May 16, 2011

Time to play another game in a new Ireland

Posted in Ireland · 201 comments ·

Last week was a great week. I have employed a few people and intend to employ a few more every month if things go according to plan. Ireland is full of good people who just need the proverbial ‘start’.

There is always a great sense of excitement setting up a new venture, rolling up the sleeves, mucking in, negotiating and getting things done, particularly with new people who bring all sorts of interesting ideas and ways of doing things to the table.

In response to demand, my new venture will give independent economic advice to people, investors and companies that want clear, simple explanations about what is going on economically and financially, and how to plan their next moves.

We can all do more and more of this, because despite everything, the recovery will begin with us – each of us.

If you read this column regularly, you’ll probably be asking yourself why we aren’t talking about the ‘bitchfest’ between Irish economists which broke out in various guises last week. It’s rather pathetic really because, with one or two exceptions, last week’s more vocal protagonists didn’t see the bust coming.

They didn’t see the credit bubble or the housing madness.

Equally, when we spoke of default in this column two years ago, the Irish economic establishment (such as it is) was of the view that default couldn’t happen. Well now it’s here. This default or no default ‘debate’ is old news.

Telling people two years ago that there would be a default – because of the botched way the guarantee was deployed – gave you an opportunity to move your money out of here if you were worried; today it’s more or less a foregone conclusion.

But as this debate among academics – and others on the public payroll – rages, life goes on and the rest of us must make a crust.

We know that the macro economy will not be helpful for a few years. If you wait around, no one is going to save you.

There is no cavalry coming over the hill. If you want to make something happen in Ireland, you have to do it for yourself. And there has never been a better time to do this, despite the banks being broken and not operating as sources of credit for the vast majority.

This sounds counterintuitive, but bear with me.

There is lots of creative talent in Ireland and, while we are blessed in the traditional Irish area of writing and books, there are buckets of other talented people, who have the same creativity as our writers, the same yearning for self expression, the same love of risk and the same balls to try something new.

This is the New Ireland. Old Ireland is stuck in the old debate. Old Ireland is still afraid to fail. Old Ireland is caught up an a puerile debate about who is right and even more so, who is wrong.

Old Ireland is still caught up in pointless arguments about our national credibility. Listen lads: we blew our credibility years ago when you were peddlling the soft landing cant. We have none: that’s why the IMF is here.

But just because the IMF is here, it doesn’t mean the game is over. In fact, the reinvention of Ireland is only just beginning.

When this reinvention is over, the old guard will have been swept away and a New Ireland will emerge.

Hopefully, the New Ireland will be an Ireland that is not afraid of failure, not wrapped up with itself and its squabbles. Move on, bring on the default, start afresh and stop keeping old washed-out companies and ideas afloat.

With that in mind, let’s start with the idea of failure and the fact that failing, being wrong and trying again are part of the game.

Recently, venture capitalist Jon Moulton pointed out that the four European countries with the lowest rate of corporate failure were, in this order, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain and guess what,?

They are the countries in the same order who needed to be bailed out. It’s not only that we are reluctant to fail; we don’t fail fast enough.

Companies are kept alive long after they should be.

One of the lessons of working for yourself is that you learn to kill projects that are not working swiftly. If you don’t do this, if you hang on, you’ll probably lose more money. Better to cut, save your resources and start again anew.

The Irish banks are the best example of keeping bust entities open. It’s usually easier to do this with other people’s money. As well as the true cost, the opportunity cost of delay can be huge. The more you occupy yourself in keeping something alive, the more you miss the new trends, the new opportunities.

One of those mega trends right now worldwide is the exploding gaming industry. Look around.

The other night while finishing Paul Murray’s thought-provoking Skippy Dies, it struck me that one of the many reasons that Murray’s suburban character Skippy Juster is so believable is that he plays these games constantly, like any other 14-year-old.This is the market and it is exploding everywhere.

The gaming industry this year passed the $50 billion mark.

This makes the games industry bigger than the movie industry, the DVD market or the music business. The online part of this is exploding rapidly. Companies like Zynga, makers of games like Farmville and Cityville – both played on Facebook – have emerged from nowhere.

Zynga is projected to have revenues of $1 billion this year – that’s revenues and not some notional value.

Three years ago, Zynga didn’t exist. The online gaming business was worth $18 billion last year and is growing at a rate of 16 per cent per annum.

One of the fascinating stories emerging beneath the fog of the macro-economic war is that Ireland is rapidly emerging as Europe’s hub for the online gaming industry. Companies like Zynga have made Ireland their base. The reason they are here is because the other big companies are here.

With Google, Facebook, eBay, Blizzard, Popcap here, a cluster is emerging and it’s crucial we nurture this and the creative people working in this emerging business. For example, the blockbuster game of last year was Call of Duty.

The technology behind its online version linking millions of users together was designed here in Dublin by a company called Demonware.

We should tell the world about this success and get more of them to set up here. Give them free office space.

Now that we own the banks and the banks own the offices, why not? For example, if the Central Bank moves out of Dame Street as suggested, give this glorious space away for free to a start-up.

Imagine a hub right in the centre of the city. In fact, few things might symbolise the reinvention of Ireland better than moving a shell-shocked institution and replacing it with confident vibrancy.

Dylan Collins – a man who has sold two gaming companies in his short, very successful career – noted something instructive about China recently.

He reported that any ‘‘Chinese town with 300,000 residents will often have up to 500 people dedicated to soliciting inward investment. That’s about 0.2 per cent of their population dedicated to inward investment.”

We could do the same thing, deploying agitators, persuaders and champions to get more and more of the gaming business here.

This is the way we will begin the process of recovery. Obviously we have to default to start again. Anyone who knows anything knows that a balance sheet with too much debt can only be solved by less debt, not more debt.

But we can’t wait for that, because the world is moving on. So let’s move with it.

  1. MT25

    Great stuff David! Let the games begin.

    • OOPS…our schools and universities need to be prioritised to promote the ubiquitous world of digital media along with skills and talents needed to be a platform for the businesses that DmcW is hoping to attract here. gives support to programmers and there are many such voluntary groups active in the city. Unfortunately, the high end skills required mean with a smaller population base and smaller and less well resourced universities, competition in the area is tough and this often means programmers to service the gaming industry sometimes have to be imported from abroad. We could take a leaf from Germany and ask for the major corporate footprints in Ireland to make a financial contribution to university programmes in Ireland. But we compete with LA and Hollywood and e.g Harvard with 700 fulltime at the business of finance/funding…

      Discerning opportunities and separating them out from impossible hair brained projects doomed to fail, should be fun to do for all!

      • Deco

        I would say that the problem at it’s core is in the labour market/workplace.

        Simply put, the current Irish management ethos is completely incapable of dealing with the knowledge economy.

        There is no point in educating fantastic engineers so that they will be put into line by mediocre management cliques.

        It is soul destroying.

        • Praetorian

          A lot of truth in this, strikes me as an oppressive, risk adverse, threat fearing not opportunity enhancing system, which stems from conservatism, and long days spent learning the Irish language.

          • Deco

            Actually, I do not think it has anything to do with conservatism or the Irish language.

            It is the authority culture, intellectual laziness, and bullsh1t that are the main determinants of this.

            But knowing these things undermines it. We have been on a pointless trajectory trying to find the root cause of the problem, but the supply of pointless trajectories in the media is sufficient to make sure that nothing is ever done about it. Because the aim is completely off every time.

        • Pedro Nunez

          Tetigisti acu – You have hit the nail on the head. (Plautus)

          The Irish concept of management is bullying, intellectual proctology of the most turgid and insipid kind.

          The H.S.E can’t keep professional staff at present, they’re all voting with their feet rather than put up with the ‘Lord Cardigan of the light brigade’ (without the polish or lustre). The ‘failed leaving cert’ managers solution is to look for more ‘cannon fodder’ from Romania or Hungary, the phillipines, india, countries who really need these expensively trained resouces themselves.(and don’t give me that BS about getting valuable training and experience in a centre of excellence of western healthcare in the Irish HSE- womit bucket pls).

          Irish management couldn’t articulate any coherent common agenda of moving forward or create a high performance culture to allow talent and initiative to shine because its based on a bastardised begrudgging political rather than meritocratic accountability where the sh1t really rises to the top.

          Its a culture of gombeenism and floating turds!

        • The answer might be to ignore them. As John Giles always says ‘show me your medals’. Engineers spend years studying and practicing their craft and too often they are looked down on. It is the people who can’t show you their medal who should be ones on the receiving end of such scorn.

          Engineers are the people with the most capacity for generating wealth yet they are expected to be supervised by people who are often inferior to them and don’t have a fraction of their talents

          Many people in management have no precise function and it is hard to observe and measure their contribution within an organisation.

          There are many unemployed engineers in Ireland who could collaborate outside of the system and come up with practical ideas that might turn a profit. Even if it does not prove commercially successful other things can be learned from the experience.

          I am not talking about creating the next facebook but then again why not? The tools are either free or very cheap. This blog is powered by software that was created by such a community of volunteers. Just look at the genuine value it provides to us regular posters – so much for free not meaning good.

          The biggest challenge of all is to come up with great ideas that require very low start up capital if any at all. There is no money to carry passengers now and everyone has to make a contribution without paying attention to remuneration.

          Fantastic engineers are born and not made. Great programmers program while there are many who have degrees and masters degrees who just can’t hack it. It’s all about self-motivation and if Irish management is as awful as people are telling me it is them they should work outside of the education system and teach themselves to be all rounded individuals who can grasp what what skills they really need.

          A college or Uni degree is not worth jack in this economy. Imagination, hard graft and determination is what people require and these traits can only be self taught and not picked upon a course.

          The management mediocrities may destroy your soul Deco but they will never destroy mine.

      • lff12

        I think we have good potential here for these kinds of businesses, but to me there is an enormous problem with the 27% of the adult population who cannot read nor write, and a secondary problem with low skills and modest or obsolete skills. I do think it makes a lot of sense to incentivise companies to genuinely upskill workers, not just rubbishy mickey mouse courses, but hard skills that can be used.

        I remember years ago we used to have a training levy. Well why not force companies to either pay for training that they demand from universities or else pay a modest levy? I see lots of companies moaning about poor skills but if they want those skills they need to train people for themselves.

        There are at least 2 multinationals in Dublin that charge employees for basically call centre training. Pathetic!!

  2. miec

    Hi David

    Brilliant article and very true. It comes down to us each as an individual and it is important to see that we have shoots of regrowth and new possibilities from all the dung of the economic mess.

  3. But isn’t gambling simply part of the puffery and nonsense that got us here, David?

    • Deco

      There is a difference between gambling (Seanie Fitz, the DDDA plan etc..) and risk. And the difference is that the risk taker knows what he is doing. Risk takers make an assessment about money.
      The gambler is a clueless moron who thinks that business is about getting bravado rights at the K-Club. The ego is in control, not the rational mind.

      We should not be shocked at the current disaster. Rationality and self discipline have been driven out of existence since the 1970s in Ireland, and perhaps beyond. Let it all hang out is the motto of the generation that is busted.

  4. Philip

    Good article. It’s really a case of how past successes have limited future success. Ireland’s institutions were successful for enough of the population to keep it alive up until now. There are many examples of this kind of phenomenon.

    Oil and internal combustion engines worked together to stop development of electric vehicles. You might say Microsoft’s success in the office applications and traditonal computer environment may limit it from gaining a proper foothold in cloud computing and mobile devices.

    There a lot of things failing at a global level out there and that means lots of opportunity. But make no mistake David, finance engines and indeed capitalism may also be seeing its final days for the very same reason. We are moving from a value model of firm assets to one of knowledge assets and the traditional mechanisms of IPR management may not hold for much longer.

    Default before we move on? Frankly, I think it’ll become irrelevant.

  5. DarraghD

    Great article but I wouldn’t be as optimistic David about the old guard being swept away any time soon in this country. This old guard is the same collection of “insiders” that you have rightly been pointing at for the last ten years, and they don’t seem to be to be going anywhere in a hurry.

    What we have in this country in relation to job creation and entrepreneurship, is a classic glass ceiling. You could have the idea, you might even have a talent at software so you could have the idea fully developed, hosted, online and ready for market. This is my own particular short story…

    If you are on the dole or not in possession of start-up capital, your idea will never become more than an idea. This is my own situation, a website fully developed, ready to go, after spending the last year on the dole working away at it night and day, but not a bank in the country that will give me access to 2K start-up funds to get it up and running, so it makes more sense to pay me 9,776 Euro a year (188 Euro/week * 52), than to give me access to 20% of that immediately and cut me off the dole immediately.

    This isn’t just an opinion or the wild aspirations of an over ambitious entrepreneur, I launched a website last week that put a verifiable 1K through the site in credit card transactions within the first three days of business, only to find that my bank had closed my internet merchant services trading account because I missed the last 2 months payments for the service, costing them 60 Euro over 60 days.

    This is the kind of hopelessly defeatist intransigence that you can get used to from your bank in Ireland if you try to start up a business in this country, and if you try to do the “right thing” and try to approach it from the other end and try to properly capitalise your business before you launch via a small start up loan, (so you are not p*ssing off your bank and bouncing small direct debits from the get go), you are met with an equally hostile dose of belligerance and intransigence. I know people will jump up here and say you should never bounce a direct debit but what do you do when you are on the dole and trying to start a business, you can either give it your best and go at it or you can wallow on the dole, so for trying to do right in such a situation, you are ultimately punished for having done wrong, when the alternative is to sit on the dole indefinitely.

    Then the government come along and announce a start up guarantee grant scheme, that will be available to entrepreneurs, but wait for it, NEXT OCTOBER!!!!!!!!

    Go figure…

    • chrisi313

      You gotta look around, but there’s still lots of money available for start-up companies. I’d check out the county enterprise boards, credit unions and microfinance providers like

  6. Praetorian

    Might want to watch out for internet gambling, while computer games in large part are very violent and do nothing for the social development of children. They can be quite addictive, while some even have reportedly led to epileptic attacks (games with rapidly changing images or highly regular patterns can produce seizures), there is also some debate whether they can be mood altering.

    U.S. Government Shuts Down 3 Biggest Online Gambling Sites

    Far from the old guard being swept away (I accept it is merely phase II with a new government), seems like the same old practices:

    TD in row over hiring wife gives job to someone else

    I’d really like to see the development of a sustainable transport system pushed, trams for all our major cities, I’d certainly use it and would love to see all those cars off the road, one of the great destroyers of the environment and promoted with alarmingly regularity on TV and radio.

  7. patjack67

    I believe the plan is to make the Central Bank in Dame Street a language school/teacher training center and a lot of other important buildings around the country too.

  8. Praetorian

    Posted a comment, didn’t appear, trying again, points in summary:

    Watch out for internet gambling:

    Online poker sites shut down and charged with fraud in US crackdown

    Computer games are largely violent, can have a desensitizing effect, possibly harm social development of children (perfer to see them playing in the garden with a soccer ball) and reportedly can lead to epileptic attacks, not sure it is the way to go.

    As for the old guard being swept away:

    TD in row over hiring wife gives job to someone else

    • Deco

      Actually, while computer games are an industry – the end product is not always educational or even humane in it’s assumptions. You are correct about this.

