October 19, 2011

We must reinvent Ireland or face permanent decline

Posted in Irish Independent · 318 comments ·
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Last week the BlackBerry crashed. Thousands of Irish business executives were without email for a few days. For some, this was the realisation of all their nightmares, having become dependent on their BlackBerry.

In fact a more accurate description of this relationship between BlackBerry and executive might not even be “dependent on”, but possibly “defined by”, their relationship with their BlackBerry.

The Great BlackBerry Crash was yet another bit of bad news for a device and a company that once ruled the corporate world. What does the experience of BlackBerry tell us about the Irish economy? Or to put it another way, what lessons can Ireland — in a hyper competitive world where every country is competing for business, all the time, everywhere — take from the fortunes of the BlackBerry?

To answer this question we have to look back at recent history while seeking a bit of altitude from recent histrionics — such as the outpouring of anger this week on Twitter against the BlackBerry.

Let’s go back some years.

Do you remember the expression the “Crackberry”?

It was used to describe the addictive nature of the BlackBerry when the device first hit the streets. For some, the BlackBerry was as addictive as crack cocaine. People — normally corporate executives — who had never had such a device before and had presumably led reasonably fulfilled lives up to then, suddenly became addicted to instant, mobile, “always-on” communication. Having tried the BlackBerry once, they couldn’t live without it. They were hooked, hopelessly dependent on this little machine, which instantly and remorselessly took hold of their lives.

Over the years, BlackBerry addicts became a familiar sight crouched over their little hand- held machines, furiously punching the tiny keys as they zapped emails back and forth. I have played second fiddle to the BlackBerry many times as my obviously mind-numbingly boring conversation has been put on hold while the person I am chatting to looks distractedly down at their little machine which has just bleeped for their divided attention. But sure that’s life, no big deal, maybe the same thing happened to you too?

Five years ago, the BlackBerry was a world-beater, selling millions of devices for its Canadian owner, a company called Research In Motion. Revenues in the company sky-rocketed and there was a sense that this corporation had hit on the magic formula, which insured world domination. For a while, the sky was the limit. Other technology companies looked on as BlackBerry hoovered up what was essentially the mobile email market, as BlackBerry invented it.

Then of course — as certain as night follows day — the competition reacted. You can’t do well without others noticing how much cash you are making. Not only do other people copy you, but they improve on your best efforts. This is the way the world works.

First, the late, great Steve Jobs created the iPhone, which not only gave the user all the mobile communication of the BlackBerry, but also allowed people to watch videos, take photos and generally lock themselves into their own mobile world. Then even Jobs was out-smarted by the emergence of the Google Android device, which is now the fastest selling of all these new smartphones.

So what has all this to do with Ireland?

Well the story of the demise, or at least relative demise, of BlackBerry is the story of capitalism, as we know it. In every venture when you think you are doing well and you believe you have found some competitive advantage that might be everlasting, then you are doomed.

Even when we are beating the competition hands down and creating a new market as BlackBerry originally did, we only ever have a “temporary monopoly”. This “iron rule” of competition goes for companies doing well, individuals doing well or products which are doing well. It holds true for football teams or sports teams of any sort.

For example, will the Dubs win the All-Ireland next year? They might, but they sure as hell won’t win because the opposition next year, like Kerry this year, run out of steam in the last 10 minutes. That won’t happen again because the opposition won’t let it happen. They — whoever they may be — will be fitter, stronger and tougher next year and will run ’til the whistle. So the Dubs will have to reinvent.

Similarly, the lesson from the decline of the BlackBerry for Ireland is: never misdiagnose a winning streak for a permanent advantage.

Let’s think of Ireland’s economic or more aptly, industrial, model such as it is after the crash. It is based on attracting foreign companies. The companies are attracted by tax breaks and a workforce which is reasonably well educated and hard working. We have access to markets and a history of success for these types of investors.

The IDA, who are doing a good job, trumpet the education system as a key ingredient for the success of inward investment.

And by most benchmarks they are right. Ireland has, after all, received more investment from corporate America than America has given to China, India, Russia and Brazil combined.

But like the heyday of BlackBerry when everyone wanted one, these days are behind us. The world is not waiting for Ireland to sort itself out and, crucially, what made us attractive in the past is being copied by other “wannabe” Irelands all over the world. Our temporary monopoly in the foreign investment game is up.

We must reinvent the Irish industrial offer because it will be bettered by somewhere else, in the same way as the BlackBerry was copied and improved on by the iPhone, the iPhone was copied and improved on by the Google Android and the Android itself will be improved on by someone else.

This is the law of the jungle, the essential Darwinism of capitalism.

When you travel outside Ireland, you see this global hyper competition at work. I have recently spent a few days in Dubai and have seen for myself what global competition looks like both at the top end in the swanky hotels of New Dubai but also at the bottom end in the crazy trading inferno that is the Souk of Old Dubai. I am writing this at an altitude of 40,000 feet on Etihad Airways on the way home and the moral of the BlackBerry story is that we in Ireland need to get our heads around the next phase of the country’s economic development.

The world is moving on. We can’t wait any longer. We need to take our destiny into our own hands and stop messing around with our banks and our mortgage market, waiting for some European bureaucrat to give us permission to do this or that. We had a “temporary monopoly”, it is now gone. We need a new plan.

We need to seize the moment and reinvent Ireland. Otherwise, like BlackBerry, we will turn a temporary blip into a permanent decline.


  1. Colin

    When CAO points for Medicine are 100 points behind Software Engineering for example, then I’ll know Ireland has got its industrial model in the right shape. Until then, its more of the same Crony Republic as we know it, with the old professionals fcuking it all up for the rest of us.

    • Deco

      Well – I would amend that slightly.

      When the entry for Law in UCD are 100 points below the points for Engineering – then we will be at the point of having a productive, functioning economy.

      People with Medical degrees do important, essential work. People with Law degrees are as useful as Brian Cowen in a banking crisis.

      • Bamboo

        Now that we have woken up from the scandals of the last couple of decades, we will go into a an era of a reversed Big Brother society. The Big Brother society run by governments is very much in full swing in many European nations with cameras, neighbours, friends and general begrudgers informing authorities what others are up to. The internet has and will enter into a phase of a reversed Big Brother and several sites will be developed by volunteers to develop websites that keep an eye of who is doing what, why and how much does it cost.
        Top government, county council, quango positions and board members will be scrutinised by this new BB instrument that will be run by the Irish people. Watchdogs will voluntarily emerge out of nowhere and will be respected for their bravery. Maybe this will not be seen bravery anymore but as a civil duty. John Snow from Channel travelled to Japan to report about the tsunami and as he questioned himself what more is there to report then what is already uploaded on to YOUTUBE and what can he contribute more to the world by his report.
        Ireland and indeed other countries won’t be depended anymore on investigative journalism like “Wasters” by Shane Ross and Nick Webb. Potential issues will be nipped in the bud before it is able get its own life and get out of hand. Look at leakipedia where confidential documents are exposed to the world. These are issues that have passed and can’t be reversed but a reversed BIG Brother can now prevent disasters. We will get into an era that probably prevent things won’t get done anymore because of this BiG brother but it will certainly prevent disaster. This reversed BIG Brother will most likely get out of hand as well but I think this is inevitable by the way global information is developing. Whether this is good or bad development is again up to the people to decide and not up to a bunch if thinktankers.
        Big Brother may sound a bit harsh and threatening but maybe little sister would sound better.

      • Colin

        Fair enough Deco, I was trying to keep my post as brief as possible, but why can’t Irish society be organised to reflect importance of professions in this order (Engineering – Science – Business – Law – Arts), instead of (Medical Science – Law – Business – Arts – Engineering – Non-Medical Science)? Why can’t we have 10,000 students take Applied Maths and 1,000 take Home Economics instead of the other way around?

        • Original-Ed

          Until Irish Engineers get off their arses and generate some real wealth by creating world class tech businesses, the bright and ambitious will continue to gravitate towards the established lucrative professions of Law, Medicine, etc.

          look at the reality of what it takes to really succeed in Engineering – first there is the study phase, then,there’s the experience phase, after that, it’s either a relatively comfortable cruise for the remainder of life or a serious drop in living standards while attempting to go it alone in the hope of gaining some big prize in the distant future. It’s mad dog in the mid-day sun territory and that’s why there are so few takers.

    • Elpenor Dignam

      “This is the law of the jungle, the essential Darwinism of capitalism.”

      I don’t think so.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RjermDZ1qfI#!

      • Perhapx

        Very good point. For example;- Dogs generally don’t eat dog. It is clear that destroying your own kind is not a stable evolutionary strategy.

  2. wills

    The new game in town is organizing an economy working along the lines of free market enterprise. We can in ireland show that ordering society along the lines of free market enterprise works for the benefit for ALL in the society.

    Simple.

    • Deco

      Free market enterprise will work, if there is a proper level playing field. Gombeenism and ratchetting up margins is not free market enterprise. It is selfishness, control, and oligopoly. It was always under control, by the sheer limitations of the local capital market, until the attachment to the Euro Zone lending market, enabled a surge in the most liberal lending practices that this country ever seen.

      Artificially cheap EuroZone credit, gombeen economic models, and corrupt/inept public institutions brought us into this crisis.

      The most sensible thing we could do would be to burn the bondholders. But “our EU partners” are using their clout to prevent the “market solution”, because it hurts the rich.

      • Praetorian

        “Free market enterprise will work, if……”

        If a state of perfect market and political equilibrium existed (goes back to Adam Smith) which we know will never happen so think the concept of the ‘free market’ is so redundant it should not be invoked for fear of giving a misleading impression especially when you consider how the so called market actually works.

        • coldblow

          While there are obviously good things to say about the free market I agree with you, but perhaps you don’t go far enough. I mean I agree that if you look at it historically it always led to huge problems. But I doubt that a perfect market would be an improvement, rather it would have much worse outcomes. That’s from reading Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation (recommended a few on irisheconomy by a poster there so I thought I’d have a look). His argument traces the development of free market capitalism from its origins around 1800 and up into the 1920s and 30s. You begin with the institutionalized poverty under the old English poor law (as modified by the hugely unsatisfactory Speenhamland) where the land enclosures which had begun in Tudor times were unleashing the social chaos of mass rural unemployment. The first major measure of the newly enfranchised classes in 1832 was to pass a new Poor Law which abolished outdoor relief said to the able bodied: work or go hungry. Labour was now officially another commodity and industrial capitalism was no longer hamstrung by (albeit well-meaning) interference. Polanyi argues that unfettered capitalism would utterly destroy all civilized institutions and that the reforms which were put into place (and which were condemned by free market liberals as interference with the free market mechanism) were the minimum to prevent social and political collapse. He describes the FM as a utopia, one that was achieved (to the high degree that it was achieved) through enormous govt. and institutional interference. Although each of these checks on the FM gave shelter to one vested interest or another, he argues that their benefits far outweighed this (just as he argued that Speenhamland delayed full-on ind. capitalism for a generation and thereby gave vital breathing space to society to build up its defences). One of these defences was central banking as market forces under a crude market mechanism would be wildly unstable and busts in the cycle would lead to the ruin of many a sound going concern. (Could one call this ‘destructive destruction’ I wonder?)

          A bit like the Nazis and the myth of the stab in the back in 1918 when Germany was far from defeated, a similar myth grew up among liberals that the reason for the failure of the free market was that it was not never tried in a sufficiently pure form.

          I find his arguments mostvery persuasive but for the moment they are on the back burner in my mind. I can say, however, that I have never read an author who displays such an overpowering historical and economic understanding. Written in English, too.

          • Praetorian

            Must do some work on Polanyi, know you have mentioned him on many occasions, have to take a closer look at his work. Thanks for your persistence.

  3. EMMETTOR

    Will the Blackberry ever come back? No. Will Ireland ever come back? No, at least not to the same feeding grounds that nourished us before. Can capitalism come back? Not in it’s current neo-liberal form. Can private enterprise overcome the disadvantages of our high cost base, our moribund and, frankly, useless public service and a political system that’s floundering in the face of the unprecedented challenges it’s facing. We are a small country, we should be light on our feet but we’re not. We’re ponderously slow to change, resistant to it, even. Our two main political parties (Labour will be back to third or even fourth by the time of the next election) were formed in the crucible of our Civil War and both lack any guiding principles or even any real sense of direction. When the dust has settled, if it ever does, Ireland will be more closely integrated into Europe than ever before. We will be to Berlin, Paris or Rome as the wilds of Connemara are to Dublin. We are destined to be a backwater in a declining Europe, useful only for a visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of the real centres of the new Europe. Our entire infrastructure will be privately owned by foreign capitalists whose interests will not include the well-being of our people, except insofar as it enables us to pay their bills. We are being set up for a future which will see us relegated to the third division of states and the third world of “The Periphery”. If Irish people want jobs they better learn German, if they want to do international business they’d better learn Mandarin. The Celtic Tiger, as well as being a mirage for most of our population, was a blip, an accident, a mistake and it will never be repeated. I will be living in Canada, the place of my birth but that will involve leaving my home, Ireland. I have lived here almost all my life but only got my Irish passport 3 years ago. It will become useless to me well before it actually expires and I won’t be getting another one. Will someone please tell me that I’m spouting nonsense? Please.

    • Adam Byrne

      Nah, you are not, you’d be better off in Canada.

    • Deco

      Canada is an honest country.

      In Ireland, the first thing you drop in order to fit in, is honesty.

      Honesty in Ireland is a threat to the system. And in a small bowl, the first godfish out of line gets reprimanded as a reminder to all of the others.

      • Praetorian

        @ Deco, from my experience, think there is a great deal of wisdom in what you say, so sad, but so true. Honesty is not seen as an asset, seen as a liability because you are expected to do what is necessary, what is best but not always what is right.

      • CitizenWhy

        A popular, and true, saying in the US and Canada:

        Everyone on Wall Street lies.

        • stiofanc02

          Actually its “A popular, and true saying in the US TO Canadians, Go Home! @ anyone who thinks Canada is so great and Moral read about how they let the Hells Angels rule the streets and how bass ackwards their legal system is and you might just change your mind.

          • Colin

            Yes, I’ve never been to Canada, but I do get suspicious when it seems like the whole world and its dog start fawning about it. Its the country Mark Steyn hails from, and he felt compelled to leave it for the good ol US of A. That speaks volumes in my book.

          • CitizenWhy

            Colin, Canada is a risk averse culture, the cautious sibling to the overly bold and adventurous USA. This hyper-prudence was great for keeping Canada out of the weird banking explosion they saw the US heading for. But it also tends to drive creative types out, cautious “insiders” unwilling to take risks and freezing out visionaries in the arts. I know some of this from younger US-Canadian-Irish relatives who are at the same time appalled by many aspects of the US culture, media and systems but at the same time willing to come to the US for creative reasons.

            Up until very recently Canada had no Bill of Rights. Instead Canada depended on an unwritten rule that everyone would be polite to everyone else. Violations of this rule brought down punishments ranging from being ignored and frozen out to an authoritarian wallop. The police, for instance, could not violate your civil rights since there were none. But you would be treated nicely unless you were rude. Then God help you.

            This Canadian culture also favored frugality, savings and the expectation of cheap prices (except in housing), LAO except that prices for clothes were much cheaper in the USA. Hence my Canada-living relatives would regularly shop for clothes in New York, even at expensive stores. Online shopping has changed this habit, it being easy to buy from US sites. Education at top universities, however, remains very cheap, even for US citizens. This frugal aspect of the culture has been blunted by the influx of Hong Kong people with lots of money. This is especially true in Vancouver, where one of my nieces now lives.

            One odd aspect of Canada for a long time was an almost perpetual strike on the part of its postal workers. Our mail to Canada used to regularly arrive on time, or 3 to 6 months later. No predicting when the strike would be in effect, or for how long, since it often varied by province and city.

            The rule of gangsters happens in many places in North America, but usually it is isolated and not widespread, except in current Mexico (different from the past).

