March 4, 2013

The Generational War

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 97 comments ·
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In the past few weeks, I have been working abroad in the US and the Gulf. The one thing you realise when working abroad, from talking to people and listening to what is going on, is that the world is not waiting for Ireland to get its act together. The world is moving on, facing new challenges.

The world economy, seen from where I am now in Abu Dhabi, looks to be motoring along. Obviously, there are economic worries in this region, which is so dependent on world growth. A major concern is China – whether it is the largest credit bubble the world has ever seen. People are also concerned that India is losing its way.

There is the ever-present worry about geopolitics. People here worry that a bruised US, under Barack Obama, will not be the ‘policeman’ that this part of the world has come to expect. It is clear that the US has no stomach for Iraq mark 2 in Syria. This vacuum is creating nervousness in the oil states, and this angst is particularly elevated by the revolutions in other Arab countries.

Iran’s continued support for the Assad regime in Syria, pitting it against Saudi Arabia for supremacy in the region, is rarely far from conversations. The oil-rich states continue the policy of buying peace and prosperity, using oil revenues to make sure there is no repeat of a Tunisia, Libya or Egypt in the gleaming petro-cities of the Gulf.

With all this talk here about “who might undermine whom” next, the peaceful achievements of the EU shouldn’t be underestimated. Imagine a Europe where the talk was about which big bully was going to finance which revolution in what neighbouring state next?

Even those worried about the European economy know the last 60 years of European history have been quite remarkable in terms of what has been achieved.

This is why recent political trends and the aloofness of Europe’s political elite are so worrying, because in this recession there have been winners and losers and the trends are now quite definitive.

While much comment post-Italian election is focused on the euro, austerity and debts, there is something much, much greater going on in Europe, the Arab world and Ireland. It is a generational war, where the young are paying a much harsher price in the recession than the middle-aged. This is a very serious problem and one which could define politics in the decades ahead.

At the moment, we do not have the political language to deal with this issue. A few years ago, I wrote a book, The Generation Game, about how this generational divide may play out in Ireland. Since then, the global generational conundrum has got worse, not better, and politics hasn’t dealt with it at all.

So we are still using the old 19th century rhetoric -’left’ and ‘right’, ‘centre’ and ‘radical’, ‘nationalism’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ – but these terms don’t capture the essential fact that young people all over the world are not getting a fair stake in their societies.

On practically every indicator – employment, unemployment, wages, pensions, wealth and opportunity – the old are holding on to their gains and the young are paying the price.

The contrast between the decent wages and guaranteed, or partially-guaranteed, pensions of the old, and the yellow-pack wages and zero pensions of the young could not be starker.

In Ireland, of course, this generational divide is heightened, because many young people are caught in negative equity, while those who bought their homes in the 1970s, 1980s or even 1990s are still “quids in” in terms of wealth.

Here’s what the UN has to say about the generational divide in its most recent report on world youth unemployment: “With almost 74 million people in the 15 to 24 age group unemployed around the world, translating into a 12.4 per cent unemployment rate for this subset, job prospects for the world’s younger workers are looking increasingly bleak.”

In Ireland, figures published last week put youth unemployment at 15.9 per cent – and this is only because so many of the youth category have already emigrated. Many young people are on temporary contracts and are paid a pittance just to gain experience.

One way to look at the Croke Park agreement is through the prism of the age divide. When an economy like Ireland is not growing, the pie is fixed and isn’t getting any bigger. The resources of the country are limited. In such cases, national wage agreements are an exercise in divvying up this pie. It is a resource-allocating game. So for one section to gain, another has to lose.

Seen from this angle, there is a monumental struggle going on between the generations. The old are looting the young by ringfencing their pensions, wages and working conditions.

In contrast, the young are having to live off the slim pickings that are left; we can see this in higher unemployment, lower wages, and temporary conditions. In short, the stake of the young in society is becoming more precarious.

This generational divide may well be the defining political issue of our age. Thus far, politics hasn’t deployed language to deal with it.

Indeed, another way of looking at things might be that many of the young who are voting for the ‘left’ all over the world may be cannibalising their own prosperity because the traditional left are now in the business of preserving the status quo through initiatives, like the Croke Park agreement, which overwhelmingly favour the old.

