August 15, 2011

Time to tackle the traders

Posted in Banks · 133 comments ·

This week is the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.

As a student, in the summer of 1989 just before the whole system imploded, I walked with a few others through Checkpoint Charlie into the twilight zone of East Germany to catch a train from East Berlin’s main train station to Prague.

The train itself was operated by East Germany’s railway company -the anachronistic and un-communist sounding Deutsche Reichsbahn.

The ancient rolling stock travelled from Berlin on a magical mystery tour of Soviet Bloc capitals ending in Bucharest, passing through Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and on to Romania.

The carriages were divided by nationality with the German guards looking down their noses at the Slavs, particularly, for some reason, the Bulgarians.

We hopped onto the German section and settled into the wooden seats for a rattly journey which took us towards the still bombed-out centre of Dresden. Beyond Dresden, the train line followed the beautiful Elbe river through some of the most spectacular countryside in Europe.

Even though there was a lot of talk about East Germans seeking refuge in the West German embassy in Budapest, there was no sense that the whole communist system would fall apart.

This was only three months before the Berlin Wall was torn down, yet as is the way when big systems collapse, no one can get their heads around what might happen. No one is prepared to think the unthinkable.

Within months the game was over. These formerly closed countries opened up to the market. Initially, stock markets opened, as did currency markets.

Then, after massive debt forgiveness, the bond markets of a huge landmass from Berlin to Vladivostock opened up and the lives of hundreds of millions were changed irrevocably.

For financial markets, this geo-political shift was an extraordinary opportunity. Anyone with a passing knowledge of this part of the world was suddenly an ‘expert’ in what became known as ‘emerging markets’ finance.

A few years later, probably as a result of an interest in this part of the world, particularly Russia, I found myself on what is called a ‘proprietary trading desk’ in London at a large investment bank in the City.

Our job was to make money for the bank by speculating on the bond markets of the former Eastern Bloc.

At the time, this was regarded as ‘frontier’ finance because these places were considered slightly risky, yet certain banks were prepared to risk their shareholders’ capital in places where the boards of the banks had never been.

All they cared about was that we seemed to be making lots of money, and they looked smart.

One of the big changes in finance since those days is that, today, much of the world and certainly peripheral Europe look like emerging markets. Ireland is a classic case in point, depending on foreign capital to finance itself and its banks.

We have opened ourselves up to the financial casino.

Now the financial casino is out of control, with the policy of countries being judged by people who have no idea about the countries. So during last week it was ‘sell France’, the previous week it was ‘sell Italy’.

Who will be attacked this week?

This casino and the interests of speculative funds are now – as they were in East Europe back then – being put before the interests of the citizens.

Anyone who questions this nonsense is denigrated as not understanding the markets and not grasping how smart, wise and forward-thinking the markets really are.

In reality, what actually happened on proprietary trading desks – which are hedge funds within banks – was not that smart at all.

In my own case, the bank gave a small team of five individuals lots of money to play with.

The key assets were bonds issued by Russia. At the time in the mid-1990s,Russiawas borrowing from the west for the first time since the October Revolution.

As is usual on ‘prop trading’ desks nothing much happens until a big figure is reported and the market moves according to whether the figure is actually stronger or weaker than what the consensus expected it to be.

One of the biggest figures was what is called the US ‘non-farm payroll’ data, which comes out every month. The non farm payroll measures how many jobs are created in the US economy.

To see what happens, let’s take the example of a particular month where the consensus view in the financial markets was that there would be 250,000 jobs created in the US.

Imagine that ‘only’ 160,000 jobs were actually created. The bond market would rally on this news because a weaker economy (as indicated by weaker jobs data) would mean that interest rates were likely to be cut.

The bond market reacts positively to bad news. I realise that this sounds counterintuitive, but it isn’t. If interest rates fall, the price of bonds rise.

So now think about a ‘prop’ trading desk with a few traders and an economist who are supposed to be assessing risk in Russia, yet they are looking at the non farm payroll of the US.

All the while, Russia itself is being robbed by the oligarchs under the bleary eyes of a permanently tipsy Boris Yeltsin.

So they were borrowing and robbing at the same time, destroying wealth today and lumbering their children with debts tomorrow.

Yet this hardly mattered to the performance of the Russian market; what mattered was sentiment towards the US bond market.

Think about it: here we have the immediate economic prospects of a superpower, Russia, that only five years before was challenging the US, being reduced to the mood of speculators in prop trading desks and hedge funds.

My job was to figure out, using an array Of other economic data from the US, whether the consensus was a bit too optimistic or a bit too pessimistic. If I thought the figure was to optimistic, based on my own analysis, we would bet on Russian bonds and take big option positions to allow us to buy Russian debt at today’s price some time in the next few months.

If the non-farm payroll figure actually was worse than the consensus was expecting, the market would rally and the prices of all bond markets around the world, particularly those in the emerging markets would rally and we would make money.

That’s it. Sure there were rules about how much could be gambled.

There was a back office clearing all the trades, but in essence, the traders ruled the roost. Things haven’t changed much, except for the fact that these speculators have multiplied into thousands of hedge funds and the amount of money they are playing with has increased exponentially.

This is the so-called financial market.

If we fast-forward to today, we see that these trading desks are still the backbone of investment banking, while hedge funds dominate the trading environment. In addition to strategists and economists, there are algorithms and charts, which are used as trading strategies, signalling all sorts of buy and sell trigger points.

And as the world has become more economically unbalanced, with huge individual creditor nations and many smaller debtor nations, the basic emerging market model of the world applies not to former communist countries, but to most other countries.

The attitudes and greed of traders in the markets are leading to chaos.

This is why they need to be controlled and policed; otherwise we are in a situation where these guys will boss around governments and their lackeys in the rating agencies – who got everything wrong in the past few years. And they will become more powerful than elected politicians.

The markets aren’t clever or smart; I know because I have worked in them. I have seen good companies along the old East European train route dismantled by people who knew nothing about the specific industry and sold off to people who knew even less.

I have seen credible countries dragged into the mire just because some trader on a losing streak has to sell a performing asset to cover the losses on his falling assets. This rapacious form of capitalism only benefits a tiny handful of people. It makes the world unstable and puts countries on collision courses with each other, which European history suggests, can lead to something much worse.

If you don’t want to believe that, just take a train journey through central Europe and consider what actually happened there.

  1. breltub

    You can’t ram home this message hard enough, I was discussing this and high frequency trading with a friend of mine who is a crude oil options broker in London, and he is having none of the “corrupt market” stuff. To quote him
    “One side agrees to buy,one side agrees to sell. Same as always. People have day traded for decades. Now we’re just quicker.”

    Oh, “and the riots are caused by lazy people who don’t want to work and drink beer all day and I should look at idiocracy to see why the underclasses are so stupid!” – I haven’t seen it yet, but there you go – a view from one of the market types David speaks of

    • RoddyP

      The comments on high frequency trading reminds me of a TED talk on how traders on Wall Street trust computer algorithms to carry out 70% of the trading in the US stock market-
      As the presenter mentions, the reasons for the ‘flash crash of 2:45′; when 9% of the market disappeared without human intervention, have not been fully understood.
      The drive to control the market in this way, without fully understanding it will create further episodes of extreme volatility.

      • onq

        On the contrary, the removal of the microtrading facilities will stop it happening again, while even taxing them moderately will lessen the scope of the oscillations. “The computer did it” is such a lame excuse that its not funny.

  2. atchman

    “And they will become more powerful than elected politicians.”

    I think they already are David.

    • projectallende

      This depends on the backbone of the politicians.

      In the Irish case the government has changed but it seems incapable of doing it’s job, which is to represent the Irish people’s interests abroad and with the EU the Stability fund and the IMF in particular.

      Could it be that they have a hidden agenda or are they simply incapable of calling it like it is: “Not our debt, can’t pay, and wouldn’t pay anyway as it is not public external sovereign debt.”

      Instead they beat around the bush looking for a percent here a percent there. Let’s call it like it is, corruption is corruption. At some point one must expect one’s politicians to protect one’s nation from speculative attacks such as those described in David’s article.

      Failure to do so is failure.

  3. nt

    Please get that translated (I am volunteering here) and send it off to Berlin. Mrs. Merkel and her cabinett are marionettes of industry and Mr. Ackermann (Deutsche Bank) and his fellow criminal bankers. They kneel down to their feet on every occassion since the markets crashed in 2008. Thus there is no way one of the most important economies in this game would ever agree on policies or any controlling body, at least not under the regime of the current conservative government with its narcisstic ministers.

  4. Ruairi_OBroin

    David you’re letting the cat out of the bag!! I’ve been saying for years that these guys are just not that smart. I worked for one of the most prestigious brokerage firms in the US for a couple of years and I was constantly underwhelmed by the talent there. In the end promotion came down to your love of basketball (the boss was a huge fan) and having the right look for the company (going to the gym, posing beside your new BMW). The fact that these guys have the fate of the global economy in their hands should be a cause for great concern.

    • Deco

      Actually, we are much more sophisticated than that here in the Irish banking sector.

      Promotion is not about only being a fan of the “right” sports (golf, rugger, seem to be prominent, and in some circles GAA and horses). Also your old lad needs to have played with the bosses old lad. And in addition the old school tie is a factor. The American system by contrast, offers too much opportunity to people from the “wrong” type of background, entirely…..I mean you could actually fake status in the American system.

      [ to be honest these firms are oftn run on a very irrational basis ].