    • DB4545

      Emmettor as a public servant please forgive some bias in my response. I think it’s correct to say that some elements of the public service are useless. The problem for Irish taxpayers is that these elements are usually in the middle-management and upper echelons of the public sector. The problem simply stated is that we don’t have a meritocracy in the public service. A forensic examination of the system would reveal rampant cronyism, nepotism and political meddling/influence. There are sections of the public service run as a family business. I’ve observed names on promotion panels of individuals who have basic literacy problems (with zero business ,analytical or I.T. skills) and yet somehow have been rewarded with promotion (at taxpayers expense). If it was the private sector such policies would have resulted in bankruptcy.It could be argued that these policies have resulted in the bankruptcy of the Irish State. There are many hardworking public servants doing their utmost for the taxpayers in this State. Unfortunately there are battalions of well-connected wasters embedded in the system squandering the hard-earned resources of taxpayers. It has to stop. The system requires root and branch reform. Now.

      • Thank you for sharing this DB4545!

        While I read your post, a story came to my mind. Jordan is a small Kingdom with somewhat comparable to ireland 6.5 million people. Talk about being between a rock and hard place, they share borders with Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, with the Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west.

        Jordan is the country with the most advanced democratic reforms to date in the Arab world.

        King Adbullah II has an interesting hobby in deed, every so often he goes under cover, he camouflages himself with great skills and masquerade. One time he did that to check out how the bureaucracy was working for the people of his kingdom, to see how the people are treated by the PRIVILEGED, and I wrote this in capitals to emphasize the fact hat they are a privileged group of society both, in Ireland, in Jordan, and in deed many other countries as well.

        To make a longer story short, it was a total disaster what he experienced, from disrespectful behavior to cronyism and corruption, he saw it first hand, and then dropped his camouflage. You can bet that some of them were probably never closer to an heart attack in their entire life.

        He then brought forward a great many changes to the system, and the funny thing is, the fact alone that he disguised himself instilled a certain form of prophylactic medicine. Of course, civil servants from here on treated citizens as if they are the King, and this is exactly what he aimed for once he explained his motives.

        Refreshing isn’t it! :)

        • coldblow

          … of Treasury asked in Dublin Castle, how many could speak Mandarin? As if it could really matter – the British head of a Japanese company said recently that he stopped trying to speak Japanese when somebody told him that he resembled a baby.

          “In the southern Chinese industrial heartland, you could speak in Cantonese, Mandarin or whatever, but unless you’re dealing in big money, you would understand what f-off is in any language.”

        • Praetorian

          at Georg, you story (very interesting) reminds me of Peter the Great or ‘Tsar Carpenter’, who did very similar things, including working in Dutch and British naval shipyards as a carpenter in order to learn the British system, he returned to Russia with European engineers and built one of the world’s most powerful fleets. Wasn’t aware of King Adbullah II’s efforts.
          http://www.saint-petersburg.com/monuments/tsar-carpenter.asp

        • DB4545

          If it was introduced here Georg it would be very refreshing. A few points to aid its introduction.

          1.A publicly accessible database detailing the salary, expenses, etc. of any/all persons or companies paid from tax resources. If it’s not measured it’s not managed.Forget the “commercial confidentiality clause”. If you want to be paid from or pitch for Irish taxpayers dosh you lose the “right” to confidentiality. This would highlight duplication and allow taxpayers to see who exactly is accessing tax resources and measure if taxpayers are getting value for money.
          2. Repeal the “Official Secrets Act”. In reality there are very few secrets which if revealed would damage State interests. This is Ireland. We’re not a superpower. We’re an open trading nation.There are however many “little empires” sucking up vast tax resources which need a very bright light shone on them to speed their reform or closure. They are eventually dragged into daylight but have normally cost the taxpayer a social and economic fortune before this happens. Fas, the industrial schools, many of the tribunals and most quangos are shining examples.
          3. I hear frequent calls for “strong” leadership and government. We need effective leadership and government. Mr. Gaddafi was a strong leader and the country had a cult of personality. Look at the results of his leadership. Look at the results of our cult of “political personality”.Who is the President and Prime Minister of Switzerland? I don’t know or care. It is however one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.
          4.I covered one module of “Economics” while completing my degree so I’m not claiming expert status. It might help to apply Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of “creative destruction” to large sections of our Public and Semi-State Sector. Now.

          James Joyce said that “Ireland is the old sow that eats its farrow”. Ireland is now the old boar and sow that nurtures, educates and then exports its farrow for the benefit of other societies. We are better than that. Let’s grow a pair of balls and change.
          Your children need you. Someday you’ll need your children. At home.

    • maria o

      Not nonsense just reality safe journey

  4. Old Minds never change

    I overheard an old woman saying today ,

    ‘ Ireland is shutting down’.

    I wish my alarm clock would too .

    No, but seriously everything is so eerie returning back a step or two .The heart beat slows .The ladies eye shadows dissapear and their bottle bronze colours are visible at the roots .Oil of ~Olay will soon be replaced with butter milk .

    No more facades of hidden treasures to hide fortunes or pretend to have .Either way the transparency of the real life surfaces and the hard facts glue to the face like warts .

  5. Blackberry to me has only ever been , ‘Jam’.I never want that salviating dream to change on me .The taste will never elude me and the plant has thorns because it has something good to protect .It succulance has moments that would overflow any technical memory .

    Those poor guys who have lost a toy should get real and eat their hand.

  6. Lyndon Jones

    True Ireland is in decline and all we are left with is the debts of a borrowing / property boom .
    To reinvent ourselves we must become leaner and meaner than the competition . Wages must be lowered in order to become competitive.
    Intel is also in decline like Ireland , their chips have become too expensive due to high wages. Pharmatuetical companies are laying off staff and moving to lower cost countries. Electronic companies such as Dell have gone due to high wages.
    Ireland was embroiled in a property bubble since 2000 before that the likes of Dell and intel made sense but not now .
    The latest companies to come are Google , twitter and facebook these are only fads , they wont last.
    120,000 young people have left because there is no future for them here , Ireland is in decline and this is just the start.
    Competition is the basis for capitalism and we are just too expensive and weare more indebted than Japan, Greece or the US. We will just return to normality of emigration and poverty.

    • Can’t agree, Lyndon. The Irish need higher, not lower wages, to kickstart a stalled economy.

      That can only be accomplished by abolishing many taxes on labour and capital and instituting a significant single rate land tax–more accurately public capture of publicly-generated land rent–thereby reversing the errant tax mechanism that got Ireland where it is.

      The capture of what economists call economic rent has a history of producing higher wages and a healthier economy. Thorold Roger’s study of six centuries of manor rolls showed the English labourer of the 15th and first part of the 16th century with a family of 5 had 65% of his wages left after food, clothing and shelter under the land tax! Even Acts of Parliament couldn’t reduce wages.

      What (other than debt) has the Irish labourer left after he provides for food, clothing and shelter?

  7. Adam Byrne

    subscribe.

  8. This positive US investment trumpeting is really a joke.

    It has build this country not on stable and solid economic fundamentals, but made it willingly dependent on US corporations who installed one tele center with cube-tele-slaves after the next in the dot com bubble, and closed them as quickly as they opened them, having invested Zilch in Ireland, but leased the properties instead and used the unique Irish TAX situation to divert their tax liabilities to cash in more profits.

    This is no business model at all, this is the same attitude like those honorable representatives who ripped of the EU Projects for their own political gain.

    Yeah, it has blessed us with legal companies like Maples & Calder and a bunch of interesting other ones you can still take photographs from their brass plates in the IFSC, dodgy is just the first name.

    There are exceptions of course, but the bottom line was that the TAX SITUATION for companies coming to Ireland, and an easy to exploit multilingual workforce was at the core of this hype.

    “Wannabe Ireland’s all over the world”

    Oh come on.

    • This is the law of the jungle, the essential Darwinism of capitalism.

      Yeah, and exactly this twisted linking of Darwinism and Capitalism helped to justify the ruthless practices of capitalist monopolists.

      • CitizenWhy

        Socuial Darwinism has been a destructive instrument for a ruthless form of capitalistic exploitation. But today scientific research is showing that Darwin and evolutionary science identifies cooperation as the best way to survive. There have been a number of articles on this in Scientific American. No wonder the US right wing rejects science.

        • coldblow

          Let’s be fair, a lot of b******s has been promoted by, or justified in the name of, science. I wouldn’t pay the scientists any more heed than I would the anthropologists, historians, economists, the US Right, the Swedish Left, or the critics of any of them! But I still agree with you that this Social Darwinism has been around for so long now that it seems to be accepted as a fact of life. Probably just another fancy name for stupidity…

    • Any country willing to offer massive welfare handouts to the rich will be attractive to investors. They will pay the lowest wages permissible while creaming off huge profits before moving on to milk the next bunch of mugs they can screw

  9. CitizenWhy

    Let’s think a little creatively about re-inventing Ireland. Try this idea:

    “The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC). Recently, the workers in the Fagor Appliance Factory in Mondragón, Spain, received an 8% cut in pay.1⁠ This is not unusual in such hard economic times. What is unusual is that the workers voted themselves this pay cut. They could do this because the workers are also the owners of the firm. Fagor is part of the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation, a collection of cooperatives in Spain founded over 50 years ago.

    The story of this remarkable company begins with a rather remarkable man, Fr. José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, who was assigned in 1941 to the village of Mondragón in the Basque region of Spain. The Basque region had been devastated by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1938); they had supported the losing side and had been singled out by Franco for reprisals. Large numbers of Basque were executed or imprisoned, and poverty and unemployment remained endemic until the 1950’s. In Fr. José’s words, “We lost the Civil War, and we became an occupied region.”2⁠ However, the independent spirit of the Basques proved to be fertile ground for the ideas of Fr. José. He took on the project of alleviating the poverty of the region. For him, the solution lay in the pages of Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, and the thinkers who had pondered the principles these encyclicals contained. Property, and its proper use, was central to his thought, as it was to Pope Leo and to Belloc and Chesterton. “Property,” Fr. José wrote, “is valued in so far as it serves as an efficient resource for building responsibility and efficiency in any vision of community life in a decentralized form.”3⁠

    Fr. José’s first step was the education of the people into the Distributist ideal. He became the counselor for the Church’s lay social and cultural arm, known as “Catholic Action,” and formed the Hezibide Elkartea, The League for Education and Culture, which established a training school for apprentices. He helped a group of these students become engineers, and later encouraged them to form a company of their own on cooperative lines. In 1955, when a nearby stove factory went bankrupt, the students raised $360,000 from the community to buy it. This first of the co-operatives was named Ulgor, which was an acronym from the names of the founders.

    From such humble beginnings, the cooperative movement has grown to an organization that employs over 100,000 people in Spain, has extensive international holdings, has, as of 2007, €33 billion in assets (approximately US$43 billion), and revenues of €17 billion. 80% of their Spanish workers are also owners, and the Cooperative is working to extend the cooperative ideal to their foreign subsidiaries.4⁠ 53% of the profits are placed in employee-owner accounts. The cooperatives engage in manufacturing of consumer and capital goods, construction, engineering, finance, and retailing. But aside from being a vast business and industrial enterprise, the corporation is also a social enterprise. It operates social insurance programs, training institutes, research centers, its own school system, and a university, and it does it all without government support.

    Mondragón has a unique form of industrial organization. Each worker is a member of two organizations, the General Assembly and the Social Council. The first is the supreme governing body of the corporation, while the second functions in a manner analogous to a labor union. The General Assembly represents the workers as owners, while the Social Council represents the owners as workers. Voting in the General Assembly is on the basis of “one worker, one vote,” and since the corporation operates entirely form internal funds, there are no outside shareholders to outvote the workers in their own cooperatives. Moreover, it is impossible for the managers to form a separate class which lords it over both shareholders and workers and appropriates to itself the rewards that belong to both; the salaries of the highest-paid employee is limited to 8 times that of the lowest paid.

    Mondragón has a 50 year history of growth that no capitalist organization can match. They have survived and grown in good times and bad. Their success proves that the capitalist model of production, which involves a separation between capital and labor, is not the only model and certainly not the most successful model. The great irony is that Mondragón exemplifies the libertarian ideal in a way that no libertarian system ever does. While the Austrian libertarians can never point to a working model of their system, the Distributists can point to a system that embodies all the objectives of a libertarian economy, but only by abandoning the radical individualism of the Austrians in favor of the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.

    The Cooperative Economy of Emilia-Romagna. Another large-scale example of Distributism in action occurs in the Emilia-Romagna, the area around Bologna, which is one of 20 administrative districts in Italy. This region has a 100 year history of cooperativism, but the coops were suppressed in the 1930′s by the Fascists. After the war, with the region in ruins, the cooperative spirit was revived and has grown ever since, until now there are about 8,000 coops in the region of every conceivable size and variety. The majority are small and medium size enterprises, and they work in every area of the economy: manufacturing, agriculture, finance, retailing, and social services.

    The “Emilian Model” is quite different from that used in Mondragón. While the MCC uses a hierarchical model that resembles a multi-divisional corporation (presuming the divisions of a corporation were free to leave at any time) the Emilian model is one of networking among a large variety of independent firms. These networks are quite flexible, and may change from job to job, combining a high degree of integration for specific orders with a high degree of independence. The cooperation among the firms is institutionalized many in two organizations, ERVET (The Emilia-Romagna Development Agency) and the CNA (The National Confederation of Artisans).

    ERVET provides a series of “real” service centers (as opposed to the “government” service centers) to businesses which provide business plan analysis, marketing, technology transfer, and other services. The centers are organized around various industries; CITER, for example, serves the fashion and textile industries, QUASCO serves construction, CEMOTOR serves earth-moving equipment, etc. CNA serves the small artigiani, the artisanal firms with fewer than 18 employees, and where the owner works within the firm, and adds financing, payroll, and similar services to the mix.

    We discussed in Chapter 16 how the cooperatives work as an industrial model. Here let us only add that that the Emilian Model is based on the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity revolves around the notion of bi-directional transfers; it is not so much a defined exchange relationship with a set price as it is an expectation that what one gets will be proportional to what one gives. The element of trust is very important, which lowers the transaction costs of contracts, lawyers, and the like, unlike modern corporations, where such expenses are a high proportion of the cost of doing business. But more than that, since reciprocity is the principle that normally obtains in healthy families and communities, the economic system reinforces both the family and civil society, rather than works against them.

    Space does not permit me to explore the richness of the Emilian Model. I will simply note here some of its economic results. The cooperatives supply 35% of the GDP of the region, and wages are 50% higher than in the rest of Italy. The region’s productivity and standard of living are among the highest in Europe. The entrepreneurial spirit is high, with over 8% of the workforce either self-employed or owning their own business. There are 90,000 manufacturing enterprises in the region, certainly one of the densest concentrations per capita in the world. Some have called the Emilian Model “molecular capitalism”; but whatever you call it, it is certainly competitive, if not outright superior, to corporate capitalism.

    Taiwan and the “Land to the Tiller” Program. In 1949, the Chinese Nationalists were defeated by the Communists and fled to the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan. The Taiwan that greeted the refugees was a feudal backwater. Mostly it was a nation of small sharecroppers paying rents of 50-70% of the crop. Most of the land was owned by members of just 20 families. Further, since the returns on land were so high that there was little interest in investing in industry. In addition, Taiwan had to absorb 2 million refugees from the mainland and bear the costs of defense. It was expected that Taiwan would soon fall to the mainland communists, as the Kuomintang had never proved very effective in controlling China. It was necessary to act quickly to reform Taiwan; it was the very failure to enact reforms which had made the Kuomintang unpopular in China and led to the victory of the Communists. They could not make the same mistake twice.

    Effective control of the non-Communist East was in the hands of General Douglas MacArthur, who happened to be a distributist. He worked out a plan of reform for Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Here we deal just with the reforms in Taiwan. The basis of the plan is that the farmers who actually worked the land would come into possession. The landowners were forced to sell the land to their tenants at a price equal to 2.5 times the average crop. The farmers paid for the land over 10 years. Under this “land to the tiller” program, 432,000 families came into possession of their own land. Where previously they had been paying 50% forever, now they would pay 25% for 10 years.

    The results were dramatic. Since farmers got the full rewards of their labor, they were more willing to invest more money and give more labor. Farm production increased as farmers used more fertilizer, went to multiple cropping with as many as four crops/year and diversified production to higher value but more labor intensive crops. Production increased at an annual rate of 5.6% from 1953 thru 1970. The farmers suddenly had something they never had before: relatively large amounts of disposable income. Now they needed some place to spend it. Providing products to buy would require an expansion of industry on the island, if the country was not to be dependent on imports.