Similarly, all over Europe, the status quo as represented by the political elite’s adherence to low-growth eurocentric policies, favours the old over the young, and it is clear that the young are suffering.

This “young versus old” dilemma links the Arab Spring to the politics of Europe and Ireland. The original impetus of the Arab Spring came from the young on the streets wanting their stake in society.

Something similar may materialise in Europe, but we just haven’t yet come up with the political language to describe such a movement.

 


  1. greatwhitespirit

    Don’t subscribe.

  2. David, nice summary of the situation, hope you’re enjoying Abu Dhabi. The Egyptian revolution probably had many contributory factors but from what I understand what kicked the whole show off was that a sufficiently large chunk of the middle class could not afford to eat. Can’t remember who said it but every country is “three meals away from a revolution”.

  3. ToffeeFan1

    Housing is at a very affordable level now if you don’t have a huge level of negative equity, for that reason, I think those that got burned by over investing in property and those that got burned by buying their home at hugely inflated prices are the real losers here, The land owners, developers, canny investors, auctioneers and estate agents who made a killing from the Celtic Tiger made it at the expense of the guy who has a small 3 bed semi in Cavan bought for 250,000 and now worth maybe 80,000 – he will pay for this for 35 – 40 years, The 18 – 25 year old group generally are not in negative equity and can hopefully buy now and have a fair chance of a good life, the 25 – 40 year old who has massive negative equity is the real victim here, meanwhile the older people who bought and sold at the right time look at how terrible it is for their children and nephews and nieces who have a 35 year mill stone around their necks and these older people see no Irony here …

  4. aidenlambert

    Good point about the real divide. Even more so as the young will be expected to pay the bills over the coming decades for the comfortable retirements and lifestyles of the very generations who are hogging the cash and opportunities from them at the moment. I would foresee a particularly sore point in the area of home ownership, where in countries like the UK it is already nigh on impossible for younger(ie under 35!) couples to even get started on the property ladder, leaving an older Landlord Class and a younger Renter class. That does not bode well.

  5. Puschkin the Black and White Cat

    I have spent a fair deal of time on the trying to define the struggle in a simple concise sentence. Right vs Left , Rich vs Poor , Creditor vs Debtor , Brussels vs Democracy and so onnnnnnnnnnn and onnnnnnnnnnnn.

    I just reduce it to Fascist versus Human.

    Where I define a facist as a person who can only think and act in pure finanical ways. They have no heart and really do believe something Mr Kenny or Mr Veradkar may say. A facist is frightned (always), they love property (bricks and mortar). A facist belives in water charges and taxing air (carbon tax). They believe “they” (usually the state) must be “right”. A good facist will always vote “Yes” in an other European referendum, a facist would rather “poke” your facebook then have a beer with you in the local. A facist believes most pepole on the dole are scrongers. A facist believes RTE and the newspapers. A facist believes that peoperty will regain its 2007 values and that we should all pay for this (for ever).

    Only fool believes it’s Old against Young as they cannot see that it’s really facist against human.

    • Deco

      +1.

      I would define a fascist as somebody who grabs authority for himself, and then decides to use that authority to be able to grab resources from everybody else. It is economic extortion, without consent from the other party. It is about abusing power, in an unaccountable manner, to drive an agenda, against the will of the individual who is being forced to endure that agenda.

      It starts with the law, and the law being made into a tool for centralizing power, authority and resources.

      Beware those who preach about their opponents as being fascists, and who then behave like Fascists themselves, in seeking to control the lives of others.

      • Puschkin the Black and White Cat

        Agree
        I spent some years in the Green Party , control this, control that, tax air, tax travel, street usage tax, bin tax, water tax, control education, control lunch boxs (I loved that one), double car tax on second car, control smokey coal. Control hunting, control walking.
        Control , Tax , Control , tax .
        Any observer of the Anglo/Quinn farce will see how the Four Gold Mines has become a tool for centralizing power, authority and resources.

        Think I’ll go to the pub this evening.

    • mcsean2163

      Isn’t that a bit of an over-simplification. A bit like the spoilt teen that shouts fascist pig at everyone.