  5. I used US non-farm payrolls as an astounding indicator, too, David. I was fascinated that real incomes in the US actually began a deep decline from 1972.
    I related that to the other phenomenon you witnessed occurring in Russia at the same time the Berlin wall came down: the increasing privatisation of what are notionally the public’s resource rents. That became, and remains, a world fashion.
    We might exit this crunch, IMO, if we were to reverse the process and capture our land and natural resource rents instead of a multiplicity of taxes on labour and capital.
    Treasury Secretary Ken Henry’s review of the tax system in Australia has come out recommending much the same thing, but such is the ignorance of the principle involved, the public have greeted it with a great big yawn. So, I expect we’ll meet Ireland in due course at the bottom of the gurgler, David.

  6. Nina Ogden

    This article, which we could call.
    “Confessions of a reformed trader” offers us a very important look into a process which is , as David says, “causing collision between nations, and can as European history suggests…lead to something much worse.” We should remember that the kind of trading David talks about was propped up by the geopolitical push for “shock therapy” which stripped bare the real physical assets of the East Bloc. This was followed by the blackmail of Thatcher,Mitterand and Bush, where
    Chancellor Kohl was forced to pay a horrible price for the great hopes of German reunification,. What was that price? Just look at the debacle of the European Union now, its effect on Ireland and the other debtor nations, and the effect that is tearing apart Germany itself and you’ll have the answer.
    Now let us think about that beautiful train ride David took in 1989. AS they rolled through the “spectacular countryside” who could have known, as the saying goes, that such a short time later the whole system would implode.
    We are on that another train now, but it is rolling through the countryside of the entire trans -atlantic system. The system is imploding and the reforms David calls for must be implemented. The foundation of those reforms is the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall.

  7. irishtrader11

    I see the point you are trying to make here but unfortunately it is the politicians & banks that have got us in this mess, not “traders”. Most hedge funds are small ie. less that €1.5bn in investable capital incl leverage and as stand alone entities have little impact on overall market direction. I dont know about you but the guys who I went to university with were a million miles away from being the smartest guys in the room, these are the same people who we are supposed to depend on to make the big decisions. Most of the analysis I see done by central banks is no different than what “traders” use for their decision making.

  8. Dorothy Jones

    Back in Berlin here reading David’s article with much interest as always. Two things:
    1) The tail is really wagging the dog here: Opposition parties are pleading with Angela Merkel to agree to a solution different to the approach to individual countries heretofore, as it isn,t working. Much coverage on the different methods of shorting and the relative ineffectiveness of baning in some EU countries as volumes transacted in NY and Lon. Financial press livid at the German political approach.
    2) Agree with the comments on the East and assets, lived here 89-2k so observed the transaction mechanisms. Currently taking the subject (think Treuhand) into the crosshairs as part of a ‘compare and contrast’ analysis of current proposed asset sales in periphery countries.

  9. ladygee2

    The words ‘Greed is good’ made by Gordon Gekko in the Film ‘Wall Street’ is what’s coming to pass in recent years. These parasites should be either stopped in their tracks from doing what they’ve been doing or else they should be put on a very,very short leash so that they can’t do so much damage as they’ve been doing.

  10. blackcase

    The problem here is a really simple one to understand and solve. YOU ARE RIGHT TO HIGHLIGHT THE TRADERS! However,all this detail of non-farm payrolls, bond maturities, coupons etc is confusing for normal folk. We dont need to know. We just need to know that the system we voted for is being implemented (with independently published QA fundamental variables like GDP, bank loan ratios, Money supply and a few others). Society just can’t function without delegation and we can’t all do an economics degree.
    We are told the system we use is capitalism (like it or not).
    Capitalism is about rewarding winners and punishing losers (with safety nets etc etc). The traders and bonussed bankers are rewarded when they win – but NOT PUNISHED when they lose. Everyone else is punished including the bank owners (shareholders), the investors, the lenders, the savers (and for some crazy reason, the tax payer). The problem is the bonussed bankers and traders NOT BEING PUNISHED when they lose. Fix that and you fix capitalism. KISS

    • tonym112

      Capitalism is more problematic than rewarding and punishing, if the traders and bankers were punished it might make the competition even worse. One of the problems with capitalism is that it is divisionary. It demands from people an attitude of separation and isolation. since everyone in a capitalist society is in competition with everyone else, it can never create a stable form of society in which happiness might be possible. Capitalism is probably one of the most anti-happiness systems that has existed. True it is not slavery in the traditional sense, but isn’t our country a slave to economic system? Is that why our leaders have no balls? and refuse to stand up against the economic tyranny which is forcing us to beg to continue to be part of it’s system.

      I have long wondered what the alternative is to the trade in money. Could that be banned? Could trade be limited to things that have actual value? I don’t know what the answers are to these and similar questions. I do know that the world economic system is based on the reserve currency, the dollar, which is privately owned and is ultimately valueless and that this makes no sense.

    • dwalsh

      blackcase wrote:

      “However,all this detail of non-farm payrolls, bond maturities, coupons etc is confusing for normal folk. We dont need to know.”

      Correction…we precisely need to know. It is the blind faith and ignorance of “normal folk” that makes this global scam possible. How can you say we dont need to know? If you dont want to know I suggest you stick your head back into the sands of the news and the tabloids.

      • blackcase

        Re “stick head back in sand”, I suggest you read what I wrote in particular: “(with independently published QA fundamental variables like GDP, bank loan ratios, Money supply and a few others)”
        And to Tonym112, what I wrote is based on the premise that the system IS capitalism (which it claims to be). I was not saying capitalism is the best system. I dont claim to know.

  11. Praetorian

    Like today, appalling damage was done by the ‘markets’ to Eastern European economies and to Russia after the Soviet Bloc had broken up. Poland in particular is well documented in Naomi Klein’s book ‘Shock Doctrine’. I was in Poland 4 times in the last 9 months, the vast majority of the population are still struggling on low wages, in small apartments, block after block, with the ridiculous, unattainable lifestyles of the rich beamed into their tiny living rooms.

    In the 1990s, Russia saw speculators, privateers, economists and neoliberals all arrive with presciptions as part of the ‘Washington Consensus’ which had appalling consequences for Russian citizens, mortality rates shot up, people queued for hours for food in times of ‘austerity’. President Medvedev was recently interviewed on RT where he commented on this period, the impact on his psyche was clearly evident, they are right to be wary of the West.

    “Following the economic collapse of the early 1990s, Russia suffered from a sharp increase in the rates of poverty and economic inequality. Estimates by the World Bank based on both macroeconomic data and surveys of household incomes and expenditures indicate that whereas 1.5% of the population was living in poverty (defined as income below the equivalent of $25 per month) in the late Soviet era, by mid-1993 between 39% and 49% of the population was living in poverty. Per capita incomes fell by another 15% by 1998, according to government figures.

    Public health indicators show a dramatic corresponding decline. In 1999, total population fell by about three-quarters of a million people. Meanwhile life expectancy dropped for men from sixty-four years in 1990 to fifty-seven years by 1994, while women’s dropped from seventy-four to about seventy-one. Both health factors and sharp increase in deaths of mostly young people from unnatural causes (such as murders, suicides and accidents caused by increased disregard for safety) have significantly contributed to this trend.

    Alcohol-related deaths skyrocketed 60% in the 1990s. Deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases shot up 100%, mainly because medicines were no longer affordable to the poor.”

    Only now does Russia feel like it is beginning to re-emerging on the world stage but still has serious internal issues. Al Jazeera had an interesting report on the restoration of the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow, reflective of a new Russia trying to emerge from the disasters of the past.

  12. Peter Atkinson

    I am appauled to see anybody here referring to any part of society as the underclasses even if it is during the course of a “chat” with a stock broking buddy.The term is offensive to all and sundry and needs no propogation in a forum like this.

    The whole thought of those silver haired sleazy lizards being permitted, by law or otherwise, to sit on their fat arses in some back office brokers room and pedaling the economic equivalent of heroin in the form a country’s debt makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.The same silver haired sleazy lizards that can be seen in a well known watering hole in Dawson Street on a Saturday night flashing their ill gotten gains to pretty young Eastern European women while “poor wifey” with the kids is sitting at home with the girls discussing how they are going to spend the next million he earns on an overnight killing.

    This country is completely bent out of shape forever and all we have managed to do is to highly educate these predators to assist in the destruction of the world and in particular our world called Ireland.This my friends is what Enda & Co are referring to when they speak of the “smart economy” and we are all guilty for playing our part in the economic prostitution of the noughties in some form or other.

    • Deco

      Listen, I’ll tell you waht – these lizards – having now propelled themselves to career kamakazi – let’s give them what they deserve – let’s bail them out with the tax payers money.

      The solution this is “capitalist consequences for capitalist failure”. The bailouts destroyed any hope of reforming these corrupt and inept career cultures in the FIRE sector (Finance, Investment, Real Estate).

      I have been hearing stories about “business as usual” in Foxrock, Co. Dublin recently. There are always some shysters who heap contempt on the rest of the population.

  13. onq

    Its heartening to see the author moving from populist sound bytes towards sound policy biting the ass of the traders.

    While they are only the lackeys, they have far too much power (= money) under their control.

    While not wishing to cast aspersions on David McWilliams in his previous incarnation, I see a vision of traders at work with a line of coke in front of the keyboards to keep them alert in the fortieth straight hour of trading chasing their bonus.

    I don’t think people with so little life experience or understanding of consequences should be empowered by system in which unregulated gambling takes place every day to trade the GNP of countries.

    I have called for regulation of the markets and the banks and taxation of both for some time now on

    We need to build on what McWilliams has started to achieve proper regulation of the system and control of these addictive personalities.

