCann, ex Anglo director. Then a crony, Alan Grey, was fully briefed!

            The message was, Alan was burning, Central Bank was told to get the fire brigade ready.

            Resign Cowen!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Information below available on Oireachtas Report for checking, I’m sure RTE player will have it available shortly!

          • correction, “the message was, Anglo was burning, get the Central Bank fire brigade ready!”

            Note the above is my interpretation of what was going on, on the ‘golf outing’.

            Its my belief Cowen was lying to the Dail today regarding what actually took place that day!

          • In spite of some good folk in SF, there will have to be a lot of political and historical water between SF and their past legacy, before they get my vote!

            It’ll be interesting to see how much they spend on the coming election!

          • BrianC

            The Officials now disbanded had a tendency to shoot you in one knee only. The FFers shoot you in both knees and then the head.

            So far SF seem to be the only people who can ask the right questions.

      • There are good people in all parties Colm and that includes SF and FF but the party system ensures that they cannot do their own thinking and vote with their own consciences

  8. Winter

    Sorry David, my money is on the banks. As long as the Central Banks of the world are controlled by private interests who have the power to create money at will, lend it to puppet governments at high interest rates and manage to get the citizens of the world to work harder for less, I’m afraid they’re winning. Don’t see this situation changing anytime soon.

  9. John Q. Public

    Let’s get Bono and Bob Geldof to push for a debt amnesty for us all. They could ask these financial institutions to wipe the slate clean.

  10. “Europe will be turned from a democracy – where broadly speaking economic policy is framed with the interests of the average citizen in mind, to a bankocracy – where economic policy is driven exclusively for the interest of the bank”

    Well said David McWilliams and about time too. Your heart is in the right place and your mind is focussing on the real problem now. Only one problem though – this has already happened. The evidence is out there and you just need to look for it

    I can’t speak for Austria but here is tale from closer to home

    My partner was in a health shop in Sligo this afternoon and a woman asked the proprietor when he was closing down. He said ’6 tonight and it will be over’. Another small business employing a few people is going down the toilet

    My partner is a good reader of people and she told me the man was trying hard to control the rage. He said something else to the customers that just about summed it up for me – “I can’t pay the rent and rates yet these boyos up at the VEC have xmas lights burning on the 12th of January”

    Put simply were are never going to cure this fecklessness in our society by nicely asking these people to waken up and change their ways. It is up to people like those who protested outside Fianna Fail TD Jimmy Devins office last Saturday to change this country …

    and to publicly discredit radio reporters who are stupid questions such as: “Sure what is so special about Deputy Devins and why is he being singled out”

    Maybe there is something to be said for shock therapy after all

    • Update …

      Fianna Fail independent TD Jimmy Devins has announced he will not be standing at the next election and become the 13th casualty of the Fianna Fail rout

      The people of Sligo campaigned for several years against the withdrawal of cancer services at Sligo General Hospital and they never let up on the pressure

      These people put party politics aside and fought together for a common cause and they have won the moral argument

      Now they have to get their cancer services back and so the fight will continue

    • Kevin Myers

      “The State must do two things, merely to stay afloat. It must a) withdraw its tentacles as much as possible from the private economy, so as to allow those in the private sector to enjoy at least 50pc of their earned wealth; and b) it must rigorously enforce the benefit laws”

      http://tinyurl.com/5r6tn6w

      I wonder what Myers suggests we do with all the great unwashed

  11. CitizenWhy

    Are the book makers taking bets on the banks vs citizens?

    I’ll bet in the banks.

  12. CitizenWhy

    Unless you get newsletters from truly good financial experts, the Irish situation in the US media is being presented as a bailout for Ireland rather than for what it is – a bailout for the European banks paid for by the Irish people. Why is this?

    Again, a currency that a government can deflate, a weak currency, is good for the economic development of a country. The Euro is too strong a currency for Ireland.

    • philly5

      No. Krugman had a good article in the New York Times titled “Eating the Irish” Search it.

      • CitizenWhy

        I have read the article by Krugman. However there are numerous “op ed” pieces and editorials in local and regional papers presenting Ireland as a sad case being too generously bailed out by the long-suffering Germans, the IMF, and the ECB. Many of the Op-Ed pieces are by people affiliated with conservative think tanks, which exist mainly to fill the media with a barrage of slanted opinion. Conversations constantly repeat “ireland is getting bailed out,” not what Krugman had to say. I subscribe to the NY Times.

        • That is not a matter of being US media. The choice of language dealing with these matters is picked up by the mainstream and as usual is amplified multifold.

          I guess, this makes the whole education as a parent so challenging, a true media education remains a novum in most curricula.

          The same phenomenon happened when Greece was forced to take on additional debts, whereby we know that this was predominantly to serve the endangered french banking system at this time, and german interests.

          Deliberate misinformation is like a Benelli M, a gasdriven shotgun, it is a tactical short distance assault weapon.

  13. Hughorourke

    It is interesting that Tim Pat Coogan has just suggested on television that it is time for emergency legislation to deal with the people who have brought about the condition of Ireland where it is run exclusively for the interest of the Banks. Such legislation was used when the State was threatened by subversion.
    This action combined with swapping the bank debt for equity is useful at the upper levels and will take a little time. Meanwhile we have to get on with helping one another day to day. Thus we we will rebuild our Country as the Germans did in 1945 after the destruction by the combined might of their neighbors East and West.

  14. Austerity measures = Destruction of middle class wealth = Destruction of jobs = enforcement of cheap labour

    The financial fascists are successfully implementing a new feudalism that will sub consequently result in expansion of so called ‘state security’, or in other words, the manifestation of police states.

    This way, control can be maintained when resources necessary for our daily needs are ultimately inflated. this starts with energy and ends with bread, meat and milk.

    To achieve the expansion of police forces and change of legislation, intelligence methodologies are applied and fictive or even stage managed terror threads are the weapon of choice to create additional fear that justifies entire states or even the EU to increase security and continue to undermine civil rights.

    The current german finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, was known for his activities concerning the so called Bundes Trojaner, as initiative that he proposed to allow the german government to infect computer systems with a virus that allows him to access remotely all data on your hard drive should he require to do so.

    This is just one out of many examples of a changed reality and what we can expect to come in the near future.

  15. Malcolm McClure

    David writes :”But that’s what European culture is all about – the evident, wonderful and cherished differences between all the countries.”
    That is a wonderful example on an oxymoron. “Culture is about differences”.
    —Coming to from the heart of European culture, where east meets west. The land of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Bruckner, Strauss, Mahler and Schoenberg.

    If culture is about differences then Austrian culture is not just European culture, it is world culture. Such a suggestion debases the true meaning of the word Culture.

    If Culture is about anything it is about discrimination. Austrians are discriminating people, who celebrate the good, whether it be in feathers, cigars, horses, apfelstrudel, choirboys, architecture, museums, palaces or opera.

    Those of us living on the fringe of Europe celebrate the celebrity, the rich, the lucky and the sportsman. That is why we are ruled by a Bankocracy instead of the Hapsburgs or the Esterhazys. We have different standards, but don’t pretend it is Culture. When we decided that aristocracy would have no further influence on the culture of our republic we quite deliberately threw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Now we must live with the consequences of having no noblesse oblige, unlike many other European nations.

    • MadaboutEire

      All continental European countries have faced massive historical moments that have utterly changed those countries, especially in the 20th century.

      Ireland remained largely outside these events given its peripheral, island status and inward looking institutions and politicians.