      In fact computer games, like sports TV, and soap operas are a modern digital form of the Circuses element in “Bread and Circuses”. Therfore you are correct to offer a critique of them.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Deco – Walk into almost any internet gaming centre and see the lost souls, it isn’t pretty. Also check out the games they play, I’ll bet you a dollar 99% of the games have violent content. Then walk into a DVD store, I’ll bet you another dollar 75% of the DVDS have violent content (most if not all the movies are from the US).

        Then go home, open a newspaper and I’ll bet you a dollar most of the articles are negative and associated with violence in one way or another, court appearences, domestic abuse, State failure in the health service, conflict internationally, corruption and so on. Finally turn on the TV and I’ll bet you my last dollar the main evening news is based around negative stories while the ‘entertainment’ programmes are based around US crime dramas, legal and hospital dramas, and oh yes, cooking.

        If you win all the bets then I need a bailout :-)

        • There is a lot of truth in this. I am not a fan of computer games personally and would rather be learning something more useful or self-educational. I think id frightening that so many people are losing themselves in these alternative realities. I choose life.

  9. Deco

    Change will happen, when the younger Ireland starts to compete with the older establishment Ireland.

    We had a decade where the younger Ireland merely ran in a lemming rush to subsidize and profit the older establishment Ireland. But a lot of that money is salted away. There is a lot of it in the Isle of Man. And it has the habit of showing up when it is not wanted.

    The Chinese, well, at least those in the Cantonese speaking areas, definitely mean true business. The establishment here is still engaging in pretence, deceit, market rigging and hard sell efforts to sucker in the younger people and run off with their money. The young are encouraged to spend beyond their means, and the to finish that off with more borrowing.

    The credit crisis threatens to put an end to that model, by making it is impossible to function. No wonder the establishment wants to get the credit bubble going again. The purpose of advertising is to stiffen demand curve and make the population more willing to pay more for stuff than they need to pay. Rip-Off Ireland at it’s core. To be be free, be free of the empty flawed promises.

  10. Deco

    The future is 20 year olds sitting up all night thinking of great ideas, reading, learning, applyign themselves. We need to give the future a chance, by breaking up the rotten networks that control Ireland.

    Ah, but hold on. didn’t those rotten networks bankrupt tehmselves, and break themselves up. They did, but Lenihan and the EU bailed them out.

    Capitalist consequences, to capitalist failure could have freed us. But instead we were told to save our reputation. Throw out our reputation, because it really is a pile of useless manure. Forget pride, seek humility. Then we will see everything better. Then we will be less obedient, and more productive.

    The engineers who wrote Call of Duty, etc.. are great minds, but they are weighed down by the ICTU and IBEC agendas of this country. All that matters is that they can operate freely of them.

  11. Deco

    David mentions that we should be trying to get more entrepreneurial types to come here.

    Well, from what I can see of the history of Ireland, especially since the early 1970s, we have been driving such people away.

    We are losing people we should be keeping, and keeping people we should be losing is a refrain you hear in certain organizations in Ireland, in reference to the affects of cronyism. Aggregate that and you get the national picture, of how talent is treated here. PR budgets are now use, considering the flawed concept of management that is rampant in Ireland. I would describe is monstrosity that is heavily influenced on the British 1950s management style.

    • chrisi313

      The mean and stupid have to go somewhere, Ireland seems as good a place for them as any, bar perhaps Siberia.

  12. Good Morning, and wow…. :)

    Wishing you, Ronan, Stephen and Lorcan all the very best with your new venture!

    You say: When this reinvention is over, the old guard will have been swept away and a New Ireland will emerge.

    First, In this context, a general book recommendation for everyone here:

    Written by Roland Benedikter, perhaps better known as Ulrich von Weizaecker’s co-author in the 2003 Report to the Club of Rome. Highly recommended.

    This old guard that you hope will be swept away, I would disagree here profoundly, but lets look at it from a distance, so we get a better idea on the whole picture perhaps.

    This global Heist is far from over!

    Let me explain, I am very much in line with R. Benedikter’s description of events, in my own words, Neo-liberal politics has originally created a two headed monster of deregulated markets that can best be described as two interlinked parasite economies, housing and derivatives. Housing speculates on goods that are already produced, a constant game of evaluation and pushing up prices, and the derivatives equally produce next to nothing for the real economy.

    If you imagine this picture, the real economy and its capital stands with both feet on the ground, while the housing bubble under it’s feet is sucking capital from the real economy, and at the same time the derivatives market above it is sucking more capital from the real economy. So for the real economy, you have an earthquake event happening and at the same time multiple tornadoes are sucking from above.

    Both are to be described as parasitic because the are producing nothing. The create nothing in the real economies where workers produce goods.

    These parasite economies grew exponentially from 1989 to 2007, not linear! Alone from 2002-2006 they grew 5x times just in one of the both bubbles, the derivatives, and reached $ 516 trillion in 2007.

    To put this into perspective, the combined GDP of all countries on this planet in 2008 was around $ 50 trillion with about 15 tln in the US and a deficit of 3 tln.

    This is the real picture of the gigantic distortion that needs to be corrected, a distortion that is about to destroy the real economies, and nourish the grounds for implementation of policies that are not from and for the people, but from and for those parasite market makers and their beneficiaries. In other words, they succeeded to not only distort the economies, but global power dynamics at the same time, very much so!

    Because of the inherent complexity of both parasites, economists will find it difficult to establish the real relationship of real economy to parasites, the analysis is still ongoing, data is relatively new hence estimates vary, but they range from conservative estimations of 1:20 real economy to parasitic economy to more aggressive estimates of 1:50.

    So what happens with the capital that was sucked out of the real economy by this Heist performed by a few?

    It will create the next bubble! That much is predictable, the greed never stops, and the next bubble is happening in the global food markets.

    I am probably not alone with the perception that this Heist is far from over. While we saved Banks with taxpayers money, behold, at the same time we saved the very structure that enabled this heist, the reckless speculation, the so called market makers who create these bubble by pushing enormous amounts of capital into new bubbles, multiple times the amount of capital that is reflected in the real economy.

    Policy makers, in Ireland and abroad failed to destroy these mechanisms, they are captured by what I call the China syndrome.

    China as a new global financial player is diametrically opposed to regulation tendencies in the USA and Europe, de facto, China refused to play ball on this field from early on. They undermined deeper structural reforms for their very own interests, their banks being 100% state owned. Since years they are on a shopping spree and invest in raw materials, technology and know how, one has to consider the relevance of future geopolitical implications. The billions of global Chinese investments, some of which I found next to comical such as the $ 13 billion into the German WestLB, already left the Worldbank as the biggest investor and creditor in Africa and emerging markets behind.

    At the moment we can observe that unhealthy amounts of capital are being pushed around in the food markets, this is the way they build up bubbles.It is of course highly unethical, but these market makers are not concerned with ethics at all. Try to think like they do for a second, and it all makes sense. We all need to eat, this is the most basic of goods we all require, hence speculations in this market are most promising, especially considering that in a few years we reached 8 billion people on this planet, tendency up, and approx. 10 billion people at around 2050. Add to that variables such as climate change, desertification etc. and most important of all, let’s not forget that there is next to no international regulation in the commodity markets. – Finlayson/Zacher et al., Politics of International Commodity regulation – FAO and UNCTAD’s attempts had next to no impact on these markets.

    We are far away from any form of sensible regulation in international commodity markets.

    Now Folks, if you followed me to this point, and you do not feel extremely angry or scared by now, then I failed to make my point in a concise way. I am no expert, and frankly, I am sick of so called experts, as too many of them enabled this system of fraud and rigged markets to work for decades.

    But lets put some meat to the bone here, In July 2010 the British gambler Anthony Ward bought 7% of the global cocoa crop of this year. In no time the price went up 25%. Shortly after enormous sums of capital was pumped into this segment, to reap short term speculation profits and disappear again as quick as they pumped it in. But events like this are just the beginning, increasing demand for milk, nuts, wheat etc will open the doors wide for the same bastards who caused this Heist to begin with. The next roller coaster ride is already discussed amongst the insiders. You have to think of it this way, draughts and floods are only marginal factors in the food commodities from here on, the real questions is when and how much capital is being pumped into it for speculation.

    The results?

    Here comes into play what I say since long, we all need much better council, a interdisciplinary and multidimensional approach is required to tackle these problems, it is not one crisis, it is many. The revolutions in Africa and middle east are a direct result of the neo-liberal dictate.

    The old guard has not been swept away, on the contrary. The refueled and start all over as we speak.

    Basel III and other attempts are no way near the required deep structural reforms, and time is against us. One could say Basel III does work from within the system, but it does not change the structure of the system at all. It could have been proposed by bankers you know. – grins –

    Thankfully, a new form of thinking is emerging that approaches the problems from the insight that the widely accepted economic way of thinking has failed. However, they are at the fringes, whether Joe Stieglitz’s Institute in NY or the Bruce Initiative in Santa Cruz, SRI, social Responsible Investing, social banking, social finance, this is not mainstream, and the old guard is still very much in power.

    I stand to be corrected.


    • CitizenWhy

      You point about two parasite economies, housing and derivatives, is very well put. This is the kind of phrase that could catch on in the media. You know their love of sound bites. Then you next statement in bold is also a fine sound bite.

      The big issue is how to get the general public to start talking about the problem is terms that can be easily understood. In the public mind the solution talk consisted solely of voting out FF and voting in FG. Hardly an adequate response.

      Now we also need some sharp sound bites about what the govt can do and what individuals can do.

      • Just to be clear, I came across this excellent analogy of parasite economies in Benedikter’s book, hence I highlighted the term, it is most accurate in my opinion!

        The food commodity markets need protection from these bastards, but to date I see no light on the horizon.


        • Praetorian

          @ Georg Very informative post yet again, do you have a blog?

          Capitalism has long been regarded as a parasitic, exploitative system, but I go along with the comments from CitizenWhy but do we need more talk on the issues?

          • I started a blog last year, but cancelled it. The focus was on another scam that is pushed at the moment, especially in Ireland, and operates under the headline of clean green energy. In this world of ever increasing new blogs, I just decided to post my thoughts once in a while on David’s blog instead of running my own, and at the end, you know, the experts talk while old men smoking Havana’s and sipping Remy Martin make decisions in Mahogany decorated rooms sending young men into new wars to die. I don’t think another blog changes that. ;)

          • chrisi313

            Some of you guys should set up an online paper/edited blog. Some of the stuff I read in DMWs comment section deserve to be articles in and of themselves, really excellent stuff from Deco, Georg and others

    • Malcolm McClure

      Excellent article, David, and good luck with your new venture.

      Georg: You too go from strength to strength. Thanks for the effort to help us make sense of it all. My only caveat would be to suggest that sometimes you cover too many issues in one posting. If you find longer posts are necessary, please provide a Conclusions paragraph at the end. Otherwise there is just too much to digest amongst the many other recriminations that get generated in response to David’s articles.

      Clear thinking was never more important than now. For example, you implore us to support Social Responsible Investing, social banking, social finance, etc. Yet David seems to think that future expansion of the Irish economy can be driven by computer games etc.

      Successful computer games sales are driven by gamesters subliminal desire to dominate, create mayhem, and blast the opposition, devil take the hindmost. I conclude that a socially responsible computer game that encourages a caring, green, Samaritan approach in youngsters will not find many purchasers. After all, it is that generation who will grow up to displace the ‘Old Guard’. However, they are practising already to become the next Seanie Fitz.

      Maybe the Old Guard just reflects true Human Nature?

      • Praetorian

        Malcolm, I don’t accept this argument about ‘human nature’ being intrinsically this or that, it is an argument which should be put to bed once and for all. There are more dimensions to humanity than greed, selfishness, power hungry. As one writer pointed out, if that was not the case, logically, we would have ceased a long time ago.

        I came across John Pilger’s excellent speech to a leftist political party in the US, he made the wonderful point that Americans have been misrepresented in the most appalling ways, he says look at the polls, 64% of Americans would pay extra taxes for universal healthcare, two thirds believe the government should look after those who cannot look after themselves, 70% want US troops out of Iraq, 75% want nuclear disarmament, 81% favoured taxing the rich and cutting military spending as the best way to cut the deficit, only 3% recommended cutting social security.

        As a social scientist said to me once, put a drop of acid in a glass of milk and you ruin it completely. Those who have wrecked Ireland are by far a tiny minority of people who have had such an impact because in a plutocratic systemm, power and wealth are highly concentrated.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Preatorian: They didn’t have computer gams when Seanie Fitz was a youngster. but there was a game called Monopoly. I’ll bet it didn’t take him long to figure out that the way to win was to put hotels in Park Lane and Mayfair, rather than plonk socially responsible housing in Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road.

          My point is that whilst may of us were brought up to consider greed reprehensible, those with a stronger commercial instinct grow up to become bankers and developers. The seed of greed are the desire to dominate, and that is reinforced by games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Is that the road we think will lead our children to a socially responsible Ireland?

        • CitizenWhy

          Even if human nature is divided, as theology and evolutionary science tells us it is, we can still aim at creating structures and systems that protect us against predators and ourselves.

          In the US we used to have a banking system that worked. It was simply designed. Investment banks, like the old Goldman Sachs, were private partnerships and thus prudent with their capital. Bonuses were held in reserve for years to be reviewed on the basis of long term success and as a precaution against taking capital out of the firm immediately and thus not caring how those bonuses were earned. Money was primarily earned through fees in advising corporations and the issuing of stocks and bonds, a very legitimate activity in a market system. Then the traders took over, led by Hank Paulson, later to be US Secretary of the Treasury under Bush II. GS went public, issuing stick on the NY Stock Exchange, thus putting it under great pressure to produce high earnings four times a year. Money was primarily earned by trading, including the creation of derivatives backed by cash flow and “virtual” derivatives backed by nothing except the current value of another derivative. Bonuses were immediately taken out of the firm. Thus traders could wreck the firm – and the economy – while becoming richer and richer. Investment banks could not borrow money cheaply from the Federal Reserve Bank.

          Meanwhile, commercial banks existed to lend money to businesses. They had a monopoly on this. They could borrow money cheaply (and sometimes interest-free) from the Federal Reserve Bank, easily making profits from that cheap capital. They were also allowed to operate a savings bank division in order to accumulate more capital for business lending as well as mortgage lending. But I am not concerned with their savings bank divisions here. At a certain point real estate development lending became a major source of asset and revenue growth. As a result the banks dropped a rule they had always operated under when making real estate loans: the borrower had to put up 25% of his own capital before getting a loan for the other 75%. The immediate result was that the Mafia, controlling many construction outfits, turned themselves into real estate developers, planning huge projects, and borrowing 100% of the cost from the banks. They rented equipment from themselves at hugely inflated costs, broke ground, built a biy, and then declared bankruptcy after hiding/spending the borrowed money and walked away with multi-millions without doing any work for it. But the real thing that killed off the success of the big well regulated banks was the emerging dominance of the non-bank banks, , corporations with extra cash that made commercial loans to other corporations. They were unregulated, lent faster, and took much of the business away from the regulated commercial banks. Thus we in effect ended up with an unregulated commercial banking system. Finally, Wall Street took away much of the savings bank business by inventing the CMA (Cash Management Account) for businesses and then extending it to individual savers. This account would sweep your savings throughout the day into the highest yielding investment, giving you a far better return that the 3% offered by the commercial and savings banks. As a result the big New York commercial banks wanted in on investment banking and the deregulating process under Bush II allowed them to do so. Except “investment banking” was now a game of risky trading and less a relatively risk free game of helping corporations, for a fee, raise capital in the public stock and bond markets. You know the result of the trading game: mortgage backed securities, bubble, collapse. But the traders lost nothing, they had their huge bonuses, and now the government allowed them to borrow from the Fed, in effect guaranteeing that the govt would cover their losses while they retained all their profits. Their ability to cause another bubble and bust, anywhere in the world, has not been curtailed. meanwhile our leading MBA schools were teaching that the sole job of corporate managers was to increase shareholder value: no obligation to the common god, or to employees. These are the creepy know-it-alls that Wall Street exclusively hired. total corruption of values and a system generating “legal” corruption on a massive scale.