    (with apology to that rogue trader in the corner who *doesn’t* drink, smoke or snort cocaine)

    • Tull McAdoo… run by Brendan Burgess…….let me refresh your memory here on this one….

      Brendan was appointed by the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, to be the first chairman of the Consumer Panel of the Financial Regulator in 2004. He held this position until 2007.

      Brendan was appointed by the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, to be a member of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears in February 2010.

      No credibility ONQ. You might as well be using Eamonn “ I’ll meet ye all at Carnsore point” Ryan as your source.

      Were not slow around here, you might want to keep that in mind for future reference…;;-))

  14. I think DmcW has to up his game a bit:)

    There’s a sadness and hapless finger pointing to ‘obscure’ need for regulation without any gimlet setting out of what the regulations need to be.

    The problem is compounded by approx $750 trillion derivative based bond trading sloshing around the world’s trading houses.

    Neither is this trading controlled and regulated correctly, nor the quality of the bonds upon which this trading is based properly assessed.

    As Dmcw describes vast tranches of investment, casino finance can move almost on a whim, or for the most abstruse of reasoning.

    A repeal of The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act and a return to
    Glass Steagal is required as an initial measure.

    The sooner the world takes banking and finance away from fiat, private banks, the better. It turns out the fears of Abraham Lincoln were well founded.

    • Still, have to admit a thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable article from DmcW once again!!

    • Nina Ogden

      You may be annoyed at my complement here, Colm, but I agree with your post. David, you may remember, in his last article, said we have to do what Roosevelt did. Perhaps your post will remind him that there is a name for these reforms, and that is as you document, Glass-Steagall.

      On another post a little later you say that Angela Merkel rejected the eurobond solution as you had predicted. Do you think that’s a real rejection, or something thrown to the strong opposition to it within Germany itself? The casino finance so well described here is on a sinking Titanic and they have little other choice but to float some euro bonds, pump up some more QEIII ( or whatever number they’re up to now) from the fed discount window to the ECB, and try to stay afloat a few more hours or days.
      All of the fears of Abraham Lincoln were well founded, and we must honor his fears and his brave solutions.
      Thanks again

  15. Remember:

    DmcW “What if they were to come to the conclusion that either they underwrite everything in the euro and thus put themselves on the hook for all of us, or the euro goes and they are off the hook?”

    Well news today smart Angela Merkel has taken euro bonds off the table, as I prediceted:)

    “But this would be MAD(mutually assured destruction). On a much broader scale, it would be similar to the guarantee the Irish government gave to guarantee the private debt of the Anglo fleet, as public or sovereign debt.

    Euro bonds would actually work well were the terms of the Stability and Growth pact implemented in full from the beginning. The fact that these terms were abandoned and set aside by leading members of the eurogroup, means the EMU is in a considerably weaker position than it would be otherwise.”

    What does this mean?

    It means kiss the euro goodbye.

    • dwalsh

      I dont think Eurobonds would or could save our nations. Nothing they can do within the current system will avert the crisis. The system is the crisis. Eurobonds would just be petrol on the fire. The wolfpacks would get a feed…for a bit then…?

      The only way to avert the approaching disaster is to shut the system down. But that wont happen. So It will have crash. Boom!

  16. It may be a good time to turn off the Pravda RTE propagandists eg David Murphy from News At One who was stating today the need for Ireland to continue on its Scott expedition programme in order to get back to the markets asap…here’s Booksley Born celebrated Frontline programme, who predicted where we are now

  17. Watch The Full Program Online | The Warning | FRONTLINE | PBS

    • Nina Ogden

      I’d watched the fFontline on Brooksley Born Colm has linked , some time ago,and urge all to watch it.
      Born also served on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Committee (FCIC), better known as the Angelides Committee, and the findings of that committee lay out conclusively that far from the good old “who could have known”, everybody SHOULD have known, Brooksley Born knew and kept warning everybody

  18. Praetorian

    The Two Bums

    The bum on the rods is hunted down
    As the enemy of mankind;
    The other is driven around to his club
    Is feted, wined and dined.

    And they who curse the bum on the rods
    As the essence of all that is bad,
    Will greet the other with a winning smile
    And extend him the hand so glad.

    The bum on the rods is a social flea
    Who gets an occasional bite;
    The bum on the plush is a social leech,
    Blood-sucking day and night.

    The bum on the rods is a load so light
    That his weight we scarcely feel,
    But it takes the labor of dozens of men
    To furnish the other a meal.

    As long as you sanction the bum on the plush,
    The other will always be there,
    But rid yourself of the bum on the plush
    And the other will disappear.

    Then make an intelligent, organized kick,
    Get rid of the weights that crush;
    Don’t worry about the bum on the rods,
    Get rid of the bum on the plush!

  19. dwalsh

    Great article David; thank you.

  20. redriversix

    The definition of an “Event Horizon” is the point of no return before an object enters a “black hole”

    Ladies & Gentleman, I believe we have crossed the “Event Horizon”

    I believe the simple definition of a Financial Derivatives is a “product used to bet on any outcome in the stock market” I.E,shares,Oil,Banks,commodities,currency and anything else dreamt up by traders or their CEO.

    I believe this now includes Sovereign States and their Governments.
    As David points out in his Article “sell Italy buy France”He also briefly touches on the history of Europe and where our present crisis may lead us.

    In my opinion their are financial forces at work above my pay-grade and , quite possibly,above the pay-grade of most European leaders.

    Which leads me back to my blog last week in which i suggested that we need to keep things simple and take care of ourselves and our families.

    Ireland as a country and as a people will not defy our Government,nor will we stand up for ourselves,over the last 3 years we have done nothing,! “Is this what we are worth” ? Is it wrong to expect better from our Leaders ? Is it the old Irish psyche of guilt and shame ? Do we not want to “rock the boat?”

    I made mistakes and I and my family paid the price,I look for no sympathy but i do expect a “level playing field”…unfortunately that field does not exist.

    Except if your a Bank….and you all know how that works.

    What did you do today to make you more secure ?
    Did you sit down with your family / partner and talk things through over the weekend ?

    Did you pay yourself and your family first last week ?

    Davids articles are a great source of help and your comments are of help to us all but….we need to start doing something , i need to start helping people..i do not know how, all I know is I have a vast amount of experience,both good & bad in which i should be using to assist people f.o.c.

    This blog is not meant to be patronising and a am sorry if it comes across as such.

    We/you need to put yourselves first,is this selfish ? No.. its not….if we can,t take care of ourselves,how can we take care of our families , employees or employers !

    “An old farmer was leaning on a gate one fine summers evening,smoking his pipe with his trusty sheepdog at his feet
    The Dog was howling,his Grandson,always curious,came running down the lane and jumped up on the gate and sat by his Grandfather,”Grandad” he said “why is Shep howling ?” The Farmer took a deep pull on his pipe and thought for awhile “He is sitting on a nail”the Grandfather replied.

    “Why does he not get off it ?”asked the grandson,

    “Its not hurting him enough yet”replied Grandad………!!!

    Take Care & Goodnight

    • dwalsh

      Not patronising at all redriversix…good solid sense.
      When the time comes people like you will make a big difference to those around them.

      • redriversix

        Thank you for your comment , dwalsh

        I am quite amused and perplexed at some of the posts and detail on some peoples contributions to this site…..

        All this information is wonderful and perhaps a bit complex for a guy like me,but the bottom line in all of this is… Money,its not about right or wrong,its about control and who benefits ?…..Rothschild & Rockefeller,Family Bankers maybe ? who else is behind all this ?….Fear….Fear is a great weapon.All the reporting in the media is starting to remind me of the crazy preachers on Gospel T.V,”If you dont give us your money,the markets[God] will punish you” !!!

        N.A.M.A is a failure but will continue until the last employee reaches retirement.just like the land commission.

        I stated before, that i do not believe their is enough money to repay all European debt unless someone comes up with a new “makeyuppey” derivative”or we wipe the slate clean and start over.

        There has been a lot of comment about the old U.S.S.R
        Reagan simply outspent the USSR in escalating an arms race which along with some other factors , lead to the the bankruptcy & fall of the Soviet bloc.

        I miss the Cold war !
        Now,we have a War on terror,which is great[sic]because its no “one country or person” it can be a combination of anything or Country, any Government[primarly America]decides it is and it can last forever !!

        After 9/11,U.S Banks dropped interest rates to encourage spending,be patriotic etc.

        Homeland security,the patriot act stripping people of basic rights,..that “suits big government.

        No regulation of Wall street “All hail Alan Greenspan from President Ford to Bush jnr”

        War in Afghanistan,Why ? maybe its because it is the biggest opiate producer……certainly not because of Bin laden !
        I wonder whats next door to Afghanistan ?

        War in Iraq ? because they could launch a chemical attack in 45 minutes and had WMDs,weapons of mass destruction or as Mr Warren Buffet said “words of mass deception”!…..But they do have Oil..mmmmm

        Or if your Goldman Sachs and the rest of our wonderful Bankers “if you don,t bale [bail] us out,the sky,s gonna fall”….
        You see,big Government needs big enemies,that way they have fear,fear controls the masses,most people are sheep and don,t like to “rock the boat”

        Governments are afraid,..they promise to be good and payback somebody elses money,WHY,they do not have it and never will,ITALY,GREECE,SPAIN,PORTUGAL,IRELAND,US,A ETC.[America will default anyway,"you do realise we are a superpower"tut tut]

        We are simply witnessing a fourth world war being fought over money and resources were a few will control many,the demise of the middle class and education.