      Look at what Austria experienced in the 20th century alone, they were lucky the entire country was not obliterated from the skies during WWII or to be permanently occupied by the Soviets (who remarkably pulled out after the war).

      While the fear is ever present that the great beast of the 1930s will once again jump out of the collective psychological closet. All is not what it seems.

    • coldblow

      Read this a couple of times, Malcolm, but I’m still not sure if I follow you.

      • Malcolm McClure

        coldblow: I agree that there were too many ideas in my brief comment. It would really need a book to explore the Irish attitude to Culture.

        The basic problem is that unlike most of Europe, the Renaissance and its concepts of civilised behaviour passed us by. In the early 17th century Plantation we moved directly from ancient, disputatious, bartering, Gaelic Lordships to an Anglo-Saxon business-based money-obsessed hegemony. We Irish missed out on concepts like Courtesy, Culture and Noblesse Oblige, that had become the norm in Italy, Spain, France and Austria. For centuries in ireland those conventions could only be observed and learnt amongst the religious and were slow to spread amongst the laity.

        When Ireland became a republic, Culture was totally suborned by nationalism and became equated with national language, traditional music and self indulgence.
        “Here’s tae us. Wha’s lik’ us?”

        At the famous Golf Dinner, the Taoiseach had his police driver seated with the company at the table. –All very good fellow and egalitarian.

        It reminded me of Obama shaking hands with the astounded policeman outside 10, Downing St. However, it also brought to mind the comment by historian Froissart in the 16th century about the Four Irish Kings.: “When the kings were seated at the table and the first dish served, they would make their minstrels and principal servants sit beside them and eat from their plates and drink from their cups. They told me this was a praiseworthy custom in their country, where everything was in common but the bed.”

        Nothing Changes.

        Culture (and I don’t mean snobbery) is an alien concept to most of we Irish. On Newstalk the other morning, their travel correspondent was extolling Aer Lingus cheap flights to Paris. He actually said “Paris is a must–it’s oozin’ wif kulcher.”

        Nuff said.

        • coldblow

          You mean like Lyric Man “laughing laughing at the days when he thought the Blue Danube was pretty high class stuff”? Or Michael D. dismissing the tiger cubs for knowing all about wine and little else?

          I agree about the snobbery – it always makes me smile when I hear Irish mocking British ‘snobbery’. I agree that culture (as I understand it) is thin on the ground and I always thought that had a lot to do with provincialism (whatever that means) and post-colonialism. The infamous “Mr Paddy” letter to the Sindo from a Frenchwoman (I linked it last year) is evidence that some Europeans can see through the blarney.

          There is something here all right, though I don’t necessarily agree with your explanation. I like the Froissart quote, but he had nothing good to say about the place if memory serves? You are definitely right about that egalitarian streak. I remember the story about Cowen who was told by his driver in the early hours in an Edenderry pub that he could find his own way home if he didn’t come now. Or the one-time Min. for the Gaeltacht (or wherever) who seemed to have had a bit of an old time singing and dancing act with his driver. But it doesn’t sit too easily with the vicious streak of snobbery (I am sure you have noticed that it was the minstrels and the chief servants who got to hobnob.) It is (as I suspect you agree) possibly a tribal thing where all are created equal, just some are more equal than others.

          Anti-intellectualism? Well it’s no different in England on that score. But then you had Brian Merrimen and his ilk, and the barefoot hedge scholars who amazed visitors with their knowledge of
          Greek and Latin. “If I were Homer, That pleasant roamer” – start of the ballad of the Shannon Scheme. And didn’t the whole romantic notion originate with the strolling bards of Celtic Brittany ini medieval times?

          I also wonder about a lot of what passes for culture on the continent which the writer of the Mr Paddy letter probably accepts as proof of exquisite taste, eg I can’t abide the pantomine where you have to sit at your table and wait to pay for your drink rather than go up to the bar and just pay, and there’s plenty of French waiters (and waitresses) who could do with a smack. Or the Catalan girl who gave my wife as a present (wait for it)… a hand-made tile. WTF? We put the teapot on it. Or the Danish teenager who told me in all seriousness (this on the ferry to Harwich) that Denmark was superior to England because it was ‘cleaner’ (was there a book ever written in Danish that was worth reading?). Or a crowd of tourists applauding a clock in Munich (all right, it was a clock that did things). In many ways Europe is truly BS-ville.

          Peripheral location? Probably something there if Sweden is taken as an example. I was told once by an exasperated English ex-pat (who had his own axe to grind) that when they moved the people into the towns from the forest clearings in the mid 20th C they had to put written instructions on the toilets in their new flats for how to use them. So much for the cool sophisticates of the North.

          Noblesse oblige? How much of that was a front? For people who considered it vulgar to flaunt their wealth they still managed to hold onto a lot of it.

          Just in passing I was looking up Shane McGowan’s bio. on Wiki the other day to resolve the question of where he was born (in England, moved to Tip. as a baby and returned to England at 6). His mother was an Irish singer and dancer (and model) apparently. So where did she send him to school? The Holy Family RC in Kilburn? To a prep. school in Kent where he later won a (literature) scholarship to Westminster School. So I looked up “prep” and “prep schools” and found out that they often still keep children to 13 years of age. I’d come across the term in Billy Bunter stories, and Bob Cherry, but never knew what they were talking about. So I looked up a couple of them to see what they were like. One was in Yorkshire and apparently it had been visited by Churchill and the Royal Family. A hidden world was opening up that I had only dimly suspected. And you say to yourself: Shane McGowan, prep schools, culture – what does it all mean? And how far can you trust wiki anyway?

          I was going to do a Deco and disagree with you, but I’ll have to give this thing some more thought…

          • coldblow

            If you’re still reading, Malcolm, it occurred to me later that, as I have mentioned on a couple of occasions here, Irish society as an entity displays the characteristics of extravert behavious. Half of evert population, one member of every couple, are extravert by disposition in that their outer reality is stronger than their inner one, and accept by definition what exists in the world around them. Intraverts are the opposite and their meaning structure is based on their own inner sense of self where achievement is the driving force. According to Dorothy Rowe intraverts are also more status sensitive, but I haven’t observed that in practice, just that both persuasions can have snobbish inclinations, albeit from different motivations. I think the extravert form takes the form of exclusion from the group, what we’d call sending to Coventry and the Swedes call ‘mobbing’. I note that the Paraha indians of the Amazon, perhaps the closest we have left to the Noble Savage, seem to punish transgressors by exiling them from the group. According to Everett’s book one couple met this fate and lived a mile or two upstream from the village. The fate of such people is premature death I understand.

            My wife (who is necessarily extravert in that I am intravert) hates it when I say that such and such music is bad and other music good. “How can you say that?” and she will get indignant because, from her point of view, it is not possible to discriminate (you use the correct term) between good and bad in these matters as apparently all these things are equal. It is interesting that you pick up DMcW about this as he is obviously extravert.

            Just speculating now (as the above is in my mind objective observable fact) tribal societies seem to be somehow more extravert in their collective approach and perhaps it was scientific and technological progress that allowed the members of other societies to develop discrimination in various fields.

            Just in passing, another thing I have observed (and it seems to happen too often for it to be mistaken) is that extraverts are the enforcers of the existing social codes. That is why various posters on this site who are clearly extravert seem to have this compulsion to reprove any hint of non-pc thought (incidentally proving that the pc universe, and not the “clerical-reactionary” one that it sets itself up in opposition to, is the genuine status quo. This is not to criticize, as this is clearly way above that and would be akin to the ludicrousness of ultra-feminists who criticize all men for being masculine. Indeed, I would expect that the mores in totalitarian societies are policed predominantly by the extraverted half of their populations.