    Most of the payments to the landowners was not in the form of cash, but in bonds. These bonds were negotiable industrial bonds which the former landlords could invest in any light industry they chose.5⁠ Indeed, there was nothing else they could do with the bonds; it was a case of “invest or die.” The strategy was twofold: get capital, in the form of land, into the hands of farmers; get capital, in the form of industrial investment, in the hands of entrepreneurs. Note that the strategy provided both goods to buy and purchasers to buy them; it was a binary strategy, giving equal weight to production and consumption. A tremendous number of capitalists were created overnight; the former landowners, who previously had no interest in manufacturing, were converted into instant urban capitalists and had to find places to invest the proceeds from the lands sales; the landless peasants became proprietors. By this method, the government provided support to Taiwan’s fledgling industrial base. But the fact that the actual companies to invest in were picked by the former landowners meant better investment decisions than if the government had tried to pick the winners itself. Industrial production expanded, giving the newly empowered peasants some place to spend the money buying locally produced goods.

    We can see the Taiwanese experiment for the conjuring trick it was: the government sold land it didn’t own, bought with money it didn’t have and financed industries that didn’t exist; the government managed to both expand the consumer market and to provide the industrial production necessary to serve that market and serve it from local resources. There was no inflation because the money supply expanded at the same rate as production by a sort of automatic method. Redistribution allowed for expansion of the consumer base which allowed for expansion of the industrial base. It is not often in business and economics that one gets to see solutions which are elegant and beautiful, but certainly the land to the tiller program qualifies.

    The results have been impressive, both in economic and social terms. Starting with crude products made in small workshops, Taiwan followed the industrial value-added food chain right shipbuilding, electronics, and every sort of industry. Taiwan has managed 50 years of high growth rates, increased equality, and low tax rates (comparatively). Unemployment was low to non-existent through most of Taiwan’s post war history. Before 2000, it rarely exceeded 3% and usually was less than 2%. Since 2000, the rate has risen as high as the low 5’s before dropping back to the 4% range as Taiwan struggles to adjust to outsourcing to mainland China. By human measures, Taiwan’s growth was also a great success. For example, the literacy rate increased from 45% in 1946 to 93% in 1989; life expectancy went from 59 years in 1952 to 74 years in 1989 while the per capita caloric intake went from 2,078 calories to 3,070 in the same period. Living space per person went 4.6 square meters to 23.8.6⁠ Further, Taiwan and the other “Asian Tigers” were able to achieve these successes despite having population densities among the highest in the world, a fact which contradicts the prevailing dogma that population density is an impediment to growth.

    Other Examples. There are many other functioning examples of Distributism in action: micro-banking, Employee stock option plans, mutual banks and insurance companies, buyers and producers cooperatives of every sort. This sample should be enough how distributism works in practice. Distributists are often accused of being “back to the land” romantics. The truth is otherwise. There are no functioning examples of a capitalism which operates anywhere near its own principles; there couldn’t be, because the mortality rates are simply too high. Hence, capitalism always relies on government power and money to rescue it from its own excesses. Distributism goes from success to success; capitalism goes from bailout to bailout.”

    1“All in this together,” Economist.com, March 26, 2009, http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13381546

    2R. Matthews, Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society (Sydney, Australia and West Wickham, UK: Comerford and Miller, 1999), 184

    3Ibid., 185

    4Mondragón Cooperative Corporation, “2007 Annual Report,” December 31, 2007, http://www.mcc.es/ing/magnitudes/memoria2007.pdf

    5J. Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life (New York: Random House, 1985), 100

    6S.W.Y. Kuo, “Economic Development of the Republic of China on Taiwan,” in Agriculture on the Road to Industrialization (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1995), 334

    From wwww.frontporchrepublic.com June 2009

    • Deco

      That is actually very inspiring.

      But the gombeen element in this country, regard it as aneathma. Therefore they will divert us along every possible route except the route that results in what you describe above.

      Also, US post WW2 reconstruction ideals in Japan actually helped to make Japan a better run country than it was – and also made Japan a better country than the USA has become in the past thirty years.

      • CitizenWhy

        Another example of US post-WWII progressive influence: Denmark’s well designed social democratic economic and social services model.

        In 1969 I went on Denmark’s tour of its social services, including higher education. The enthusiastic young women leading the tour gushed about how they used “The American Plan,” that is, after WWII, based on Pres. Roosevelt “Second Bill of Rights,” a group of Columbia U’s faculty came up with a comprehensive plan, hence the name “The American Plan.” Financed initially by the USA, it was an easy sell to the officials and people of Denmark. Of course the same plan was supposed to be implemented in the US as part of the Roosevelt/Marshall intent to redesign the American economy into a system “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Never happened: Cold War, CIA bipolar world, right wing objections to “collectivism,” etc.

        The young danish women told me they couldn’t wait to visit the US to see the “full American plan” in action in a big country. I had to gently explain that they would see no such thing on their visit to the US.

        • Praetorian

          The failure to implement such a progressive plan to my mind is the greatest failure in the post WWII era. Europe got in different shades and we see the product of those years today, the US didn’t and we see the consequences there and for the world today. Truly a opportunity missed of epic proportions.

      • It is very inspiring Deco but you are putting imaginary obstacles in your way. The first word that came to my mind too was the term ‘Gombeenism’ when I was comparing what I was reading to life in Ireland.

        Reading the post from CitizenWhy should inspire many right thinking people and make them want then to pass the links on to others. I am very glad I read it

    • CitizenWhy

      Forgot to add a favorite Distributionist saying:

      “Property in the hands of labor is freedom.
      Labor in the hands of property is slavery.”

      —Dmitri Kleiner

      • Amen, bro! Thorold Rogers agreed: “… as the distribution of land became more general, and the tenancy of land for terms of years became habitual, the phenomenon which has often been noticed as characteristic of peasant proprietorship, a high rate of wages paid to the free labourer, may have been exhibited in the period on which I am commenting.” [i.e. the 15th and first part of the 16th century]

  10. billy button

    So in essence what we have been doing the past two decades will no longer work. I think your are correct we need a change.

    But the question is will that be possible?
    I’m hopeful but have many doubts.

    I think alot of the powers that be, have been hard wired into the old way of thinking: Property, land civil service, the ‘professions’ union die hards… basically a focus on idle speculation and/or tax eating. Along with that comes the old boys (and sometimes old girls) network. Given the who you know not what you know attitude of many of the above and the old way they consider things I feel it will take along time for things in Ireland to change. People with power in the above groups are often the gatekeepers to the finance, facilities and or licenses that innovation needs. Until the above retire or reduce in the natural demographic fashion.

    The young or the innovative are sacrificed to shield the old – not the average pensioner mind just those with a monstrous pension pot – ergo innovation is smothered as its not in the interests of the people that make up the protected group.

    I think that situation is indicative of Ireland – talented people going other places to find an environment they can thrive in. Happened in the 1950′s 1980′s and is happening today. Seriously just look at RTE, lots of old faces keep reappearing there.

    Will Ireland change? maybe.. If the next few generations value innovation and skill then yes, if they refuse to get sucked into the old boys network then yes. Beyond that (internal change) Ireland needs to look outside itself, what do other people need and how do we provide it to them in a fair way.

    • Lord Jimbo

      Think the RTE example a perfect one, people brought back after years off doing something else, what in the hell is that about especially as many other staff are being encouraged to head for the door, permanently. While the bluff has been called on others and surprise, surprise, US and British networks are hardly breaking down their doors.

      Ireland can change, but it is going to take a Herculean effort and the ego hasn’t been taken out of the worst of those grimly hanging on. As Galbraith correctly said, the elite would rather risk destruction, total destruction than give up on any of their priviledges. I won’t be holding my breath.

    • Seeing the same old grim faces on RTE strengthens my belief that this country will never change.

      If I was Enda I would sack them tomorrow and get new faces in. Imagine the effect on the nation’s psyche if they even gave RTE a visual and staff makeover. Even if we are all just pretending it is real change it would still have an uplifting effect I am sure

  11. Re ” iPhone was copied and improved on by the Google Android”

    Would it were so, but Android still has a way to go to beat the iPhone. Because of the proprietary nature of the code used by iPhone, Android can’t copy iPhone except in general ways eg delivering features that are similar it arrives at from different directions. If I want to develop for iPhone I need to learn Objective C and general iPhone SDK development and use xCode. For Android, we use Adobe Flash Builder, flex, actionscript and some other languages according to need.

    I am trying to develop software for both Android and iPhone, it keeps me sane:)

    It’s good we have fashion and the latest enthusiastic flavour of the month new app or new sports car.

    What’s more important is that our population get a good education to allow as many as possible surf the creative soul of the human race surfed most recently by eg Steve Jobs (RIP).

    For this we need a good educational system and family structure supported by the state to support the development of creative human beings.

    We don’t need the moronic economic fantasists of our present government hell bent on the gombeen depopulation of Ireland fed by austerity and mass unemployment by our Ministers of Penance:)

  12. roundeyesfathead

    @Lydon
    We’re going to have to get razor lean – almost invisibly thin, if your hypothesis is correct. So thin, that we cannot work.
    To become meaner and leaner than the competition, we will have to bring down the cost of living and the wages in tandem. This isin’t working. A fish rots, head first, after all.
    ————
    @emmettor;
    “Will Ireland ever come back?”
    Which one? Pre or post 2002? Surely not the years of the “extended Celtic Tiger” as some think was up to 2007?
    Daily, you can see the Irish Spirit and humour eroded – becoming instead, American clones in voice pitch, language and forced “wit”.
    ————–
    @David;
    “We need to seize the moment and reinvent Ireland” – yes, we know this, and you do your best.
    Its clearly easier to say or write, than to do (not suggesting that we should do neither)- its just that its Difficult. Try changing attitudes in a lot of G.A.A. Clubs,(example only, of a grass roots scenario), and you may find that the simplest of new ideas and strategies, can never be promoted through democracy – it must be “forced” by a Leader so strong that such an idea won’t be opposed (as opposed to being quickly embraced for what it is).

    You might have thought ten years ago, that strong leadership was easily found. We now see the Irish, American and European leaders have become clones of each other, though I’m unsure who the original model was?
    Perhaps it all occurred as Democracy, such as it is, was interpreted somewhere closer to its definition – where all believe that they are right (they may all be right, but hardly correct)- visible on blogs too:)

    If you David, had an epiphany, mulled over, night after night, calculated to death and its obstacles predicted and countered; could you promote it into reality? Could Rabbitte or Kenny (not that we wouldn’t have to immediately crunch the numbers)?

    Could Abama? or our new President?

    Yourself and your Brilliant Colleague; Mr. Constantin Gurdgiev, have the brains for sure, have analytical minds as supreme as anyones – but no one would (really) listen to ye. Ye know too much, to be “wholesome”, and the population would prefer the grass roots model mentioned earlier – either simpler; either copied – more of the same, and switch on the X Factor!

  13. Lord Jimbo

    Surely another lesson is economies which overly dependant on technology and the multinationals involved are on very precarious ground. As was said previously, technology should complement society not define that society. Personally, I would prefer a more meritocratic society than one with one hundred gadgets per person.

    We should also look at the law of diminishing returns, I have more than a strong sneaking feeling that while it may suit companies to locate to Ireland in the short term especially with lucrative financial packages that include a site often with a premises and a ‘sweetner’ normally in the form of millions of euro from Enterprise Ireland that over time companies see their costs rise and incentives decline, so they get offered a better deal from an even more desperate country and hey presto, it is goodbye Ireland, hello low wage economy.

    We are part of a cruel, vicious, exploitative system where jobs are not secure, where lives can be destroyed by one careless boardroom decision. That is true capitalism, crushing the spirit in working people across the globe since 1492.

    Kenny is reported as saying that the decision by one company to ‘let go’ 950 staff is a ‘reminder of the challenge’, I doubt you’ll find a more meaningless form of words from a politician in recent months, cold comfort to those about to be laid off.

    • Deco

      Kenny’s response was cliche-ridden nonsense.

      A primary school teacher who managed to become Taoiseach when the alternatives were Mickey “cast-iron-guarantees in Lisbon 2″ Martin, and Eamon “half a million for a school site in the middle of nowhere” Gilmore.

      Basically, Kenny is telling us he never worked in the private sector.

    • molly66

      How did we end up with this government of liars,I have been such a fool to have voted in these clueless bunch of morans they should change there name to the ostrich party.all we here is export this export that,what about the rest of the non export part of this country,as I said before the pay that’s coming down the tracks on top of the damage that’s already benign done will see we the workers unite and get rid of rip op Ireland.

      • rebean

        I voted for Fine Gael and labour last time around because I thought that they would make the changes needed to save the country. Sadly they wont bite the bullet. I think Sinn Fein have the will to run the country properly. I will be voting for them next time around and thats not too far away really only a few years. I think Fine Gael will get a big shock next time out but then again they were going to do the divil and all. They got lucky with the bail out rate and God knows they needed a bit of luck but thats not enough.They need to cut some of the salaries of higher paid public servants who are hiding behind the lower paid civil service.

        • molly66

          You hit the nail on the head,I don’t think this government will last more than 6 months I use to employed people but the high cost and the red tape seen me and a lot. Of my friends becoming 1man bands. The red tape and the rip of wages and these mad sky high pensions lump sums. The high running costs diesel insurance,public liability insurance permit this permit that as they say they have an answer for everything if the government do something wrong it’s the last showers fault’this government should grow some balls and if they can’t they should ask sinn Fein for a loan of theres.

  14. Deco

    Big bad news today concerning job losses.

    This is a perfect story of where we are at as an economy and a society.

    The company involved gave spent 40 Million, to have their brand associated with events involving the Green Jersey. And now, the Green Jersey is ripped apart. This should be lesson to all of us concerning commercial branding, lemming runs, sports, and superficial patriotism. Real patriotism, providing an economic anchor for our community is completely absent. It is “high cost”.

    In many ways this announcement is not a surprise. There were rumours doing the rounds in Aviva for months. Aviva came to Ireland as a result of a takeover of a local insurer, and then spent a fortune on buying our “goodwill” spending money on the media, and buying the naming rights to Landsdowne Road.

    We should always be wary of corporations who spend heavily in the media. There is always an inherent assumption that the public will pay for this in such a volume as to make it profitable.

    It should also be a first warning with regard to privatization. In particular with a reference to what we sell. There is a list of strategic assets like Coillte, and power plants that should not be sold – as simply by their structure, they are scarce resources, in a small resource base.

    There are others like FAS and RTE which are very easy to replicated by competitors, and which do not own massive resources, which are scarce in a small community.

    Of course, because of the way we made a complete balls of Anglo Banglo, we are to take instructions from the Troika – who do not care about the interests of the people – and who are more accomodating of the interests of the Bank Bondholders.

    This is extremely important, as it affects us for decades to come.

    We only need to look at that behaviour of previous North Dublin FF politicians, and the controversy over the Hydrocarbon deposits in the Altlantic to see the significance of this.

    Let’s not get made a donkey off, again.

  15. Deco

    Our biggest deficiency – our decline in intellectual honesty.

    And I honestly think that we were more honest in the 1970s than we are now, intellectually speaking.

  16. Praetorian

    The ‘law of the jungle’ as interpreted by Darwin and subsequently applied to so called ‘capitalism’ is completely bogus. The natural world is far more complex to be reduced to such a simplistic and to my mind erroneous conclusion that only the fittest survive. There are a whole range of species who have learned to cooperate on a rather astonishing scale, there are groups of animals that display social characteristics, operate in ‘communities’ with complicated interrelationships. One need only think of ant colonies, a pride of lions and the amazing feeding practices of whales.

    Similarly, as we are seeing, entrepreneurs often get seed capital and assistance from the State, I think you could probably count on your hand the truly remarkable entrepreneurs/innovators down through history and even they didn’t work in isolation but tended to get all the focus (and lion’s share of the profits), the ‘big man’ theory of capitalism and history which is not really that accurate when you analyse it but it serves to perpetuate the myths which seek to portray capitalism as some magnificent system. Think we see the evidence of what it is really about all around us, at least those who chose to see.

    People who have any life experience also know that there are always times when people take the credit for something they didn’t come up with or pass off the work of someone else as if they came up with it in the hope it gets them noticed or promoted, part is human personality and part is the system which has people compete with each other for limited posts or as the point was made earlier, those who know the right people getting placed in positions and yet you have the charade of an interview process etc, I am sure people have experienced this, it is the working world and Ireland has to rate as one of the worst places for such things especially given its size, one thing I will say about the US, there is the possibility of being promoted on the basis of ability because they are interested in those who can make the few extra bucks not some connected idiot who is going to run a bank or business into the ground.