        The end of the euro,possible the end of the dollar.A New”dare i say it”World Order”Their have been several new world orders,after WW1 after WW2,After the collapse of the Soviet union to name but a few.but the term seems to have lost some credibility,”can,t imagine why”!!

        I really miss the “reds under the beds” and the Domino theory.

        Of course,you all remember , the thousands of troops that the U.N and the U.S sent in to Rwanda to protect the people from Genocide….No wait,sorry that,s wrong..Rwanda is a dust-bowl.
        The only resource they had was asthma.So no need to help ,we re sure they would find a “democratic solution”….nope, sorry that did,nt happen either,wonder why ????

        Bye for now.

        • dwalsh

          @ redriversix

          Good rant! Pretty much summarises the whole shebang.

          “We are simply witnessing a fourth world war being fought over money and resources”

          I agree it is a war. A world war. Being waged by the global elite through their banking interests against the nation state. Debt and bankruptcy is their weapon. That’s how they got rid of the aristocracies and set-up the nation states a while back. Now the era of the nation state is passing.

  21. adamabyss


  22. Article suggests that Traders alone are responsible for the instability of public debt around the developed world. Clearly countries who are over dependent on private funding are at the mercy of traders and must take responsibility for putting themselves in that position, while finance clearly needs greater regulation, one cannot legitimately lay all the blame on those acting out of self interest in trading public debt. A capitalist market economy is the best of a lot of bad options, left alone it will tend towards decay and thus we need govenrment regulation to protect citizens, curb the inevitable excess and preserve democratic principles. Too much government of course does not succeed either, but the abdication of governance over these individuals has cost the average citizens dearly. Clearly the risks derived from their self motivated activities should be isolated to them alone and any regulatory system which allows those risks to be imposed on completly unrelated parties is an equally unethical and unsustainable one. The problem for Ireland is , save for removing ourselves from global finance we are too small a fish to regulate global banking in Ireland but lets be clear the economic charade in Ireland was not caused by traders and our the assentuation of the collapse was not caused by traders but by corrupt and incompetent politicians, NAMA etc.

    • dwalsh

      I think it is clear from the article that it is unregulated speculation which is the problem…not individual traders.
      Speculation is not investing; it is gambling. But the casinos were not set-up by the young traders working in them; they were set-up by their employers…much older guys…who own the casinos (and the banks and the corporations etc etc)
      Alan Greenspan…an employee himself…foisted the derivatives bubble on the global markets. It was a deliberate policy…which he now claims to repent. But he did not do it off his own initiative. Greenspan was acting on behalf of his employers; those who own the controlling interest in the Federal Reserve.
      They must have a purpose. I doubt if it was to enrich the traders. And since they pretty much own the system it is unlikely they did it solely for profit either. I wonder what it could be.

      • redriversix

        Gandhi was once asked
        ” what he thought of Western civilisation ”
        He replied
        ” I think it would be a good idea “

  23. kissane

    This is another enlightening article.
    We seem to be getting closer and closer to reality – that we are depending on kids and cowboys – all mathematical and actuarial “geniuses,” for our banking system. Especially those institutions at the top.
    For example who owns the World Bank and its “subsidiary” the IMF? Who owns the FED or the Bank of England.
    Someone should let the cat out of the bag and see how our national financial pundits and media talking-heads react.
    No need to go to Chomsky to find out this one – even google/yahoo cant hide it yet.
    The final answer will not be governments but private crooks, “Yale” kids and “Cambridge” cowboys.
    The statistical news mentioned by David which move the Friday money markets are also dodgy.
    Clinton and Summers where masters at CPI and other indicator rabbits pulled out of timely hats…Billy Nilly Larry!

  24. Blaming a trader is a waste of time , they are equally incentivesed and pressurised to acgieve their sole objective and make a return on their capital and they absolutely will do whatever they can do within the ever widening boundaries of law to that end. The inability to contain them arises from weak and corrupt global governance, Clinton allowed for the repeal of Glass Stegall and despite all the ensuing damage to the US Economy after the recent crash there is an improbable chance that anything on a par will be restored. Despite all the damage these people have caused not only to do they evade any sanction beyond a few drops from their ocean, they also evade any force to prevent them from doing it again, they are clearly above governance but Ireland is not capable of providing that governance and any one government is afraid of the consequence of moving solo and thus the only way to insolate one citizens from these people is to have solid public finances and solid economic activities constituting the majority of their domestic economies. This Ireland can still achieve but ultimately it all comes back to governance and our system simply does not work on a level that allows the country to reach its potential

  25. Who does DmCW believe will make the tacklE

  26. Who are The TRADERS

    All the original Traders in Ireland were Quakers with their own simple self beliefs and humility.The Goodbodys , Ranks , Odlums , Davis ( Flour ) , Johnsons of Mooney & O’ Brien, Ballantynes ( flour ) , Shackletons , Hallinans, Andrews ,Pilsworth, Going ,Furlong etc .

    The origin of their success came from humility and sharing and an entrepreneurial spirit .They trived and became rich and later their worlds were surpassed by others that had different beliefs and aspirations.

    Today those that control that ivory tower are the greedy and mindless creatures created from the largesses of that industry .It is time that new beliefs as was in the beginning should be copied and practiced once more to restore Trust once more .

  27. Colin

    Hi David,

    Great article again.

    However, when you say “The attitudes and greed of traders in the markets are leading to chaos.”, I would argue that there is a wider group of people who are also to blame, albeit in a much diminished manner. While I’m not going down the paddythepig road of looking internally for someone to blame, I have to point out that employees with pension funds do not ask how their funds are invested, and there doesn’t seem to be a movement representing people who want their pension funds invested in a ethically superior fashion. Can pension contributors tell their fund managers where to invest their funds? If not, why not, and can it begin now?

    Finally, I can see Communists rubbing their hands with glee regarding the implosion of Capitalistic markets. But, your line about “the carriages were divided by nationality with the German guards looking down their noses at the Slavs, particularly, for some reason, the Bulgarians.” makes it clear that even though the likes of Joe Higgins portray their ideal world as that of friendly nations of workers united in common cause against global marketeers and speculators, the truth is there’ll never be equality in a Socialist world.

    • dwalsh

      “the truth is there’ll never be equality in a Socialist world.”

      The ignorance of a guard on a train is not “socialism”.
      Neither was the USSR a socialist state.
      Nor is the socialist ideal a world of workers united against global marketeers and speculators.

      The socialist ideal is a world run by and for the good of all its citizens. It is an ideal. Something to aspire to.

      • Colin

        Well isn’t it remarkable that all those nations that weren’t socialist in your eyes, but yet they were socialist in their own eyes and many others’ eyes, misunderstood socialism as you prescribe it?

        • dwalsh

          Yes it is remarable. The Russian revolution was hijacked by Lennin and Stalin etc. It was a totalitarian state…the very opposite of socialism. Russia was not sufficiently developed at that time to be socialist. It doesnt matter what label tyrants like Stalin choose to place on their regimes. We have to look past the propaganda. The closest to socialism yet has been the European states in the past century.

          • Colin


            If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

            I don’t remember any debate in the West in the Cold War era regarding whether or not the Eastern Bloc and Russia was Communist or hijacked by anti-Communists. We viewed them as Communists. The state controlled almost everything. There was little or no Private Enterprise. I don’t recall hearing about the Soviet Bond Market, or any private individuals trading shares in the Russian Soviet Banks, or Lada facing a hostile takeover from Mercedes-Benz, or Russian Crude Oil being traded on the markets in New York. That’s because it was a Communist system.

            I think you are revising history to suit your own ideology. Communism was beaten in 1989. It’ll never work. No appetite for it anywhere as voters in the West have consistently shown. Even Red Gilmore has learned that lesson.

          • dwalsh

            Hi Colin.
            Praetorian says it very well below. The notion that the USSR was socialism was pure missrepresentation and propaganda that suited both sides in the cold war…for different reasons.

            I do acknowledge that your view is the official and received view; and I suggest to you that the received view is a distortion.

          • Colin


            We’ll agree to disagree on this.

          • Praetorian

            @ Colin, you were told the Soviet Bloc was evil, totalitarian, which it was but this was then equated with ‘communism’, ‘socialism’, all dirty words for people who don’t go and investigate and think independently. People willingly accepting self-serving state propaganda is one of the most troubling aspects of humanity, has led to some pretty ugly things.

          • Colin


            Are you suggesting I fell for RTE/Irish Times Cold War Era propaganda when they called the countries behind the Iron Curtain “Communist”?

            You see, if it wasn’t Communist, its gotta be Capitalistic, so please show me the Russian Bill Gateses, Sralan Sugars, Denis O’Briens and Bill Cullens who thrived under Lenin, Stalin et al and made lots of money there.

          • Praetorian

            @ Colin, and you see examples of individuals making staggering amounts of money while the general population struggles beyond belief as some kind of success of the system?

            For me it is the complete and absolute opposite, it is a sign of systemic failure.

          • Colin

            I never said I admired them, they exist, they are there for all to see, to be admired or otherwise. They employ people, I’m sure some pay taxes, I remember that pure specimen of Capitalism Michael O’Leary presenting Bertie with a tax cheque of €14M. All I’m asking you to do is show me the Russian equivalent of Michael O’Leary between the years 1917 – 1989, that period of time which you claim Russia wasn’t Communist.

      • Deco

        If the USSR was not socialist then I must be an elephant. Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics. It aspired towards the ideal of socialism. It was for the good of all citizens. It was the most socialist system ever.

        Everything was owned and possessed in the name of the citizens. It was the furthest extent of applied socialism ever. Of course, when the people tried to aspire towards anything less socialist they had to be “educated” and imprisoned.