          BUT … the old. simple regulatory scheme would have prevented the excesses of the banks and their trader stars. The new regulatory scheme will not.

          So, we always have a choice of creating a system that curtails the human fondness for predation and corruption. Or not.

          • Deco


            Gordon Geeko was not a figment of somebody’s imagination at all – but a representation of an entire sector. Driven by a perverted irrational sense of greed, and holding no restraint.

          • Hell Yes, it was Hank Paulson who orchestrated and succeeded ultimately to trigger the $700 bln from congress.

            There are some very interesting interviews in Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism A love Story’, especially on this event.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Deco both Oliver Stone and Michael Douglass have repeated in many an interview that they are still amazed when traders and other Wall St. types come up to them and praise them for the movie ‘Wall St’ and quote Douglas’ line about ‘greed being good’, seems the entire message of the film flew over their heads and their pathology had them focused on what was useful for their internalised message on greed and doing whatever you have to do to get ahead regardless of the society wide consequences. So much for the self regulating market.

        • dwalsh

          Good points Praetorian
          Most humans are decent and caring at heart; but there is a minority who are different; who are not empathic or caring or decent at heart. They have an advantage over ordinary folk in systems like capitalism and democracy – they out-compete them. The prevailing world order selects these individuals and promotes them. The American political system is not reflective of ordinary Americans as Pilger points out and as the statistics clearly show. The American political system is owned and run by a predatory oligarchical minority.

      • Thanks Malcolm,

        I apologize for the length of some…. hold on…. No I don’t. ;)

        Seriously though, I will make a 3-4 sentences executive summary in future, good idea!

        • P.S. As for the gaming Industry Malcolm, I skipped that, it would have become too long a post. LOL

          You know, roughly two A4 pages text, double sided, should not be too much to allow a thought to develop, but in a twitter and media infested soundbite society and a general public with the attention span of a goldfish, you are probably right. ;)

          • coldblow

            Actually Georg, while I skim-read your long post I’d be very interested in your views on gaming.

    • BrianC


      We stand in the maddening crowd and no matter how loud you want to scream the truth and true facts the noise of the crowd will drown your valiant attempt to be heard.

      The crowd is led by a few who know the true reality of economics. Totally controlled by the few. They know and rely on the self interest of all the individuals who make up the crowd who blindly pursue self interest instead of self enlightenment. The everlasting human fuel of self interest is greed and assure the few at the top of the pile of their power.

      David’s article is interesting but far from reality. The real reality is as per the efforts of Darragh D above meeting the inertia of lack of capital and means to secure funding. How many Darragh D’s are there out in Ireland.

      There are some who can deliver their ventures to the market as they have the capital. But they are too few for the situation thrust upon the Irish economy to deliver us out of jobless growth. I am always intriqued at how we as a society focus on those who make it as against focusing on what is needed to help those who fall by the wayside make it. Probably a stupid perspective.

      However, this does not mean that we should throw in the towel. True leadership is required to create and deliver the required funding to drive private enterprise. So far no leadership exists to fill this vacuum. Those who are controling the deleveraging will not permit such until they have secured their objective.

      The Irish are a stupid nation. Imagine reducing the national herd from 11million to under 7million in the face of Global population growth. Plus the fact that the beef in Ireland is produced on grass. The other key beef producing countries are using grain. There is far more to the grass versus the grain than meets the eye. We actually believe that Sean agus Maire in their small kitchen will be the saviour of the domestic economy. I am denegrating those who start small but if it is good why not catapult them into the big factory to really step onto the world stage and stop relying on the stupid notion of organic growth dependent on the resources generated by a small enterprise.

      As for true social economics my dole money is on the capital rooted in the traditional market structure founded on property delivering the derived demand consumer markets and the parasitic derivative market. Society really needs a wake up call as to who runs the capitalist show to which our non functioning economies are chained.

      But as evidenced in the Middle East people will rise when you starve them enough. I am not talking about freedom I am talking about food. Yes there will be a few side shows as per the Palestinian revolt against the Israeli State claiming political freedom. Sadly the rebels are powerless to exercise a true revolt as they have neither the means or the true will that demands massive sacrifice like hundreds of thousands of deaths in true full blooded rising and the decapitating of those holding power. They will end up in an attrition battle and those with the resources will win the day. There will be no more French revolutions and the Egypt face book has proved fruitless.

      • Gege Le Beau

        8000 gardai found for the biggest security operation in the history of the State (according to the State broadcaster – surely there were bigger operations during the Troubles), while a ring ‘of steel’ settles on Dublin, more like a feudal city than a free one, and for what?

        Don’t ever let them tell you the money isn’t there. What a disgrace when you think 90 million in cuts were specifically made in Lenihan’s last budget which targeted some of the most disadvantaged and disabled people in our society, does anyone else not find this maddening????????????????????????????????????????

      • There are thousands of Darragh Ds out there with energy, imagination and dogged determination hoping to break free from the grip of the monster but I agree that we are a society although we have stopped functioning as such

        We used to have an electronics manufacturing industry here and now there are no jobs for people with electronics or high-tech backgrounds and anyone who is technical can survive but hundreds of thousands of others don’t stand a chance

        Anyone who is technical and respects themselves would not work under Irish management anyway but they they might have a crack at doing something on their own or along with with people who have complimentary skills to offer

        Due to it’s small size, and notorious gravevine culture, Ireland is an ideal place for people to network and try to find profitable ideas that do not need a lot of start up capital.

        People can trade skills and work under the understanding that you do something for someone then they owe you a favour in return. People who can think like this will be the most likely ones to employ other people.

        Question is what things do people want in this economy and what would they be prepared to spend their money on? Simple things

        Like getting their shoes re-soled or their washing machine repaired. Simple ideas are often the best ones and besides we can’t all be like Steve Jobs and Bono

        To Gege below

        Yes Gage it would send normally quiet and respectable people into a rage where they begin to fantasize about politicians being trapped on level crossings

  13. John B

    Good luck, David. Like you said, there’s no use waiting for somebody else to do it. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  14. DarraghD

    @Deco, Change isn’t happening Deco. The same Local Branch and Relationship Manager’s in the main banks who were completely complicit in the property scam, are now telling people trying to start up small businesses that they are not worthy of support.

    You can have all the idea’s and abilities in the world, if you do not have access to seed capital, even a very small amount, then you are at f*ck all, that’s what I’ve found out the hard way last week.

    You have Branch and relationship Manager’s on only Jasus know’s what salaries in the main banks, backed up by the Irish state, and for what, to tell any entrepreneur with an idea who come’s through the door, that they are having a laugh if they think that there is even the tiniest degree of financial support there for them.

    This is all being covered up, if you go into your branch looking for a start up loan, you’ll be offered the following:

    (1) A ticket to a business breakfast to network with other start-up’s..

    (2) Access to a little perspex box at the customer desk where you can leave a few business cards.

    (3) Anything else you may want, except what you actually need, which is a small business start-up loan.

    • Deco

      Daragh – I could tell you stories about bank managers and property, and it would get me, and David McW in serious trouble. By refusing to say anything, I am relying on the media to tell the story – something they only do when the place is filled with rumours and everybody knows anyway : )))

      They really are not prepared for any sort of continual revenue vs. expenses business.

      Another shocking aspect – a lot of people in college in Ireland have SFA interest in the actual ins and outs of the courses that they are studying. No wonder they are so useless at applying it in the real world – they were too busy pissing whatever few bob they had into a drain to be learning anything, when they had a chance.

      But the system has a set of social mores that enforce this as standard behaviour, and people then seek approavl by trying to fit in. That some people try to be innoative at all, and stay true to their goals, is a real acheivement.

  15. Deco

    There is a strong case for having the Central Bank, and the Regulators at a location well away from Dublin City, Kildare Wicklow and any lcoations with large golf courses.

    Basically, they should see as little as possible of the people running the banks – physically speaking. As a means of preventing them from getting two close. Preferably outside of Leinster, and outside of any city with more than 50,000 people.

    There are a lot of people employed by the CBoI, IFRSA, etc.. no idea what exactly they are doing.

    And the ESRI should be banished to the Blasket Islands and given a copy of Peig to read. It might teah them something about how tough life is when the economy is rag order. Hard to say they would pick up anything. They never seen a housing boom either. Sell the ESRI, if a buyer can be found.

  16. Sorry for the two in quick succession, the one above this here was just a spontaneous quick response to David’s article. this here is my original article contribution from the weekend:

    The Frankfurt School… or Angela Thatcher

    Juergen Habermas studied philosophy and sociology under Max Horkheimer and Theodor Wiesengrund von Adorno, the so called Frankfurt school, Adorno I was tortured with on several occasions due to my studies of Music, and if you ever should desire to read Adorno, a good collection of Greek and Latin dictionaries is as important as a healthy dose of whatever your preference of ‘poisonous stimuli’ may be, although I would remark that Canabis and Adorno might cause quite some confusion, and I would rather recommend a solid 1999 Vintage Château Lafite Rothschild, pun intended, as it also adds a certain flavor of understanding to the studies of Marx influenced thinking.

    Habermas finished his habilitation under Wolfgang Abendroth.

    Our situation can be described as discrepant at best, between a rock and a hard place, fostered by a gigantic democratic deficit on national and EU level, expressed in the situation of a chess like pat, de jure, because existing laws and the Irish constitution is unfit to deal with such a situation, and de facto, because it is enabled by a European leadership that acts against the very Idea of the European Union, by favoring the franco-german axis to dominate decision making processes.

    In his 2006 article that appeared on ‘der Standard’ Towards a United States of Europe Habermas said:

    If we are not able to hold a Europe-wide referendum before the next European elections in 2009 on the shape Europe should take, the future of the Union will be decided in favour of neo-liberal orthodoxy.

    The return to ruthless hegemonic power politics, the clash of the West and the Islamic world, the decay of state structures in other parts of the world, the long-term social consequences of colonialism and the immediate political consequences of failed de-colonisation — all of this points to a high-risk international situation. Only a European Union capable of acting on the world stage – and taking its place beside the USA, China, India and Japan – can press for an alternative to the ruling Washington consensus in the world’s economic institutions. Only such a Europe can advance the long overdue reforms within the UN which are both blocked by and dependent on the USA.

    In 2010 Habermas gave in Interview to Stuart Jeffries and excerpts appeared in the FT April 30th 2010 under the headline ‘A rare interview with Jürgen Habermas’.

    He does not believe that the Greek Situation is the real cause of doom for the EU project, on the contrary it is an opportunity to look at the real central problems for the EU’s future developments. Habermas:…but one of its biggest problems is his homeland’s renewed ­narcissism. Angela Merkel’s ­Germany is as nationalistic as Thatcher’s ­Britain.

    You have to consider, Habermas addressed the people during the student revolts from 1968 that happened across Europe and warned on the danger of fascism and the opportunity at the same time to politicize the public sphere

    We have no student revolts as we had in the 60s. Instead we have a situation where our collective influence on our very own social destiny, through using the democratic process, is undermined, is destroyed and taken away from us, by the very same EU proponents elected, FG’s European Peoples Party Ideologists.

    This is the explanation why a referendum on the future of Ireland, constitutional questions, and most of all the private Banking debts was refused to us!

    Where Habermas was right in 2006 concerning the European question, the same applies in 2011 concerning the handling of this situation by the Irish political class.

    The Insiders, to pick up David’s term here, are also existing on the EU level of course. European Unification remains an elitist project, and it is driven by franco-german interests. There is no public sphere in Europe, there are only national sentiments, constant manipulations and force feeding opinions via Instruments such as the BILD Zeitung in Germany are powerful tools at their disposal.

    Sadly, people like Deirdre de Burca, who had that vision of rapidly reducing the democratic deficit in the EU, naturally did not come very far and resigned instead from politics at a time where she was faced with the Lies, stitch ups and Hide and Seek games of a captured FF / Green party government.

    Habermas is very much for the idea of an integrated Europe. He is also clear on the point of social upheavals, and that they are very much taken for granted by the neo-liberal policy dictate, collateral damage, an accepted factor in their plans, nothing more.

    Most important to me, he points to what I described earlier, the gap between markets and political power. Markets rid themselves from political power in the past few years, hence market makers such as Goldman Sachs were able to do what they did and continue to do. It is the reason why Deutsche Bank’s Ackermann is, and I quote, is proud to enable a one billion bet for John Paulson, who is betting on climbing Oil and Gold prices at the same time.

    The arrogance of Banksters like Ackerman has the megalomaniac qualities of a sociopath.

    Habermas is an optimist, he doesn’t do despair. He does not drown your mind with the hopelessness of people who are confronted with Marx in capitalist world and have yet to learn that he was right on many aspects, but is it really a capitalist world? It is not, not anymore!

    The equilibrium between markets and politics is damaged beyond repair. In Ireland, and not only here, the essential network of social relations between citizens and their representatives is broken, and further the network of politics with the globalized financial markets is equally broken.

    There is evidence in abundance to prove this, The G20 meetings are a shining example, many words, no results. BIS and Basel III has failed to deliver the much needed strengthened instruments, I think Martin Wolf said something like; It is not a lion, it is a mouse.

    What is a left is a globalized financial monster on a killing spree, reaping insane profits for a few, slaughtering entire nations in the process, and in this chaos of captured political classes, entire nations in turmoil, civil wars breaking out, the old ghosts of fascism are coming out again to haunt us.

    Is there hope? There is always hope as long as you breath, although you might be taxed on it as well, rather sooner than later.

    There is hope if we succeed to build a intelligentpublic sphere, not that sphere of Bild Zeitung Lemmings, on both, national and European level, a sphere with the ability to monitor the political class and act swiftly and with strong impact when we see wrong doing, and boy did we see wrong doing in Ireland for so many years now!

    So far, we as in we the public, we failed to build that sphere. We failed to unite as a people and stand up against what is clearly wrong. We failed to leave no doubts with the political class that we do not accept to pay back private banking debts that no one of us signed responsible for. Our reactions as a nation should be much stronger, should be heard loud and clear and leaving no doubts in Frankfurt, Paris or Brussels or on Wallstreet. To date, we are quiet, silenced into submission by threads of the very same political class that pretends to act on our behalf. They have no right to silence you. They have no right to lie at you, and for damn sure they have no right to sign away the future of our children to the paymasters in Frankfurt or Wallstreet. Regardless whom I speak with, from the post man to the sheep farmer to the Professors in Universities from Germany to UK, England, Italy, Greece or USA. They all know it!