  17. Malcolm McClure

    David writes: “Let’s think of Ireland’s economic or more aptly, industrial, model such as it is after the crash. ”

    I’m not sure that Ireland EVER had an industrial model. Certainly there were small distilleries, flax and corn mills for local use and laudable but ultimately futile attempts to extract sugar from beet, make crystal vases in Waterford and assemble Ford cars in Cork. And a few successes like Jacobs, Fags and Guinness

    The only examples of ‘dark satanic mills’ were in Northern Ireland, all now defunct, up the Shankhill and Crumlin Roads and the vestiges of world-class shipbuilding in what is now, with unconscious irony, the Titanic Quarter. All these required a compliant large workforce willing to submit to organisation and shift work. Outside Belfast people had similar excellent skills in trades but preferred to work in smaller companies where everyone was known by name not number, and where they were free to do their own thing in the evenings.

    Farmers and shop-keepers went about their business in their own way, but few had dreams of expansion beyond their limited horizons. There was no tradition of small garage workshops, such as those in the English Midlands, that often became seedbeds of industry. The professions just bumbled on, oblivious of urgent national economic requirements.

    Duck and weave, Spit on yer hand, Lotto, Bookies? Yes. But Industry? Waddya take us for? In Ireland we are all ‘Gentlemen in reduced circumstances’, descended from Brian Boru, or men of that ilk, and we never forget it. As though it were a disgrace to have to punch a clock.
    However, in foreign parts where neighbours don’t sneer or begrudge, we quickly rise to become captains of industry, aided by our ready wit and intelligence and freed of those Irish psychological shackles.

    Attitudes have improved here since the eighties, thanks to much improved education. I think we just have to work patiently through this difficult patch. Unless we create chaos and panic, or turn in on ourselves, it will all work out for the best in the fulness of time. The North was in a much worse state than this in the seventies. It took time, but the quality of life there is now better than most other parts of these islands.

    • Praetorian

      My father is 66, he was a runner all his life. We were recently given some DVDs of recordings of races he ran in the early 1980s. Here were scenes from 30 years ago of all these men running the roads of Ireland, 10km and 15km races, all shapes, sizes and outfits. I asked him about this period as the ’80s was regarded as a tough time for the majority of people. He worked in the same place for over a decade until he was forced out for reasons I won’t go into.

      He was young, unemployed, 4 kids, mortgage etc wondering why he hadn’t gone to Canada where there seemed to be plenty of opportunities. He stayed in Ireland and while he searched for a way he kept running these races. When I asked him why he and so many others ran he said ‘because there was a kind of rage in it’. I knew instinctively what he meant, there was a rage at the lack of opportunity, a rage at those in management who saw people with a bit of spark as a threat, a rage at the economic policies of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael governments which seemed equally mindless, a rage at the few who had the wealth in the ‘big houses’ but who played it tight. I thought how things have not changed, that rage is resurfacing again especially in the face of amateur politicians with little to no experience banging on about exports while the domestic economy is choked to death by bailed out banks that refuse to give credit. That is the Ireland of 2011 apart from the multinationals and a few notions next to nothing has changed in the mindset of official Ireland. We are our own worst enemy and constantly look to others whether they be Americans, Europeans or Chinese to come to our rescue while we ignore the talents on our doorstep.

      • Adam Byrne

        These days they take out their rage by watching the X-Factor with the missus on the sofa, waistlines expanding, screaming at the TV hoping singer X, Y or Z gets eliminated, or when the missus is out of the room it’s ‘Man Yoo’, come on Rooney. They can’t be arsed running themselves. Vicariism is the order of the day. This is (also) Rugby Country – didn’t you know?
        Good on your old man.

        • Adam Byrne

          It’s only really dawned on me tonight what is wrong with Ireland in general terms, bearing in mind the fact that I have only been back here studying for a year and a half after working abroad for more than twenty years.

          In short: The country’s culture is messed up. The good parts of it are dying out and the bad parts are taking over. Simple as that, but very difficult to solve. Of course, this is manifesting itself in thousands (if not tens of thousands) of ways but you are all filling in the blanks yourselves – but will it make a difference?

          • Colin

            Could you not mention Haughey when you talk about where it all went wrong for Ireland? If you could only blame one individual, its gotta be him. Everything about him was dishonest, corrupt, elitist and arrogant. He’ll also supported terrorism in the North and lived a life full of hipocrisy.

          • Adam Byrne

            Yes, I agree about Haughey. Ahern took it to a new level though – absolutely shameless.

          • coldblow

            Adam, this piece from Desmond Fennell might (but on the other hand might not) interest you as he takes up John Waters (harshly in the circumstances, but that’s him) on the use of the word culture:

            http://www.desmondfennell.com/essay-better-see-clearly-than-not.htm

            “He would have come slightly nearer to what he meant, while remaining imprecise and still misusing ‘culture’, if he had said ‘the prevalent culture’. He would have been almost precise if he had said ‘the doctrine about women and men that is taught by the Dublin mass media and widely accepted and implemented.’ To attain full accordance with the reality in question, he would have needed to insert after ‘taught’, ‘by the Irish liberal Correctorate using the national mass media, much as, before it, the Irish Catholic Church, when it was the state-endorsed public teaching authority, used its pulpits and school catechisms’. Granted, however, such a mouthful, however dead-on, would have been out of place in the superficial chat of a television programme with studio audience.”

            The final sentence of his concluding paragraph caught my eye:

            “Considering where we have arrived today, this remarkable prophecy of the liberal-democratic future from 170 years ago gives food for thought. Was de Tocqueville foreseeing what we call ‘superpower’? Could he have guessed, without saying it, that his vision was situated after Western civilisation, as an uprooted West groped forward with nothing to guide it but a collection of new rules-to-live-by put together by amateurs to bring about Utopia?”

          • Adam Byrne

            Ok thanks coldblow, I will read the essay.

    • coldblow

      Agree with your opening paras at least, Malcolm. No industrial strategy, no garage workshop culture.

      I don’t agree with the gentelement in distress but rather aspiring property owners. Look at the class makeup of the country a century ago. I tend towards an economic rather psychological explanation: the factors of production are skewed (as in all post-cols.) meaning the cost of employing labour is much too high, the cost of holding land is zero.

      • Malcolm McClure

        coldblow: Regarding ‘Gentlemen in distress.’ This category includes far more than you imagine. The overlap of poverty and class aspirations occupied the majority of that basic Venn diagram of early Victorian Ireland. See for example the Ordnance Survey Letters of John O’Donovan, written in the 1830s.
        My point is that businesses want to hire cheap labour, but aspiring gentlemen, who have received a secondary education come a lot more expensive. If you want to create a cheap labour force , first you have to restrict the availability of a decent education. If you provide a good education in spite of this, you are training people for emigration, because there will never be enough high-paying jobs to satisfy everybody’s aspirations. The Victorians had that sussed.

  18. rebean

    Yes :We seem to be caught like a rabbit in the headlights.There is a major problem with Govt policy in this country and that is we are afraid of implimentation. We dont like change or having to make decisions. By the way when I say WE I mean the Govt and those people in the civil service. They do not want any radical upheaval of the system. Keep the status quo keep the big salaries been borrowed for the senior civil service. Keep the big fat salaries for the University lecturers with no distiction on the actual disciplines we reward. By all means pay the guys with the PHDs in the appropriate growth areas. We cannot afford to pay high salaries across the board. Anyone lecturing in non growth areas need a pay cut. We should use the money to hire more software and applied maths professors.We also need biotech and applied chemistry professors.All third level courses that get funded need to deliver on jobs and relevance otherwise we should withdraw funding.

  19. wills

    Deco and Praetorian,

    Thats the point of my comment.

    Reinstall free market enterprise and Ireland can set the bar for a new dawn.

  20. TJM

    We can’t reinvent Ireland. Why? Because we have been ethnically cleansed of our entrepreneurial gene pool since the time of the famine. Ever since the famine people with the can do attitude have taken the approach “f*** this I’m off “ and taken the boat to greener pastures those who have stayed have become part of the establishment on the inside or the plebs on the outside.. My theses is that this has striped the Irish population of the rebel spirit the can do attitude and the entrepreneurial spirit that we see in other nations particularly in the US. I would also suggest that this genetic cleansing has also distilled some of the les desired genetic qualities in the remaining population for example our predominant desire to scam the system (what I would term as the Gobshite factor) and the support in the community for the cute hoers that are successful at scamming. Our extraordinary high level for alcohol dependence and consumption is also another genetic trait that gets recognised worldwide.
    The evidence is everywhere. Our Gobshite politician’s and there insider buddies in banking business unions and the media who generation after generation weather the reoccurring storms the they repeatedly create while the rest of the plebes head for foreign soil or sit on the dole queue. A prime example is of the IDA and governments mindset of continually looking for foreign inward investment. They don’t even dare to believe that an Irish person could invent an I-pod or that the next big invention could possibly be under development in a shed in Ireland let alone trying to build industries from the ground up. In contrast when home-grown industries do become successful they are not protected supported or strategically developed to become Irish based global businesses. Can you imagine where Ryan Air would be if it was a French or Germany carrier? Business that do become a success and start making their presence felt internationally are allowed to be gobbled up by foreign competitors instead of a strategic value being put on keeping them based in Ireland and the synergies and spin offs that can develop from home-grown organisation’s being headquartered here in Ireland.
    There is a spark of hope however. All throughout the boom for the first time in the state’s history there has been inward emigration into the country (the Gobshite factor is being diluted). Those who have come have an innate entrepreneurial spirit these are people who have left a less appealing situation in their country of birth to give it a go in Ireland or those that have returned home. Ironically most of them are now stuck with property anchors around there neck. Maybe this time the insiders won’t be able to rely on the relief valve of immigration to relieve the pressure and those that are stuck here will demand real change. There is a spark of this in Dame Street at the moment maybe the fire will catch.

    • Adam Byrne

      I fully agree TJM with the first half of your thesis and hope that you are right about the ‘stuck heres’.

    • FAiken

      TJM, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The entrepreneurs left and the ones who figured out how to ‘scam the system’ stayed behind. People talk a lot about the massive Irish diaspora but the concentrated, mucky, pool left behind is seldom discussed.

      • FAiken

        TJM,

        To follow up, I’d also like to point out that it’s hard for the diaspora to critically look at Ireland while looking at it through rose tinted glasses. Chuck Feeney and some others have figured it out. I sense a growing feeling in the US that Irish America is willing to help Ireland but only if Ireland gets its act together. Ireland has been riddled with corruption and cronyism since Lemass. It needs to face up to this and address it. At that point, we’ll do whatever we can to help.

  21. Lot’s of inspiring ideas in this thread. However, the underlying truth of the failures that have impacted so many peoples lives in such adverse ways, is that there exists a systemic lack of empathy which ignores the costs to others of the benefits some few accrue.

    Be it Churches and their attitude towards children, mortgage lending and ‘securitisation’, industrial farming and soil nutrient depletion, herbicides and pesticides in every human foetus, mining and environmental degradation, privatisation of ‘care’ homes and elderly people being put on psychotropic ‘meds’ for ‘management’, pension funds investing in the Military Industrial Complex, imposed cash crop farming and loss of biodiversity, and thus resilience to weather variables, leading to famines, there ARE costs that others with less of a voice, with less power whose suffering is often euphemised as ‘externalised cost’, and is all but invisible, certainly discounted.

    That discount may well be our comfort, but is it worth it? Do we really have such low self esteem that we cannot imagine a way of organising our society to prevent those costs accruing?

    Is empathy not key to any humane and decent society?

    I leave you with this video to ponder these thoughts :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JchSac-VP0

    Tim “Mac” Macartney founder of Embercombe (www.embercombe.co.uk) introduces the “Children’s Fire” to the attendees of the Qi Global summit in Singapore. He speaks of how over a period of 20 years he was trained by a group of mixed-blood Native Americans to appreciate that many ancient cultures used to govern themselves by a fundamental guiding princiciple, “no law, no action, shall be made that harms the children”..

    He invites us to consider, “what kind of culture is it that would not place the Children’s Fire at the centre of its decision making bodies and halls of power?”

    Bear in mind ‘Mac’ advises BIG business Leaders all over the globe…

    • CitizenWhy

      Natural conservatism always focuses on what is good for the children. Right wing conservatism has no such concern.

      • I have never heard of the term Natural Conservatism before…. I would say that Power as we know it has no concern for what is nurturant for children,be if left or right….. and that IS the fundamental problem. It’s interesting, and troubling, that so few people appear to understand this or are even willing to discuss it. In fact it’s positively the most frightening aspect of the mainstream discourse, not for my own sake, but for my children’s sake…. and of course my children are not any more precious or special than yours, or anyone else’s.

    • Adam Byrne

      Bang on the money, I’ve long thought the only way to solve the world’s problems is to look after our children first, after that they’ll solve the problems themselves. NOT ONE child should fall by the wayside.

      That is the theme behind this brilliant lecture too – especially at the end:

      http://www.ted.com/talks/justin_hall_tipping_freeing_energy_from_the_grid.html

      • I agree. The psychology of any given culture, society, ideology is revealed and perpetuated in how those cultures or ideologies treat children. And it is the psychology that is the root of the problems. By limiting the discourse to technical issues, this is avoided. Part of me feels that this avoidance is not fully intentional, given what is known (and long felt) and substantiated by Science, for the past 30 years at the very least…..

  22. thirdeye

    The only constant thing in life and business is change.Those story of Blackberry is apt in regards to the wider world and various government’s and financial institutions who chooses to ignore the changing environments and refusal to react accordingly. Remember Nokia use to make paper to first mobile phones.
    Ninetendo used to make plastic playing cards before going moving into games industry.
    We have the paralysis within the euro shows that the so called important individuals at all levels with governments and financial institutions can’t seem to deal with the issues and the knee jerk reaction to utilize austerity and cutting of peoples standards of living has not brought the desired response.IMF approach in Argentina was a disaster and only when the IMF left did the country get back on its own feet again.IMF EU ECB bailout is to get back the money financial institutions gave to various countries and banks.IMF-EU-ECB TROIKA is not to help the countries in trouble but to protect the financial stays quo which has failed.Protests on Wall Street and Dublin plus other countries has shown the general public feel the community approach by various groups has shown path to people who feel alienated by the political systems on offer. The non confrontational approach of the groups has left very little room for the police or media to try to undermine the protestors as no crime has been committed.New York Police actions in regards to Wall Street demo has shown they are the representatives not of the citizens but of the political and business class within New York and corporate America.

  23. dwalsh

    Greetings All

    I have written previously that what is unfolding on the Earth at this time in the human world is a crisis in human consciousness; a war in and for control of human consciousness. And I referred to a ‘thingy’ known as the noosphere; which is the sphere or realm of human mind as a planetary phenomenon.

    Some regard this as an unscientific or even metaphysical concept. I hope to at least encourage you to review that opinion and to consider the possible value of this concept in the present context of the global economic breakdown crisis.

    Let me get straight to the concrete reality of the noosphere.

    The physical manifestation of the human noosphere is the human world; that is, the human world is the product of the human mind. The world of our buildings, machines, agriculture, road networks and all the myriad changes we make to the physical planet. Our industrial and commercial complex and all it produces. Our cultural artefacts of religions and laws and arts and sciences and books and media and schools and universities; and so on. The entire human world is mind-made, mind operated and mind experienced.

    A mobile phone for instance is an artefact of the noosphere. It is entirely the product of human mind; and to use it you must have a human mind; and one properly socialised and educated. Each one of us on this forum is participating in a fundamentally mental endeavour through a physical technology which is mind-made and we must each possess a properly trained/educated mind to participate.

    Furthermore if we didn’t share in a collective cultural mind-sphere we would not be able to use this technology; communicate in a common language; or in terms we mutually understand (partially at least); and either agree or disagree with each other.

    Richard Dawkins, that arch reductive scientific materialist, introduced the term ‘meme’ to indicate a unit of cultural meaning which can spread through a population…through the minds of a population…through the cultural noosphere if we conceive human mind as a collective phenomenon…and which conditions in some aspect how humans interpret the world and relate to it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

    In previous posts I have spoken of how the media does precisely this. It propagates memes incessantly and thereby strongly determines and controls the general mind of the public. For instance it propagated the memes that generated the property and debt bubbles.