        • Praetorian

          You could not be more wrong Deco. It did not aspire for all its citizens, it repressed them especially in Eastern Europe. It was a one party dictatorship, totalitarian, sure there were some within the system who had a bit of humanity about them, the same can be said of the State capitalist structure, but this does not take from the fact that it was a monstrous system which inevitably fell. The Western socio-economic system is causing appalling damage, some of the leading agents benefit from boom and bust cycles, there are enormous sums to be made through speculation, short selling, betting against governments, but the inequalities, long term poverty it is all causing may yet to come back to bite it in the ass. dwalsh is right in his/her comments. There was nothing remotely socialist about Lenin, Stalin and their cronies, indeed Lenin warned those around him at the time that Stalin was not to be put in power, he could see the trouble coming. Those guys were all born out of a brutal and violent period in Russian history, they knew war, chaos, betrayal, death and destruction (the West invaded as WWI had ended in an attempt to reverse the situation), there was only ever going to be one result, repression, secret police, trials, massive numbers imprisoned.

          Any system built on fear, repression and violence has to fall, it is a historical truism, people simply will not accept it.

        • Praetorian

          The Soviet Union Versus Socialism
          Noam Chomsky

          When the world’s two great propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, it requires some intellectual effort to escape its shackles. One such doctrine is that the society created by Lenin and Trotsky and molded further by Stalin and his successors has some relation to socialism in some meaningful or historically accurate sense of this concept. In fact, if there is a relation, it is the relation of contradiction.

  28. gizzy

    Not just the traders but the banks accross all departments still don’t get it. After a quite two months with business went to my bank last week for a three month moratorium after making seventeen months consecutive p and i payemnts.They said they couldn’t do full moratorium but would consider three months interest only. In return they want to increase the interest rate by 1% for thirteen years. That is 32500 euros for a three month moratorium. I employ ten people in the State. Why bother?

  29. Julia

    Great article David. Just realized you sound very like Michael Moore. “Capitalism, a love story” was on tv the other night. He pointed out that in Roosevelt’s time in the States the highest earners in the country were paying 90% taxes. When Reagan came in years later a man from Morgan Stanley was made Finance minister or whatever the US equivelant is. And that was the beginning of the end of regulation. The banks and the super rich got to pay less taxes and play with money. In the US 1% of the population has the same wealth as the other 99% of the population all put together. Amazing isn’t it.

    There are some parallels in Ireland. There are quite a few more millionaires here now since 2008. The wealthy in this country have 96 billion euros stashed away between them. The Government has promised not to raise taxes, but rather cut services to the citizens instead.

    And we the citizens keep voting for these actions our Governments take.

  30. AndrewGMooney

    David McWilliams:

    ‘The attitudes and greed of traders in the markets are leading to chaos. This is why they need to be controlled and policed; otherwise we are in a situation where these guys will boss around governments and their lackeys in the rating agencies — who got everything wrong in the past few years. And they will become more powerful than elected politicians.’

    Wrong tense. All of this has already happened. ‘Government’ sold their Sovereign Souls to bail out The Market in 2008.

    The Market is a mob-gang of transnational corporations,’human legal entities’ with the power to destroy thousands of years of culture, history and ‘national’ identity. ‘Ireland’ no longer exists other than as a historical phantasm. That may be a good thing ‘in the long run’….? The FF/FG/Liebour trioka will conspire to deliver the head of the 1st Irish Republic on a platter. Then what?

    Morgan Kelly has read the runes regarding the rise of the Irish Tea-vangelic Party.

    When George Osboure, the Brit Chancellor is screaming for Eurobonds/Debt Transfer Fiscal Union: game over.

  31. AndrewGMooney

    ps: London riots/Bad Samaritan meme

    ‘The video of a 20-year-old Malaysian student being robbed by people who had pretended to help him has for many been one of the most poignant moments of the riots, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying it showed things are wrong in society’

    Of course, the original ‘bad samaritans’ were/are the international, untouchable thugs of the bankster elite which David’s article refers to:

    Still, when ‘wild-eyed- Michelle’ takes control we can all console ourselves with the nostrums of The Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus:

  32. uchrisn

    Did anyone notice that the Euro Financial Stability fund has been extended to banks as well as States?
    Proves Daniel Gros right for calling the hypocrasy of the Germans back in 2008.
    Back then they were the main blockers of a proposed eurowide fund to garantee and bailout banks.
    Angela Merkel – “each state should deal with its own responsibilties” and “(European) taxpayers cannot write a blank check for the banks”. Go Angela.
    However Daniel Gros wasn’t taken in – “If German banks share price was to drop by 25% in a few days, the Germans would change their tune”
    German and French banks share prices have dropped about 30% in the last month or so, and suddenly Angela Merkel and co have changed their tune as predicited.

  33. uchrisn

    I think that the financial markets are now in a position where they can boss and bully governments.
    Look at the sheer amount of money that PIMCO has to invest. Those are the people lending money to governments and in a way dicating terms.
    Firstly they wanted governments to bail out banks so as they would be spared losses there during the financial crisis.
    So then goverments agreed and we moved onto this EU and US soveirgn debt crisis a direct result of goverments bailout out banks to keep markets happy.
    What do markets want now?
    They want the stronger governments to bail out the weaker ones so as they will be spared losses. So the markets are pushing for Eurobonds in Europe,pushing all EU debt under one umbrella to minimise their losses.The weaker soverigns are pushing for this too. Once again a stand off between markets and now a smaller number of governments. So we may see the markets win again. This time governments are wisely fighting back a little with bans on short selling.
    This is George Soros with basically the markets plan for minimising their losses in European banks and soveirgns. Ie switch it all onto the German taxpayers.

    • uchrisn

      It is interesting to analyse all of the Greek deals as victories for the markets and banks over the Governments. The recent ‘voluntary’ deal for example. Greek bonds trading in the secondary market for 50-75% of face value. So say they were worth 63% of face value to the banks.
      The banks then got a much more secure bond backed by collatoral in return for these bonds. This was given to them for 80% of the face value. So they said they took a 20% cut.
      In fact they took a 17% profit.

  34. uchrisn

    If you only blame the ref for losing a soccer match, you might have a point but you certainly wont improve your performance the next time. However if you blame your own lack of fitness for losing the game, you can work on your fitness and improve.
    Countries would be better served to look at themselves first and see what they need to change rather than only blaming rating agencies and the markets. In sport Refs are not perfect and the rating agencies and the markets also make big mistakes.
    David has pointed out the many issues that we have in Ireland, such as the insiders deciding to pump up the property market and then bailout out the banks in Ireland. This really is the key to Irelands malaise not the markets or rating agencies. We can try to change our own performance in this area by bringing in new legisltion curbing property speculation, stoppping bailing out banks etc. Unfortunatly the penny has still not dropped for many Irish people on this.

  35. Deco

    Just read some of the comments.

    I am sensing that we are on the road of another “lemming run”. Everybody feels so wise now about the need for socialistic and Keynesian paths. Basically, we will now enter a “bull market” for left wing solutions and the phrase “we must”.

    Capitalism did not fail to seperate fools from their money. That it duly did without error. Regulation of interest rates made sure that there was a bubble – and now we are getting even greater regulation.

    So, at the point of being controversial, I will say now that this new lemming run will end in a different disaster. I know a lot of people will not want to hear that. It upsets the perfect world view. It upsets the quest for a controlled system and a set of easy answers. In fact it amazes me how people lazily drift into these simplistic solutions.

    The best regulation of dodgy traders, is to prevent them getting access to funding in the first place – either by the reluctance of the investing public, or by fear in their own organizations of the consequences of behaving in a liberal manner with other people’s money.

    In other words, a sceptical public is of far more use than a set of regulations that are always circumvented. The media is completely compromised, and effectively controls the public mood. “Support our advertising sponsors”. The real solution is to turn off the remote control and become intellectually capable of what you are having to deal with. Turning back the clock is exactly that. We already had the concept of “to each according to their need” with bankers and developers getting money from those who steered away from the disaster.

    Another lemming run, and only running in the exact opposite direction, in the hope of jumping off a different cliff this time.

  36. Realist

    The best way to deal with traders is to leave them alone, to fail and die or succeed when good.
    That is happening with the most of them anyway.
    David, the company you worked for, does it still exist ?
    If you look the historical data the majority of hedge funds and speculators ceased to exist when they failed anyway.
    Only government backed big investment banks succeeded by government (people’s money through taxes now and in the future) help.
    The problem is usual government intervention either directly or through ECB, central banks and political policing.
    Governments best help is to do nothing as whatever they touch goes to ruins at the moment.
    The finance market extended too much where human and land resources are wasted.
    The only way to contract this industry is to allow them to fail and disappear as every other business.
    Why it is so big is due to being on the source of money, as per economic theory who first distributes money gain the most. They gained the most as money extended, but you cannot live forever on printing money. Printing still did not stop so let see what happens when somebody big (e.g. big country) breaks out of it, e.g. does not want to print it anymore.
    Governments pushed such industry to the limits by their policies in the first place.
    Governments should not help failed retail and investment banks.
    No bailing out of governments neither by other governments.
    Governments should not print money out of thin air through their companions and should start living by their means.
    By printing trillions of thin air money they put in favour some industries against others, the biggest gainer being the finance industry.
    They distribute money unevenly causing panic.
    Get rid of fraud in the name of fractional reserve banking and so on.
    This is the only way they will learn the lesson of capitalism.
    Only success will be celebrated, not the failure to be paid by us through taxes.
    The knowledge about finance is at low level, but this is due to the industry being pushed to the limit and poor public education in this domain based on huge mathematics wrong doing pushing us away from basic economic knowledge.