            And as to whether Ireland is a tribal-egalitarian society, and therefore anti-intellectual and anti-discriminatory in matters cultural, because of its extraversion or vice versa is an open question. (In the same way that Weber proposed that the must advanced capitalist societies were in that position on account of their protestantism and not perhaps because they adopted a new form of religion that was more congenial to their favourable economic circumstances.)

          • Malcolm McClure

            Coldblow: Again it would need a book-length response to the issues you raise and I’m doubtful that this is the place to deal with them in depth.

            I’m interested in the innate characteristics that distinguish the Irish from other nationalities, as therein lies the source of our problem. I don’t this extraversion vs intraversion is unique to the Irish. Nor do I think PC attitudes or feminism sets us apart.

            I think our tribal attitudes set particular store on Loyalty, which is why, in an earlier response, I compared FF with unionists and orangemen in the north. To Cowen, as leader of a political party, nothing matters more than loyalty and cohesiveness in his organization. That characteristic also explains why the Irish have made such formidable soldiers and generals in wars throughout history.

            The second and related characteristic is our love of assembling in large, like-minded groups, hence the attendance at mass every week, despite all the transgressions of the church. It is an instinctive thing, not a rational decision. But it means that exclusion from the group all the harder to bear. Hence the most feared penalty of the church was excommunication. And that is why exile too is a painful penalty to Irish people everywhere.

            The third characteristic is our love of expressive language and humour.

            To resolve our problems we have to know ourselves and address our strengths and weaknesses appropriately.

          • coldblow

            Hi Malcolm
            Para 1 – agreed
            Para 2 – I don’t say this sets us apart. (Anyway why would an Irish attachment to, say, feminism set us apart? The very point in espousing feminism (from an extravert point of view) is because eveyone else does it too – that’s the reason, sufficient unto itself.) Among individuals it is a recognized universal phenomenon. I’m just saying that the ‘do as everyone else does’ approach appears common to a particular type of society. The Germanic peoples don’t seem to do this but to operate more by reasoned principles (but when the reasoned restraints go then there’s trouble!). Looking at the world they could well be in the minority.
            Remainder of your post – not convinced I’m afraid.
            Anyway, this kind of discussion is a bog into which you end up sinking without trace…

          • Malcolm McClure

            Coldblow: As a professional bog-trotter, I have been treading lightly over touchy subjects all my life.

  16. wills

    David.

    ‘What is going on at the moment is nothing more than a titanic struggle between the interests of the citizens of Europe and the interests of the finance industry in Europe. It is one the citizens must win. Otherwise Europe will be turned from a democracy – where broadly speaking economic policy is framed with the interests of the average citizen in mind, to a bankocracy – where economic policy is driven exclusively for the interest of the banks.’ ~ Exactly.

    Here is a new book out on this precise theme : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5c42VCOX0w

  17. What is going on at the moment is nothing more than a titanic struggle between the interests of the citizens of Europe and the interests of the finance industry in Europe. It is one the citizens must win. Otherwise Europe will be turned from a democracy – where broadly speaking economic policy is framed with the interests of the average citizen in mind, to a bankocracy – where economic policy is driven exclusively for the interest of the banks.

    Your milage may vary but In my view, it is the deliberately kickstarted war between the Dollar hegemony and ROW, Europe being only a part of it.

    The underlying fatalism makes it so dangerous for all of us.

    As an economist, I guess it is correct to say, you deal with social sciences David, the socioeconomic collapse is the real danger here and is, well should be really, number one priority to be prohibited. Here, time is of the essence, and it is more than disheartening to see our officials being captured in their usual ways, wasting precious time, and our all future.

    • wills

      Georg good link posted there thks.

      On your point s here I reckon the pursuit of dollar hegemony Vs ROW is not the central narrative driving the story that david and the rest of us are defining and tackling here on an ongoing basis.

      The dollar is a fiat paper money instrument of debt as is all othe paper currencies on the planet more or less.

      The paper money scam itself is in the main the central story, not wether it s the dollar or not reigning supreme as the world reserve currency.

      The paper money printers for all countries are all plugged into BASEL ground control where the elites in all countries meet and keep the scam going.

  18. norrob

    If you were reading Handelsblatt online on Wednesday 12th you would see a quote from the head of the German Bankers Federation saying – Banks are not responsible for the debt crisis, it is primarily a question of state deficits. This may be true for Portugal but not for Ireland, as we all know. I see nothing in the German business press in the las months acknowleding reckless lending by German banks to the likes of Anglo. Why are they not challenged ont his by our European politicians. The average German puts it down to waste etc. etc. so the views of this Austrian are not typical regarding making the banks take their losses on crazy lending decisions

    • MadaboutEire

      Resorting to racism to explain it and the message is being taken onboard.

      I spoke to a Swiss lawyer last week, she was going on about corrupt and feckless Greeks, didn’t know what to say about Portuguese or Spanish (greasy maybe) but kindly said ‘but Ireland, I would never have expected it’ :-)

      The Germans and their banks played a critical role in all this but have somehow managed to avoid the spotlight while people talk about their growing economy………

      • Deco

        The corruption was not expected with regard to Ireland, because we once were a more honest, more honourable, society. CJH changed all of that.

        The elite of this country successfully managed to keep the veneer for the past three decades, even though Ireland had “moved on” from a more innocent age. And they managed to convince the fools at home that the more we borrowed the better everything would get. “It is all Lehmans fault”…if we could keep borrowing then we would do fine.

        ….please support our advertising sponsors….

  19. Muscles Governor of California :

    Arnold Swartznegger , he came a long way from the yeodling hills of Austria to flex his political will and of course we must not forget Mary Poppins doing her au pair job in upper class Austria .

    We have Andersen Ireland a significant employer in west Limerick whoes control lies in Vienna .

    The architects that designed Vienna also did Sofia in Bulgaria on a smaller scale.

    Before the fall of communism Austria was the center of the Goulash Soup .

    Most Austrians eat the bread with salt caked on it .

    And of course the Battle of the Saracens ie the defeat of the Turks at the walls of Vienna gave the German world the control of Coffee in Europe as a commodity then and the rise of the commodity banks ie Meinl Bank in Vienna that has its source from the national supermarket chain ‘ Julius Meinl ‘ and the Coffee and Cacao plants in Meinl Gasse Vienna.

    And lastly but not least many of earlier James Bond movies had the Austrian background as it represented the periferal of Europe against the communism backdrop .

    Oh Ian Fleming was that where you had your taste of the good life!

  20. Dear Room :

    Are we forgetting something ? Anglo Irish Bank owned a subsidiary in Austria before disposing of it in dubious cicumstances and afterwards changing its local name .

    Deco – enlighten us please.

    • And…….was it not Anglo Irish Banks that offered many Irish Developers ‘the free ride’ on ‘the Orient Express to Vienna’.( as quoted in press ).
      Ian ……I think I have located the scene of a crime ….lets audit the books of our nationalised banks subsidiary up to the time of changeover .We have a national vested interest in this .After all me bloke its in the National Interest .

      • Ian – lets have a game of Polo in the fields its unlikely Kown can be there .What beast can carry him ? Oh by the way Ian we will talk about Anglo , won’t we ? Its much more interesting ,is’nt it blimey?