    In matters such as the current economic collapse it propagates memes that determine the parameters and even the language (jargon) of the debate. Chomsky and others have called this the engineering or manufacture of consent; also known as propaganda; what Eddie Bernays re-branded as ‘public relations’; and what we also know as ‘advertising’.

    These considerations make what I am presenting here relevant to this discussion in a number of ways. A major way is the perception that what is happening in the human world today is happening in human minds; and not just separated minds, but in human mind as a global collective phenomenon; which it clearly is. As I have already argued, if it wasn’t a collective phenomenon, all of us here would not have the common ground or context that makes either agreeing or disagreeing with each other possible at all.

    I will leave it at that for now…and duck!! :)

    • CitizenWhy

      You may be interested in how the Occupy Wall Street movement, in just a few months, has changed the “memes” being sent out. Illustrated in two charts.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/19/1028134/-Occupy-Wall-Streets-first-victory,-intwocharts

      Could Occupy Dame Street accomplish something similar?

      • dwalsh

        Spot on!! CitizenWhy

        We may be witnessing a stirring in the noosphere. The beginnings of the awakening and self-recognition and integration of a zeitgeist that up to this has been diffuse. It is awakening and integrating in response to the evolutionary pressure of the multiple crises facing the human race at this time. Evolution progresses through adversity. We are in an era of rapid consciousness evolution.

      • dwalsh

        PS thanks for that great link.
        Says it all really in two pictures :)

      • Praetorian

        I think it has accomplished something already, badly needed and glad it has happened, shows there is immense spirit out there.

    • coldblow

      Hi dwalsh

      Not entirely sure what you mean here, but any post that calls Dawkins an arch reductive scientific materialist gets my vote. Where did you learn this stuff about the noosphere? Why a sphere?

      There’s another way of looking at perception: that each person’s experienced reality is the effect of their perceptions. Change the latter and you can change the former. Sounds incredible but there’s something to it all the same. (Dorothy Rowe, Martin Brofman)

      And there’s yet another way, that what happens at an unconscious level is something distinct from what is experienced consciously. I’m getting more and more aware of this in my own life (in my attempt to return to clear eyesight), but I don’t know about collectively. Even as I type this and you read the words the communication is likely to be quite different from what it purports to be on the surface. Whoaa, careful with that axe, Eugene! I think Wills has some views on this. Anyway, that’s what I mean when I say that if or when a big change were to occur it might be one big flip without any warning or apparent logic, perhpas like a big Hand of Henri or Lady Di moment, but at some deep level it might make perfect sense.

      To go on a little detour, having read his Selfish Gene I once explained one of Dawkins’ models (hawks and doves establishing an equilibrium)to my A level history class. It had nothing to do with the course but I thought it was interesting. Many of them were in a school born again Christian group (they frowned when I told them I was a Catholic) and they reacted quite violently against Dawkins. It surprised me at the time but looking back they obviously had superior intuition to me. (By general agreement in the staff room, oddly enough, the born agains were amongst the worst offenders when it came to handing in homework.)

      Anyway, I read out a few lines of your post to my wife last night (from a print out). She thought you were ‘insane’ and ‘dangerous’. But don’t let that put you off, I’m used to her. Maybe she sensed an existential threat, who knows?

  24. IMF-EU INDUCED SUICIDE: SOME FACTS FOR GREECE

    Let’s keep it crisp and short:

    In 2009 figures were up 17& from 2007
    2010 figures were up 25% compared to 2009

    In the first half of 2011 figures were up >b>40% compared with the same period of 2010.

    Source: The Lancet

    Thomas Wakley founded The Lancet in 1823. The Lancet publishes a weekly journal and three monthly specialty journals in the fields of oncology, neurology, and infectious diseases.

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61556-0/fulltext

    Ireland, you bet the picture is dramatic as well. I recently had a case in my peer group as well. This is what the IMF Banking Mafia stands for, to impoverish countries by debts, they always did, and this never changed!

    What changed however is that now there two new player coming along with the IMF, the ECB and EU-Commission.

  25. PropagandaBusta

    You can talk all you like about different political systems and reinventing ourselves but if we do not come up with a different monetary system we and all nations will become slaves to debt. It has to be written off because the entire money system is nothing more than a scam, its backed by nothing more than phony IOU’s. Gold and silver along with a persons labour should be the only means of generating and storing wealth.

  26. Deco

    A new nickname is doing the rounds concerning that second Stadium that sucked 400 Million euro of the taxpayer money, when Bertie Ahern could not get rid of the money fast enough…..

    “The Dole Bowl”.

    Rather apt – only there is no way you could fit all the unemployed people in this country into it.

    With another 1000 or so added today.

    Any sign of Teflon ??? the clown who wanted a Bread and circuses culture in this country, and did everything to facilitate it, bringing about our economic demise, through the intellectual decline.

  27. You could stick to economic analysis and the banking system. That is where your instincts lie and when it comes to economic analysis you are usually tack sharp. I respect your work and some of the posters on your blog are mighty fine (some of them are bloody idiots mind you and you deserve them) but let’s stop messing around pretending that we are all mates. The fake camaradrie is fast wearing off and you are losing touch with reality. Too smug and no empathy at all and this effort says nowt and sounds like it was written as something to pass the time during a long flight. So you are in Dubai? Well I am in Slogo and it is pissing down with rain. I bet you can’t top that

    I don’t really like you as a person and some of my friends don’t like you either. You are an acquired taste appealing to a small market and more popular than you should be. It’s tough to tell your brother the truth but I’ve been reading this blog for far too long now and don’t like being patronised. Little boys having intellectual pissing contents and selfish people whining about how much interest they are paying on their un-repayable debts should be put out of their misery and there is no place for such weaklings in the Ireland of tomorrow

    Irish people need to get tough and start talking straight but you are treating them like simpletons and diverting their attention away from what really matters. They are waking up and over the past few years have copped on to what is going on and they are not stupid. Your posters have demonstrated a change in collective awareness in recent months and this is where you should be careful because the more time passes the more you look like an establshment insider rather than the outsider you claim to be. I feel disappointed because your language is lagging that of your audience (who are streets ahead of you in case you have not grapsed it) but thankfully I still have the capacity to do my own thinking and say what I want without fear of retribution

    The OWS movement is spreading across the planet like a rash and people are rioting all over the place but here we have another article that attepmpts to aneaesthetise people and reduce them to talking shit about irrelevant icons who have have either expired or about to bite the dust. Boo hoo

    When you stray too far it gets embarrasing and I lose track of what you are and where you are coming from. You are a mystery even though I have been reading your stuff for years and I wonder who you are what you really represent. I sometimes get the feeling that you are laughing at us. Born in the same year with things in common but never the twian shall meet except in Cyberspace. Just a few hundred miles separate us but it may as well be the distance between galaxies such is the sense of distance I feel when I visit this sad place. Give your blog a serious make over and do yourself a big favour. The streetwise and grity visuals look the part but the content is tame and wanky

    This is a pretty juvenile analysis of the role technology can play in the future of Ireland and is populist to the extent that it sounds like it was written by a leaving cert student having a laugh rather than one of the supposedly smartest people in the land

    You are exiled in London now I believe from where you no doubt get paid for penning and syndicating humourous sketches of Irish life inhabited with grossly absurd fictional characters like Breakfast Roll Man and Deckland Deco or whatever you call him. You are one of the lucky ones, you escaped, but you have no sense of humility in your language and you come across as someone who is on the make and out for himself. A true capitalist by nature you live in another country but like to keep your hand in on what is happening in this madhouse. Hmm I am totally confused. Just call me confused.com. Maybe I can be one of the stereotypes in your next blockbuster

    I know people who are eating porridge as they are so poor but would like to inform you that it brings them great comfort knowing that the great Irish Diaspora such as yourself are the leaders of future just like the line from The Flight Of The Earls. Waiting out there in the great blue yonder ready to triumphantly return to these miserable shores some glorious sunny morning when Ireland will finally be free from tyranny. Give me a high five and tell Bono I said hello

    What lessons can Ireland learn from Blackberry? If they are needing lessons on the bloody obvious then they are already so far behind the curve that they are not even at the races. It is a pretty sad question and does not deserve an answer as it is insulting to the intelligence

    So thousands of execs lost their Blackberry connectivity huh? They are losers for being locked in and maybe deserve all the grief they got. What about the disabled who are being means tested to see if they qualify for free incontinence pads? Where are your priorities for christ sake. You sound like you care more about executives losing their Blackberry connections that you do about the plight of your fellow countrymen who are being driven to despair by the actions of ignorant and stupid politicians who are the executioners in charge working on behalf of the small group of families who own and control the whole system. You know all this stuff yet never dare mention it

    Defined by their Blackberries and iPhones? Jeezus. Maybe they need to get a grip, waken up, grow up and take more control over their affairs and be defined by their own gut instincts and beliefs rather than by the emotional nonsense spawned from corporate PR and marketing deparmtents. It brings a new meaning to the terms ‘handheld’ and ‘empowerment’

    I’d never heard the term Crackberry until today, and maybe I am kind of slow, but people have been addicted to technology in all forms since the golden age of radio, through the introduction of the telephone, colour tv, walkmans and cd players. People are hooked on technology because it makes sense and mirrors the workings of the human brain which loves order and semantic structures such as tables, lists and anything else that can be categorised and boxed into visual order. ‘Crackberry’? I bet most people have never heard of the term except for a coterie of IT writers who like populist language and who are shallow and play to the gallery

    You say that we need to reinvent the Irish industrial model. How exactly? According to some of the more enthusiastic right wing posters on your blog most of the population is thick and besides we don’t have pot to shit in. Were you dreaming when you wrote this or were you listening to the Wolfe Tones while four sheets to the wind on Bushmills? Christ. The truth is that no one has a clue as to how Ireland is going to earn it’s keep in the future and we are all just pissing into the wind, guessing and hoping against hope while trying to recover from the shock tactics which have pummelled us into a trance over the past three years

    You have made previous stabs at illuminating the masses about the potential IT has to offer entrepreneurs who have vision but who lack the technical and artistic chops to implement that vision. Such people need free, open and honest advice and sadly they never get it because unlike the IDA’s claim that we have an excellent education system we are producing graduates who are nothing more that programmed robots who are on the make as salaried placemen of powerful IT companies and who don’t have the capacity for lateral thinking

    These are the types of people who blindy follow the gospel of ‘The Late Great Steve Jobs’ and who will eventually attempt to technologically imprison you. Richard Stallman and Douglas Engelbart are true heroes of Computing and far cooler than Jobs ever was so please stop reading this all this corporate ass licking crap and get yourself a proper education on the subject

    This blog runs on free and open source software which can be configured and twisted to meet the requirements of almost any web application you can imagine (within reason) but you rarely acknowlege that your bread and butter is partly earned on the backs of people who have altruistic motives and whose community is democratic and socialist in nature, unlike any institution or collective in this entire republic

    Guys like you are out to make money (and that is fine with me) but guys like me give our time freely to contribute to community based initiatives such as coding, documenting and producing educational materials on Free Software

    We don’t get paid yet without our efforts either your blog would not exist or you would be paying mega bucks to some shark in Dublin who has you locked in by the balls and can charge you whatever they like knowing that you are prisoner of your own ignorance and stupidity. Give something back and be human about it rather than all this chest thumping capitalist rhetoric which you seem so fond of yet which offers absolutely nothing in terms of pracitcal solutions. It is all warm air and nauseating to the senses

    The demise of Dinosaurs like Blackberry in the face of superior alternatives are possible thanks to the existence of free (libre) and open source software (FLOSS) and your own blog would not exist if not for the thousands of people out there who give their time freely and without expectation of remuneration for their efforts in making world class software for the benefit of us all. Maybe one day you will acknowledge the fact that there are people who do things for the good of humanity and not for their own financial benefit

    The Blackberry fiasco shows that in this high-tech and constantly changing economy we need to operate as constantly moving targets that are free to morph and change course at the snap of a finger. The Irish nation is not capable of such dynamism because intellectually it is stuck in the past and changes gear at about the same rate as treacle flowing down a drain pipe on a cold day

    Computing and Information Technology is a competitive, political and cultural weapon which influences minds and opens doors to people who understand how to use it to it’s maximun potential with minimum effort and financial outlay

    People who understand technology and have the imagination on know how to use it are the future and are worth their weight in gold. These are the people who can and will be running their empires from an Android phone while sitting on the costa del sol sipping cold beer on hot sunny afternoons remotely taking care of business while the lazy and ingorant masses are languishing in emotional purgatory staring out factory windows at gray skies through drizzling rain. They are the lucky ones who got smart, buckled down during the boom and invested in their future by recognising knowledge sells and rather hype which is not worth a damn

    Question. How much more pent up anger can we Irish take before the fuse finally blows? Knowing the history of Ireland the results might prove to be truly spectacular

    Why are the Irish not more like Spain’s Indignados?

    http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/theindex/2011/05/27/why-are-the-irish-not-more-like-spains-indignados/

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the pos,. I think it is a very honest set of observations. That you and your mates mightn’t like me is neither here nor there.But I take your criticisms constructively.

      I am not so sure what you want me to do right now.

      Best,

      David

    • Philip

      +1 A very humbling and mindful post. Cannot find much to contradict.

      Looking that Mr Jobs etc…I gather he was a piece of work in the board room. Tyrannical and not noted for any efforts to charity. Not sure why anyone would want to emulate this character. Apple lost its charm when Wozniak left the scene. The rest is just funky looking kool and overpriced garbage.

      As for the innovations and wonderful inventivness of such big named individuals, I think people seriously underestimate the power of marketing and hype used to cover up the real source of innovation. Apple is a marketing engine with massive patent and vendor locking capability. i-tunes is an inflexible monster designed for idiots to lock in idiots.

      Looking at the most commonly used innovations in IT….PC operating system, Windows user interface, The Web, Spreadsheets…the original inventors are not receiving one penny for their efforts. When I see the lock-in of patents and copyright and the intellectual property rights being used to protect what in effect are stolen, it should be morally incumbent on all of us ONLY to use open source. So I try my best with Linux and Android – which have their range of moral issues as well – but at least, I like the unruly yet very intelligent nature of the folks who roam in this zone.

      My vision of Ireland is that it needs to be open sourced and confident and mindful. We are the exact opposite. We like the closed shops, we lack confidence and choose prudence over action all to often with disastrous results and as for mindfulness…well maybe a crisis is what is needed to wake us up.

      Still sticking to the IT theme. Look at the billions spent in the public service and Banks to provide overpriced PCs for our civil servants. No open source because it cannot be trusted. It lacks support we are told etc etc etc, Contrast that with many German public bodies.

      My new “brand” for ireland which I suspect has been created already is a power button symbol whose vertical bar replaced by the upstretched middle finger…

    • Hi Paul,

      WOW!…

      Now, this was the most impressive post, written from the heart, and with a lot of brains that I have read here in all the time I am reading and contributing to this site myself, seriously!

      I think you hit the nail when you say that without the people contributing freely to this site, this site would not exist, and lets face it, in the grand scheme of things this site does not exists! Well off people in their retirement or short before overrepresent the Lurkers here, while a rather younger public is totally underrepresented, which is a reflection of the Irish youth’s level of interest rather than the site itself.

      The proportion of male and female readers is very unbalanced as well, leaning exclusively to a male audience, which might be due to the nature of the subject, economy.

      I do share a lot of your sentiments, and I do not hesitate to post my critique, hopefully in a constructive way, on his Keynesian capitalist views. However, I gave up to express my critique on the rather low standard of his articles on offer, and I expressed that view when I said a few days ago, a populist is a populist, is a populist.

      I must have read this site for about 3 months before, frustrated by the lack of bite and content, I started to contribute myself here. I felt that I might be able to help a little bit by directing some spotlights onto the issues that cause these historical changes we are witnessing and to date we are excluded from by elitist choice. The refusal of a referendum on banking matters and the Irish constitution at large is just one, but perhaps the most striking irish example of that politically driven exclusion of the people.