      Isn’t it the haves, the have nots and everybody else?

      Everybody else being parents, workers, people going about their everyday business, working long hours for little reward and scrapping by. These people are not typically fomenting rebellion, trying to exclude people or exploit the system. They are studying, working, trying to be good, get to the next step on the ladder, struggling to get by from one day to the next. The “everybody else” are the fabric of society. They love their children, pay their taxes, work hard, care for their family and typically do not have the time or inclination to institute change in society. It’s only when things get really bad that “everybody else” start to get affected that things happen. Ireland is not that bad, the dole is pretty good.

      “Everybody else” are doing well enough not to cause trouble.

  6. The Boomer Wars begin. Pension funds kept viable with QE and the EZ version, whatever they’re calling it these days. Whilst saver’s money loses it’s value. Assets inflated to stop banks deflating. Again. Youngsters miss their crucial first few career steps due to entropy. It’s like 1983 all over again. Except my son has to pony up to become a debt serf for the privilege of a University Education, unlike his wastrel Dad who actually got paid money to go and arse around in the bar, read Goethe and, briefly, escape his insane life. Next, it’ll be massive cost for healthcare, which you guys almost have anyway in Ireland, if not to US levels.

    Hope The Gathering’s going ok, looking forward to Paddy’s Day here in Brum, always a right barny. Not as good as back in the 60s/70s as so many went ‘home’. Some have now come back here, wherever ‘here’ is. I’ll see if the Plastic Paddys can make it ‘even better than the real thing’ this year. About to start at Carey’s Irish Dance Academy, the epicentre of world culture. Might find a gym in Small Heath see if I can get this decadent flab off and give it one more shot. The ‘reality’ thing I mean, not the ‘fantasy’ satanist Dante / Milton thing. Though sometimes ‘fantasy is reality in the world today’.

    Elegant new layout, nice typeface, better for the pale colour background. +1 Webmaster.And Bowie is BACK!

    http://www.stpatricksbirmingham.com/

  7. greatwhitespirit

    Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, the Government has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early, mandatory retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

    This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

    Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the Government to be considered for the SHAFTprogram (Special Help After Forced Termination).

    Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREWprogram (System Covering Retired-Early Workers).

    A person may be RAPEDonce, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the Government deems appropriate.

    Persons who havebeenRAPEDcould get AIDS(Additional Income for Dependents & Spouse) or HERPES(Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

    Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED orSCREWED anyfurther by the Government.

    Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as muchSHIT(Special High Intensity Training) as possible. The Government has always prided themselves on the amount of SHITthey give our citizens.

    Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your TD, who has been trained to give you all the SHITyou can handle.

    Sincerely,
    The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

  8. 5Fingers

    As I read the article, I thought: Great, nice one at last on Geo-Political landscape and global dynamics. What results is at best inflammatory and misleading. This is a classic case of “cause” being confused with “correlation” with the aim of targeting and scapegoating one part of society for the ills onto the other. Funny how the banks seem to get away Scot-free – are you setting an agenda for grabbing remaining wealth who those who happened to be lucky enough to retain some.

    e.g. I mean how else does one interpret…
    “The old are looting the young by ring-fencing their pensions, wages and working conditions” Implication: Old people are causing Young People to be poor. To say that these very people are the cause of all the issues in the US, Europe etc is stretching it.

    I think you have accurately identified a global phenomenon of the youth being disengaged and wanting a piece of the pie. But where there is employment (i.e. BRICs), the youth are fine – for now. And where there’s no employment, well those who got in early are merely battening down the hatches to save what they have managed to retain during their very austere early years. Interesting you do not recognize the austerity suffered by the older generation during their young years. The thing you missed is that today’s youth have one thing NOT in common with the older generation – hope. That hope is missing in US and EU etc. It is not due to the Old sucking the Life blood of the young. It is due to old fashioned thinking maintaining a banking system that simply is not fit for purpose.

    Identify the looting properly – Gamblers who have been allowed to trade a real economy for horse betting. Stop creating alternative and dodgy agendas.