    • Deco

      Italian authorities were carrying out an investigation, the lat I heard to see if the Sicilian Mafia were using the Anglo subsidiary as a provider of “Financial Service”.

      The subsidiary was sold off, as part of the effort to balance the books and pay for the anglo bailout. It was not involved in loans to developers or leverage consortiums like the Dublin branch.

      I bet though that the real centre of interesting facts would be the Anglo branch in the IoM…..

      • Deco – there must be a murder scene outside the country and with blood on the hands of those from D4 & Scout Clubs in D …where is Bram Stoker he can give us a lead ?

  21. Biffo: “We’re not all here, Seanie, Alan Grey, a Director of The Central Bank, Gary McCann, ex Anglo director, just to talk about generating jobs and stimulating the economy.”

    “As we dip into our prawn cocktails, let’s us four understand, everything must be done, to save Anglo, as we know, Anglo is crucial to our project, right Gary?”

    “Can you, Alan, guarantee everything will be done to help Seanie here in his hour of need.”

    Alan, “No problem at all!”

    Biffo: “Good, now where’s me feckin pint….Oh shit, here comes Caoimhín…”

  22. ex_pat_northerner

    Slightly divergent, but, I believe Ireland (self financed till end of March and no need to go to the markets till then) took the first tranche of funding from the ECB yesterday. So either a) Lenny couldn’t add up again, b) some new cost is about to be “uncovered” (another black hole of anglo/AIB) or c) a political move by FF to tie Ireland into the bailout so that its harder to disengage, d) a slush fund for some green policies to keep them on board until the finance bill of secrecy is passed or e) all of the above.

    Right I think its time to see if Gerry and Martin can look up a few contacts.. Its not the ones who fire lead, more the ones who engrave plates. (Sean Garland according to this … http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/3822005.stm
    If the Germans don’t want to print more Euros, I think its time it was offshored.. seriously its the only alternative I can see at the moment.

    With regards to the German view, some colleagues in Germany and some Irish friends living there, seem to think the general consensus is the Irish have taken this “up the arse” and can’t believe that its happened. Most of these would be educated enough to know that its bank debt not national debt that’s being serviced and believe FF have sold the country down the river.

    I suggest making Frankfurt a centre of demonstration on March 17th…its no good demonstrating in front of the Dail.. “They” will only say their hands are tied (no mention of their minds being brainwashed) and can do nothing.

    • @ex_pat_northerner

      Noble sentiments indeed, but conspiring against your urge to protest is the veil of secrecy, disinformation and plain lack of confidence of a large number of Irish people when it comes to sifting through news/information on economic matters. Many will have a moment of revelation when they open their pay packets this month, or when they figure it’s the boat for them. Best to keep working at uncovering the truth and getting it out in however a small way. Any peaceful protest is better than none.

    • CitizenWhy

      Even Angela Merkel has said that the “senior debt holders” (i.e., the European banks) should not be let off scot free, with no losses, forever. She said the German people were getting fed up with the exemption from the consequences of risk granted to the banks.

  23. Rory

    Did anyone see Martin Mansergh last night defending Brian Cowen’s discussions with Anglo Irish? He was positively squirming in his seat, the very embodiment of shiftiness. If the Austrians saw this naked display of deceit to cover the theft of their money they would say much more than screw the banks.

  24. Harold Plinth

    I see there’s been massive flooding in Austria. Did you see any of the damage when you were there?

  25. Under the terms of the agreement with Anglo, Mr Drumm can seek the immediate return of certain documents, or request that they be destroyed, once his bankruptcy case is concluded.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/drumm-deal-blocks-garda-access-to-sensitive-files-2494387.html

  26. In the deserts its the little animals that are dangerous not the tall ones .So make sure you know who are the short people around him…….and particularly if they wear a beard.

  27. Deco

    David
    thank you for an interesting story in “Austrian Economics”. Basically it comes down to this – those who behave recklessly have to accept the consequences of the said recklessness.

    The state is intervening in the running of the economy to an excessive degree. Cowen, Lenihan, and Co are following instruction from Brussels.

    Austria played a very important part in the History if Europe in the between 1600 and 1815. Austria allied itself to Britain and prevented the Richeliue state of France, with it’s militarism, centralization, and mercantilism – from taking over Europe. Not once, but repeatedly.

    Austria also gave us Carl Menger, and economist who set to produce an economic theory that explained market dynamics, production, and pricing. Menger gave us a price theory that explained the way that people set prices and exchanged goods. His follower Mises told the world that economic power in the capitalist system was held by the consumer. In an instant, Mises proved that Marxism was an absurd abstraction, based on flawed assumptions concerning economics. Were the capitalists oppressed by the consumers (who mostly happened to be the workers) ? And then Bernays discovered that advertising, pscychology and public relations could be used to reverse this relationship.

    But Menger’s theories were too much like common sense. And he never thought about the fact that some men seek control and power over the rest. The world had to find out the hard way first. And the world still does not want to learn.

    The essence of Austrian Economic Thoery is that you only ever get something for something. You have to produce something that is of value to another to the point that there will be an exchange. Elementary stuff. Somehow or other we drifted to producing complex theories, great causes, and infinite bureacracies that were superior to this. And their advocates were able to tell us that they were superior, because of the promise of something for nothing. You cannot get something for nothing. The democratic process can be used to legitimize getting something for nothing. All that is required is justification. Because of the profit to be made, justification is being manufactured continually. Keynes’ General Economic Theory is always mooted as part of the justification. Keynes did not intend it as such, but in politics, an opportunist never passes up on an opportunity.

    The pursuit of something for nothing has reduced democracy to farce. It gave us the Ditherer. And it will give us new ditherers. Did we learn anything ? Some of us learned that we must be responsible. The rest are just waiting for the next lemming run, so that responsibility can be handed over and we can become one with a large moving loud group.

    “The price of greatness is responsibility” – Winston Churchill.

    I am suspicious that in our country, that we have a strong cultural more that amounts to ridiculing anybody who tries to be responsible. The drunken gobshite is cool. The one who is responsible is despised.

    That is why we keep ending up in a hole every twenty years. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We embrace the type of behaviour that begets disaster. Seanie was a risk taker – a real dynamo. Fingers was a fixer. We get the drunken Taoisigh that we deserve. We are cool with electing drunken politicians. We have told ourselves repeatedly that it does not interfer with his performance. And that Ahern with his whiskey nose was not an underperformer – until the recession started.

  28. [...] Citizens must fight rise of European bankocracy | David McWilliams [...]

  29. Deco

    The question that everybody is asking is this “What was Cowen doing, that day in Druid’s Glen with Seanie Fitz and Fintan Drury”.

    We know Cowen blanked his calendar that day. And we know he spent the day in the company of a hanful of close people.

    Well, I am prepared to guess. I reckon he had scheduled a massive drinking session the night before. Then he would have went Druid’s Glen, in the full knowledge that he was going to have a hangover, and he could hide out the day, get fresh air and maybe sober up.

    Basically, it was a hangover day. If he took a day out for “one day flu” then it would be obvious. He did not know where it would end up. He did not think that Anglo would collapse.

    In the context of the much publicised interview in October, Cowen simply cannot tell us that he was boozed up. If that were to happen, we would once again have people internationally laughing at him (and us) again.

    That is the best theory that I can arrive at to explain the incident. I have not heard any better theory. We should not castigate Cowen, when he engages in behaviour that is fairly rampant at many levels of formal responsibility in Irish society.