      As for myself, whether people like or agree to what I wrote or not does not matter so much really, what they can not blame me for however is that I would not have done my homework before posting something longer, and believe you me, I fucking did! I spent night after night, week after week, months after months painstakingly researching issues, making phone calls, exchanging emails, networking with international brains much bigger than I, before finishing longer articles, literally presenting cases, to add some awareness, and it is awareness that is the first step before changes are possible.

      I think this last word is the crux really, awareness. In some respects It’s opposite is ignorance, or from a psychological point of view self indifference.

      As a society at large, indifference is the overwhelming and both, passive as well as active destructive element that is tearing apart the social fabric that separates us from medieval ages. I often think we have not advanced very much in that respect, while on the science and technology front we encounter new frontiers at a mind blowing speed, our social development however lags much behind. Overpopulation is of course one important, but not the ultimately determining factor.

      Yesterday, I posted scientific information on Greece here, and the staggering increase in suicide numbers clearly related due to the Mafia’s, IMF, ECB and EU direct intervention in it’s social fabric. It is here that I feel the greatest lack of empathy around me. This is the one of the realities a globalized finance psychopathic gangs of Banksters, predator capitalists and Politicos inflicted on all of us, and there is so much more, it is truly just the very tip of the iceberg.

      The other subject I always tried to highlight is commodities and the reality of Banks and Investors unethical rip off, making profits on starvation, hunger and death.

      Again, awareness!

      Only twice I asked David for help, and twice he did not do it,

      I won’t ask a third time.

      I asked him for help to highlight the petition that I started in April 2010, to close Anglo Irish Bank and to not extend the banking guarantee. You know, after I called DoF in Dublin directly and ‘exposed’ DoF and their senior reaction and views, I wrote to fucking Alan Dukes, and copied that letter to all the papers in Ireland, then I started this petition and I offered to print every 5,000 signatures and deliver them in person to Lenihan and his gang of Impostors.

      I again wrote to all the newspapers, asked for their help, I wrote to all the broadcasters, asked for their help. It was clear to me, that without a PR backing from media and some ‘celebrity people’ like David, it would not get the exposure required to reach those numbers. Needless to say, none of them even responded! Not a single one!

      I asked him for help to highlight an interview that I conducted and research concerning the deliberate media black out on international odious debts laws. He did not, and after that and all the time I had invested here, I needed a break and left this forum when I saw that I started to overreact to members here like John Allen, I apologize for that John!

      David McWilliams is not important, his musings are to be seen in context of his views and convictions, part of which are known, others are not.

      My own view on economists at large has changed dramatically in the past two years, as I learned how deeply they are part of the problem! Their narrow minded views and actions based on literature from the past century, clutching to their bibles of Smith, Friedman, Hayek, Keynes and so on, they are truly the most overvalued and overpaid participants in our social fabric at large, and their contributions range from ridiculous to devastating, even blessed with nobel prizes for flawed mathematics, just look at the LTCM story in that respect. How risible is that?

      Yet again, a not so small number of economists are the winners in this situation, feasting on the misery and playing the publicity game while conducting an ideological war at the same time, the Libertarian minority complex against the over ego vanity of Keynesian majority, at the fringes the behaviorists and so on.

      Apart from all that, I came back and continued to contribute here, hoping that I can reach the one or other to open her/his mind, and perhaps start to dig and educate themselves, ask questions and start to make their voice heard!

      At the end, this is all I can hope for, to trigger eventually what is so much needed, more empathy and awareness, and this I believe are motives David and I share.

      Best
      Georg

      • Malcolm McClure

        Pauldiv and Georg: Worthy contributions based on reason but straight from the heart. They both reflect our sense of anger and helplessness in the face of ineluctable fate. Maybe God is trying to tell us something?

        • coldblow

          Malcolm, I beg to differ (again). I’ll use this one post as a reply to both.

          A post can be written from the heart but that doesn’t mean it is right. To some it probably does, but it is an insufficient condition in my book. Paul doesn’t like the capitalist slant of this article, but then goes on about software, programming and all that stuff. To which I say: so what? Besides, David stood up when it mattered and he has taken flak in public and from fellow economists and commentators. But he’s an economist not a politician. We’ll see about the significance of OWS too, in time. There was great excitement at getting rid of FF at the last election, but the result came as surprise to many of us.

          Georg also has some interesting points to make but I want him to back up them up. I asked him on the last thread where Germany went wrong in his opinion but his reply was skimpy to say the least. Georg used to come here before, he posted musical compositions and photos along with excitable analysis, then he took the hump and was off again. Then he came back again to this “fan-boy comedy site” or words to that effect. And Keynsian too (so it must be bad – why?). I don’t want to be rude, but frankly if David were to support Georg in any of his initiatives it would show poor judgement. Just to be even handed, I’d extend that to Paul too.

          For what it’s worth, I am looking for reasoned debate (at a more common level than the more rarified irisheconomy, though that’s excellent too) and for insights. I look at all the posts but skim most of them. There’s a lot of apocalyptic stuff there, a lot of stuff about something or other terrible going to happen by the end of next week. It can wear a bit thin after a while but can be good for a laugh if you don’t take it too seriously. I always liked this place because there was a rare place where you could get a reasonably civilized discussion. Where else would you get it?

          Also, just speaking for myself again, I don’t actually feel anger or helplessness. Where was the anger, or Reason, during the bubble? I mentioned here before when my wife told me one day, in 2007, how much our house was worth (she’d been talking to an estate agent) and my reply was, that’s all we need.

          • coldblow

            “but the result came as no surprise”

          • Colin

            Excellent post Coldblow.

            I’ll tell you, I was angry from 1998 – 2007 about what would have been demanded from me to buy a house then, like 10 times my salary. I came across David’s articles. What he wrote made sense even though he was vilified. I didn’t buy a house, he has saved me a lot of trouble. What he has written since has also made sense, although expecting him to churn out critically acclaimed articles twice a week on top of writing books, making TV Programmes etc… is a bit much. David has always given me hope.

            And look, if you don’t like who he is or what he does, then fine, go somewhere else!

          • Hi coldblow,

            I was not aware that my answer to your question was skimpish, I thought I answered it, but let me take this as a chance to make one thing clear. My Presence here will not be defined by engaging in extensive internet discussions, although I really tried to answer questions every time when they came up, internet discussions ate inefficient and take up too much time, I am here to mostly share facts, informations and of course, opinions.

            Yes, I shared some views from Donegal, and some music, so what? Did I offend your eyes or ears? ;)

            You feel that it would have been bad judgement to publicly support that petition? Hmmm? – shrugs- If I am not mistaken, I think David signed it himself, might be wrong though. I also know some other rather well known people who signed it. The story on odious debts you can not know the details, so I leave that out, and at the end it is not important, really not.

          • coldblow

            Hi Georg

            No you certainly did not offend my eyesight or hearing. (My eyesight is sh*te anyway and I’m forced to improve it – luckily it’s all in the mind.)

            I agree, lengthy arguments on-line can get a bit wearying sometime so I can see the appeal of the facts. But I suppose it’s what do you understand by ‘facts’. In my view their provenance is vital and I would place more faith in an established authority than an obscure on-line source. The experts disagree,of course, and picking your way through the confusion to what is likely to be the best explanations is well nigh impossible – though we hope it can be done. Well, to tell the truth, our established authorities have seen their credibility explode. But all the same I prefer to retain some scepticism until I meet arguments I find convincing.

          • But all the same I prefer to retain some scepticism until I meet arguments I find convincing.

            That is what I am advocating all my life coldblow, do the thinking for yourself!

    • Harper66

      Pauldiv,
      Excellent post. Sums up perfectly the growing frustration out there. At present we are, as the oft used analogy goes, merely moving deckchairs on the titanic.Having to endure mindless and meaningless sound bites as we watch everything slip out of view.

      I feel the frustration you speak of. I am in my late thirties with a young family. I listen to, watch or read the news and it is like looking through a fog into another place. The disconnect I feel is total. This sense of alienation breeds anger and I am angry.

      I read your post this morning and a sense of calm came over me. A connection was made. I find it ironic that Davids article calling for change appeared in the Independent. A vile and sad excuse for a newspaper which has used its influence over the past three to maintain the status quo. Brendan Keenan smirking and jeering at Morgan Kelly on prime time really sums that rag up. Likewise RTE, likewise the Irish Times which is like an alcoholic in denial – the content it covers is so far removed from the genuinely pressing issues of Ireland today that it is embarrassing to read it now.

      Ireland will not be reinvented by looking at Blackberries as an analogy for finding a way forward.

      Likewise Ireland will not be reinvented by the arrogance of posters writing that the problem with Irish people is that they are all lazy/stupid etc etc. What an insult. I think of my parents, both highly intelligent but born into families without the means to send them on in education past their mid teens. Instead they were sent out to work. They had to work. They have my admiration and respect and when I think of what kind of country I would like Ireland to develop into I think of them.

      But I think a sea change is coming. I think it will be fuelled by anger. We have a right to be angry.

    • Praetorian

      We should all meet for a good pint of Bulmers before Christmas and talk things through. Call it ‘The Meeting of Minds’ (to pre-date ‘The Gathering’).

      • Talk about Bulmers…. now that we have McW with good relations to them…

        For fucks sake, can you not change the fucking annoying way these bottles are made? The useless decorative gluey as Hell aluminum wrapping around the cap that only opens under the threat of using a hammer.

        Sigh…. LOL… sorry!

    • My respect to all who replied. Thanks for your empathy and understanding on the reasons for my anger

      The time for talking is past. For three years our media commentators have been getting well paid for writing and talking but the fact is that they have done absolutely nowt. Things are about to get worse. Wait until the next budget and one after, and the one after that. The tighter they turn the screws the more their policies are spreading despair and even death in some cases. And people will still be looking to Pravda RTE and Vincent Browne for answers and action

      The apathy of the Irish people is astonishing and a lot of them seem to be in a state of self loathing. After a prolonged periods this will turn to anger but at least if people are angry they will feel alive inside. It is normal to feel angry when you realise that you are living in a country that serves to exist as a debt servicing agency and for a small group of pampered insiders who are in the loop for reasons such as nepotism or the sleazy and incestuous nature of Irish political inbreeding

      This is much worse than Britain under Thatcher because at least back then people still had pride, stood up to be counted and were prepared to fight. Left wing politicians spoke the language of the people on the streets and there were plenty of principled people who were ready to stand up to the psychotic Thatcher government and ask them the Nigel Farage question “just who the hell do you people think you are?”

      In thirty years time young Irish people will wonder why they are living in a poor country and they will come back to this decade and look at the numbers

      500,000 unemployed
      300,000 empty homes
      100,000 on the public housing list
      Hundreds of billions in debt
      The rising tide of suicide and despair
      The numbers leaving their families behind

      etc etc etc

      The intelligent ones will hate you because you stood by and let it happen and I would not blame them one bit. Will you be able to tell them with pride that while your country was stolen from you that you did nothing and didn’t even whimper a word pf protest? At least I will be able to look them in the eye and tell them that I spoke out and demanded that we get out country back

      I tell everyone I know that they have the solutions in their own hands and that they have the power to change this country for ever. The don’t believe it because any feelings of self belief have been drawn from their souls like water from a sponge within a tightly clenched fist

      We are a good people and still have a sense of goodness in us despite our rabidly selfish culture. We have been tainted by 40 years of Neocon ideology and are just a bit fucked up right now but we can cast off the mental shackles that imprison us and we can change this country. Intelligently and peacefully. 50,000 people standing outside Dial Eirean waving shirts in their hands would be a good start

      • coldblow

        “Left wing politicians spoke the language of the people on the streets.” Yes, that was the case at one stage in Britain, never so straightforward here perhaps. There’s a new mindset now, the old certainties are gone. All right, I can see what they are protesting against, but I wonder what they are protesting for.

    • Emperorsgotnoclothes

      Hi Paul,
      I agree with your posting – I think the general sentiment has been simmering for some time in here. I made a similar, although not as eloquent and elaborate, comment myself last week. I think that David McWilliams has done much to push out the bounds of acceptable dissent over the past few years. He’s carved out a niche for himself and makes a good living from it I’m sure, and good for him. However, it has bothered me for a quite a while that he only seems to go so far with this dissent and steers clear of many more controversial topics. He has the luxury of having a forum and a reputation upon which to air any views he wishes and to shine a light into the nooks and crannies of the parts of our society that those in power would wish he didn’t. The fact that he is indulged by the establishment tells me that the level of dissent he voices is deemed acceptable by the ruling elite. In that regard he (and others like him), in effect, defines the boundaries of acceptable dissent – thus far, and no further! If he is prepared to toe that line then he will continue to be indulged – much the better to give the appearance that we have free speech. While I have a large degree of respect for him I do believe that he appreciates which side his bread is buttered on. You won’t see a Nigel Farage, a Max Keiser, nor an Alex Jones, or folk of that ilk being indulged at all in the Irish media. The question you might consider asking yourself David is this – “If I’m indulged to the degree that I am then am I really a threat to the elites who deny real democracy (as Gerald Celente says – If I can bank online then I can vote online) to the people of this country”?

      • The fact that he is indulged by the establishment tells me that the level of dissent he voices is deemed acceptable by the ruling elite. In that regard he (and others like him), in effect, defines the boundaries of acceptable dissent — thus far, and no further!

        +1

        It is the particular ‘pampering’ of a journalist into a faked rebel role that is so very useful for the establishment itself, and of course, the journalist hence Insider himself, of their choice.

        It is a game, but played on the public.

        • Emperorsgotnoclothes

          I wonder Georg does DMcW ever think of himself in those terms? When you look at someone like Noam Chomsky who is almost universally ignored by the mainstream media, both in the west, and most particularly in the US, and see how far he pushes dissent, then it puts into stark perspective the extent of DMcW’s criticism of established power. It’s dissent lite.

          As you rightly point out though, those holding the reins of power are quite happy to play this game on the public. The Irish public are very well, and very easily, managed – much to our shame it has to be said. It won’t take the elites too long though to bare their fangs and show their true colours should the masses begin to really stir in numbers!

          • See, I do not think of David as an ignorant or stupid person, on the contrary. However, i am not too sure, and I mean, how could I possible know, I don’t really know the man, if he is aware of this role he is ‘assigned’ to.

            Out of curiosity, I watched that Interview with him, interesting cuts by the editor, was my first impression.

            The strongest impression was that this ‘big interview’ was a like a reheated Pizza, and is precisely part of the pampering process that I meant. It is a vanity piece with very little content, designed to brush up some celeb status and feed the RTE consumers with.

            What really struck me was this scene. David was making his Nama 2bn fees pitch, and the Interviewer’s face was shown in close up when he stated something like ‘This is nauseating’, giving the impression of someone who has not heard about it before, someone who is presented really bad news for the first time.

            It is here thatI always wonder about the level of editors work, and stage managed perceptions. Get my drift?

            IMHO David is part of the perception game, again, played on the public and at the public’s cost in deed.

            You call it ‘dissent lite’, and I know what you mean, I have a very different description. The ‘family club’ that is this public broadcaster functions from within. The Angelus Bell is a good example, and there are many more, look at specifics of programs like Nationwide, many other like this, they hit at the best broadcasting time. Look at the format as well, take the news for example. I remember that I was really struck when I saw RTE News at six-one for the first time. I really had to laugh out loud.

            What the Hell is that? …and here we take a break …. advertising breaks in a public news broadcast? The format of broadcasts gives away a lot, perhaps the most striking example is Kenny’s Frontline, it is so blatantly obvious what is happening there, it really is on the edge of risible.

            David is and ‘Insider’ and part of that consent machinery, it is his choice. In my view he plays this clownish role on purpose, he is charming his way around, and in my interpretation it is also serves in parts as a psychological protection function for himself.

            This is no dissent at all in my view, and I often wonder for how many more decades will he be able to cash in on this ‘I told you so’ boom, that the media willingly plays into his hands, the answer is simple. As long as the media does it, he can.

            I hope this does not come across hatred or as begrudgery, it is not meant this way at all, but he is a media celeb that is pampered on purpose, whether he knows it or not does not matter, my guess is, he knows it.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Georg: It is extremely difficult to combine ‘gravitas’ with ‘entertainment value’ and David sometimes has difficulty deciding which aspect of his personality he is trying to portray. His bread and butter depends on gravitas but he can’t decide whether to eat his cake or leave it. Once he makes that decision he might model his TV appearances on Parkinson rather than Dave Allen, as he looks ungainly on a bar stool.