    • Morning Realist,

      Not only is the company still around, it is amongst the top five European investment banks. This is the issue; the “prop desk” is a hedge fund within the bank and as such is really not disciplined by anything other than the generall share price of the bank in total.

      This bank has a retail branch network etc, so deep inside a bank that looks “normal” is this madness!



      • Deco

        And now the real interesting questions…

        Did they benefit (“avail”) of taxpayer funded bailouts ?

        They they benefit as a response of the EU Commissions insistence of propping up bondholders ?

        Are they availing of the ECB “liquidity injections” ?

        Are they in the politically favoured category that is deemed important by the media, as commonly referred to by the term “too big to fail” ?

        • Praetorian

          Hedge funds represent one of the greatest man made threats to democracy. This along with the centrality of property to Western economies (enormous ponzi schemes), commodity speculation and the assistance of politicians through the failure to legislate, regulate have brought us to the edge of the abyss.

          The story of the rich man and the rope, hanging himself because he thought there was a dollar in it needs to be moderated, the rich man puts a rope around everyone else’s neck because he knows there is money in it.

          The battle of the market v the people is in full swing, parliaments are largely irrelevant because they have clearly illustrated which side they are on. If we are to have any hope, banks have to be cut down to side and return to the older model where they operated locally, lent prudent amounts. Setup a bank now on a Carribbean island, Iceland or Ireland and you have a portal to casino capitalism, access to enormous sums which when bet and lost, you will lose your house or sovereignty.

      • Realist

        Good morning David,

        Thanks for the answer.
        This bank must be either very good or helped by the government.
        Anyway using all these sofisticated mathematical methods did not do to much good neither to others.
        I agree that due to the abundant amount of money around finance industry grew too large.
        It is the time to shrink but governments are not allowing it.
        We are bailing them out with our money that should probably be invested in some other insdustry.
        Not to say we pay two mediators in here, the government for collecting taxes and distributing money and banks for management and interest charges to invest that money again to “us” :)
        Even the government know the best purpose for our money such money is reduced in size by their and banks mgmt fees :)

  37. Alf

    Although powerful, the problem is not just about traders. This kind of trader only has power over the weak. The problem is our government left us to the wolves when it sacrificed sound finances for crony bailouts. If we were sound they cheap credit and stability would come to us. These kind of traders are just like a buzzard flying around a carcass. They didn’t kill the animal – we did. If the system was strong and there was sound financial management we wouldn’t be weak. They are a symptom of mismanagement but not the cause.

  38. Deco

    I actually disagree with David’s assessment of Eastern Europe. In fact, I think that you are completely missing the point with regard to economics in this essay.

    Most “industry” in Eastern Europe in 1989 was hopelessly inefficient, and ineffective. The entire system was planning gone overboard, to the point that it did not work. The speculators that were trading in it, were essentially buying and selling industries that often had no economic value, based on their inefficiencies. The banks did not make Eastern Europe into a wasteland – it had been carefully planned over the previous decades, by the dictats of well intentioned and good feeling know-it-alls. The banks were grappling to deal with enterprises that were organized in an uneconomic manner.

    Regarding what happened in Russia in Yeltsin, the Clinton Administration behaved with impunity in encouraging the control of resources. Politicians in the west who advocate Keynesian stimulus have a need to ensure that the countries who produce the raw materials of the modern consumption driven “feel-good-factor” suburban society, are producing a steady stream of low priced commodities.

    There is actually a massive similarity between the weaknesses of the Socialist Bloc in late 1980s, in failing to create value as effectively as it’s more nimble rivals in the US, Japan, Britain and West Germany – and the current weakness exhibited in the US, the UK, the PIGS in failing to create economic value compared to it’s current more nimble competitors in East Asia and India. Nobody in 1980s Russia said “we are adopting policies that in the long run will cause us to crater” until it was already too late. I detect that in the West we are heading in the same direction, now – with the public viewpoint moving instead to expanding th state and propping up unsustainable economic entities.

    The way out of this is not to be imitating what was done in the Socialist Bloc in the 1970s and 1980s, with planning and “regulation” of just about everything, to the point that the failures are always spectaculaar. The way out is to follow what the Koreans, the Singaporeans, and the Thais did in the 1990s – while the politicians in the West looked down their noses at them – to let the process of creative destruction proceed.

    The media is vehemently opposed to such an approach. They will oppose the decision only when it is already enshrined in law, and opposing it becomes inconsequential. The advocates of less support, are categorized, and painted as mad. Public opinion must be controlled. “Support our advertising sponsors”.

    • Deco

      The banks did not destroy Eastern Europe in the 1990s. The state officials who spent the previous three decades regulating Eastern Europe were so effective, that they made it virtually unavoidable.

      Poland may have low wages, but today’s wages in Poland are a lot more useful than having to queue for hours for bread outside a shop. Telephones are affordable, and can be purchased in minutes – whereas in the 1980s there was a waiting list for years for one, thanks to socialist planning. And even then they could be bugged as a matter of routine.

    • Realist

      Totally agree with you.
      I lived in one of socialist countries for quite some time.
      It is not traders that made them miserable, it is their governments.
      The main problem with them is no competition with pricing governed by central bodies.
      It is hard to be efficient and it is hard to know the proper price of anything.
      Not too different with public stuff in Ireland or other modern countries nowdays, where government spending for public sector can be anything and nobody will know how efficent or pricy it is.
      Government spending over the last 40-50 years increased drastically with more and more people employed for them.
      How I can know what I am paying for public healthcare and public welfare through taxes expensive or not ? and this is 2/3 of Irish budget.

  39. Morning,

    Just listening to the latest Presidential contender on radio, jesus its beyond a joke now.

    Back to Eastern Europe of the 1980s. Deco I was not defending the place. Due to a fascination with Russia I visited Russia in 1985 and 1987 and ended up living with a Russian family in 1990 and actually stood in the queues so I know what you mean. But equally, I did spend time in East Germany and Czechoslovakia and saw how awfully pathetic the regimes were. I saw in August 1989 on the anniversary of the Prague Spring, dozens of young protesters being battoned by hundreds of cops. So I have no illusions.

    That said, I do think that the industrial capacity of these and other countries was totally undermined by the overnight combination of free trade and financila speculation.

    I am writing from Croatia and what happened in this country, industrially, let alone politically is hard to justify in any system.

    All the best, David

    • Praetorian

      The Presidential campaign is a side show upon a side show.

      As for the Eastern Europe and Russua, shock doctrine, which I am sure you are aware of, was the jack boot on a system in terminal decline, millions made unemployed, millions forced below the poverty line, declining populations, privatisation which created oligarchs rich beyond belief. Today the vast majority of people across the region, struggle day in and day out (and before anyone jumps on me I am not defending the totalitarian system that emerged after the Russian Revolution of 1917 or the dominance of Central and Eastern Europe after 1945).

      I lived in the former GDR, dated an East German for several years, the stories from her family were interesting, when the wall came down they crossed the border and first place they went to was a supermarket, they couldn’t believe the range of products, especially bananas and chocolate later they had to compete for work, her father’s company was closed down because it was deemed too inefficient, they had to do up CVs, go for interviews, no job security, he is now a travelling salesman with bad feet, at one point they said despite the issues within the GDR there lives were not as bad, they had set hours for work and more leisure time, life seemed more straight forward albeit a bit monotone.

      Later they saw their files from the GDR period, there was a file on every East German citizen, and it is estimated that one third of the population was informing on the rest, there was a file for each member of her family. Some of this is well depicted in the film ‘Das Leben Der Anderen’ translated ‘The Lives of Others’

      We should always remember what took place in Russia and Eastern Europe was the antithesis of socialism and should never be equated. It was totalitarianism where the system paid lipservice to the notion of worker run states, a bit like the idea of ‘freedom/democracy’ in the West, where such things operate within strict parameters, sratch the surface and in no time you will the repression inherent in the system while elections are events rather than genuine expressions of democracy where more often than not the richest candidate not the best candidate gets to the top.

      • We’ve never been truly free. Socialism was an invention of the ruling classes through the fabian society and the bankers to steal the wealth of Russia quickly.

        We’ve gone from slves to serfs to a service economy….and shortly it will be neo-feudalism.

        All systems are controlled and guided from above.

        The only way is to be an individual, think for yourself, depend on yourself and know your neighbours.

        • Praetorian

          “dozens of young protesters being battoned by hundreds of cops”

          Same happened in Seattle, Toronto, London.

          There is a long wall on the US-Mexican border, behind that a wall of barbed wire and then another fence, search lights, dog handlers, patrols. 2500 people perished trying to get into the US the year I visited the Mexican side of the border, along the wall are the crosses with the names of those who perished, some crosses have ‘unknown’ written on them. These were people trying to escape the consequences of neoliberal, NAFTA and ‘Chicago Boys’ policies implemented with great gusto in Central and South america, when they do get into the US, they are branded as ‘illegals’ or worse yet ‘aliens’, they work in chemical soaked fields for minimum wage or less, have no labour rights, are hounded by the authorities, demonised by the politicians, yet their labour and money assist the US economy to the tune of billions.