    The political class has failed to protect the people from the Heist that still is performed on all of us, some where in cahoots, some plain impotent, and some are still too stupid to understand that this was a Heist and not a normal reaction that occurred in their twisted mind of how economics rules the Universe.

    You might want to ask yourself wether it makes sense that people like Bertie Ahern, Cowen, Lenihan or Patrick Neary and so many more, are able to live a normal life amongst us, perhaps even are your neighbors, perhaps drink in the same pub. If you abuse a child or rape a woman, you hopefully end on a register of sexual offenders, and if you served your jail term, you are not free to live a life without being watched. These people abused an entire nation, and never were forced in front of a fact finding peoples tribunal, and they are not being watched, on the contrary. Ahern travels and is paid for speeches that will not change the world, and I feel not the least bit sorry for the Idiots who pay him a single penny. To the best of my knowledge, Neary never paid back the unjust monies he received, and you betcha, if you go to the right golf clubs, you can see some pretty funny chaps who are fully enjoying themselves. Others get some exec. positions like McGreevy which is like a EU reward structure in place for ex commissioners, David Drum has a good old laugh, and so this list goes on.

    I doubt that a 140 signs text service like twitter can become such a political sphere that is required to bring change in Ireland, I doubt it very much so. I also doubt the facebook hype proposed by those who claim this an instrument of choice, I doubt it, this does not work in Ireland.

    The interests are steered at the moment by Market-Europeans, and one has to make a distinction between those and the fraction of people who believe that the ideals of a European Unity are for the benefit of all of us, because Europe could be so much more than only it’s markets.

    The current European Commission would like to be compliance executer of the framework of stability that was proposed in the Maastricht contracts, and it is there that we failed to build a real foundation for a true European unity. Their main interest in the Lisbon treaty was to shift further powers to Europe, and the results we can see today.

    Angela Merkel is no European, and as a recent article by Joerg Bibow on Eurointelligence remarked Germany is unfit for the Euro

    Bibow said that …the euro saw the emergence of stark divergences and buildup of grave imbalances within an economic area that can no longer rely on exchange rate realignments to solve them — imbalances the implosion of which have left Euroland stuck in the mess it is in today, once again hoping for strong global growth to pull it out.

    Sadly enough, Germany has been central to all of this. Germany is the biggest factor in Euroland’s export dependence, growing on exports only while domestic demand, especially private consumption, is notoriously stagnant. Among the first countries to break the Maastricht deficit limit dreamed up by its own lawyers, Germany contributed most to the ECB’s misses of its headline inflation mark by hiking indirect taxes. Worst of all, Germany reneged on the euro’s cornerstone to abstain from beggar-thy-neighbor policies.

    Merkel’s decisions were destructive rather than constructive, and the franco-german power combination as the driving force of European developments are no reason for hope. Merkel is a power addicted opportunist without perspective.

    Real reason for hope would be the waking up of the very citizens that constitutes Europe, their demands to be followed into political frameworks, to end the area of a small group of very powerful Bankers and vested interest groups.

    To end the area where citizens/taxpayers are supposed to pay Gangsters who came to our towns demanding protection payments in good old Mafia style, admittedly, in better suits than Al Capone in former times.

    Without the public starting to act and stand up to demand an end to the neo liberal dictate, fascism will flourish throughout our member states again, the Heist will continue, your citizens rights will disappear, your children will be working for low wages and salaries, and still not be able to make ends meet, although they work 8 hours and more per day, like the millions of people in Germany, who are full time working, but their pay cheques are not enough to make ends meet, so they get additional well fare payments to supplement their slavish income.

    Although there is a minimum wage, since 1st of May the pressure on them will increase even further with the East European workers going to work in Germany. Merkel’s politics caused massive distortion on the labor market and competition.

    This was one of the foundations the German export strengthened on, this biggest German Wirtschaftsboom since the Wall came down was achieved with Thatcherite brute force and arrogance, slashing wages and destroying competition, enabling a second, a slave labour market to grow. Increase in weapons manufacturing is another important aspect, Germany now being number three in the global weapons trade.

    If you are hired, you are not hired by the company itself anymore, but a parasitic agency that is sitting between you and your new employer, he is not your employer, the agency is, and they can hire and fire, and they can pay wages so low that you can’t make ends meet, you don’t like it you say? There is the door, there are thousands standing in a line accepting this slavery.

    This is what you can expect to be on the plans for Ireland’s miraculous job wonder already in the drawers, it has been performed in Germany since long, and if politicians in Ireland are good at one thing, then it is not to create sensible policies fit for the unique country that Ireland is, but to steal them from other countries, copy and paste what was already implemented elsewhere.

    It is a class war, on the one side workers and their rights that are continuously dismantled and substituted with slave labor contracts and by changing the laws, on the other side, the political class that has allowed to become a well paid captured force, some of them very handsomely rewarded, and nearly all of them captured by the banking Mafia, both have only one sole interest, self preservation!

    Ireland is without a Government, those sitting on the benches are delivery men for the EU and IMF Bankster’s Mafia, they are part of the neo-liberal dictate.

    Then again, what am I telling you here?

    Go and think for yourselves, this would be good for starters! Don’t say I would not have warned you, I am warning you! Thinking for yourself is a dangerous thing, you might just want to leave that chair…. and perhaps one of these days we all meet at Fitzwilliams Place in Dublin 2, the IFSC is the epitome of what went wrong in this country.


    • Hi Georg,
      I’m very much enjoying your contributions lately i.e. deserted seaside towns, space invaders and critiques on our inevitable socio-economic destiny.
      If we develop the power of time travel in the 23rd Century I bet someone comes back to do their Doctorate by studying “The Great 21st Century Swindle”
      Or indeed the further evolution of “The Irish Joke!”

      I suppose to crystallize your very last point above;
      “What will we tell our grandchildren that we did during that time???”

      • If things turn out well, we will be the laughing stock of coming generations.

        • Deco

          You are right.

          Future generations will look on our generation with disgust, and really hollow feelings.

          Ahern, Lenihan, Cowen, Neary, Seanie Fitz, will go down as the types of fools that every young boy will endeavour never to become.

          • Gege Le Beau

            The scene with Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey about the IMF not being on their way should be played to every class, in every year, to warn them about how the political game is played.

      • coldblow

        The question won’t be asked because if you can’t get economic security you won’t (or shouldn’t?) have any descendants.

    • Deco

      Georg – you are on a roll.

      Not just the IFSC that is the epitome of everything that has gone wrong – with it dodgy dealing, ego mania, wild parties, and nod&wink “I didn’t see that” regulation. This is the epitome of the PR stunt that is Irish business. Shiny on the outside, and green. Slimy on the inside, and obscene.

      The old school tie nonsense on the golf club – and that famous meeting between Cowen, Seanie Fitz and a former Director General of RTE – where they officially never talked about Anglo going insolvent. And we do not kow if they were lying or if they were stupid – we just have to guess.

    • Top notch as usual Georg and thanks for putting in the effort. You have a clear capacity for hard graft.

      I know that the gist of your posts are undeniably true and have always believed that this is how it all really works. It is only now that such straight talking is beginning to catch on in Irleand.

      More people are beginning to listen up Georg because the evidence is all around them and they can’t deny it any longer.

      Then again there are always a few people who are ahead of the curve

  17. DarraghD

    @Deco, this is what drives me f*cking nuts when I read it on this forum and when David starts up about the Diaspora.

    There are plenty of people here who are minded to start up businesses, we don’t need to import entrepreneurship, we have it here in absolute abundance. What we also have is a policy of keeping these people down, of actively frustrating any hope that they may convert a business concept into a business reality. We don’t need our 2nd cousins from down under or Aunt Mary’s sister in Manhattan to come over here and do the heavy lifting for us, there are people in this country jumping into rivers because they are being so completely frustrated in their efforts to get off the dole and create a job for themselves, why are we not starting with those people???

    I’ll tell you one thing, the day the government offers a scheme where you can get a 3K start up loan for a viabel business start-up, if you personally guarantee it, that’s the day we start lifting ourselves out of this nightmare.

    No need for the Irish banks, leave them out of the loop because they are worse than useless, they are downright dangerous, offer a 3K busienss start up loan out to entrepreneurs through the Credit Union system, and let us at it…

  18. Deco

    Best of luck with the economics clinic. A really good idea.

    Can we get a free voucher for Dan McLaughlin to send him along ? (sneer remark)

  19. adamabyss


  20. DarraghD

    @Deco, David is absolutely onto something here, but the key to getting some seriousness behind it is getting very minimal seed capital matched up with the folks with the business ideas and concepts, and keeping the likes of AIB/BOI personnel from headquarters down to branch level completely out of the loop, and the same can be said for any public sector paper pushers such as the County Enterprise Boards, FAS, etc.

    All these organisations and those that work there are in the business of one thing and one thing only and that is self survivial. They will say anything and do anything that will accommodate their own survivial, and that includes blatently lying and manipulating people who approach them for seed capital.

    • BrianC

      From previous experience (IDA era) those in the semi sector finance lending service sector such as Enterprise Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards are really there to keep themselves in jobs and not lend the limited funds that they have. Once the funds are exhausted they serve no function hence better to retain the funds and provide a purpose for their jobs evaluation projects based on the nonsensical projections they demand.

      One experience I had end of 2008 start of 2009 when approaching EI regards their High Potential Starup Up (HPSU) program was most interesting. Yes Mr C we are very interested in that project great export oriented with domestic sales potential…. might we suggest the following ‘make a success of the first product and use the profits from this to finance the other business/ products…..we can only support companies already in operation. I can still not get my head around the HPSU bit. I must be missing something but then again I am Irish so stupidity runs in the DNA.

  21. I think a Politician has died

  22. ladygee2

    First and foremost I hope everything goes well with your new venture.

    Now,let’s get down to the nub of the issue. Why hasn’t anybody come up with the idea of starting up a Peoples Bank? David, didn’t you work for different banks throughout Europe as well as our own Central Bank.Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get some like minded bankers who are sick and tired of what’s been going on to get together with yourself and others and start up a bank that will work for the benefit of the type of entrepreneurs you’re talking about? It’s just an idea that might get the other banks to sit up and take notice?

    • Indeed, great idea. I think such a venture would need the backing of a few high-profile business people to get the capital it would require as it could be a challenge to source the capital from more conventional sources. Getting someone like Richard Branson on-oboard, and leveraging the expertise available within Virgin Money, may be worth looking at.

  23. DarraghD

    @LadyGee2 A brilliant idea, the sooner we start taking back ownership of job creation and keeping those that oppose and obstruct job creation through the witholding of seed capital, completely out of the loop, the sooner I think we will start the process of recovery.

    In the boom times, the banks were throwing money at the wrong people, now they are witholding it from the right people, you couldn’t make it up, a new bank with new people with the right economic agenda is the only way forward.

  24. David,

    Great article and best of luck in your new business venture. Indeed, businesses, investors and citizens are in great need of independent economic advice that is simple but yet takes full account of all the complexities that exists in the global economic environment.

    I agree that our own futures are in each of our hands and by being proactive and taking responsibility we can help ourselves and those around us face the challenges ahead and eventually overcome them. The best way of getting the better of the nay-sayers and the insiders is by ignoring them. Get enough like-minded people actively into this frame of mind and then real change can be brought about eventually.

  25. Philip

    Interesting parallel with Korea.

    We need to cultivate ambition.

  26. Stiofan

    Dear David, “When this reinvention is over, the old guard will have been swept away and a New Ireland will emerge.”

    As a regular reader of this column, and a more regular observer of the situation around us, I can’t see this. For a reinvention to be over it must first start. For the old guard to be swept away there must start a sweeping motion. For an emergence to occur there must begin a Genesis.

    I am not known to friends and family as a pessimist; and rather the reverse. But where must I look to see this dawning? I am not at all lazy. I will look; I do look, I have looked. I can’t see a thing of the kind.

    I see a broken political process, a disenfranchised electorate, political dynasties, terrified people placing faith in of a Mayo school teacher, a financial elite holding a greater concentration of wealth, a state financial apparatus now operating on the precedent of public money for private debt, the army, riot police and armed British guards in Dublin streets (a well-timed show of strength lads, so subtle like), two generations thrown into indentured servitude (the term used by Joe Stiglitz not me), fiscal control from outside the country for the first time in 90 years, large scale immigration: Dear David, where shall I stop?

    The young, talented and creative people, who see what I see, are surely wise to leave. It is not only that their state is pillaged, it is that no alternatives exist. FG and FF are the same thing, all the grandchildren of 1920s belligerents. The ILP would do anything at all to ride in a ministerial vehicle, and did. Connolly is long dead. The Church is silent. The Americans are broke. The battle is lost.

    By all means let’s look at novel ways of creating future prosperity. We love to lie down and lick the boots of power, but we won’t willingly expire. Instead, let’s dream political change. Nothing worthwhile can occur until the Irish Establishment (IE) is changed. I want to live in your New Ireland. The one where our state has been recovered and cannot be sold again by Lenny and Biffo, Honohan and their like. “Away, I say”, get them out and replace them, or all your young friend’s efforts as a gamming entrepreneur will be stolen, transported and he will be left destitute again, and again, and again.

    • Deco

      The one thing that the Irish Establishment hate is competition. They hate people accumulating money and being independent of them. They hate losing market share taking over from them. They hate intellectual criticism. They hate people doing their own thing, reaching their own conclusions, and refusing to pay the toll to them.

      The things that they abhor us doing, that they do not want us to do, that they declare to be outside of the mainstream that they create for us – these are the things that we will do. We shall listen to people who criticise their mouthpieces. We shall do our own thinking, we shall never outsource our thinking.

  27. PMC

    The county enterprise boards haven’t got two brass farthings to rub together. I was told that by one of their representatives after forking out EUR 30 to attend an utterly useless seminar.

    The fees taken taken in by the seminars are simply used to keep their employees in a job.
    Many of the credit unions are in deep shit also.

  28. Malcolm McClure

    Praetorian: They didn’t have computer games when Seanie Fitz was a youngster. but there was a game called Monopoly. I’ll bet it didn’t take him long to figure out that the way to win was to put hotels in Park Lane and Mayfair, rather than plonk socially responsible housing in Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road.

    My point is that whilst many of us were brought up to consider greed reprehensible, those with a stronger commercial instinct grow up to become bankers and developers. The seed of greed are the desire to dominate, and that is reinforced by games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Is that the road we think will lead our children to a socially responsible Ireland?

    • Deco

      Money ? You mean to say Seanie Fitz was trying to make money ? I thought he was trying to be the biggest man in Ireland : ))) He lost the plot.

      But, hey that is the responsibility of the bank shareholders. I mean, what exactly were they doing at those AGMs anyway – getting drunk on euphoria and big, bold statements of intent from Seanie and the Drummer ?

      If I buy a banger, then I do not have the right to get everybody else to pay for my stupidity. It was my fault for going to Honest Herb’s Second Hand Car Dealership and getting done.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Apology for repeated comment above, caused by blog software glitch.