    • Ahem…., Deco, you don’t usually write such naive bullshit: Let’s examine the evidence, forget our personal theories:

      Cowen spent the day golfing with Seanie of Anglo. Anglo was in deep trouble.

      In the evening, Cowen and Seanie were joined by
      Alan Grey, a Director of The Central Bank, Gary McCann, Smurfit Cappa CEO(he was previously a director of Anglo).

      Each one at the table had a close relationship and responsibility for Anglo.

      Its extremely unlikely bordering on supreme incompetence that no one spoke of the fact that Anglo was on fire! Instead they talked of generating jobs and economic growth while Anglo’s role in this was not brought into the equation?

      On the contrary, the evidence is telling me there is a strong likelihood a fire brigade meeting was in session to discuss Anglo and matters relating to Anglo and its relationship with the Central Bank!

      Whether Cowen got boozed up the night before is irrelevant to the above facts.

      • Get the files ‘sex lies and video tapes ‘ and I am sure we are on something ….even that hotelier in Donegal cannot stop his lips quivering about the kock & bull story.

      • Deco

        Well, I base it on the pretext that being boozed is a higher priority activity, than meeting bankers. I know this might sound like a surprise, but based on Cowen’s love of the liquor it is not that far fetched.

        Seanie Fitz was looking for access to the Taoiseach. That much we can see. And Fintan Drury was doing his job as a lobbyist.

        But, I would speculate that Cowen was looking for a day out of government buildings to nurse a massive hangover. It is the best possible explanation that I can find for Cowen going missing for seven hours :)

    • coldblow

      This is not the beginning of the end, or even the end of the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the end of the end.

      This villain is taking so long to expire it’s like a bad victorian melodrama.

  30. Deco

    By the way there is nothing unusual about all these businessmen and state officials playing golf together. Cowen is just one of many. Patrick Neary passed the comment that he stopped playing these golf games, in 2006. By that stage it no longer mattered. Until then he did it a lot. This is all in Senator Shane Ross’ book “The bankers”.

    Even more astoundingly, Fingers would present the Irish Nationwide cup to the winners of the annual golf tournament held for members of the Oireachtas.

    Yes, that is correct. Fingers sponsored the best golfer award in our elected assembly. And he did it since the 1980s (the age of CJH).

    In fact Fingers spent more time there than a lot of TDs !!! Governments and TDs may change – but Fingers was a permanent fixture. Indeed, a FG minister did ban Fingers from state buildings for a spell in the 1980s. He returned a few months later when CJ was back in power. (Amazing how these types always manage to find each other).

    Did any of you vote for Fingers ? Or did you approve a constitutional amendment allowing Fingers to spend more time in the Dail than many elected representatives ? Or maybe you filled out a form at INBS notifying the Dail that Fingers was to spend most of his time cronying the elected represetatives ? Clearly all of this is a breach of the laws and the Constitution. How come this went on since CJH moved into power, and nobody in the media commented. Why the silence ?

    Every week we would seek INBS adverts in the newspapers. And not one of them mentioned anything about Fingers being so embedded in the Dail. Instead it was wall to wall coverage in the Tribunals of misdemeanours in previous years. We never get the news as it is happening. We get minutae about scandals that have already been revealed.

    remember to support our advertising sponsors.

    When INBS went to the wall, there was no longer any need to keep quiet on the exploits of Fingers. The potential for advertising revenue was exhausted. INBS would never be in a position to buy another ad except with state assistance. Therefore, Fingers no longer could buy media silence. Now the pack was set loose on Fingers.

  31. Hughorourke

    CWEB has made the point about. Is there any way we can get a move on Equity for Debt and make sure that a major reduction in the ECB / EU interest rate is achieved. And urgently can we address the matter referred to above namely into which black hole is the 5bn drawn down to be thrown. Surely we must be able to mount a constitutional challenge to this waste despite the presidential seal on the act

    • Pedro Nunez

      Follow Nap Cown and Snowball Lenny the lyre in their chorus of ‘four legs good, two legs bad’.

      Pity FF couldn’t find the bottle to deal with it rather than be on it in the face of the crisis facing country.

      “People without a vision perish” and how could a people have a vision led by a bumbling, mumbling incoherent lying crowd of shmucks like we’re supposedly led by.

      So keep taking it lying down like a good non complaining peasent class paddy doffing his/her hat to his ‘insider betters’.

  32. Deco

    Once again the Irish are not doing as Brussels instructed.
    ‘respect my Irish friends…BUT’…..sting in the tail follows…

    http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/sarkozy-takes-aim-at-irelands-corporate-tax-rate-489191.html

    Oh, and we shall not forget.
    http://www.politics.ie/economy/140523-anglo-irish-bank-bondholders-revealed.html

    I think that he has gone to far at this stage, considering that the bailout that he is talking about is really a bailout of entities based in his jurisdiction…a list that include some corporate groups that will probably be asked to make a donation to his re-election.

    And then we have Wikileaks….was anybody surprised ?

    And then there was this. If he is this bad after sitting hanging with Putin, then he would never be able to last it in the company of Biffo…

    Yes – this is a Real shocker.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fMCTo-GQ2A

    Actually, I do not understand why this did not get as much attention as Cowen on Morning Ireland. I mean Cowen does not have access to a button to fire nuclear weapons.

  33. gquinn

    Ich bin Irland und Irland ist mich.

    Wir werden Sie auf dem Land kämpfen. Wir werden Sie bei Himmel kämpfen und wir werden Sie auf dem Straße kämpfen.

    Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehe, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen, Cowen muss gehen

  34. Did anyone watch Kown on 6pm news with Brian Dobson ?

    Kown is a great Rapper he does it so well with his arms and hands all over the place .In fact I have never seen a style like his .I would call it a Crab Rapper lifting his two claws high and pointing his fingers down at poor Dobson ….geeze mann he is kool .

    Is he a Raining T-Shock ?

  35. LOOK at His Face

    Now THINK of a Moon

    Do You SEE the Wobble ?

  36. paddythepig

    When a citizen goes into his local bank, and lodges a few quid, does that citizen now have an interest in that bank surviving and thriving.

    Yes he does.

    Citizens v bankocracy is not a clearcut divide. There are many citizens who benefit from a bank being saved, notably the depositors.

    Are David’s Austrian friends going to so gung-ho when it’s their bank, with their money, that goes belly up. I doubt it.

    The real battle seems to me to be between those with are creditors to the banking system, and those who are net debtors to the banking system. Citizen versus citizen.

    • coldblow

      Yes, I think this the same point John Q Public makes above and I agree. All right, there is a distinction between professional investors and your “ordinary saver”, and the interestes of the latter have been used (it seems) to protect those of the former, but where is the clear line of distinction? Having said that, the fact that it isn’t clear (after all, what is clear?) doesn’t mean it’s not there (in the same way as how do you define insiders and outsiders).

      http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2011/01/13/divide-and-conquer/

      “And while ordinary Europeans get angry with each other, with unpredictable political consquences, capital walks away scot free.”

      “Capital is pushing for too much. Haircut is the answer.”

      “Taxpayers listening to narratives that cause them to get angry with each other. Meanwhile, capital tiptoes towards the exit.”

    • paulmcd

      Paddy, I would wager that the vast majority of savers would be better off losing everything they have on deposit rather than have to pay the taxes for bailout money, increased interest on government debt for decades to come, increased bank charges and mortgage rates for the indefinite future, . . . the list could go on and on.