          • David’s bread and butter most likely does not depend on his TV appearance or books at all, I am somewhat certain for that, but you know what, this is none of my business, really not.
            .

          • Malcolm McClure

            Georg: Of course the public persona of those who have become celebrities is your business; – as equally the persona of anyone who aspires to be elected President becomes the business of everyone in Ireland. I draw the line at involving their families in the persona debate.

          • Malcolm McClure

            David: I just watched the Mike Murphy interview from the link you provided. It was an outstanding success and I regret my earlier rather edgy remarks. Your presence was calm, unruffled, sincere and your analysis totally convincing. My only interview poise comment would be to keep the soles of both feet firmly on the floor, American style.
            Congrats again on a good showing.

  28. Good Morning Posters

    Testing ….1 2 3 ….testing….1 2 3 ….its working ….gulp.

  29. stiofanc02

    David I know your are hip to all the latest turns of phrase and you are an excellent wordsmith and I am a self professed major fan and follower but you have to stop using the annoying inane and sophmoric moronoic term “get your head around”. It reminds me of “basically” at the beginning of each sentance, “at the end of the day”, “going forward”, “no bother” instead of “youre welcome” or the ever popular “on the ground”. “export led growth” is soon to be in there as well. An average man telling a great man how to speak or write is annoying I know, but I feel the need in this case. Hope you can get your head around this.

    • CitizenWhy

      “Get your head around” is never heard any more in the USA, where it was invented. Oops, wrong, New agers of 40 and above use it.

    • Ok Stephen, point taken!

      Best,
      D

      • drick

        it would appear this blog is finally going into top gear. hopefully we dont turn on eachother. i believe David is doing a great job of drawing us all into this debate. For f… sake he has to make a living too ,but someone has to pull like minded people together to make a change, David has copped some seriuous crap over the years ,stay with it david.you do have a role.

  30. A few howlers from the Presidential Around the World Race:

    1. I kid you not, intro to TG4 debate, with a big smile on his face, David Norris clearly said, check recordings if you don’t believe me, “Is MeShe Daibhi Norris”. Whatever about his faults, you’ve got to like the guy.

    2. There was the tyre being driven on empty due to a puncture. Nice way to protect the deposit to get the wagon train circling again:) Drama queen.

    3. There was the old school Irish Fr Ted politician doing a Bertie defending money resting in his account while disguising himself as an as an Independent through organising ¢5k dinners for the leadership of FF…some feat:) Aha, now we know why FF didn’t put their own candidate forward. Lol. FF seeky a sneaky:)

    4. There was the Special K candidate on a huge salary you thought worked for nothing; didn’t realise quango appointments made by FF meant she was not independent, but meant to vote FF.

    5. There is the independent candidate seeking to hide his membership of Sinn Fein especially the militant wing.

    6. There is the FG candidate telling us the country is on the cusp of great growth who supports FG austerity and supports FG policy on the banks, who remembers poverty in the past.

    7. There is the LB candidate who would enjoy the lifestyle of wandering minstrel court poet while peppering his party’s austerity policies with tales of human rights of yore.

    Sign em all on, let’s revive the Irish Film Industry, blockbuster roadtrip movie,
    Celtic Wing and a Prayer

  31. Great post, Pauldiv, lol.

    RE “Why are the Irish not more like Spain’s Indignados?”

    Answer is in the article and the comments + other points here:

    1. Not quite reached the unemployment tipping point.

    2. Public service overpaid

    3. Social Welfare system still generous compared to the past

    4. Emigration – flight rather than fight

    5. Pravda RTE soporific coverage of banking issue leading to mass ignorance

    6. Government pretence they are cleaners rather than bankers even more pro banking than FF

    • CitizenWhy

      Plus Spain has a tradition of intellectual and pragmatic anti-capitalism, plus solidarity, which has taken many forms, the most positive in my view being the formation of worker-owned businesses. It was some people from Spain, by the way, that got some Americans to start the Occupy Wall Street movement.

      It will be a long time before Ireland sees anything like the Limerick Soviet again.

    • drick

      Colm,

      I took flight over 3 years ago, there was no fight, there still isn’t .you will get a bigger turn out for the sam maguire than any protest. there has been no protest. 500,000 unemployed ,how come 1/5th of those cant muster a protest. ireland isnt greece ,thats for sure,be honest ,we never could muster any numbers in any rebellion over the centuries. we pride ourselves as being rebelious, b….x!!

      and now getting extreme ,can you shoot the %of population that votes for that arse gallager in the election

  32. mumenomics

    Hiya David. I hope your trip to Dubai was a success! I am excited at the thought of reinventing Ireland. I think we should, in lin with the Blackberry/Apple/Samsung analogy, develop a competitive advantage. The Finns did it after all so why can’t we? We have a booming population whom we will educate to a reasonable level-I don’t know of any other developed economy certainly in Western Europe with this big advantage. If we sort out our education system-reorientate our secondary students away from the professions (I do take the points made above about Medicine/Law etc) and towards productive and high skill areas, then we might just create competitive advantage.
    There is a lot of work being done in Education-the new Minister, whatever you might think, is certainly up for changing the status quo albeit with limited resources. Now that the Higher Education Sector is likely to re introduce fees, lets make it a condition of fee-reintroduction that Universities start to think creatively about expanding our Science/Engineering expertise/collateral through scholarships in these key areas.
    I have a home in negative equity but I have three kids. I’m investing in their future-the banks/governmnet have come up with a reasonable proposal to sort out the mortgage mess-it won’t make the real estate market come out of a funk but it will provide relief to those who most need it and will boost our abysmal social housing stock/programme.
    If we are a developed economy we need to start behaving like one and look after the vulnerable when they most need it. We need to leave aside the gombeen politics, our cute-hoorism and emulate more positive role models. THose who choose to forget the lessons of history, are doomed to relive it.
    MJ @Mumenomics

    • Re “There is a lot of work being done in Education-the new Minister, whatever you might think, is certainly up for changing the status quo albeit with limited resources. ”

      limited resources for education, but unlimited resources for the banks. Wonderful. Lol.

  33. Anybody suspicious about France?

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2051242/FTSE-LIVE-France-Germany-rift-bailout-fund-hits-stocks.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    “French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that plans to tackle the eurozone debt crisis have stalled, with France and Germany at odds over how to increase the firepower of the region’s bailout fund.

    Mr Sarkozy told French lawmakers the dispute was holding up negotiations and flew to Frankfurt to talk with German chancellor Angela Merkel in an attempt to break the deadlock.

    Adding to uncertainty, the Financial Times reported that plans to strengthen the banking system, another key plank of the discussions, would fall short of market expectations.”

    Conspiracy theorists among us while maybe not sure bed and breakfasting is holding the French banking system alive, maybe wonder what exposure French banks have to the sub prime OTC debt instruments that brought Lehman’s down.

    Conspiracy theorists maybe stop short of a suspicion that Trichet pulled the rug from under Lenihan with Tric(y)het forcing our bailout, that bailout was to disguise the vulnerable French banking system exposed to sub prime OTC instruments. Such people looking at the 5.8% ‘bailout’ return to the European banks as a lifesave for them, not us.

    Leaving the above suspicions aside, French banks are in a debt hole far deeper than German banks.

    Its not surprising Sarkozy wants Germany to pony up the money out of its support for the ECB for these debt holes; its not surprising that Merkel doesn’t want the German people saddled with the bill for multiples of Anglo/AIB.

    Meanwhile Barroso is floundering under the complexity of coming up with a plan subject to obstacles above.

    Time to call it a day, euro is bust, lets devote our energies to cleaning up the mess, rather than making it worse as the gombeen Irish government intend to do.

    Remember lads, ‘Truth’ is out there, whether we find it, or not:)

    • France has secured for itself 30% of Libya’s Oil as part of it’s ‘agreement’ to support the TNC, and agreement completed BEFORE the Benghazi claim of massive civilian casualties was a mainstream media song.

      http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-war-you-dont-see-now-available-online-worldwide-following-us-ban

      How’s THAT for planning ahead?

      • Deco

        Where are the protestors who protested the Invasion of Iraq (on flawed and baseless assumptions concerning WMD) ???

        This is even more serious, because the media is saying nothing.

        Europe needs young men to sign up, get militarised, and lay their bodies on the line – in order to protect the interests of the corporations.

        I do not regard the new regime as an improvement. Time will explain why.

        This is absolutely disgraceful. The pretext is always “humanitarean aid” and the results are always a set of deals for “our advertising/corporate sponsors”.

    • coldblow

      Be suspicious of France. Should be an automatic reflex with all thinking people.

  34. mumenomics

    There is way too much focus on banks generally-we have saddled our kids and their kids with debt-we elected the gombeens who run this country! Its time we expected more from them. The past is another country-we’ve learned the lesson-lets not forget that the future is for our kids-not for the banks. We will end up paying back with interest for the mistakes we have made buying and selling houses to one another for our own personal gain, without thinking about the effects on our society. The last four years have been desperately difficult for everyone except a select few professionals. 99% of the population is suffering. So lets give hope-hope is the future of all our kids. Creative ideas please? MJ @mumenomics

  35. mumenomics

    ref: France. Yep. French Banks overexposed to Greece unfortunately. Angela Merkel quite rightly trying to protect Germany-she is at the end of the day, elected in Germany by Germans-Barrosso has no power so he is just waiting to be told by Angela/Nicolas what the next step is.
    THink I’ll move to Norway….. seriously….
    MJ @mumenomics

  36. SLICKMICK

    The more successful the IDA is ,the more Irish industry declines! In the eighties, 60 % of DIT grads emigrated ! Mostly sc/eng grads ! We need 200,000 to emigrate over the next 5 yrs. Republicans are very silent over Tom Mc Feely, A FINE IRISHMAN, builder, fat cat AND EX PROVO!

    • Colin

      Yes, you see, being a Provo and a gombeen are not mutually exclusive. In fact, try to find an ex Provo, and see if he has any morals? Sure what’s a few shortcuts on a building site when its compared to blowing up women and children?

    • Dorothy Jones

      @ Slickmick: Extracts from this builder’s CV include
      - 2011 Developer says he ‘Lives Mostly on A Plane’
      - 2011 Accuses tenants of ‘begrudgery;
      - 2011 first heard by ‘phone in Portugal 5 days ago
      so looking back a little…..
      - 2006 Offaly CoCo proceeds to secure remedial action on estate left in ‘appalling condition’
      - 2009 Woman sues for structural defects on a house
      - 2009 88 tenants evicted Dundalk [fire safety]
      - 2010 Sued for land deal [Tallaght ; Noel Smyth / Liam Carroll case] : Judge: ‘None of the parties emerged with much credit for the manner in which they conducted their business deals’
      - 2011 55 tenants evacuated over fire safety concerns in Clondalkin
      - 2011 High Court order to wind up Coalport; lifted after payment to Revenue and PRSI
      - 14 Oct 2011 Passports to be surrendered; Statement of Means to be submitted to the court by 21 Oct 2011, otherwise non-completion of remedial works; contempt of Court, possible committal to prison

      • gizzy

        We have and had enough people in planning depts to control any number of construction sites. The councils took betwwen 12 and 15 k per unit in contributions for these apts plus water sewage and other levies. Whose job was it to monitor this site, will the question even be asked.

        • Dorothy Jones

          Questions will be asked now certainly. Briefly:
          - In Ireland, a system of ‘self-certification’ is in place
          - This means that the Architect, Engineer, Fire Safety Consultant, Contractor and Specialist Sub-Contractors are responsible for certifying the building’s compliance with Building Control Requirements
          - The Building Control Authority does not inspect, with the exception of Fire Safety, where a Fire Officer MAY inspect
          - Applications are made in respect of Fire Safety Certificates [FSC] and Disability Access Certificates [DAC]
          - The records of these Appliactoins and Grants and Refusals are on record with the Local Authority
          - Certificates of Compliance are NOT. These are kept in the Safety File / Deeds of the owner
          - Changes to design may occur during construction
          - If Certificates are ‘qualified’, they may become meaningless:
          “It is a visual inspection,” he said. “I’m not going to get out a hammer and break a hole in the wall.”

          The Priory Hall deficiencies were discovered not by way of a routine inspection by a Fire Officer, but because of an inspection by the Local Authority prior to locating tenants there

          Some points below from Newstalk highlight some of the issues: 18 Oct ‘Breakfast’ just after 8am News
          Ivan Yates [interviewer]
          ‘Has Building Regulation failed us?’
          Jeff Colley [Editor; Construct Ireland]
          ‘Absolutely!’

          - Funding system for Local Authorities; Systematic Problem
          - Development Contributions Constituted a Large Part
          - Incentive to build
          - Little attention to quality
          - Department of the Environment target to inspect
          12% newly constructed homes
          - Lack of resources
          - No Paper Trail
          - Fire Safety Certificate application
          - Cost of completion ; Who should pay? Who can pay?
          -Developer
          -Bonds / Sureties
          -Council
          - Certificates issued by persons who ‘had little to do with the building’

  37. Dellman

    I have just read Fintan O’Toole’s Enough is Enough How to build a new Republic.
    It contains all the basic ingredients needed to reshape this dysfunctional state into something worthwhile.

  38. Forget about reinventing Ireland, let’s reinvent ourselves, got these from a Plato course, I’m sure they wont mind me passing such cheery uppers around:)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuNQgln6TL0&feature=youtu.be

    http://youtu.be/9ZnlB9fG39E
    http://youtu.be/KuNQgln6TL0
    http://youtu.be/gxo2rGr7Yfg
    http://youtu.be/I4FYKpxAPLM
    setting
    http://youtu.be/pYtGo8nRRMM

  39. mumenomics

    Hi. Dellman thanks for reminding me of “Enough is Enough”. My thoughts on http://www.mumenomics.blogspot.com
    MJ

  40. I re-iterate my point because it is important….

    The psychology of any given culture is revealed and perpetuated in how it treats it’s children – to change that culture, you MUST address this fundamental issue.

    The Church saw children, and incidentally Indigenous Peoples, as ‘souls to be saved or sent to hell’.

    The Corporate Government sees children as future workers.

    Marketing Psychologists see children as ‘evolving consumers’.

    How were YOU seen as a child, and how do you regard children?

    • CitizenWhy

      You forgot to mention that prosperous US parents see their children as trophies, as extensions of themselves who must get into the right schools and have the career of the parents’ choice.

      My sister in-law once said she felt sorry for kids with very successful parents who have the need to be as successful. “When we were growing up in the South Bronx, you were a wonderful success and everyone loved you if you just didn’t go to jail.”

      How do I see children? As human beings with a certain nature, very different personalities and needs, and a capacity for good and evil. As people with the right to fail and the need to learn from those failures. As people who do not need to lectured or bullied but actively involved in problem solving. As people who deserve pleasure, who need to be fair to others, who need to be helped develop their strengths, who will need to make their way in this world with at least some love, affection, pleasure, concern for others, capacity for handling adversity, and deserving of mutually supportive friends and spouses.

      Example:

      The kid spills some milk. Response: “Look, the milk is spilt. We need to get it cleaned up. You go get some more paper towels while I wipe.”

      • Colin

        That US phenomenon has already migrated here. Yummy Mummys two a penny. Watch all those helicopter parents bring and collecting their special ones to and from school. My God, with all that “Stranger Danger” out on the streets, I couldn’t let my darling Sorcha walk more than 100 yards beyond the school gates! Look love, 98% of child abuse happens within families.

      • You get it, my friend…. the judgemental approach to children is a profoundly negative influence, and if subjected to it, they internalise that judgement, and lose self empathy in the process. Which leads to a loss of empathy for others, sometimes compensated by ‘compassion’ which is not quite the same…

        That loss of empathy for others compounds the fear that underlies the internalisation process and leads to a desire to control others (and the environment around one). Try to control any natural autonomous organism and resistance ensues, and this leads to the application of violence, be it direct and physical or psychological.

        If this happens across entire generations, then as adults they will build a society that carries that same psychology through, and thus perpetuates it.

        Without understanding this, there is no possibility or a reliable long-term change in that psychology. And even with this understanding, it is not easy to engage to make those changes.

        As the saying goes “I didn’t say it was going to be easy, I said it would be worth it!”

    • coldblow

      Here’s one: how do children see other children?

  41. Psychological Hygiene – Stay sane!

    The reports on mental health development in the countries affected by the occupation of IMF -ECB-EU mafia that I read in the past few days are painting a very disturbing picture.