      Praetorian: I followed your interesting link to the Zeitgeist video for about an hour and a half, interest sparked immediately by the very relevant Monopoly reference.

      The first half is an intelligent person’s guide to so-called human nature and is quite well conceived.

      The second half is mostly utopian nonsense. There have been many American attempts to create utopia on Earth in the past, from New Harmony IN. to Disney World to Jonestown Guyana. and all have ended in disillusion and/or disappointment and/or disaster. The concept is just a part of the American psyche.

      The well-funded Zeitgeist movement seems to me to be a corporate kite-flying attempt to interest some naiive middle eastern government to fund their fantasy project of circular cities. If that is the case, it is part of the advertising and promotional industry that they profess to abhor. If it isn’t the case, then their idea of resources inventories is totally impractical. The notion that the world can be run by a computer is just pie in the sky, and will remain so for at least a thousand years. Even bloody Sony can’t run a computer Game server without getting its knickers in a twist.

      It will come as a disappointment to many, but we just have to deal with the world, and all of its imperfections as we find it.

    • ladygee2

      @Malcolm McClure. Will you ever go away and get a life!! We’re supposed to be living in the 21st century not the 19th century.Greed is rephrehensible in all its forms and greed has been totally pervasive in this state since its foundation. The men of 1916 and the War of Independence wanted a state founded on Democratic Socialism, but what did we end up getting??? The various governments of this country have either been made up of FF or FG since the foundation of the state and where has this got us? Up sh1t creek without a paddle, that’s where!! It’s definitely time for the old guard to be swept away and it’s long gone the time for the citizens of this country to stop voting for the same old faces who are only interested in maintaining the status quo. A new political movement needs to be formed toute suite to bring us out of the mire that we’ve been gradually sinking into.

      • Gege Le Beau

        In a funny, bizarre and utterly unintended way, we may just end up back where the State departed from the potential social democratic, true republic road and opted for the straight Western capitalist model with plenty aping of the former colonial administration (or nearest neighbours which is now rather painfully being repeated by every tom, dick and mary from the Aras down).

        Rest assured elites will do everything in their power to prevent such a departure, just like they did when the civil war ended, this time however they may well be overwhelmed by the external debt which is having an awfully destablising influence.

        On the voting point you make, reminds me of Camus’ line “What better way to enslave a person than give them a vote and tell them they are free”, if people think an election is it in terms of ‘democracy’ then we live in a very dangerous world.

      • Malcolm McClure

        ladygee2: We’re agreed about greed.

        The 1918 Sinn fein manifesto said nothing about socialism although it implied support for democracy “settled on the principle of government by consent of the governed. “ (Although dictatorship and fascism can also rule by ‘consent of the governed’).

        It continues:
        ‘The enforced exodus of millions of our people, the decay of our industrial life, the ever-increasing financial plunder of our country, …., are some of the ghastly results of a policy that leads to national ruin.”

        and concludes:
        “the people of this ancient nation will … vote for the men who stand by the principles of Tone, Emmet, Mitchel, Pearse and Connolly, the men who disdain to whine to the enemy for favours, the men who hold that Ireland must be as free as England…etc.”

        It is now abundantly clear that instead of being an intermittently prosperous province of the UK, we are now subject vassals of the ICB and IMF. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to pose the question:-

        ‘Was the revolution to establish an independent republic a mistaken initiative, as it has not been validated by the performance of its successive governments?”

        • coldblow

          In Crotty’s view (and mine) it was a palace coup to copperfasten the property rights of landholders (and the employment rights of sinecure-holders), fed by romantic nationalism, the irritant of the disqualification of Catholics from a tiny no. of state positions and the fear that Irish property owners would have to contribute financially to the embryonic welfare state recently created by the Liberals. The catalyst was the threat posed by conscription to this bourgeois idyll.

          How many other colonies became independent republics in the last 200 years? Over a hundred. How many have made a success of it, on a national level as opposed to protecting the intersts of a “pampered elite”? Why should Ireland be different?

          Harris also thinks the land was the battlefield of a class war, as the superb first part of his most recent article makes explicit:

          OT I disagree with the quote about the Puritan work ethic (a poisition I have maintained ever since I criticized Weber’s thesis at uni) as the religious element is the effect not the cause. This rigorous work ethic would have developed in the culture over the ages in the deep forests of western European (where capitalism emerged) in a harsh environment where you had to accumulate extensive capital in the form of seed corn, livestock and farm implements to produce a surplus (as opposed to Irish pastoralism where this approach was alien and unnecessary). A supply of seedcorn and a spade would do the job for you in Mesopotamia, you’d need the addition of slave labour in the Med. while in Germany you needed teams of oxen to get the same output. (This is all Crotty’s stuff, not mine.)

          • Colin


            “But, unlike her neighbours, my mother rejected the romantic victim folklore of the Famine survivors. They survived, she said, because they were ready to use a rusty shotgun to scare away the starved spalpeens who would skulk round stealing turnips. Her rejection of romantic nationalism started me on the road to revisionism.”

            I presume ‘They’ at the beginning of the 2nd sentence refers to neighbours, and not his mother’s family. And with that assumption, its clear that the me fein culture here is a long and corrupted one. Again, its a glimpse at the truth which makes all the anti-Britishness down through the years here completely unfair and unwarranted. Ireland could have only pointed the finger at England if an Ireland ruled by the Irish had resulted in a thriving nation, both materially and culturally, with protection for the weakest in society. Instead of that, we got the opposite. Ireland has proved it could not look after its own people has no right to blame foreign countries for its problems.

          • coldblow

            Colin, I’m not sure if Harris is including his own family in this, I asssume he is, but I don’t think it changes the issue. I agree. It seems as if a lot of this romantic nationalist stuff (that I was brought up with myself in England) was a kind of mask to hide behind. I quoted before from Joe Lee’s history of Ireland and the amazing folkloric construct of Caitlín Ní hUallacháin that emerged during the early years of independence.

            My father in law used to tell me about the neighbour (another small South Kerry farmer), how he or his wife used to rouse the spalpeen before dawn by banging on the ceiling with the broom handle. They worked them very hard, but I wouldn’t be too hard on them as they did the same themselves and were always not far from losing everything. It was sheer survival.

            There seems to have been a huge feeling of guilt surrounding the Famine, it’s like it was nearly erased from the folk memory (despite what some might think). I’d say it’s much the same kind of guilt that’s there this time round too. Or maybe it was just trauma, like the way the Germans literally forgot about the destruction wreaked by the allied bombers towards the end of the War. But my money’s on the guilt.

            Which is not to excuse the colonizers. Looking at say the royal visit, I am sceptical about many of those who say we should grow up and get over it. That’s easier to say when you are a landowner or have a comfortable sinecure.

          • Colin


            I must get my hands on Crotty’s book, from what you’ve referred to, he seems to have been a really well informed guy who’s not scared of taking on the might of the establishment and their views.

            Also, I agree regards the ‘puritan’ work ethic. How does that explain how Catholic majority Bavaria is Germany’s richest region, and how the former East Germany states which are 85% protestant have not overtaken Catholic Bavaria now that they’ve had 20 years of putting their puritan work ethic to work. Austrians also despise this puritan work ethic talk. Northern Italy is another region where there’s a strong work ethic and inventiveness and you won’t find a puritan in those neck of the works.

          • CitizenWhy

            I do not know much about the famous Puritan work ethic thesis. Buy I did learn in my Catholic schooling a fair view of the Puritans, and their Calvinist beliefs and ways.

            1. Calvinists believe in Predestination, so there is nothing anyone can do to change his ticket to heaven or hell. This most everyone knows.

            2, Despite Predestination, we are on this earth to do “good works” – not for salvation but for the “Greater Glory of God.” Good works are obligatory and Calvinists/Puritans must be judged in their communities by their probity and good works. Many people do not know that this is a Calvinists doctrine.

            3. Doing good works is linked to the concepts of agency and stewardship. We are here to be active agents of making this world a better place and to be stewards preserving and enhancing the wealth of this world. Many do not know that these are absolutely essential notions to the Puritan faith. As a result wealth building over generations is a holy obligation. Prudence and fortitude (hard work, even in the face of adversity) are revered virtues.

            4. To build wealth, neighbor is obliged to help neighbor, but only to enable that neighbor to become the agent and steward of his own mission on earth to live “for the greater glory of God.” Endowing poverty with virtue is misguided.

            5. Sex. Not a big issue. People will fool around before marriage, then get married and get serious.

            Today in Latin America when a US Calvinist church converts a rural community drinking stops, farming is done seriously, wealth grows. The people cannot go to their pastor for “comfort” or “compassion” or “empathy” but only to be reminded of their obligation to be good agents and stewards of God’s glory and family and community wealth. In improving their farms neighbor must help neighbor and not be a slacker. Drunkenness is evil because it interferes with these obligations (the US Puritans originally were great drinkers of alcohol).

            Without going into detail I can assure you that my mother’s Catholic relatives in Ireland meet the above criteria perfectly, perhaps without the clear Calvinist notions but with behaviors in tune with those notions. My father’s relatives are mixed, and certainly are a jollier bunch, even the wealthy ones. Both families are strongly not political, having become disillusioned with Irish politics shortly after Independence, for which they made great sacrifices. On the whole the Bavarians and Austrians and northern Italians certainly meet those criteria.

            P.S. The relatives are very generous with donations for refugees and the poor. But they see the ultimate solution to poverty in a strong work ethic alongside a practical and not too corrupt political system based on Social Democracy, a system curbing the excesses of capitalism in favor of the common good and widespread prosperity.

            The Jesuits, founded for “the greater glory of God,” helped to spread or reinforce these so-called Puritan behaviors among Catholics, especially in Austria.

  29. Colin


    Best wishes and every success on your new venture. And if Dan McLaughlin or Austin Hughes decide to hire your services, I’m sure you’ll enable them to finally see the light.

    I’m not at all interested in gaming, so I don’t know how important the industry can be to Ireland, but I suppose you gotta ‘follow the money’.

  30. I think the Gaming Industry mostly programs kids to be morons & grow up as moron adults.
    Its the exact opposite of sociology education.
    Companies may make big proffits from it & adults may get a wage from working in it, but Video/internet Gaming is just a few steps behind the porn industry in making the world a poorer & less caring place.

    • People adapt to living a virtual life in a world they being excluded from sharing in real life’s rewards by increasing opressive governments, greedy corpotations & filthy monarchs.

  31. Deco

    Just wondering. Will the next head of the IMF come from Asia. Maybe our old acquantance ‘Ajay’ might get the nod.

  32. adamabyss

    Mary McAleese (or McUseless as Deco correctly puts it) is now on the Nine O’Clock News pontificating about the visit of The Queen.

    Not a peep was heard out of her when she was signing documents left, right and centre to send this country up the swanny without a paddle.

    In fact this is the first time I have even HEARD her voice in the year I have been back Ireland!

    You can be damn sure The Queen would have stood up for her country had she been in the same position.

    McUseless; what a despicable, spineless twat.

    • Monarachs & presidents are parasites, bloodsucking from the backs of the workers.

    • Deco

      I think that she is a complete fake. 300K per annum and loads of pointless patronizing platitudes. Her main concern is keeping the population on the side of the establishment. This is sometimes referred to as raising the green flag. Pretence before common sense.

      She has been there for almost 14 years, and has cost millions. She is as much part of the waste, as anything else in the state sector. It is ridiculous considering what some people have to endure from the HSE and other social services. This is the problem with the Irish state’s entire institutional being – the money is flowing to the wrong places. Because of this massive missallocation, services are very ineffective. The professional class, and their lackies are creaming it. Social problems never get fixed, ever. In fact they are used as a means to perpetuate the scam. We need a massive institutional reform to get complete transparency as to what is going on, and what is not going on and the scale of the deliberate mismanagement.

      The PR stunts from McUseless are part of the veneer constructed to prevent any meaningful reform or problem fixing. This is the problem with lawyers. They find it easier to play with words, and be eloquent to the audience, than to actually fix a problem.

      • Pedro Nunez

        as a higlhy skilled professional who has studied and paid for courses at Harvard and other venerable institutions only to be deskilled, disallowed, disavowed and disaffected by the bastardising process of the gombeen culture in the Irish what goes for public service (like the insuurance fraud add, putting hand in your pocket-Thanks!), I’d disagree with you.

        I’ve seen enough highly skilled idealistic and highly marketable previously highly performing individuals completely bastardised by the culture of nepotocracy and grinding inadequacy within the Irish public service where the not making decisions is rewarded and sleeveen slipmickery makes it to the top and the whole philosophy is about aviding accountability and not being at your desk when the sh1t hits the fan or have then fan positioned to spray the sh1t onto the guy next door to emerge gormless and gombeenesque for the mayhem for one’s next promotion many many levels above ones pass leaving cert competency.

        There was a study about excessive rates of schizophrenia in Roscommon in the 1950-70′s and the arguement revolved about nature/nurture issues, eventually they settled on the emigration of the fittest from the portachs and only the epidemiological dross could hack it out in the brave new world of gombeen Ireland.

        • Deco

          Pedro -
          I guess you making a comment in response to my comments above concerning the authority problem in Irish management.

          I agree with you description of the problem.

          It is not just a public sector problem. Though, those in a private sector have one advantage over those in the public sector. Those in the private sector can get out, and go into competition with the disfunctional hierarchies that they used to work for. If you are a public sector worker, and you are feed up being treated like a draft animal – you are stuck in a system that does not have competitors looking for the brightest and the best. This is a source of real problems in the public sector. Combine that with the fact that Ireland can be a small country.

          But we are talking about it. Previously it was always dismissed completely out of hand. That is the greatness of the internet. I cannot imagine this sort of conversation in a stiffling bureacracy like RTE, or clone making outfit where you you have to fit a certain profile, like Denis O’Brien’s media empire.

        • coldblow

          Hi Pedro.

          Poetically put! Most entertaining.

          Another possible reading (Crotty’s) is that the most tenacious and the most cunning managed to find a niche, the rest emigrated, except for an underclass who for whatever reason weren’t up to the first two options and were therefore doubly selected for failure. Not sure about it.

          Re your final paragraph, the following is not taking issue with your post, it’s just that I have heard similar refs before to some Roscommon study, or whatever it was. Not just because my background is from that county, but I can pretty confidently dismiss it all (without ever having seen it) as the purest BS.

          I don’t think the psychiatric profession have much of a clue about schizophrenia or any other disorders (see Dorothy Rowe: passim). Anything really there would probably have been caused by social factors (take your pick but starting with say lack of land, lack of work, lack of women (all emigrating), lack of connections). And look at the dates involved (50s-70s). They couldn’t get it right these days, and they certainly couldn’t get much right back then either (cf Joe Lee’s History of Ireland: passim, but particulary where he discusses the contribution made by our universities). The data was probably made up during a session in McDade’s, or revealed in a vision during a snooze in the TCD common room. The interpretation was probably stolen from foreign research as they wouldn’t have been able to think it up all by themselves. Epidemological indeed. What would a fully fledged D4 eugenics science look like? Who would be the Ubermenschen? How would they talk? What newspaper would they read?