      • paulmcd

        In connection with above, the State’s liability for claims arising from AIB’s former insurance arm, Insurance Corporation of Ireland (ICI), which collapsed in 1985, does not expire until 2050 – 65 years after the event.

        In the meantime, since the 1980s, we have all been paying a government levy on every insurance product sold in the country and I understand that this levy has been increased to take account of the Quinn Insurance debacle.

      • paddythepig

        Most people would never save in an Irish-based bank again if depositors were burned. No deposits = no banks, so who would lend to local small businesses in that scenario?

        I think trust would be lost, and any Irish money would go abroad into foreign financial institutions, and be lent mainly into foreign economies. Would a foreign bank have much interest in lending to a periperhal country like ours, even if any surviving Irish deposits came their way? I doubt it.

        Remember too that the vast majority of the bailout is to pay for the fiscal gap, which is day to day running of the country. Funny that no-one seems to apply the same logic to those borrowings, which are just as wasteful.

        • paulmcd

          Corporates and high net worth individuals who have the substantial sums to which you may be referring have already moved their deposits abroad. This is why the Irish Central Bank and the ECB have had to backstop the retail banks with over 100 billions in deposits.

        • paulmcd

          Oops, the outflows have been substantially greater than I suggested earlier! Read at link below:

          http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE6BT14L20101230

        • paulmcd

          Paddy, If I have time tomorrow I will post a link to an independent ratings agency which has determined that it will be the €200 billion combined weight of the banking bailout + the IMF/EC funding for our structural deficit which will result in an unsustainable burden by 2013 and make DEFAULT inevitable.

          • CitizenWhy

            Default is inevitable but meanwhile the government of Ireland will waste precious years throwing its money at the European banks to cover their foolish loans to Irish banks that made foolish loans in Ireland and abroad. But let’s not forget, many individuals got rich and richer on those foolish loans. And they’re not paying.

          • paulmcd

            Paddy, I have posted the information referred to at 8.08 pm on next page.

  37. BanKOcracy – Jobs for the boys

    Enda was quiet in the Dail
    - New party FF and FG?
    ‘Worst of both worlds’
    To stop LP

    Two faced two hander
    - Craven O Cuív and Kown
    Moron gombeen Slime
    ‘Guarantee was necessary’

    No mention of Anglo
    Burn bondholders though
    Or Tricky Trichet or Sarkozy
    Their guarantee!

    A new eFFin Error!
    IMF FF FG
    Swine guarantee
    Swindelers effigy.

  38. The tide begins to EBB for(Eamon, Brian, Bat)

    You have to be amazed at the power of bankers who turned FF into a party filled with kamikaze pilots willing to put the bankers before party and country.

    I know it was helped by a huge dose of ignorance about economics from DoF and the FFers, but still!

    Looking ahead, will Mary be crowned before sunset?

    No one else wants it:)

    • CitizenWhy

      The FFs are not kamikazes. They certainly would not die or make sacrifices for any ideal or higher cause. They will go out enriched by whatever deal was struck, the details of which will be well buried and consistently distorted by the media.

    • Steve Keen piece on Australian bubble plus critique of neoclassical economics theory.

      • Deco

        Australia is a bubble.

        It goes like this. The Aussies sell Iron ore, coal, nickel, copper to the Chinese – so that the Chinese can build entire cities full of apartment blocks – which the Chinese will not live in. So that new motorways the same specificaiton as Los Angeles. So that the Chinese can buy new cars, and drive on fuel that is subsidised and which comes from Sudan, Iraq, Venezuela, etc… So that the Chinese state own banks can prove to their political masters that they are loaning money to the economy and stimulating it.

        The whole thing is a disaster. It is an even bigger disaster than use borrowing money from the Germans so that we can drive around in big cars that your average Guenther or Ingrid has to save to buy…

        Can somebody please provide me with some names of exposed Aussie mortgage banks ? I would be very grateful. If possible, maybe there is an Aussie equivalent of Anglo or of Washington Mutual ?

        By the way Canada is even worse. The Federal Government in Canada provides the insurance for the dodgy mortgages that underpin the loans with the lowest deposit ratios. The US did this also – they called it Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – as far as I understand they are both now bankrupt.

        The Irish experience is proof that an economy can have a positive trade surplus, full employment, a state tax surplus and record banking profits and can still end up with a significant proportion of the population bankrupt !!!

        Any high profile Aussie Mortgage banks ??

        • Deco

          It was unfortunate that we were not allowed short sell Anglo – it might have allowed us to recoup some of the bill that we knew we would get stuck with later :)))

          • Interesting reading your posts and just turned on Marion to hear who she may be interviewing – a guy from the Regulators Office, Brian Patterson former Chair of the Regulator Board, ‘we all screwed up’, he mentioned stating the role of international Soros type speculators’ role in the shorting of Anglo – principles versus rules regulation, Regulator has to draw the line between criticising and sanctioning a bank while aware of confidence that must be maintained in the system.

            “Regret somebody came to me, listen Brian, Anglo is going to go pearshape, banks are going to collapse

            (ME)Blah, blah, blah Better if there was no regulator because the fact there was one misled us to believe the banks were in good shape.

            “nobody said this was a disaster waiting to happen”…..(Marion)..” that’s what the regulator is supposed to be”…(Brian) “consumer protection was the main focus of the Regulator rather than prudential regulation, they did not have the expertise in prudential regulation required”

            It was all a disaster waiting to happen.

            Re Australia, Brisbane floods, bubble about to burst flagged by Steve Keen, if you’re an Irish immigrant with a family fleeing from these shores, I’d maybe rent/lease for a while in Oz before buying a homestead:-(

          • should be, ‘regret nobody came to me to say Anglo was going pear shaped…..’

            Brian Patterson was the one in the crow’s nest who was to alert everyone else….

            The gombeens didn’t even have the expertise, tools, procedures, questions, to regulate

          • Deco

            Concerning the commentary of Brian Patterson of IFRSA, I am reminded of the old catchphrase “What’s this we business Kimosabe ?”.

            Some of us merely did not do enough to talk sense into the rest of us. But some of us (especially “the some of us” that worked in certain government quangoes, all the banks and the media) consistently talked up consumer confidence to ridiculous levels.

            I just wonder will the “we” in the CBoI or IFRSA (1000 people employed between them) make some sort of acknowledgement that they all need to go back to school so as to learn the elementary economics that tax drivers, and bin men seemed to grasp – but idiots in suits in expensive buildings seemed to misconceive.

            I have a suggestion – clean out the CBoI and IFRSA. Based on their performance it seems that they are loaded with freeloaders. A good place to start would be to get rid of an RTE insider who wrote biographies of RTE “personalities” and is a number one pal of the McCreevys. (And who incidentally has no qualification whatsoever to be a director of IFRSA). (As if that ever mattered – just look at P.Sneery !!!).

        • Malcolm McClure

          A reply to Germaine Greer’s brilliant piece in the Guardian about the Australian floods reflects the attitudes of many Australians perfectly:

          “The problem with Australians is that they have the easiest and most self-indulgent lifestyles in the world – partly because the culture encourages people to feel only the most simple and readily gratified desires – sun, sea, good food and cold beer. But unfortunately this simplicity goes with a bitterly-defended social conservatism and vicious anti-intellectualism.”

          Beware the ‘Culture’ that awaits you, intending emigrants.

          • adamabyss

            Quite right Malcolm.

            I was in Australia for a few months in 2004 and couldn’t believe how anti-intellectual the place was – some of my ‘peers’ were incredulous that I went to a library regularly and [shock, horror!] actually got out books to read!