    • tomahawk

      fully agree…..DMcW is suffering from a touch of stock(&shares)holm syndrome. The big picture is that ‘system’ is designed to hoover upwards all available capital leaving just enough to ensure the masses are not revolting. (well not too revolting)
      Proper Corporation Taxing of the GOLIATH would go a long way to sorting a few things out. Oh I nearly forgot..we cant do that cos Enda & Co said so.
      Where’s the DAVID when we need one………?

    • Thriftcriminal

      I can’t say I agree, it is simple demographics, the Boomers in the UK, US and Europe had a number of major advantages due to the simple fact that there were so many of them. These allow them to keep the system in their favour while the pinch generation gets shafted. The boomers had to support fewer oldies and fewer kids (the non-productive members of society) on a per capita basis, therefore they could vote in lower taxes and better benefits for themselves. Now they want to maintain their lifestyle (perfectly natural desire), but gen X have to support a glut of oldies (the boomers) and a larger generation coming through school. This means that the burden of the non-productive members of society is much higher on that generation. Of course these demographics do not follow the same pattern in Ireland, the birth rates differed, but they couldn’t possibly be left out of the party.

      • 5Fingers

        You are forgetting there are more younger people as well who courtesy of todays tech and production are much more productive. So the “glut” of oldies and higher burdens should be more than cancelled out. It is not. Remember the oldies are not causing the economy to stall which is the essence of this Article’s argument.

        • Thriftcriminal

          But the demand for improved efficiencies and productivity to give the returns that keep pension funds for the oldies healthy resulted in offshoring of jobs in the US to cheaper economies like China and India, thereby reducing the domestic job opportunities for younger members of society. You might also note that I was talking mainly about the nice ride the boomers got, low dependants ratios and strong influence on democracy, but now that you mention it the improved productivity from technology and offshoring mainly goes into returning shareholder value for pension funds rather than improved quality of life for the young workers you refer to, their earnings are eroded by off shoring instead and a chronically insecure work environment.

          • 5Fingers

            “The returns that keep pension funds for the oldies healthy resulted in (OR CAUSED) offshoring of jobs in the US to cheaper economies like China and India”.

            The move to cheaper economies with looser labour laws was nothing to do with funds. Fund or no fund, it was simply a cheaper way of making product. This SOMETIMES CAUSED funds to be attracted to those companies who took this approach.

            “but now that you mention it the improved productivity from technology and offshoring mainly goes into returning shareholder value for pension funds”

            As with all funds, improved profit always and should benefit the investors be they young or old. But saying it is just the older ones is misleading. These funds are owned by financial institutions who manage funds of all sorts.

            As for benefiting the young, the point you are missing is the economy as been redefined from under everyone. But this is another story. We are all getting older.

          • Thriftcriminal

            The main objective of the companies concerned is growth, offshoring resulted in growth of magin to the benefit of the shareholders. The pension funds are the shareholders, to a large extent. For example while Slater and Tiny Rowland started the trend for hostile takeovers, stripping and selling, it was the pension funds that took on the practice with gusto. In fact the Royal Mail pension fund was heavily involved in it. The pensions want a return, the companies try to provide it by whatever means. It’s not that difficult to connect the dots.

    • EMMETTOR

      I agree. I can’t see this article as a useful or meaningful analysis of the current situation. What are the “Old” supposed to do, other than protect themselves? Their actions may hurt the “Young” by taking a bigger (in fact the same size) slice of the cake but the people who reduced the size of the cake are responsible, not those squabbling over the crumbs. Neither is it the law of the jungle, it’s more like that Maupassant story, Pierrot, where the unwanted dogs are thrown down a sinkhole to feed on each other.

    • dwalsh

      +1 5Fingers

      The banking system and the financial sector are the real culprit; not the general population.

  9. Beaver

    But its all a ponzi scheme. How do the old think the state will collect the taxes needed for pensions and healthcare from the young when they have no or bad jobs and the budget also has to pay their dole.? I see it in my own family, 6 kids, 4 abroad, surviving parent on a public sector pension has a higher income than his two remaining children(remaining in Ireland that is) who get by with a hodge podge of part time jobs and pay very little tax. It will stop abruptly relatively soon.