          According to Rowe schizophrenia is the extreme introvert reaction to stress (with extraverts it’s manic-depression). Where the external world stops making sense to them and where you seek refuge in what’s most real, your own self. Or something.

          A cousin of mine (from the farm in Roscommon) once lectured me on how half the people of the Wesht were ‘cracked’. I have often thought about that and I’m pretty sure he picked up that piece of wisdom from his peers at the local secondary school (he’s not the kind to work it out for himself), a demonstration of negative post-colonial auto-stereotyping in action.

          Seriously, these dopes couldn’t spot the mother of all property bubbles happening right under their noses let alone carry out ‘research’ into anything. (They might even have presented it as “world class research”, as in our “world class regulatory system”.)

          “A study says…” It’s just so funny.

          • Pedro Nunez

            you’re right of course its was put down to bias in the way the study was designed and the findings termed an ‘epidemiological artifact’.

            Nonetheless this is an interesting area.
            Ödegaard (1932) reported that migrant Norwegians to the USA had higher rates of schizophrenia (with a peak occurring 10—12 years post-migration). This has been cited frequently as indicating that all migrant groups have high rates of schizophrenia. Sashidharan (1993) argues that this model should not be applied to other ethnic minority groups in UK without careful critical evaluation.

            Research in the 1980s and 1990s showed that rates of schizophrenia were higher among migrant groups to the UK compared to native Whites (see Bhugra, 2000, for a review). Cochrane & Bal (1987) observed that migrants had higher rates of admission than the native population. Similar high rates of schizophrenia have been reported among the migrant populations from The Netherlands (Selten & Sijben, 1994). Whether rates reported are from admission or community, some common themes emerge. First, incidence of schizophrenia in the African—Caribbean population is 2.5—14.6 times higher than in the White population (Harrison et al, 1988, 1997). Second, the rates among Asians are not as elevated and are not consistently high. King et al (1994) reported that the rates among Asians were no different from those in the White population from the same catchment area.

            Re your most explanation (which I don’t disagree with) that “the most cunning managed to find a niche, the rest emigrated, except for an underclass who for whatever reason weren’t up to the first two options and were therefore doubly selected for failure.”, it still doesn’t make for a culture of empowerment, initiative, high performance, liberation to achieve the potential of all members of society.

            But I think Deco has nailed it in his comments many posts above;
            “But knowing these things undermines it. We have been on a pointless trajectory trying to find the root cause of the problem, but the supply of pointless trajectories in the media is sufficient to make sure that nothing is ever done about it. Because the aim is completely off every time.”

            Its a patronising grinding authority model that is unaccountable, with complete lack of transparency from a bunch of so called’cute hoors’ that hook up to what ever gravy train is going for their own selfish interests and the rest can go stew or STFU and pay the toll to the gombeens to live here.

            From what I see this isn’t changing and the cycle continues.

          • coldblow

            Hi Pedro

            Interesting stuff. I’d read about that study about the sch. rate among Caribbean immigrants to GB. I don’t agree with some of Rowe’s views but she is scathing about the psychiatric profession. Just love the ‘pointless trajectories’ remark.

    • BrianC

      Mary McAleese is the lowest type of human being you can come across. She is unfit for any office. There are no words in any language to truly describe what she represents. She is less than a parasite. She could have refused to facilitate the finance act and sent it back to the Dail and done her duty as the President of Ireland to represent the rights of the Irish Citizen. A traitor has more self respect that McAleese.

    • coldblow

      Can’t you let a girl live her dream? She’s livin’ the dream.

  33. Dorothy Jones

    Good luck with the business David!

  34. This site is fantastic for focusing on the truth. The real truth – not the media truth!

    Late last night I went to to see their top story was about how yesterday Israeli soldiers had shot and killed at least 8 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza and Golan Heights.
    Today the story was gone???? Imagine that? Gone? Disappeared? Vamus?
    Strange huh? Of course they were only Palestinian lives? Only Arab lives?

    I worked in The Lebanon in the 80′s and I have always wondered why Apartheid was a word reserved for South Africa when anyone with eyes in their head can see at least the same if not worse in Israel????? Even Today!

    Why? Because that’s the way our world is run! You are told only what you need to form the approved opinion!

    So have a look at this recorded only yesterday

    Welcome to your unreported world!

    Of course the danger is that by pointing all this out I could be construed as an Anti-Semetic …… Well that’s about as crazy as saying that criticism of the Nazi’s was Anti – Christian!

    • Colin

      Don’t remember hearing Hitler getting the last rites in ze bunker with Frau Braun. He may well have been baptised a Catholic, but he turned his back on Christianity long before he died, breaking almost all of the ten commandments along the way. He was an atheist as far as I know.

      Regarding Israel, you do not have separate public toilets, cafes, restaurants etc… for Jews and Gentiles, unlike South Africa. All Israeli citizens can vote, unlike SA in the past. I could go on and on, but its off topic here.

      • Sorry Colin I wasn’t referring to seperate toilets;

        From Ken O’Keefe’s Blog

        January 12, 2011 is a day I will never forget, visiting the Samouni family could not possibly be anything but a life-changing event. Words simply cannot describe the devastation wrought upon this family by a marauding band of Israeli psychopaths, otherwise known as the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Defence Forces.

        Today my team heard from mothers and fathers and children the story of the hell on Earth created by Operation Cast Lead. Twenty-nine people were killed in this family, children shot in front of parents, parents shot in front of children, a group of 97 in one home blasted to bits by rockets and mortars. Made to live amongst the mutilated and dead for several days, ambulances were kept away and some died slowly over hours and even days.

        - I was referring to the complete devaluation of Palestinian life.

        • Colin

          Perhaps you could ask Ken to write about the complete devaluation of Christian lives living under muslim rulers?

          My point about toilets is that South Africa was an apartheid country and Israel isn’t.

        • Gege Le Beau

          The corporate media Paul has been referred to as psyops. Think 1984.

          BTW, 13 Palestinians are now reportedly killed.

          A good book is Tanya Reinhart’s Road Map to Nowhere, met her just before she passed away unexpectedly, she was a fighter right until the end, a person on the right side of history.

          • Thanks for that Gege,
            Did yee have a good chat or was it just a handshake?
            Now her Israel I can believe in!

          • Colin

            Yes, isn’t it ironic that the country you wish to see weakened and destroyed offers free speech to its citizens who are dissenters?

          • @Colin
            Nowhere in the above thread does it say I wish to see Israel weakened or destroyed!!!

            I strongly desire like many of its own citizens that it turns its back on dysfunctional policies regarding Palestinian rights, territory and eviction.

            Next thing you’ll be saying I’m anti-semite!

            There once was a great human rights champion called Mahatma Gandhi and you should read what he had to say on the same subject. It’s awfully hard to logically argue against it. See for yourself

          • Colin

            Ah, Mr Gandhi, the 20th century secular saint, whose followers regard as a demigod. When asked what do you think of Western Civilisation he said he thought it would be a good idea. He seemed to have forgotten the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Abolishment of Slavery and so on….. I wonder what he would have said if he was asked what do you think of Islamic ‘civilisation’, or Mayan ‘civilisation’, or Aboriginal ‘civilisation’?

            If you don’t want Israel weakened, what is it you want to see changed Israel? Do you not think Israel has a right to exist? You smeared all Israelis by wrongfully calling them citizens of an apartheid state. I don’t see you putting other countries under similar spotlights, so is it just a coincidence that Israel is a Jewish state?

          • ??????
            Do I smear all Irish people by associating myself with this site, which absolutely asserts that they are citizens of a dysfunctional state?

            It is a dysfunctional state! And we are citizens who express same every day?

            Israel is a dysfunctional state (See International Law) land-grabbing outside borders last legally recognised in 1967.

            This is fact – should you find it offensive then you are offended by fact.

          • Colin

            Israel is a prosperous nation, its a success story, they made the desert bloom. David has written articles about how we could emulate the Israeli’s successes. That’s a functioning state in my eyes. Are you suggesting David wishes us to emulate a dysfunctional state in his articles?


            “Thus began the fusion of Israeli brains and American Jewish venture capitalism, which used its networks — Jewish and non-Jewish — in the US to make these companies world beaters. Now Israel is the third-biggest technological powerhouse in the world after the US and Canada. Today Israel has 4,000 high-tech companies and 100 fully-fledged venture capital companies.” – David McWilliams September 21, 2009

    • malone

      Paul ,

      Its called Propaganda and those who dare to speak out
      must be terminated

      Agent Smith , The Matrix

    • Paul,

      a little bit of digging:'Keefe

      The terror unleashed by Israeli interests and the consistent and deliberate ignorance on the international condemnation of their expansionist policies is probably better documented than most of this worlds struggles.

      When I saw some clips today from Libya, a strange thought crossed my mind. There are probably some very well educated excel spread sheet magicians, more than likely very generously paid, equipped with some impressive degrees and doctor titles that will quickly calculate for ‘you’, how much more profit each additional day of war will bring into your pockets.

      Rumor has it that, some of these consultants carry the title economist on their business card. ;)

      From Ken O’Keefe’s Blog

      January 12, 2011 is a day I will never forget, visiting the Samouni family could not possibly be anything but a life-changing event. Words simply cannot describe the devastation wrought upon this family by a marauding band of Israeli psychopaths, otherwise known as the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Defence Forces.

      Today my team heard from mothers and fathers and children the story of the hell on Earth created by Operation Cast Lead. Twenty-nine people were killed in this family, children shot in front of parents, parents shot in front of children, a group of 97 in one home blasted to bits by rockets and mortars. Made to live amongst the mutilated and dead for several days, ambulances were kept away and some died slowly over hours and even days.

      If you knew the details of this story you would conclude as one mother did, those soldiers that committed these acts, could not be considered human. These were demons with the latest high-tech weapons, courtesy of the US tax-payer and if the good people of the US knew what was done in their name here, they would be sick to their stomachs.

      • Colin

        Perhaps Ken O’Keefe could pay a visit to the persecuted Coptic Christians of Egypt, whose churches are being burned down by Muslim on a false pretext that there are women held in their who have converted to Islam who are held in the church by priests preventing them from leaving, and innocent Christians being murdered on the streets. And the Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt, while the muslims are descended from Arabs who invaded Egypt from Arabia. Why don’t Palestinian sympathisers who demand Jews to leave Israel, demand that the Muslims leave Egypt?

        Similar stuff happening in Iraq, Pakistan, Ethiopa, Indonesia….etc….Christians being murdered by muslims and little or no justice to be and no one in the west seems to care!

        • Yes indeed Colin there are many worldwide examples of ethnic/religious segregation and butchery. And just as we opposed state sponsored terrorism in South Africa we must oppose same wherever we find it particularly when it is government backed.

          Many Palestinians are Christian and many Israeli peace activists are Jewish – not Zionist!
          This is about justice – not religion and I believe that Mr.O’Keefe has been in Iraq, Libya and Egypt.

          • Colin


            I think its 1% of Palestinians are Christian. Used to be 10% only 30 years ago, so what happened? Most of the Christians in Lebannon and Israel and Palestine have been forced into exile by their Muslim ‘brothers’, ending up in USA, Canada and Europe. Its ethno-religious cleansing. Its nothing to do with Israelis.

            Israel is a democracy, it is not an apartheid society. Tell me, how many Israeli peace activists are there? Can’t you see they have the freedom to do what they do?

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Colin the Gaza strip and West Bank have rightly been called open prisons or cantons, while Chris Hedges said what is taking place there is worse than the apartheid that once plagued South Africa.

          • Can a country which has expanded largely as a result of illegal occupation and forced eviction truly claim to be a democracy?

            I acknowledge that injustice is not exclusive to one side and say that Justice has nothing to do with religion!

          • Colin

            @ Gege, Chris Hedges is a dhimmi.

            @ Paul, Wasn’t it the Arab states who declared war on Israel, invaded Israel, were beaten back by the Israeli defence, and Israel gained more territory, then the war ended? Seems to me like you deserve to lose territory if you declare war on your next door neighbour. Isn’t that why Germany lost so much territory to Poland after WW2?

            Also, look at it this way, Palestinians are Arabs. Syrians are also Arabs, as are the Jordanians and the Saudis and the Lebanese. So why can’t these Arab countries grant full rights to the Palestinian Arab brothers who live in refugee camps in Syria, Jordan, Lebannon?

          • coldblow

            Colin, you are up against an ‘extravert consensus’ on this one. Basically the argument is: this is the case because this is the case. You either see it or you don’t. Had history taken a different turn it could have been the other way round, when it would have been: this is the case because this is the case. There’s that curious robotic quality about the responses, a kind of stilted reasonableness don’t you think? “Mr O’Keeffe” FFS!

            Those Copts should consdier themselves lucky they are allowed to earn a living collecting the rubbish which they store in their stinking enclaves.

            @ extraverts: just having a bit of fun!

          • Colin


            I just put the facts out there, facts that are often suppressed or just not well-known enough. All these Israeliphobes seem to be eager to point out the fact that they claim not to be ‘anti-semites’. As the fella says, you know the tree by the fruit.

        • Colin,

          the religious faith of those beheaded, tortured or unjust attacked is of no concern to me, the act itself is.

          Sometimes it can be very interesting look back in time, then fast forward and compare.

          • Colin


            It also helps to recognise Islamo-Fascism as a threat to the 5bn people on this planet who are not muslim.

          • coldblow

            Ah now, Georg, I don’t believe your first sentence. Even if I did believe you it doesn’t really mean anything.

            I suspect you are like an old friend and colleague of mine at the time of the Madrid bombings. ETA had been fingered and the Spanish people were out in their millions in “dignified silent protest” against them. When I suggested that the Islamists might have done it, seeing as they’d been busy around that time, he replied: why do people always blame the Muslims?!

            Talking of which, where are our own crowds of dignified protesters when we need them?

          • Colin


            Ah look, you’re just a bigot and a racist for even thinking at the time it could have been an Islamo-fascist atrocity. Do you not know that you’re supposed to ignore the bleeding well obvious whenever there’s a bombing/beheading/kidnapping/airplane disaster/train de-railing.

      • Thanks Georg,
        As you can see above I have already quoted your excellent research.
        I’ve read quite a bit of Ken O’Keeffe in the past and consider him to be a brave voice in the wilderness.

  35. malone


    “We should tell the world about this success and get more of them to set up here. Give them free office space.”

    David in spite of all your ability of seeing through the fog and being proved right on a number of occasions you still suffer from the same disease that is the scourge of our country ie ” we must attrack foreign industry here beacuse realistically we cant do it by ourselves and we need foreign help
    We are only a small country ”

    That is a load of bollox.

    It is time to stop attracting foreign industry . It is time to push the corporate tax rate up to 18 per cent and to 25 per cent for foreign industy here for the privledge of being here . It is time to get rid of foreign industry the Intels ,Google etc

    Beacuse all the profits are going out of Ireland
    It is time to set up our own native industries
    and specialse in certain areas. As a result the profits will stay in the country and will provide a sure source of good employment for years to come
    It would also lead to an increase sense of self confidence here in Ireland which is needed and also lead to technological advancment but will lead to ireland beoming prosperous not from crazy borrowing but from real income.