    In that context I would like to share a few basics tips with those who are actively engaged on social issues concerning banksters and politicos.

    Do not underestimate the toxicity of the subject you deal with. You can not be totally detached from while doing research or engaging in activities, it will affect you naturally, or if not, you better commit yourself straight away! ;)

    It is gut wrenching, toxic and a heavy burden on your mind and wellbeing, you need to be able to deal with that practically, or this shit has the potential to eat you alive!

    Compensate! Do whatever suits best for your situation, but compensate! You need to balance the constant stream of negativity that will bombard you when you search for facts and dig in history. A total detachment is impossible.

    To a degree you can compare it with surgeon, he needs to exercise a certain detachment, and time helps him to achieve that, which does not give up on compassion.

    The difference is that it is his job, he is trained to do that, and not all succeed, many can not take it, they are not made for it.

    So what I am suggesting is simply, balance this shit with something positive in your life, in my case it is arts, i compose and record music, and do fine art photography.

    This counts equally and very much so for people in financial distress, who face loos of job, a bankster and their harassment may be all over you at the same time. Watch out for the warning signs, in yourself and in people close to you.

    There is no shame in being in financial distress, it is bullshit engrained in society and useless. If you find yourself in a situation where you experience sleeplessness, constant worries on your mind, trouble to stand up in the morning, low motivation, this kinda thing, start acting. Talk to friends, break the routine and poisonous cycle of fear.

    Ask for help if you feel you can not cope alone anymore, there is NO shame in this, not a sausage.

    Just look after yourself as best as you can, and if this does not help, please go and ask for help, little things sometimes can do wonders, seriously!

    Please do not try to keep it all to yourself, it will make things worse. Share your pain, desperation and anger, don’t bottle it up!

    Try to focus on positive aspects in your life, they are there! Maintain some discipline, I know, sounds funny, but try it. Start something new, something you never did before in your life.

    Reserve time every day for your own positive activities, paint a picture, read a book, play a game, whatever it is, but make this time!

    Do not give in to heavy boozing or drug over use, as tempting as can be, as devastating the results. Nothing wrong with a few beers to relax, a joint to watch a nice film or have a chat with friends, but do not start to hammer yourself when you are alone. It is a slow death!

    Last but not least, stay focussed!

    Best
    Georg

    • P.S.

      Very important in my view, refuse the happy Pills! there are better ways, and they will not solve anything, on the contrary!

      • Peter Atkinson

        Sure didn’t we overdose on happy pills in the form of cf credit for a decade.Happy pills come in all shapes and sizes not only in brown bottles.Bertie sussed this early on and instructed the banks to keep feeding them to us in the form of greenbacks.

        The sight of the wads in the hands of the uneducated used to make me ill.See, Bertie came from the “people” and felt that the “people” should have what was purely the domain of the landed gentry in the old days.Unfortunately, like a gun in the wrong hands, it can cause havoc.And thats exactly what happened.

        Yes, in the old days the local bank manager, in his pinstripe and bi-focal glasses used to look down his nose at the poor unfortunate laying his cards on the table looking for a loan or a mortgage.But this dilligence was exactly that,dilligence.The thought of some naavy walking in to his office with a figures scratched out on a bookies slip would have been unheard of let alone considered.

        Well Fitzpatrick and his cronies put paid to that.They turned a somewhat honourable profession into a sideshow.The cement shoveller turned into a local celebrity being feted by all and sundry.The classes completely greyed and it was hard to tell the wheat from the chaff.This culminated in an audacious attempt by a quasi builder, Sean Quinn, to become some form a high flying bank owner.

        A comment made by a character in a popular novel recently suggested that Shrewsbury Road could become the most expensive ghost estate in the country.This is now beginning to ring through.The happy pills that its noveau residents were gorging themselves on finally dried up and we all know the horrors of the afteremath of drug addiction and the misery it leaves in its wake.

        Folks the new credit is misery,the new drug.No shortage of it and available on every corner you turn.I wonder will be able to ever get this new drug under control.Maybe we could appoint a misery regulator and maybe we could issue quantitive easing in the form hope.

        Hope springs eternal.

    • Praetorian

      Exceptional post, well done, real compassion for others, the best sign of humanity in a person.

      • I agree. While I have had to face much in my lifetime, and have taken the necessary route of ruthless self honesty, I have also been able to NURTURE myself, through music, art, gardening, laughter and some very good friends…. I am fortunate. I am aware that many are not so fortunate, and it is for them that I do what I do, and I cannot sustain it without honouring my own needs and meeting them as best I can. I no not wish for ‘burn-out’ to halt my work.

        Nor would I wish it on anyone else, for a part from the personal pain, it has implications for those for whom we work, the future children….

  42. ladygee2

    Hi David et all,
    Normally I would agree with most of your contributions and those of the many contributors to this blog, but I’m sorry to have to say that this latest ditty is a bit on the ‘iffy’ side. The question that needs to be asked is how does a country go about re-inventing itself? Going by some of the comments put forward by the contributors to this blog, well, what can one say only that that there’s a total disparity on what the contributors have to say on any of the posts you’ve made since I began to read and contribute to this blog. What I mean is that most of the contributors to this blog are completely and diametrically opposed in the way that they think, and how they’d go about doing this and doing that, which goes to prove that it takes ‘all kinds to make a world’. I’m all for the freedom of speech, but the problem with the majority of the population of this small country of ours is that when ‘push comes to shove’ they really haven’t the wherewithall to do some thing positive about changing this country for the benefit of EVERYBODY. The majority of those who are in business only think about themselves. You only have to listen to the usual crap given out by the spokespeople representing IBEC and their like to see why this country is in the state it finds itself in. The same can be said about the spokespersons from the various trade unions and then you have the politicians on top of those. The combined shite that they come out with is just totally and utterly unbelievable!! All they’re doing is looking after themselves!! If this country is going to have any chance of getting out of the quagmire that it finds itself in then a whole lot of things will need to change!!

  43. Peter Atkinson

    Folks just been down to the patent office to lodge a patent application for a product that will save our country a fortune if it is used liberally in the right places but unfortunately will result in a number of job losses.The product is called a “Quango Hammer”

  44. gizzy

    Note our Mr Kenny said today the troika was happy with us. What about the citizens. The restaurant I own and run is like a window into the world. In an hour between two and three today.

    Man about sixty walks in asks are you the owner. I answer yes. He said things are shite aren’t they. He owns a business in steel fabrication since 1981. Said he had Saturday off and it felt like a holiday. Said he would get out but he can’t, it’s all shite. I empathised he took his coffee, sat down and stared into thin air.

    Two ladies I know walk in ten minutes later, I ask how are you. One replied don’t ask she’ll start crying. Why? Both our sons are leaving for Australia on Tuesday. Both said their sons were right to get away from the negativity in this country.

    But Mr Kenny like the good primary school teacher he is, is happy with a good report from the cigire. (hope that’s spelt right.)

    Fully agree with George, I coach kids football, keeps me in the now while I am doing it

  45. Some Solutions : Full scale Organic Farming and Permaculture to become the premier clean food exporter of europe, to reduce our National Health costs on disease related to diet, to enhance our Island as a tourist destination, to help repopulate the rural areas with people whose work benefits everyone.

    Definitely continue the trend of Irish IT innovation.

    Burn the bondholders, one and all. Iceland did it. We can too.

    Take back what is ours – The Oil and Gas, and deal with the Norwegians, who will play a fairer game for the investment…..

    Disestablish the Vatican Church in Ireland and liquidate ALL their property holdings, and compensate the Survivors in ways that allow them to live what remains of their lives, free of shame, guilt, pain as best we can. Pursue the Vatican, as a State, for reparations if they wish to claim State status.

    That’s what the UN and ICC is for.

    Use any excess funds or property from either to support local businesses. Let the Catholics and other Christians run and organise their own Churche’s, locally funding them.

    Reduce the working hours of everyone, esp. civil servants, so that families can spend more time together.

    To fill the hours required, employ more people….

    Pay people pro rata, but not on the basis of increases that leave senior managment many, many times better paid than the frontline.

    Improve public transport, and reduce the use of cars in cities – cares running through streets destroy community, they remove free association play area from outside peoples homes (which leads to more isolation, less neighbourliness).

    Use cars for much longer…. we don’t need to be driving new cars every three years….

    After all we have a population the size as Birmingham, and the space to spread out.

    Take over those ‘ghost housing estates’ and use them as council housing, and get rid of the high rises and older tenements…. and sod the Developers and Builders -if anything sue them for every penny to ensure repairs can be made, such that the buildings are actually suitable for habitation.

    Support small holding farming. It builds in biodiversity, weather variable resilience, supports solid rural communities.

    Let our Universities be International beacons of best practice, from of Corporate sponsorship unless that sponsorship promotes green and libertarian principles…

    Then fly the flag with pride and honour.

    Of course, these are all simplistic, and I am no expert. So your comments would be appreciated either way.

    • transitionman

      MAC video was inspiring.
      I agree Your ideas on Organic farming and Permaculture , that we need to plan for default. Grab Corrib back to pay a few bills.
      Having read this article and all the comments the temp is rising will the budget or a failure by France to get Germany to save them and the euro be the tipping point?
      The big problem we have is our sense of entitlement. Very hard to get used to the idea that we will have less of everything.

  46. THE COLONEL

    Just an opinion, I just watched RTE’s report and if I had a button on the remote to send them a message of disapproval, I’ll still be at it pushing that button for the next few hours.

    What a disgusting horse shit they are brainwashing people with here!

    You are a public boadcaster and are required by law to maintain a certain standard, which of course, you breach every day.

    USA and Europeans in particular licked his arse for he was the one to keep out african refugees of Europe. This is the one most important realities of the Colonel’s story, apart from the oil aspect of course, a morphine addict, despot and tyrant that was welcomed in Europe on many occasions, Paris was locked down when his crew of desert bandits set up their tents and Sarkozy that wanker could not find enough photo opportunities to shake hands with him.

    Instead of mentioning his death in the correct context, you rather engage in your presidential x-factor show, shame on you!

  47. redriversix

    We talk,we share,we advise and we critize, but what are we going to do…?

    Do we wait for David.? Do we stick our heads above the parapet and begin anew.

    Do we arrange to meet in a hotel and set up a new political party ?

    You wanna talk about honesty and being transparent..

    I can only talk about my experience,strength and hope.I have read a lot of peoples opinions about social problems that I am not sure they have experience of.

    Here is my experience,for what its worth

    I worked very hard from an early age to reach the height of my career, I employed a number of people and they were paid very well and had ample opportunity for advancement.I paid my taxes and took care of my family and employees.I expanded were possible and had an excellent relationship with my banks.

    I made mistakes and lost several million,I sold/lost everything I had during this time to try and repay my debts,including our family home.

    During this time I was several years in recovery from alcohol addiction and I am 11 years sober one day at a time.

    We as a family sold everything from our dvds to jewellery to wedding gifts to try and provide for ourselves.I recently pawned a watch to get groceries.

    Finally I went to S.W and because i Have nothing left and could prove it [ lot of paperwork] thankfully they were able to assist us.

    I did not really have a problem with all this as I understood , as a entrepreneur that “shit happens” and I am also blessed to have a wonderful family by my side.

    This was fine until the banks went creeping in the middle of the night for a bailout !!

    Hold on..! how can you be capitalist when things are going well and then socialist when it goes wrong…?nobody bailed me out nor did I ask for one….at this stage I was in the process of selling everything to repay my debts and could not[would] go back on my word.

    So in conclusion, i have experience in

    Success
    Failure
    Banks
    Addiction
    and Social welfare

    And I am damn lucky because I know now more than ever whats important

    I cannot take care of my family on S.W,but we wont starve and I will get back on my feet.

    I am 42 years old and a strong sonofabitch.

    So what can you guys bring to the table…?and remember take care of your families first,I put mine last.Now you know why I keep saying Families first….

    “Good evening,How can I help you”?

    Take care.
    RR6

    • gizzy

      Hope it all works out for you. A lot of people in same boat but keeping it all in. Others only watching from the sidelines.

      Take care

      • redriversix

        Thank you Gizzy

        There is no shame in success and their is none in failure.

        I realised through my experience that my greatest enemy was Fear

        Today fear plays no part in my life.I am doing the best I can,if it is not good enough and if I being honest with myself and those around me.Than I have nothing to fearful of.

        Best of luck in your business.

        RR6

        • “I am doing the best I can,if it is not good enough and if I being honest with myself and those around me.Than I have nothing to fearful of.”

          THAT IS THE LESSON THAT GOVERNMENT, CHURCH AND ALL OF US NEED MOST TO LEARN.

          Had the Church put their hands up, handed over all the files on KNOWN abusers, Survivors would have been able to a great degree move on with their lives, the Church would be in VERY HIGH Standing… Likewise the State….

          The same applies to anyone who ‘makes a mistake’ : admit it, openly, make reparations and then people see the kind of behaviour that inspires confidence and trust….. which is WHY both qualities are felt by most people regarding the Institutions.

          NOW THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY BASIS OF ANY ‘RE-INVENTION’ I WOULD BE WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN.

          • redriversix

            Agreed corneilius.

            The great thing about being honest is that it is easy to remember !

            Take care

            RR6

          • oops i meant to write : “which is WHY both qualities are felt to be missing by most people, regarding the Institutions.” Or “THIS IS WHY SO FEW TRUST POLITICIANS, LEADERS OF ALL KINDS, RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR.” and they are CORRECT.

    • Not sure what to say RR6, other then I feel it is humbling to see people out their personal situation in such detail, it takes great courage.

      Respect.

      • redriversix

        Thank you Georg R

        IT is through my experience ,how I realised “what a fraud everything had become”

        But my experience has ,believe it or not been a blessing.I have learned so much,so young that I can sometimes help other people “not to suffer” as long as I did.

        Take care and thank you for your kind words.

        I am willing to help anybody who wants it.

        RR6

        • Adam Byrne

          May I humbly suggest that your next self-improvement project be to give up smoking for your own and your family’s sake?

          If I need your help with anything, I certainly won’t hesitate to ask.

          Adam.

          • redriversix

            LoL !!!!

            Thank you Adam

            Point taken….can,t really afford them anyway..I am getting like my grandfather..cutting them in two and splitting packets….Cheers

    • coldblow

      Nice one, RR6. Whatever happens in the future you’ve already lived a full life.

  48. Original-Ed

    When Sean gallagher, the presidental hopeful, was able to get 700,000 from Enterprise Ireland for the simple task of installing cables in new houses – it would make you wonder if these people know their arse from their elbow.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1020/1224306126656.html

    • Deco

      Yet more proof that the Keynesian economic stimulus thinking is a godsend to useless politicians and inept “entreprenuers”….at the expense of the taxpayer.

      I favour a “market solution” to this.

      If Gallagher cannot find the funding, then this is an indication that is not a great entreprenuer, or else the idea is nonsense.

      Maybe, he should appear on Dragons Den and get some free advice.

      the “Donkey-race” continues…..

  49. Malcolm McClure

    I see Sarkozy and Merkel will still be Waiting for Godot on Sunday. Big surprise.

    • coldblow

      Blimey, Malcolm. Didn’t you once mention the cryptic nature of some of the posts here, now you’re at it yourself. Translation please for the literal-minded serfs!

      • Malcolm McClure

        coldblow: Sorry; I was just picking up on recent conversations here about delaying the inevitable, inability to finish things, Beckett’s existentialism, etc.

        I had just heard the news that the supposedly definitive S-M Sunday meeting would actually deliver results next week or possibly never.

        Others have noted Canadian’s earnest, honest approach, to which I would add a wider Aryan failure to understand irony. As this includes most Americans and Continentals, I will try to restrict future comment to literal constructions that assist wider understanding.

        I’d better start now and make clear the the S-M I used above was intended to indicate Sarkozy – Merkel and not sado-machochistic.

  50. wills

    Pauldiv, Georg and the rest of the gang shitting on above about D.

    Mixing emotion and analysis is not going to lead to productive results.

    Very easy to project ones *frustrations* onto others in the public eye.

    Particularly when they are in the media and on TV.

    Now you guys have picked your angle on D and have all finally pinned your jocks to the church door. Now, lets use this moment to conduct a rigorous exchange on your flawed and distorted reasoning above.

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