  10. JapanZone

    Having seen firsthand the very same process play out in Japan over the last two decades, this all rings very true. The huge asset bubble that devastated the country when it burst at the end of the 80s is often used as a reference point for later bubbles elsewhere. But if the generation who came of age in that post-bubble era any indication of where western youth are headed, I don’t have much hope for the future. 20 years on, they are as disenfranchised as ever, and nothing remotely like change – let alone revolution – has taken root in Japan.

  11. Tom Crowley

    I disagree that this is generational. I agree that the victims now are under 35. This is a consequence of the end of growth. There are new politics driven by the internet generation. Same as we discuss these articles and exchange ideas and opinions. Beppe Grillo with the Five Star movement in Italy has upset the elite of the EU. He has challenged the presumption of the political classes. He has not created a new political party with a manifesto. He has started a civic revolution. Most of 5 Star elected candidates never met each other or him. No TV appearances- all social media platforms. All the disaffected youth do not add up to 57% of the Italian vote going to those who opposed EU Austerity agenda. Party never mind party whip? The implications of a similar movement in Ireland in our political vacuum would terrify FG Lab FF and SF. Our media over the weekend seemed to attempt to reinforce the meme that Italy voted for a clown / comedian as a protest vote. Yes a protest vote but not so funny for the likes of Von Rompuy and Barroso.
    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9906213/Anger-builds-in-Italy-as-old-guard-plots-fresh-technocrat-take-over.html

  12. Deco

    We have already seen the generational war in progress in respect to the politicsal process.

    1) The Ron Paul/Libertarian phenomenon in the US. So what if the “57 channels and nothing on” soundbite news networks do not cover it. It happened in the campuses, and on youtube.

    2) The Grillo phenomenon in Italy, and the Five Star Movement. Again the television networks tried to ignore him, and send him into irrelevance. And the same thing with respect to the Italian news media.

    3) The indigandos in Spain, who want nothing to do with the corrupt political party fronts, and seek to bypass both.

    In both cases, young people with university educations, and low paying jobs, or low paying jobs are taking on the absurdities of the system.

    If the system fails the people, then the people, through the ballot boz will seek to remedy it.

    Incidentally, the reaction coming from the Brussels establishment spoke legions about how completely adrift of the situation, Brussels has become. Over paid staffers in high end restaurants in central Belgium, don’t even understand the problem down the road in Wallonia, never mind in Greece or Italy. They literally have no clue. And they will not hand over power easily.

    Therefore, I give you my prediction.

    The EU will decide to “regulate” the internet. Because it is in the interests of the people running the EU. Officially, we will be told it is in the people’s interests. Really, it is about keeping power. It is like as if the Catholic Church decided in 1525, that it needed to force every printer in Europe to register their print works. Except the Catholic church never went that far. But Sarkozy has already demanded it. And without a doubt, the Grillo phenomenon will cause the same.

    And if this happens, it will drive this era, from tragedy into farce. But, if Brussels does decide to go down this route, then we can expect some countries to quit the EU as well as the Euro. And the frightening bit…they would probably be better of in doing so.

    • 5Fingers

      In times of plenty for all, polemics can be fun. But when things get tough, distinguishing polemics from incitement can become challenging. For me, I can see the well intentioned trying to control or regulate discourse / free speech in an effort to avoid conflict and in the process make a complete mess of it. We have people in power fiddling around in an environment they plainly do not understand and managing it with the rules of the pre-internet era. This is essence of the Old versus Young dilemma.

      There is a major cock-up in the making and it needs to be addressed urgently. There needs to be an admission on the part of leadership that they are unsure what to do next. Genuine public umility is needed before we advance 1 millimetre. Failing that, forgiveness will simply not be there.

      Let me get back to Ireland (and I think it’ll be global soon enough). The police are already starting to falter. Next will be supply chains (unions will target these) and then the power will go – union solidarity will force the hand of Government. The latter needs to understand it comes of this community. Its first duty is to the community. We need young ideas for a new and emerging world. Preservation of old ideas to the extent of pretending new ones do not exist or are untested is simply a non-starter

      • EMMETTOR

        It would be nice to think that the EU will bring it all to a head in this way, but they won’t, they’re not that stupid. I think our government’s Broadcast Tax, which is, in essence, an Internet Tax, is the first move. The EU will come at the Internet sideways, they will not take it head on.