          Sadly we are badly failed by our national broadcaster, so more often than not I find myself looking to foreign networks for insight (especially Al Jazeera which is streets ahead of all other networks), while the BBC has been less than inspiring in recent years, it did have this interesting Newsnight programme on ‘Walking on the footsteps of Steinbeck’. Steinbeck as you may know focused primarily on the struggle for American working people during the Great Depression, the great migration from the central American plains to California and the violence and difficulties people experienced. Today, in the great recession, little has changed as this excellent short programme tells, now the US has tent cities with what Steinbeck sometimes referred to people who think they are ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires’, such is the belief in the myth that if you work hard you get ahead. If the recession has taught us anything it is surely that that myth has to rate as proaganda worthy of Pravda at its height in the Soviet era.

          Newsnight: In Steinbeck’s footsteps

          Paul Mason – Steinbeck’s road

          Michael Davitt was right, working people across the world have to come together because they have more in common with each other than they have with the elites that run their respective countries into the ground.

          • Colin

            But the East Germans didn’t come together with the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Romanians or Bulgarians on the trains, so there you go, its just pie in the sky nonsense. Davitt is wrong on this score. Pierre the French electrician competes with Pedro the Spanish electrician, who competes with Pietro the Italian electrician who competes with Peadar the Irish electrician who competes with Peter the English electrician. They all compete against each other, they do not care the slightest about each other. How many Irish electricians raised money in support of striking French electricians? None. There is no coming together of international workers, there is competition between Nations. This was one of Niall Ferguson’s six killer apps which made the West great.

          • Praetorian

            There is the global justice movement, international solidarity among trade unions, the world social forum and a range of other organisations working to build a better world. No pie in the sky nor ducks quaking. Ferguson’s analysis is hard to take serious but if I need a good laugh…..

          • Deco

            God help international solidarity if the other union bosses, upon whom hopes are pinned, are like Jack O’Connor, David Begg, Blair Horan, Peter McCloone, Des Geraghty, Jimmy Kelly, Brendan Ogle, etc…..

            In such a case it is an inevitable journey towards disaster.

          • coldblow

            A recent Newsnight prgramme involved David Starkey and apparently his comments provoked outrage. I didn’t get to hear much of his argument as he was constantly being interrupted by his fellow guests.

            I always liked him ever since his assessment, on Sky News shortly after Diana Spencer’s death, that “her achievements were tiny”. He probably had to go round in disguise for a while after that.

          • coldblow

            This just occurs to me in the context of solidarity.

            One of Solzhenitsyn’s cruellest surprsises after entering the Gulag (he had made a passing disparaging reference to Stalin in a letter from the front) was the way solitary prisoners like him were fair game to the organized criminals in the Russian gaols and robbed and intimidated by them. This happened to him within a couple of days of his arrest.

      • Colin

        There is a lot more freedom here than there ever was in the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War Era. I freely chose not to buy property, not to buy shares in Irish Banks, not to get a leather suite of Furniture from Land of Leather, not to buy the latest bed from Harvey Norman, not to scrap my car for one of Bill Cullen’s brand new motors. You are free to worship as you please and not worship at all if you so choose. You are free to travel abroad anytime, and even build a new life abroad and even return home in the future if you wish, unlike the Cuban exiles.

        We enjoy great freedom, if only more of us wised up to that fact, we’d be a lot more better off.

        • Praetorian

          It is not about comparing like with like, which is clearly absurd, as I said there are freedoms with paramters, sure you can do all the consumer activities you mentioned, that is part of the system, there is even room for dissent, because any system too rigid falls even faster, but if people start agitating and start making inroads, challenging those in power, well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what happens next.

          If however, you get sufficient numbers who are courageous to make a stand as happened in Egypt for instance, then the order can melt like snow, in Libya it proves a bit more difficult, in Syria a lot more but you can’t stop people power entirely as history has shown, you can repress it, sometimes for decades but everything has its time and the world as it is currently constituted has a shelf life too regardless of what the power elite are currently trying to do to maintain the status quo at the expense of working people. So in Ireland, elites kicked off the public v private, divide and conquer and it was successful in the short term, but long term it remains to be seen.

        • Deco



          You are correct. The price of freedom is responsibility. To make freedom work, requires responsibility. The lazy approach is too prevalent, and is to abuse freedom, and then seek a bailout from the consequences of irresponsibility.

  40. StephenKenny

    As we’ve been saying for years, political extremism is rearing it’s head. After people have, effectively, given up, other groups. with other sets of promises, will arise: Nationalism (Irish jobs for Irish workers), Socialism (a fair days pay for a fair days work), and all the other nonsense- e.g. National Socialism (a fair days pay for a fair days work, bit only for the Irish).

    The reason they rise now is that everyone is looking for an ‘answer’, and are prepared to suspend all IQ points above about 75, in their desperation to believe in one.

    If you fall for any of this stuff, then you’ll deserve what you get, when the good of the individual is sacrificed on the alter of the good of the many – as defined by the new elite.

    • When people lose everything,
      and they’ve nothing left to lose,
      they lose it…!!!

      * Gerald Celente

    • dwalsh

      @ StephenKenny

      Why is “a fair days pay for a fair days work” extremist nonsense?

      • StephenKenny

        Because both have to be defined, and there is no way to define either, without someone, or some group, doing so. Then we have new elite: Those who define who is paid what, for what work.

        Even if they were defined, the alterations to the economy that these definitions would create would cause imbalances which would require each to be redefined.

        • dwalsh

          Hi StephenKenny
          I am presuming — and apologies if I am mistaken – you stand with those who believe that decisions about these fundamental matters of human life (which they are for the average person) ought to be decided by the ‘invisible hand of the market’.
          Instead of the democratically chosen representatives of the citizens deciding on fundamental matters and parameters of national life; these matters should be decided by an elite composed of the owners of capital and production and their managers.
          In my view a rational and humane civilisation should democratically set certain parameters as a baseline in our nations and societies. Within those parameters there can be plenty of scope for the invisible hand to function.
          We see today the catastrophic results of the unrestricted decisions of the invisible hand.

          • StephenKenny

            Apology accepted.

            The invisible hand seems to be raised by the extreme left and corporate/state to excuse their lunatic actions. One side holds it up to love, and the other to hate, but the result is the same.

            I should think that Adam Smith is spinning in his grave at the almost total misuse of this idea. If people must use as a tool for uncovering any form of truth, then I would think that at least a cursory glance through his ‘other’ book, ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ is necessary. Without it, and without a reading of Wealth of Nations, the phrase ‘Invisible Hand’ is used in a manner which means no more than ‘It’s supply and demand’, i.e. in a way which simply has no useful meaning.

            What we see today is nothing to do with the ‘invisible hand’, it is to do with massive corruption, and a failure on many people’s parts to properly execute their jobs. If Bill Black were in charge of the regulators in the US, I’ve no doubt that there would again be many thousands of bankers going to jail.

            As for my own beliefs, in the political sphere, I believe that political parties, and their serried ranks of true believing supporters, are the major cause of our present, and most social, ills.

          • dwalsh

            @ StephenKenny

            Adam Smith isn’t the only notable writer spinning in his grave. Good points all. Thank you.

  41. wills


    It appears, based on events, that with the combination of internet, technology, media, gadgets, information speed, information quantity, access, availability etc, the paradigm on which the markets operate has disintegrated into an algorithm black hole of a self destructive negative feedback loop.

  42. Here’s a bit of kite analysis you may not agree or disagree with as an angle on current happenings in the bond market especially in regard to currency speculation. Call it the Alien Vs Predator…Whoever Wins, We lose.

    So the derivitive OTC market explodes to €750 trillion over the past number of years. Lots of this stuff is dodgy, unpredictable Bank of America sand that’s sold abroad by Wall Street as castles in the air.

    A huge amount of this stuff is bought by European banks. Plus European banks eg Anglo through rabid lending practices inflate property bubbles eg in Spain/Ireland or through fiscal mismanagement allow debt to GDP ratios to get out of control eg Italy or through gross abandonment of prudential management poison the euro chalice a la Greece.

    So the US through deregulation, Wall St financial schenanigans similar to Enron eg OTC subprime, weakened also with out of control borrowing fed by a property bubble and 2008, but buoyed by borrowing ratios in its banks in the 20′s compared to banks in the EMU approaching the early 30′s makes a combined financial short attack against countries in the rival EMU to ensure defeat of its chief rival?

    Is this a fair overview of one aspect of the current currency war being played out as we speak, or are there other parts of the puzzle I’m missing?

    • Certainly selling junk to someone is a way to get an upperhand. The european commercial acceptance of the proposed credibility and integrity of US Capitalism ensured all AAA rated junk sold by Wall Street was never questioned, the fact that the same organisations that were so complicit in the peddling of concealed junk still dictate the public finances of nation states the absurdity of it all. As the private entities initially bought the junk , sovereign nations bought the junk of paying alot of their losses and allowing them to continue unabated. We are certainly in interesting times and it is always easy to try and reduce relatively complex interdependent activity to simple narratives but one thing is surely now clear, global finance is above governance and as long as that continues citizens pay a significant price

      • As the private entities initially bought the junk , sovereign nations bought the junk ideology of paying off their losses and allowing them to continue unabated. We are certainly in interesting times and it is always easy to try and reduce relatively complex interdependent activity to simple narratives but one thing is surely now clear, global finance is above governance and as long as that continues citizens pay a significant price

        • Deco

          The role of the state is to encourage recklessness, and to ensure that the decent citizenry do their bit to pay for it. Really, it a case of the worst elements of society managing to claw their way to the source of power in a society, and thereby avail of resources, at the expense of everybody else.

          The school of “something for nothing” economics.

    • dwalsh

      @ colm brazel

      You may be right. If I understand you correctly you are portraying it as a war between the USA and Europe…or the dollar and the Euro.