    When the multinationals get out employment in this country suffers big time and leaves nothing but depression and emigration. As you pointed out some weeks ago the only reason that they are here is that the corporate tax is lower here.

    Today at 1:56 GMT 9:56 EDT 8:56 CET the space shuttle Endeavour was launched from Kennendy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral
    Now that in itself is a miracle of engineering
    Now The Yanks had the money but american industry and expertertise built the shuttle. The American attitude was we want a resusbale space craft so how are “we” going to do it . Theirs was not the atttitude of how can we attract industry to build us a spacecraft.
    Imagine the same attidude here in Ireland. I would wager that we would not be in the situation we are in if that was the attitude here and even with some of that attitude now we would forget about the IMF / EU and bailouts and see now about creating industry here for ourselves , the Irish people , not for the Germans , the Brits or the US

    David as well your documentary for Pravda was quite good but you seemed to miss a very important point in regard to the North of ireland . There is still a very divided society in the 6 counties and until that problem is solved you wont have peace

  36. Just watched ‘What have the Brits ever done for us’, enjoyable to watch as light entertainment. It occured to me though that if one wants to see the true nature of the colonial Britain of today just look at the rape & pillage of Iraq, Afghanistan on the lies of weapons of mass distruction, as well as the bombing of Pakistan & Libya on the fabrication of the ‘war on terror’ etc. Over 100 thousand Iraqi people murdered by the invaders & heaps of villages destroyed, (another Vietnam). Look how quick they turned on Gadaffi who who had until recently been a close trading partner. Would the British ever turn on us again & attack Dublin with their jet fighters? & follow up privatized version of the Black & Tans (more like the US Black-Water Security company whos thugs terrorized Iraqi families). My guess is they would in a second if the circumstances suited them. We would be quickly be relabeled as the Emerald Isle of Evel which needed to be liberated.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Think you can multiple that figure for Iraqi dead by 10, many more injured, millions displaced, millions of orphans (3 million according to the UN – where are their parents?), higher rates of cancer in Fallujah that Hiroshima, country wrecked socially, economically, culturally…..list goes on.

      As for the isle of Saints & Scholars, well the old joke goes, the saints were shipped out and the scholars lost their jobs and had to hire themselves out as consultants to private industry.

  37. Emigrant lass

    Just read the frightning article below. I think its now time to take out any savings from Irish bank accounts or credit unions if we havn’t already done so incase Ireland goes down the same route that Argentina did!

  38. Good article and all the very best with the new venture

    You have a spirit that refuses to be beaten and this is what shines through in your writing. You can always tell a McWilliams piece even before you glance at the author tag

    This kind of spirit acts as a motivator for myself and many of your readers. Some of us feel like we are on our knees and those without the stomach for this brutal life are committing suicide

    Every word uttered in this snug should be considered carefully for it has the power to make or break someone’s day. The overall politeness and mutual respect between the posters has made the forum mature into what is possibly the most genuine narrative of economic life in post boom Ireland


    We are in a jam alright and the cavalry isn’t coming. This could be a positive thing because the spirit of entrepreneurship will never die here in Ireland and those who do rather than moan will be ones best equipped to survive. The real problem is that many people have been caught unawares and have been left up the creek without a paddle. For them the sea has closed in so to speak:

    25% of the unemployed are ex building trade workers.
    27% of the adult population has literacy problems.

    These percentages are shocking and should provide enough ammunition to reign in anyone who is getting over enthusiastic about the potential of the ‘knowlwedge economy’

    Those who are highly skilled with computer technology have a clear advantage because if you have the imagination to use such tools and knowledge smartly then you can do business by providing a service to someone by starting out small

    It took three experiences of redundancy for me to learn this simple lesson. I dont need government funding and I do not need to go on a FAS course. All I would need is a few of those old computers that are lying around unused in the store rooms of our wasteful public sector departments. These resources could be put to much better use than lying gathering cobwebs

    It is enough to bring tears to a glass eye and meanwhile the divine comedy continues unchallenged

  39. Morning,

    Thanks as always for the comments. I am over in London at this conference. I have just listened to an most extraordinary speech given by Benjamin Zander – conductor of the boston philharmonic. I have been to a few of these type of events, but this man is really special.

    Just a thought,

    All the best


    • Malcolm McClure

      David: just watched your panel discussion at Zeitgeist. Your contribution was learned and witty. Quite outstanding. Well done.

      PS Stephanie Flanders is surely the perceptive economist’s crumpet?

      • uchrisn

        Interesting link. The German guy was typically German, giving a strong opinion. When dealing with Germans one really has to be strong and disagree with them directly. In any case he was kind of out on his own. The rest of the respected economists in the world would tend to agree with David and Dr. Stiglitz.
        It’s interesting to hear the German opinion and I think he said it there, they don’t really care about others opinion. It’s their way or the highway because they are convinced that they know best and have to ‘educate’ the rest of us. Ireland will never even be on the executive board in the ECB let alone president. Which is why we should start talking to the Germans about pulling out of the Eurozone.

        • uchrisn

          Also the Germans suggestion that loans with 6% interest rates are already a transfer union shows that he doesn’t understand what a transfer union is. In a transfer union a governement makes a fiscal tranfer to another without expecting repayment. We are currently in a ‘exploitive loan union’. This point needs to be made strongly to the Germans at all levels.

      • Deco

        Simon Wolfson had some very pertinent points. Wolfson was completely spot on concerning the whole EU centralization project.

  40. coldblow

    I missed the economists bitchfest. Must have been conducted in the IT? Certainly there was practically no talk 2 years ago about default (I mentioned it here a couple of times re irisheonomy). I suppose in some cases they would say it was because they didn’t want to bring about something by talking about it, although that doesn’t really convince me.

    I was thinking myself about all the money made out of gaming as I’ve forked out loads in the last 18 mths for Jnr in that area. Yes, it’s all Call of Duty now. I told him I wouldn’t play any of these games with him but I have to admit that FIFA is excellent. I’m good at the through balls but useless at tackling. If they get rid of the ‘jockeying’ button in FIFA 12 I’m bunched.

    Someone mentioned earlier about it being better to play with a soccer ball in the garden. Jnr takes exception to that sort of talk. “Football” yes, “association football” all right, but “soccer” never. That’s my boy!

    Still and all, there will never be anything as good as the original Space Invaders. It really was downhill after that.

    • Praetorian

      People are working hard to salavage their reputations and keep their salaries, muddy the waters, it is all quite unseemly especially as the horse has well and truly bolted and the Republic is broken beyond repair, tells you a lot about priorities which remain unchanged.

      • coldblow

        Yes, muddying the waters. It can’t be that complicated can it?

        • Gege Le Beau

          As Einstein said, if a scientist cannot explain the most complex scientific theory in simple, understandable terms to a 4 year old, then that scientist is a charlatan #its-never-that-complicated

          • adamabyss

            Talking of charlatans, Bertie said he was very happy to see the Queen laying two ‘reets’ today at the Garden of Remembrance.

  41. uchrisn

    Good to hear some positive news about ‘new Ireland’. I think that its very important to learn from the realestate speculative boom and bust and bring in new legislation on realestate. I imagine a new Ireland where peoples rent and/or mortage payments make up less than 25% of their nett income and average property prices are about 3.5 times the average yearly wage.
    People who may remember me saying this here before. How about taking a leaf from Shanghai’s books. When I was there in 2009 the government were actually genuinly concerned about the 20-35 age group and getting them jobs and housing. Some people might be sceptical about that. However recently they have brought in a range of measures specifically aimed at helping the young. In Shanghai they understand the importance of the 20-35 age group to the economy.
    ‘In January 2011, the central government deepened its efforts to stop what it considers a bubble driven by speculative buyers more interested in profit than a roof over their heads. On January 26, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, added eight new measures to its arsenal, including an increase in mortgage down payments for second houses, a ban on local residents purchasing third or more homes and barring newer residents to the city buying more than one home. Just one day later, Shanghai launched its long-anticipated property tax pilot project, imposing a rate of between 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent on newly purchased homes depending on per-square-meter price of the property. From February, buyers of second homes who got loans from either commercial banks or the city’s public housing fund have been required to make a down payment of 60 percent of the price, up from the previous 50 percent. Interest rates on those loans are set at 10 percentage points above the basic rate. Moreover, local families who already own two or more houses are banned from buying any more units.’

    ‘new regulation to curb irregularities such as random pricing and price fixing during property sales.
    “It is the first time that developers have been required to inform the public of the price of sold properties, and it is also the first time that existing property sales have been covered by the same rule,” said Sky Xue, an analyst at China Real Estate Information Corp.”It is definitely good news for home buyers as they will help improve the transparency of property pricing and therefore prevent random price increases and price cheating.”

    I strongly believe that if this legislation had been brought in in Ireland we would not have had the crisis. As such it should be bought in immediatly now to stop the same thing happening again.

    What are the challenges to this? Actually funnily enough demoncracy. The average age of a voter in Ireland is about 50. Many voters own their own properties and are more concernced with keeping their property value up then being fair to young people. Also the real estate lobby in Ireland is very strong.

    I am not suggesting that we change from democracy rather that the older eneration and the property owners need to understand that price fixing and overcharging young people for a basic nesscesity such as shelter is not a good long term strategy for them either.

    • coldblow

      I have been convinced by Michael Hudson on the rent-extracting nature of the property/ bank sector. It’s a reversal of the progress made over the previous century and a half or so, which saw a progressive squeeze of the rentier class.

  42. The dogmatic and transfixed quasi religious fanatic faith in established economic schools, Markets know best,or…. The Muasher doctrine


    The final words from Noam Chomsky’s Lecture in Amsterdam, Contours of global order: Domination, Stability and Security in a changing world, from March 2011 need to be repeated;

    As long as the Muasher doctrine prevails, as long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive can contemplate the outcome.

    x x x x

    Joseph Stieglitz pointed to the transfixed religious belief in established economic schools, that Markets Always Know Best more than a decade ago already.

    It find it most interesting to learn that some of the most outspoken establishment critics on Irish economy and governance, David Mc Williams and Constantin Gurdgiev together with a small selected crew are starting both at the very same time a new venture in more or less the same field, consulting and asset management.

    Both represent different economic schools, David is from the Keynesian fraction, while Constantin is from the Randian/Rothbardian, the Libertarian school of thought. I wished both of them the best in their venture.

    Students who are just starting with economics today are introduced to monetary systems and of course market price determination principles. Principles such as price sensitivity, determined by the availability of substitutes are fundamental teachings in both fractions.

    However, often this can be described as an idealized, hence frictionless space, perfect textbook capital market introductions. Take water as an example. The price of water in our hemisphere is very low, but that does not mean that the value of water is low as well, on the contrary, it is the most essential commodity of all and there is no market substitute for water, if supplies are restricted it can easily turn into a trigger of war. If there are substitutes available for a product, then the demand curve will be rather flat, indicating that the demand is sensitive to the price. When there are no substitutes, the demand curve will slope upwards, indicating price increase to curb demand.

    Economics is described as s social science, and some economists are truthfully social scientists, while others are best described as jumping the wagon, or riding the elephant, to gain riches with the least efforts and in the shortest possible amount of time. This motivation to study economics is often a dominating factor in the decision process, the social science aspect to a much lesser degree. There is no data to my knowledge that would describe the percentage of students that are rather motivated to study economics for personal gains than a scientific interest in social sciences, but my guess is that the percentage, was always high and more than likely it increased in the neo liberal decades.

    The career path options open to those who excel are multifold, however, some key stepping stones are required to make it to the top, and joining some of the more elite schools is one of those seeping stones, a good degree from London School Of Economics carries more weight than one of Trinity College, a Harvard degree more than one of UCD.
    The privatization of education in Europe and abroad is part of the elitist driven social exclusion. The increasing student fees that triggered the protests in London last year are part of this elitist privatization process. It is the practical expression of social exclusion.

    Perhaps you followed the recent academic plagiarism scandals in high ranking German and European political positions that lead to the resignation of German’s Minister for Economics and Technology, Guttenberg, and last weeks Resignation of Silvana Koch-Mehrin who held the position of Vice President in the European parliament.

    Koch-Mehrin a member German FDP party who is linked to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, where Koch-she was also Vice Chair woman. The FDP was nearly eliminated as a political party but with the neo liberal dictate cam back from the ashes as a political force, historically they are a pro industry and pro employers party.

    The aristocrat Guttenberg, a member of the European nobility, Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg – I kid you not! – a member of CSU the Christian Social Union.

    Both their doctoral thesis was titled Historical Currency Unions between the Economy and Politics and both thesis works were proven to be a plagiarism. They are the tip of an iceberg of an academic culture that has infiltrated Universities.

    Koch-Mehrin was also a member of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb Countries, including Libya. It is fair to say that these people are not of the fraction who are truthfully motivated by scientific research in social sciences.

    It is a system that promotes conformist behavior to support an ideologically driven Insider circle that maintains status quo, the illusion of democracy where elections have turned into a farce. The farce of the Irish elections we just witnessed.

    All this really should be a wake up call for the general public to finally realize the core ingredients and the true making of the national as well as European elite forces that are at play, but it is not.

    The general public is fearful and promotes a faked security that was trumpeted with the propaganda methods of indoctrination. This general public can be seen waving flags and cheering to the representative of an imperialistic force that never de-colonialized but continued colonial politics with diplomacy and economic weaponry. The chosen timing of this display of power is quite interesting in my opinion.

    The propaganda machine is well oiled and if you cast an eye on the personal websites of European politicians such as Koch-Mehrin, a stereotype conformist career parasite, like so many others, you will see quotations by Benjamin Franklin, Konrad Adenauer, and buckets of self referential material. The magicians, these Illusionists of democracy know very well how to use PR strategies to manipulate public perception, Image perception is everything.

    x x x x

    Faith and economics, some strange bedfellows you might think, but in reality ideology is a powerful and inherent aspect of economic teachings and schools of thought, most of them failed and should no longer be valid.

    If you look around, you will find publications such as Faith & Economics, The Association of Christian Economists. The title cover conveniently depicts a cross and there are many more intersections where ideology, faith and economics are woven into the mesh of a modern golden fleece, a transfixed dogma. The quantity of born again Christian fanatics in US business and politics is well described. It was one of the more important ideological spices that made up the neo liberal dish that was forced down your throat. It is more important to be seen in church than what your political convictions might stand for, or the other way around, if you are not seen in church, your political convictions don’t matter at all.

    In my other contribution i warned of the next bubble that is more than likely the target of market makers to push their capital in, and as disturbing it would seem to a healthy persons consideration, it is in deed food and other essential commodities. – I feel the need to point out here again, I beg you, do not believe me, or anybody else, do not believe anything at all on faith or image perception. Trust yourself and your own insights, or guts, or research, but trust yourself instead, and be very careful who else you honor with your trust, in my own experience, most do not deserve it! -

    The CRB Index Thompson Reuters/Jeffries, describes commodities such as oil, metals and food and is up 42% over the past year. EFT’s are used amongst other instruments to invest into commodity rich countries.

    Look at this Chart: (It would be useful David if the comments could be 1. edited and 2. would allow inclusion of graphic files):

    Clearly, there is already increased speculation potential.