            The newspapers were also pathetic. I got on a flight to Auckland, New Zealand and picked up a Kiwi newspaper and thought immediately ‘wow, this is better than anything I have seen in months’. First thing, my New Zealand friend said when I walked off the plane, newspaper in hand – ‘Oh you got one of our newspapers – much better than anything in Australia’!

            Australia is a nice place, there are good people everywhere but on the whole I would much rather live in New Zealand.

          • adamabyss

            Greer’s article was excellent.

          • Malcolm McClure

            adamabyss: Even Australian intellectuals are anti-intellectual, always coming up with contrarian ideas. I can think of many examples. However, sometimes they blow a fresh wind of insight into knotty old problems, so they shouldn’t be disparaged.

          • CitizenWhy

            What do you expect of a media empire run by Murdoch. He has managed to cheapen news delivery in the US with his usual sensationalism. A Good Catholic lad, appointing another good Catholic lad to run Fix News, a lad whose previous fame was based on creating dirty tricks and deceptions.

  39. gquinn

    Look at Tunisia. We should be like them, were we can say we them all out and they all must go.

    We need to revolt because change that the Irish people want will not happen without it.

    • Deco

      Yeah, maybe we should see what results from the riots in Tunisia….Algeria next door is an even bigger powder keg.

      What is interesting is how the riot started. An unemployed graduate was selling fruit and vegetables, and got ordered to get into line by the authorities – because he did not have a licence to do this. He responded by trying to commit suicide. And it set of a conflagation based on the fact that so many others were fed up playing the role of the outsider.

      We had people chaining themselves to the passport office for the most expensive passport in the world, and there was massive solidarity. We had people picketing ESB HQ over the price rises, and people passing by gave them encouragement. One particular incident involved a social welfare recipient from Limerick going on the radio – and he got massive public support. Bord Gais encountered similar incidents. We had farmers boycotting a Bank ordered land auction which it reduced the bank to negotiation. I know that a lot of people including myself are furious with the VHI over the latest price increase. And I expect that there will be some backlash over this – especially in view of the upcoming election.

      We see repeated cases of individuals taking on the institutions that are have power, or who are given backing by the state system/the law in this economy. This is proving to be far more effective in getting real results for people. The outsiders are taking on the insiders, and finding ways of undermining them. It is long over due. A little bit there, and a little bit more there, and soon you are rolling back a lot of privelege, distortion, and deception. And that is their weakness – unmasking the deception of the insiders.

      I reckon the real big one will be when either AIB or BoI have to repossess a residential property due to arrears in the mortgage repayment. That will be a very tricky issue.

      • coldblow

        Deco

        Re citizens showing solidarity, I would be careful here. I am not convinced that this is necessarily a simple case of outsiders taking on the tyranny of state institutions for the greater good. I think it helps if you look at it in terms of the “tribal egalitarianism” as articulated by Malcolm above. It has long been clear to me that the Irish polity is a series of special cases each of which is granted special treatment. So even if these are ‘outsiders’ they are looking to protect their own interests (by definition at the expense of the collective) via special pleading, a characteristic of ‘insiderism’ or ‘wannabe-insiderism’ if you like.

        From your various posts over time I am sure you are more aware of this phenomenon than most. I suppose what I am trying to say here is that I would be suspicious of any ‘grass roots’ mass protest which may arise as there could well be a narrower sectional agenda behind it. So, as the state institutions (bad and all that they are, and they are pretty rotten) are undermined instead of their replacement with fairer arrangements you risk ending up with with a kind of socially endorsed anarchy where it is every man for himself and where the strongest prevail. My impression is that the problem with Irish institutions is that they do not operate fairly and impartially but become captured by special interests.

        I thought of this again on New Year’s Eve, with the water restrictions everywhere. The news that evening was led by the pubs’ and restaurants’ plea that the water not be cut that night as it would have a very bad effect on the celebrations. And sure enough, in my parents’ home in Athlone we filled the saucepans etc with water in expectation of cuts again that afternoon/ evening – but surprise surprise there was no cut that night. As it happens I agreed with this measure and it was a sensible thing to do. And I am sure that among all the other countless similar cases where special pleading is heeded in Irish life the majority have benign outcomes. But you can see how this could easily lead to problems in the aggregate.

      • coldblow

        It reminds me of something that happened at work about 15 years ago. One of the staff, a nice girl, had carelessly allowed her bag to be stolen the previous evening and lost about £70. Her circle of friends in the govt. dept. where we all worked, a circe of nice people I’m sure albeit rather vocal and ‘forward’, clubbed together to arrange a whip round to recoup or offset this loss. An email was sent to everyone in the dept. and someone went round every room with a collection. Of course, there was no obligation to contribute, of course not…

    • mishco

      Where would they go if we kicked them out? Saudi is out for Cowen for obvious reasons. How about North Korea? Dear Leader has a sympathetic ear for fallen dictators. But you need to bring your thermal underwear.

      • CitizenWhy

        Plenty of good Irish whiskey will keep away the cold in North Korea.

        Rupert Murdoch might let him live on one of his estates as an economic/culinary/spiritual advisor.

      • gquinn

        He can go to Belarus as Lukashenko welcomes fellow dictators with open arms.

  40. BBC ceefax – 15/1/11
    ——————–

    Herbal Remedies Face License Rule

    Hundreds of traditional and imported remedies on the shelves of health shops and herbalists are set to be banned under new licensing rules

    The EU directive aims to protect users from any damaging side-effects that can arise from taking unsuitable medicines

    Only high quality long established and scientifically safe ferbal medicines will be sold over the counter

    Some traders who sell products imported from outside the EU say their business will be hit

    ————————————-

    The keywords here are “long established” and “safe” because as only big Pharma has the budgets to have their products certified as “safe” under EU rules. In the USA these certs will be handed out by the Food and Drug Administration

    This an example of the EU being used as a lobbying shop by corporations in the pursuit of profit

    Plants and natural remedies have been used since time began and they sometimes work – this is why they have been used for millenia. Now we need to be “protected” from evil plants such as St John’s Wort that have been used to effectively relieve the symptoms of depression. Everyone will now be given Prozac or somethng like it with unpleasant side effects and in some cases life long dependence

    A respected and published herballist living in Donegal and told me ten years ago that when Irish Government banned St Johns Wort it was the first step to banning all natural herbs and remedies. We have big Pharma here in the south but the herb has not been banned in the north. See the connection?

    It does not take a genius to figure out that many Irish people are employed in this cottage industry as there are plenty of health shops and practitioners of aromatherapy and herbalism etc in Ireland. There are also some doctors who know that they are merely sales peopple for the Big Pharma but they dare not open their mouths and admit this

    As for MEPs I wrote to Marian Harkin months ago about supporting a petition against software patents and have never received an answer. Europe is simply not working for us

    • @Pauldiv,

      Have to disagree with you there. I recall a study in the UK, sorry my memory can’t give you more detail than that, they went to a shop and tested all the products on the shelves, took them to a laboratory and did the testing.

      The majority of them had traces of arsenic and other poisonous chemicals.

      They should be regulated and tested to make sure they are safe to use.

      Here’s a recent report:

      Alternative remedies ‘dangerous’ for kids

      http://bbc.in/ePw0Df

      • StephenKenny

        Almost everything is dangerous to kids, that’s why the parental role exists. The problem that the big pharmaceutical companies have is that their product pipelines are effectively empty. They never did a lot of research – generally relying on buying small companies to get their new products – but now they really are in trouble. They are increasingly relying on ‘vaccines’ for ‘disorders’ like ‘trembling knee’.