      I also think it is a war; but not between nations or trading blocks or currencies. I think it is a war against the nation state itself. To weaken the nation states and pave the way to a new level of global integration and governance. We can see that is where the crisis is going in Europe – financial federalisation in the form of Eurobonds or the like.
      The global financial elites operate at a level above national governance. Some of their corporations have annual budgets which exceed those of most nations. These trans-national elites are real; and they control more liquid wealth than any nation.

    • StephenKenny

      In my view your emphasis is in the wrong place. You are describing this as a conflict between countries, whereas it seems to me that this is a conflict between financial services and governments.

      The defining moment in recent years was the staring match between financial services companies and the US & UK governments. The governments blinked first, believing the threats of total collapse, and gave in. In my view there is absolutely no doubt that no one expected such a total collapse by the governments – in early 2008 the investment banks were clear” ‘It was over’. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t.

      From that moment, the brokers and bankers have effectively directed government policy, and have been awash in hundreds of billions of interest free government loans, guaranteed by the taxpayer.

      The currencies markets are simply part of the gaming of the world’s taxpayers by the financial services industry: Remember the mantra of 2008 – “Privatised gains, socialised losses”. I doubt there is a plan, except to get as much as possible, as quickly as possible.

      In 2000, Nick Leeson caused the collapse of Barings bank. The biggest bonus he ever received was about $250k. In 2007, the average package at Goldman Sachs was in excess of $650k, and total packages in excess of $10m were not rare, and $100m not unknown.

      • dwalsh

        StephenKenny wrote:

        “I doubt there is a plan, except to get as much as possible, as quickly as possible.”

        Certainly at the level of the traders and managers of the financial services companies there is no ‘plan’ other than “to get as much as possible, as quickly as possible”. But at the level of the people who own and control these operations I would be surprised if profit is their only concern.

        I would be surprised if they were not aware of the bigger picture; of the global picture; the ebb and flow of the distribution of power in our emergent global civilisation; and the momentum and future direction of our our world.

        Not all humans are completely absorbed in the treadmill and drama of work and families and TV etc.

  43. Few outrival US Capitalism in terms of deceit and manipulation, the fact that they have complete contempt for fellow US citizens reveals the absurdity of believing they have but anything else for foreign rivals.

  44. In zee future Merkel and I Sarkozzze, we will work more closeely toggether.

    If yuzze pripherales do the austerity and pay our bankees all us our monies, vee vill givuse zee golden rules to keep yezall foooooked in zee debtor clubs.

    Meanwhiles ve need more meetings for everybodies.

    Enda: I don’t care if I lose my money, I’m in love with a fairytale…..take it away Alex with the titanic Orchestra:)

    Sure it’s all a bit of nonsense…..

    • Dorothy Jones

      C’mon Colm. It’s a show ok, but none of this is funny. Markets have for some time not taken pol’s seriously. Markets won’t calm after this Kaffeeklatsch but may make a point by reactig adversely. Btw, everyone assumes that Ger is the strongman in this EU-weit discussion; so why DAX and German firms plumetting last week? Wait until markets have a go at Deutsch inc. pretty soon….Then the fun begins

      • Dorothy Jones

        Apologies for spelling mistakes above….Will go into my cyber-corner……..

        • Hi Dorothy, No problem with your spelling.

          Sorry about my gallows humour:) I think its a funny game of bluff. Ger banks are on the downside of a default, it will be interesting to see how markets are poking especially after Merkel/Sarkozy Kaffeeklatsch response to the crisis.

          We need your German to monitor Bild and the tabloids? What’s happening re DAX and Deutch INC?
          Any jack in the box surprises in store for us:)

    • dwalsh


      As Dorothy Jones says…”Wait until markets have a go at Deutsch inc. pretty soon….Then the fun begins”

      • Dorothy Jones

        @ dwalsh
        I think that the hunting season is about to begin……Deutschland inc. is under crosshairs now and shots will open as soon as the white flag goes down. ….Look at the the DAX downward curve.. does this make sense?…. Shares in E.on and RWE, Lufthansa and the like in freefall. [Good time to buy btw.] ECB in too deep in IT and Esp now with a further 20b shovelled in today…Think about it? Shorting against Deutschland a la G Soros Bank of England….red meat….

        • dwalsh

          Hi Dorothy Jones
          Yes I think you are right. My Guess is the really big hitters, such as the philanthropist you mention, will try to exert enough pressure to force Europe into financial federalisation — Eurobonds; which will entail the radical diminishment of the sovereignty of the European nation states. I think many among Europe’s political elites would welcome this outcome; and the global philanthropists will make use of that.
          We shall see.

  45. dwalsh

    Re Merkel and Sarkozy announcement

    It is incredible really. Our nations are being bankrupted by a tsunami of private speculative debt created by the financial sector (especially derivatives) and all we get are lectures on austerity from our political elites.
    What they should be announcing is a series of measures to protect our nations and our citizens from the predatory wolf packs of speculators in the casinos that masquerade as financial markets.

    Soros is calling for the financial federalisation of Europe in the form of Eurobonds.

    This crisis is being used to fast-track Europe into federalisation.

    • Malcolm McClure

      dwalsh: You have highlighted the important issue of the day: EuroFederal economics. Dail becomes glorified county council. Business tax unified across Europe. Constitutional change.
      But Constitutional Change requires a referendum and it is extremely unlikely that the Irish electorate will support that.
      Eurobonds are out for various reasons.
      Time for Plan C?

  46. redriversix

    Hi Colm

    Yes, i believe that your article is a fair overview of the current currency War being played out.

    There are also lots of the puzzle pieces missing, that is not a reflection on you , but a reflection on our past and present Finance Ministers, amongst other things…

    Who know,s the inside track on this ?

    Who would have to be brought “up to speed on financial issue,s ” ?

    Why don,t why start with our own Minster of finance , Mr Noonan.

    I am sure he has a calculator , I am pretty sure he has a basic idea of debits and credits.When he is looking in the mirror shaving getting ready for another day , do you think he really believes his figures stack up.?

    Does he really believe in all honesty the crap he has to peddle out every time he speaks , his first reaction tonight is to praise Sarkozy & Merkels new “initiative ”

    How much advice did he get before doing that i wonder ?

    Sarkozy & Merkel decide on a new national Government of Europe,who elected them ?

    More referendums , More loss of our sovereign power.

    More scaring ordinary people , ” this would be a joke if it was not so serious ”

    They say they cannot bear the brunt of anymore bailouts for Euro Countries , did they and their banks not lend over 890 billion Euro during the boom so they could also ” make some money ”

    ” New tax on all banking transactions ”

    Any Country that does not tow the line with this new solution shall be ” punished severely ”

    ” Can you believe this crap ” ?
    Oh What will we do,? I know, ring Joe fucking Duffy ”

    ” Excuse me , I am very annoyed.

    Take care & Goodnight !

  47. ladygee2

    Well,boys and girls,I hate to have to say it, but after what Merkel and Sarkozy had to say after their so called ‘meeting’ earlier on this evening the shit is quite literally now going to hit the fan!!!
    So much for the Lisbon Treaty??? It wasn’t worth the paper it was written on and along with all the spin from our so called political leaders about it being good for jobs and all the rest the crap they went on about during the referendum campaign and they scaring us into eventually passing it, it looks as though the chickens are going to be finally coming home to roost.
    After watching the Meerkat and the others and what they had to say about what Merkel and Sarkozy said after their meeting it looks as though we’re well and truly f****d!!!!

    • @ dorothy, riverix, dwalsh, ladygee2, DmcW

      Guys and gals, not that ye didn’t cop this already, but through the plaintive calls to rein in traders, the banks, our upset re the guarantee, the lack of progress at EU level to deal with debt, has not the penny dropped?

      Our so-called political leaders are puppets of the bankocracy, the elite that runs the banks. Whether its Obama led by Geithner’s Wall Street, Noonan led by Bruton’s IFSC, or Merkel/Sarkozy run by Trichet, political policy is being manoeuvred out to reinforce the power of the banks over citizens, not to diminish it.

      Noonan is in Kildare St most days like Silas Marner counting his shillings coming through the IFSC through Corporation Tax, scheming to make sure no new curbs such as a transaction tax hit the business of the IFSC, promoting the IFSC as a hub for Finance.

      What’s happening now is the PIIGS, represented by debt regimes such as our own, will take more and more citizens rights including public services in health and education down to the abattoir, to extend the powers of the bankocracy served by them.

      Meanwhile we have to keep searching for Enda’s brain:)

    • Dorothy Jones

      Yes ladygee2 and I’m with Colm also; the tail is wagging the dog well and truly. Here in Berlin the German press today 110817 highly critical of the Mekozy tragi-comedy. Great article by Derek Scally of the Irish Times, the link is on The elephant in the room in all of this: German growth has just slowed and confidence here is losing ground. Deutscl inc. may be more fragile than heretofore assumed, FAZ commentary today mentions a further recession. All is not as it seems……Fortsetzung folgt….

  48. Tull McAdoo

    Enda Kenny I believe is hoping to get the Chairmanship of the “Whiter Wool Movement”. He is hoping to negotiate better terms for Ireland from Mr.Frederick over in Pinchfield Farm, even though historically we exported most of our wool to Mr.Pilkington over in Foxwood Farm.

    So to summarise we seem to be getting nearer to Pinchfield than Pilkingtons……Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba,Ba (last bit represents the natives getting restless)….

    I suppose there is always the “Sugar Candy Mountain” to look forward to, or for those who don’t believe in fairytales, well then ye can have in the words of Bob Dylan “pie in the sky when ye die”

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