    There is a fascinating tendency in Germany at the moment to include the term ‘Ethics’ in all possible forms of public perception and PR, Ethic committees in Banks and businesses are shooting up like mushrooms after heavy rain. It is not a genuine attempt to change the entrenched social structures, but rather a PR Image exercise, don’t be fooled to think this is a sign of change, it is not.

    The Muasher doctrine is working and it describes precisely what we experience in Ireland since 2007 so vividly:

    Chomsky: The doctrine that everything is fine as long as the population is quiet, that applies in the Middle East, applies in Central America, it applies in the United States. For the last 30 years, we have had state-corporate policies specifically designed–specifically designed, not accidentally–to enrich and empower a tiny sector of the population, one percent–in fact, one-tenth of one percent.

    This in deed is the very source of global inequality fostered by policies, taxes and corporate governance by the Insiders with academic titles that were granted for a cheat, titles that were bought, and serve only Image propaganda to blind the public with a form of authoritarian academic supremacy.
    I perceive it as an utterly absurd circus!

    The public needs to start asking questions and educate themselves on these matters. The notion that markets know best is nothing but a the published authoritarian Illusion of economic ideologists, supporters of the scheme that enables the global inequality.

    What I described earlier this year as an eerie silence in Ireland is exactly that, a self destructive ignorance, that will lead only to more repression far beyond anything that we think to be possible at the moment.

    Be alert, be very alert to the direction the public anger will take, the directions to where the public anger is deliberately steered at to be precise, the vulnerable, and not the insiders and policy makers.

    Traditional schools of thought in economics are required to consider that their models and paradigms failed, new thinking is more than ever needed to include other disciplines and to describe better ways to enable greater equality and a true democracy, and not the Illusion of democracy that we are blinded with.

    The public is required to participate, to state their demands and stand up for their children and their neighbors, or they continue to support what is evident and decide fall back to ignorance instead.

    It is the publics responsibility to act upon what is wrong, to demand a new deal, and to recognize that this is greater than national interests alone, it concerns us all.


    • uchrisn

      Your point on the elite schools is true. It is the same old story. Look at the ECB executive board, all educated in Ivy League American Universities with total fees of a 5 year PHD of about 300,000 US dollars. Look at the presidents of European Universities. The same, Of course in rare situations if someone very talented they might get their fees paid and something towards living costs, but that is usually for phds in development or science, not finance.
      In Ireland we have made great progress on public education. I think Europe could learn from our example.
      On the international scene however, one of the first questions asked is ‘where did you get you degree’.
      That is why Dr.Kelly with his phd from Yale (even if its not in economics) is listened to internationally.
      European Universities are well behind the Americans in all rankings.
      I suppose the challenge is that the richest people will always find some way to pay the best educators to teach their kids.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Georg: Thanks for another illuminating comment. Your point “Faith and economics, some strange bedfellows you might think, but in reality ideology is a powerful and inherent aspect of economic teachings and schools of thought, most of them failed and should no longer be valid.” is very pertinent.
      David makes a similar point at the end of the Zeitgeist panel discussion I linked to above.

    • coldblow

      Georg, I agree with you broadly, but with some reservations.

      Search for the word ‘economist’ in this, my favourite Hudson article:

      “It seems a hopeless task to retrain economists once their minds are channeled along particular simplistic lines. New ideas almost always require new individuals to expound them. And by the same token in academia, it is easier to create a brand new department or discipline than to reform an obsolete or dysfunctional body of thought. This was the problem that confronted American protectionists after the Civil War.”

      I also quoted this before from the same article:

      “The history of economic thought was taught as a core course when I attended graduate school in the early 1960’s. It has been replaced by mathematical economics, trivialized by being based on conceptually questionable, ideologically based statistical categories. My most imaginative students at the New School where I taught in New York City dropped out of the discipline and went into sociology or something else. They wanted to study economics to discover how the world operated, but were disappointed to find that this is no longer what the discipline is about.”

      The trouble with new schools of thought is that you will probably have the same personnel involved. Would you want to be taught by them? Or even by their colleagues from related disciplines for that mtter? Perhaps I’m being unfair, but my default position is ‘no’.

      Your connection between religion and economics is simplistic in my view. In fact, it’s wrong. Whatever about the US evangelicals, media coverage in Ireland is hostile to the church as an institution and to faith per se (John Waters wrote scathingly about it recenetly, from what I’ve read, in particular about VB’s nihilism). So if the financial caste are in league with the priests and the media are (as we all agree) complicit how come they don’t support the latter? That’s not to say, of course, that the exploiters over the ages have not sought wherever possible to enlist the support of the Almighty for their cause. It’s a means to an end, like the English parents who start going to Church so they can get a place for their sprogs in the local CofE,RC school. (The Irish version is to brush up on the cupla focal in order to get young Oisín or Aobhínn into the Gaelscoil as there are fewer riff raff there.)

      I also think you are wrong about the reasons why the public have not demanded change. IMHO the majority have a stake to some degree or other n the current system. They need to be convinced that an alternative is preferable. But they would be right to be very wary about the people proferring the alternatives.

    • CitizenWhy

      Yes, idolatry, the worship of the “Free Hand” of the market. We all know who wags that hand.

  43. On the Zeitgeist Panel discussion, the 30 minutes snippet that I saw from Malcolm’s link is very tempting comment on in some detail, however, it is next to impossible without falling into a trap if one can not see the whole discussion.

    Is there a video of the full session available?

    I was very pleased to hear David’s remark on ….ODIOUS DEBTS!

  44. CitizenWhy

    Sweden stands up to insist that banks throughout Europe no longer be bailed out by taxpayers. Yeah Sweden! Years ago Sweden made its irresponsible banks go into receivership/bankruptcy and their banking system is now strong and responsible. This example needs to be followed throughout Europe. But it will never be followed in the USA because the banks are too politically powerful.

    I do not know why Ireland, along with Britain, does not seek to join a Scandinavian Union rather than the EU, with each country retaining its own currency.

    • uchrisn

      Bernie Sanders US senator famously told Ben Bernake in a debate that the U.S. is not the best run country in the world, Norway and Sweden are. I would tend to agree. Anyway we are all in the EU single market now and theres no reason to back out of that. Its the currency union which is a headache for Ireland, so perhaps leaving the Eurozone and forming some sort of currency and political union with them would be a way to integrate. I think Ireland and Sweden already coperate on many levels. Howver historical issues between Ireland and the U.K and between Norway and Sweden would be a big challenge.

      • CitizenWhy

        I like to think that the future is more important than the past, but I recognize that that’s a romantic notion easily dissolved.

    • Deco

      Because the Swedes and the Brits would make a big issue about transparency, accountability, etc…and we all know how much authority in Ireland pays attention to these concepts.

      Basically, the insiders/gombeens running Ireland, much prefer an authority model that is unaccountable, and opaque in regard to transparency. Therefore they will patronize us to death in support of Brussels.

    • coldblow

      According to Hudson most Latvian mortgage debt is owed to Swedish banks:

      • coldblow

        From another Hudson article on Latvia:

        “What has financed Latvia’s trade deficit and rising foreign debt service has been mortgage credit borrowed in foreign currency. Some 87 percent of real estate mortgages are reported to be in euros and other foreign currencies, mainly from Swedish banks and their affiliates. These lenders have not asked how this debt can be repaid. The price of this irresponsibility no doubt will be to suffer defaults that threaten to wipe out their own capital…

        “Latvia’s radical neoliberal experiment is testing the degree to which this kind of destruction of labor, public enterprise and government policy can be wielded by non-military means. The question is, how long will Latvia succumb to the Stockholm syndrome, identifying with the parties that have captured its economy and self-imposed anti-labor, anti-industrial and anti-agricultural policies democratically. The effect is to reduce the population to a state of debt peonage to foreigners, and indeed to Latvia’s old feudal master, Sweden.”

        “One motive for emigration is to avoid a lifetime of debt peonage. Homeowners find themselves frozen into their homes almost as serfs as property prices plunge below the amount of their mortgage debt. They cannot move out, because they would have to pay banks the balance due on their negative equity. They, not the banks, must absorb the loss on the bad loan. Unable to find a buyer at a price that covers their mortgage, debtors remain personally liable to save the Swedish bankers from taking a loss, by making up the difference out of their own future earnings. And the situation is getting worse as rents fall in the shrinking economy. ”

        “In October 2009, Latvia’s Prime Minister endorsed the first plank of this program, saying that there should be no more personal liability for mortgage debt. The Swedish finance minister became furious and said that this would break all tradition. The Harmony Centre (“Concord”) Party replied that the tradition to which Sweden seemed to be referring was feudalism, and reminded Sweden that Latvia threw off the Swedish yoke back in the 17th century — and threw out the German land barons in 1905.”

  45. On a cynical funny side note, lets start a rumor….

    Sarkozy’s revenge….Carla Bruni is pregnant…. it was DSK…. go figure.


    • Deco

      The behaviour of the French media in trying to achieve damage limitation are Pravda-RTE-esque. He is a disgrace.

      But I forced to wonder, it this happened in a Dublin Hotel, would the gardai have been as effective ?

      I reckon that there would have been political interference, and he would have been allowed to get away. “eh…we did not catch up on him in time…”. A quick phone call, and the whole issue would have been covered up Berlosconi-style. And nobody would know of it. In Ireland ths sort of thing gets covered up. Believe me, I know more than I can type in here. The gardai do not have the same freedom to do their job as exists in NYC.

  46. Today the Queen gets a tour of Dublin from atop the Guinness Store House from Ryan Tubridy.
    Ryan Tubridy??????
    When did he join the Diplomatic Corps?
    Talk about “The Clique”
    Will a TV3 presenter get within 10 feet of her? Er No!

    Anyway I can imagine the conversation;

    Tubridy; “So Ma’am I’ll be working down the road from you during the summer and you can listen in?”

    Herself; “So you’re replacing Norton for a few weeks?”

    Tubridy; “Yes Ma’am”

    (She sniggers and hits him with her handbag)

    Herself; “Oh that’s hilarious because in ones house we call him “The Queen”!!!

    • I start to feel sorry for Lizzy.

    • LOL…Dadaism? ;)

      VB walking beside Lizzy jabbering: The independent tomorrow has a headline that…

      Lizzy: Shut up!

      VB: But there is another important headline in the mirror tomorrow where they say…,(mumbles) dammit, I can’t read that….

      Lizzy: If you can not even read the headlines, you really need to see a doctor

      VB: The doctor said it is long past healing.

      Lizzy:(mumbles) I know… I know…. throws the flowers bouquet over her left shoulder, starts dancing and shouts Viva La Revolucion!

      Tubridy sneaks up behind VB asking: What was that mirror headline about?

      VB: (stutters)….Royall – ra, ra , rai… rain dance causes flooding in New Orleans.

    • Dorothy Jones

      I have just unwittingly crossed paths with the Queen on the way into the office! At Tara St. Station, the beleaguered Guards had barriers up and we were not allowed to cross the road until the cars had passed through. The Queen waved to our little group of bemused temporarily landlocked commuters as she passed. She had a nice smile.

      • @Dorothy
        As the esteemed first citizen of our neighbouring country which gave me a break and a home for seven years I say; “You are very welcome Elizabeth II”

        I am genuinely delighted for you that you saw her. Of course I’m insanely jealous of her that she saw you!


      • CitizenWhy

        Is the message of the Queen’s visit that the future is more important than the past, once the past is duly honored?

    • Deco

      I know the Brits have a bad chapter in their history concerning their involvement in Ireland, but making anybody listen to Ryan Tubridy (“Tubbers”) is punishment to heavy for anybody to endure.

      I am in favour of putting somebody piping Ryan Tubridy non-stop into Fagan’s pub in Drumcondra though :)

  47. @citizenwhy,

    Re “do not know why Ireland, along with Britain, does not seek to join a Scandinavian Union rather than the EU, with each country retaining its own currency.”

    I don’t know whether the Scandinavian countries would be interested, but we certainly should. The Brits were right about Europe, it has fundamental flaws that helped bankrupt us. The experiment was tried and failed, time to move on.

    I presume you would see it operating along the lines of the British Commonwealth of Nations

    Thanks Malcolm re link to DmcW Zeitgeist video. Unlike you, I wasn’t at all impressed by David’s contribution. But I wasn’t impressed by other contributions as well:)

    It would appear, correct me if I’m wrong, David is for restructuring, but not for leaving the EMU; the latter was not proposed by him in the discussion exchanges. So is David joining the orchestra on the Titanic perhaps fed by the hope of a soft restructuring for us currently proposed for Greece.

    I listened to Lucinda Creighton our Minister for European Affairs on Morning Ireland, who was affronted when asked should we be comparing ourselves to Greece? She argued there was no comparison between ourselves and Greece as we had “a strong economy”.

    I hope no one from Germany, France or ECB was listening, or they’ll be raising our rate of interest. But we know she was delusional or plain wrong. Our economy, barely held alive by exports, is disappearing up its..fed by emigration and massive unemployment.Choked by banking debt.

    Everyone has their head in the sand at the moment with Noonan instead of calling for Puntnua with his begging bowl on sur la pont d’avignon, is having difficulty
    getting recognised by secretaries whose job it is to fob him off whenever he phones up for an appointment to discuss our dire situation.

    But then those who sing our swan song abound with stories of opportunities in our economy. Even DmcW is taking on employees:)

    Perhaps Lucinda and David are in the same boat talking up the opportunities and potential in our economy.

    If we get a soft restructuring, DmcW will throw his hat in the air, ‘I told you so’ and Lucinda will join in the celebrations. Meanwhile DmcW avoids the tag of economic bete noir in Ireland but retains a more commercially sound and marketable status as a critical light weight TouchStone.

    The fact is, Morgan Kelly, who borrowed:-) my ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ metaphor though switching it to ‘Little Big Horn’ is right, we are on the slippery slope to nasty default. We’ve sent our 7th cavalry against the Lakota Sioux of the ECB and the Northern cheyenne indians of the French and the Finns.They’ve brought defeat and humiliation.

    Note UK is third highest holder of US securities, approx $800bn after China and Japan each $1200bn. One of the problems of our gombeens leaving the EMU is the fear we might at some stage give way to the Gadaffi’s in our midst, or the IRA; also we might be considerably worsened, if this were possible, by the politically and economically incompetent Creighton’s of this world.

    But if we were to leave the EMU, return to Puntnua,join the British Commonwealth of Nations under a new formal arrrangement to treat Ireland north and south as a single unit, then Geithner of the US treasury and the US government might also lend support.

    The 16000 thousand Portuguese football supporters in Dublin for the match might be able to afford a coffee and a pint at our PuntNua prices and we might have real numbers returning to work in eg the tourism industry.

    He’s going to do his DuckSoup link:) Hail Freedonia, Land of the brave and free:)

    “There’s one man too many in this room and I think it could be me” Lol

  48. Check the FT/Global Economy:

    World Bank sees end to dollar’s hegemony

    Interesting, essentially a US bank, the Worldbank anticipates the end of the $ as global key currency unto 2025.

    Need to freshen up my mandarin.LOL

  49. Oh my God….Merkel’s Freudian slip!

    “Of course we want the euro and of course we don’t want to see that a country goes broke, so to speak, and that we all then follow,” she said.,1518,763294,00.html

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