        The problem with a lot of modern medicines is just that their side-effects are often horrific, including, as stated in the warnings, death.

        Having repeatedly told the world that vitamin supplements have no effect, they have now decided that they are dangerous, and are effectively going to be banned.

        So alcohol and tobacco are legal, but vitamin C isn’t.

        Science is a very good tool, but we have to look carefully at who paid for the research we are looking at. Just as the new head of the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration – food & drug regulator) is an ex Monsanto executive, and Obama’s new Finance person is a JP Morgan executive, we have to consider who benefits when policies are proposed.

        • Here is Max Keiser talking about Monsanto seeds

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiK_RF3ioRw

          They did experiments on lab rats and by the third generation they had developed all kinds of frankenstein symptoms

          No-one has a clue what effect these ‘certified’ seeds will have on future generations of humans

          The French do not want GM foods and the American ambassador in Paris cabled Washington suggesting appropriate forms of punishment to us bolshie Europeans.

      • That article is so one sided it could have been sponsored by a sales rep from big pharma themselves. It even suggests that most of the natural remedy sites on the earth are talking nonsense and stops just short of saying that natural remedies kill full stop

        So that is it then. You dismiss herbs and natural remedies out of hand and have total faith in doctors and the pharmaceutical giants who pay their wages. What utter nonsense.

        Some doctors are clueless. I know one personally here in Ireland who prescribed the wrong drugs to a child which resulted in the kid dying and I know of another who amputated the leg of a 65 old woman with heart problems and it was the wrong leg he removed. Needless to say after they went back and removed the correct leg the shock killed her. No-one who knows about the incompetence in the Irish health system would go anywhere near these people

        Have a read at this –

        Doctors Kill More People Than Guns and Traffic Accidents Combined:

        http://www.relfe.com/doctors_kill.html

        • Agree with you guys that doctors and basically most drugs are dangerous, even hospitals more so. Best avoid them all, especially unregulated and poisonous alternatives. At least the former are subject to objective scientific evaluation. As a kid of 8yrs, a doctor forgot to give me a tetanus jab and I died a couple of times before a new US drug saved the day. Medicine can work wonders and there are brilliant docs and services out there, use them when you need, avoid them when you can:)

    • coldblow

      PaulDiv +1

  41. The Experience of a Journey

    If a soccer ball was all one colour and a plain surface would you see it twirl if it was high up in sky against a heavenly background .You definately would see it move in the sky in the direction it was kicked .But would you notice the twist as it travels.It is the twist too that determines its aero dynamics and it proven success to win the score it was intended to do so by the player.This is the real experience spectators love to watch but not everyone see the twist and sometimes no one does yet they fake the emotions of the eventual destiny of the ball and do not ask the pertinent questions of what did really happen.I am not promoting specsavers or watching a match on TV or an eye surgery either.What I am saying is that the ball knows more than the players and spectators and thats what we pay for .Nevertheless the players receive the publicity .

    Imagine today you are on that same pitch and looking higher into the sky only this time you see the unfolding bright moon above you become brighter on this exceptional journey since last november and and soon it is to re-appear in full regalia for the third time since then next wednesday .This time ‘the twists’ have shown on each of the three monthly occassions of ‘le grand finale’ ( full moons ) a moment of exceptional experience around us the world over.On this moment of an empowered NOW this journey of these twists are ‘Wobbles’ and have left very visible marks the world over and are not un noticed and all we can do is wait & watch in its passing .This is Economics too …..and Politics ….etc. The Wobble is a music that transends all and is understood in all languages and unites us in joy or sadness or both.

    Part of this experience to this island our ours is the unfolding political events ahead .The emotive pull now is becoming greater and the heavenly energies will do or undo to some or others or all on that playing pitch ‘a great change’ .The glory unfolds as the face of this final ‘Le Trilogie des Finale de Lune Wobble ‘ blossoms and blooms and shows to the world the greatest show in town .If in death now the body survives during the passing it will live forever ortherwise it will be no more and all what it takes is gone forever.

    On Wednesday evening this face of the Wobble will make a bow to all of us on a stage in the sky showing its power and glory and will begin to turn away from you taking its secrets into the darkness on a journey away from all of us to be no more .And for now we ask what change might that be and what secrets will be distroyed and what do we learn from its passing .Now we must rummage to gather as much we can glean otherwise history will not record everything only what falls from grace on stage.

    • Aqua Duct

      The full moon pull now will open the political conduit to allow all waters flow and expand and and among the encircling vultures to take the spoils of the diminishing kown ( earth -capricorn )will emerge the new leader martin ( cancer -water ) so the fate of the nation is sealed before you can even start or wait .

      • Aqua Duct ( the sequel)

        Shane Ross has just announced his entry to politics and he is a Cancer Sign ( water ) ……maybe we might have a few more ducks to water in next few days.

  42. Deco

    Maybe Seanie Fitz is full of bull ?

    http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/business/2011/01/14/fitzpatricks-tale-hard-to-swallow/

    He makes all sorts of claims. It is like as if he knew less about what was going on in Anglo than the Ditherer knew about what went on in the planning unit of the old Dublin Corporation.

    I am begining to think that Seanie Fitz is trying to delude us.

  43. Deco

    Here is a review of the Sean FitzPatrick book.
    There seems to be a common theme with respect to these fallen former figures of authority. When they were responsible, they knew very little of what was going on. I would describe this as “pulling a Bertie” after the main proponent of this excuse, the Drumcondra Ditherer.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/0115/1224287538221.html

    Now, we know that Seanie Fitz did his bit to keep the rif-raf out of various Wicklow golf courses. But for a man who likes to come across as the consumate patrician and insider, his language is a bit of a let down. I mean people have been shoved off Portmarnock Golf course for less.

    • Deco

      Here is a quotation from the review that captures the essence of the technique now employed by Fitzpatrick concerning his time in charge. (I describe this as “pulling a Bertie”).

      {
      Anyone looking for insights into how some of Anglo’s great fiascos evolved will look in vain. He was chairman when €375 million of Anglo money was sunk into a Quinn rescue over five days in March 2008 but says now: “I was a hundred million miles away from it . . . I had no idea what money we had lent to the guy at that stage.” He was “absolutely a million miles” from any liability for the extraordinary Anglo/Irish Life & Permanent manoeuvres that put a highly misleading gloss on Anglo’s year-end figures. He “hadn’t a clue” about Anglo’s financing of the €412 million Irish Glass Bottle/Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) deal, despite the fact that he was chairman of Anglo and a board member of DDDA at the time. And, he claims, it wasn’t his idea to send his €129 million in loans into Irish Nationwide for a couple of weeks every year, coincidentally around Anglo’s accounting time.
      }

      It is a real shocker to the now penniless former shareholders of Anglo – to find out that the most overpaid bank CEO (and later Board Chairman) had no idea what was going on.

      And besides all of this, we must ask why he was appointed to run state quangoes, when he had no idea what was going on there either.

      I reckon that there are serious grounds to enable class action suits against FitzPatrick on the grounds of negligence in the course of exercise of his duties. Let it rip. Time he was brought before a court to his wealth depending on him being able to convince the court, that the book is loaded with fibs.

      That would be hilarious. It would also represent closure for some people out there who have been sold a pup by FitzPatrick down the years.

  44. christy.d

    baa!
    we have been sheep
    we are sheep
    we will be sheep
    because we allow it to be so.

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