  13. gizzy

    The world is run by men in their sixties. They run it to suit themselves and their peers. Look at the majority of those running the states and churches. They were brought up hungry and now feel they should hoover everything, they deserve it and the young well the young should work hard and struggle like they did. When you see the reaction of the public service now , a lot of whom are that age and their union leaders are that age, they are feeling very aggrieved but did not make a sound when the private sector was decimated in the last five years and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs.

    • molly

      Yes and yes
      Look at all the ministers /TDs who have retired they fully believe they have earned they pensions and lump sums and could not careless how broke this country is.
      I believe they will fight tooth and nail if they are made hand back any of it.
      Then there’s the current crop prime example was Rory quinn on tv last night ,we need to cut the public sector pay bill more ,but no mention of the governments pay.
      What he should have said is we need to cut public sector pay and as we are leaders and realy car about the Irish people and Ireland that its only right and fair and just that we reduce our pay first by 50 percent ,as we want to show proper leadership and we will do the same with all TDs both working and retired.
      If I here a government minister say the word fairness again I am going to vomit,they would not know fairness if it jumped up and ripped there backside off .

    • 5Fingers

      No. The world is run by elites and the guys in their sixties have their kids running the shop now. It is croyism/ nepotism. The ordinary 60 year old is out of a job or unemployable.

  14. joe hack

    Davids travelling is making my head spin it must be the pollution from those jets.

    Davids is a waster his carbon footprint is destroying the environment-I guess David objects to the oil drilling off Dalkey?

  15. grougho

    this is the documentary that aired on german tv last week. its in german, so for anybody who can understand a bit of that its an excellent watch. and a documentary too far for rte. sadly. its a german documentary maker asking why did ireland bail out german and french bondholders?

    http://www.youtube.com/v/Du7moCxj-Do&hl=en_US&fs=1&

    • Dorothy Jones

      http://videos.arte.tv/de/videos/staatsgeheimnis-bankenrettung–7340782.html
      Its a German/French language documentary by TV channel Arte. The link above is free for one more day; 130305.
      It depicts where the bailout money has gone…to bondholders many of them in Germany.
      Ballyhea Says No [protest against bondholder payouts] and Stephen Donnelly [Independent TD Wicklow] feature.
      I translated some related articles into English but the Tagesspiegel journalist Harald Schumann will make the English full-length version availble to Diarmuid O Flynn [@ballyhea14 on Twitter].
      Wolfgang Schaeuble German Finance Minister seems to not acquit himself well in the piece.
      Anyhows; the view is gaining traction here in Germany; pendant to the ‘Musterschuler’ view. That’s a good thing. Well done Ballyhea.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Just before Karl Whelan at 18:12 mins is Schaeuble. Karl is followed by Joerg Asmussen ECB. Then Stephen Donnelly is up after 19 mins and Diarmuid O Flynn Ballyhea at 21:42mins.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Sorry Title is Staatsgeheimnis Bankenrettung : Bank Bailout State Secret. Best bit is 22:50 mins in…you dont need to speak German or French..it’s clear

    • This looks like a great little documentary.
      It deserves a European wide audience.
      I wish my German was better.
      Would somebody do me a big favor and do the subtitles on it in English-or even Spanish?

      • Dorothy Jones

        Diarmuid O Flynn @Ballyhea14 on Twitter has my translations; he’ll post the film subtitles in English when they’re available soon

      • Dorothy Jones

        Harald Schumann confirmed through @ballyhea14 that English version will be out by end March 2013

    • EMMETTOR

      Well, as much as we may hate what our politicians are doing and see them as the Big Bad Wolf, in reality they are also, to some degree, victims. They are patsies of the EU, who have clearly made idiots of them. The same Irish attitudes that stops us burning down the Dail, makes it impossible for our 5th rate party political hacks to play hardball with the big boys in Europe. Much is made of the Irish contributing 46% of the European bank bailout but little mention of the power this gave us. The EU would’ve blinked first, or watched the Euro and the most of the European banking system go down the tubes, with much of the world’s financial system to follow.

      • bonbon

        The entire transatlantic financial system is going anyway no matter what self puffed prognostigators or party hacks claim. It is finished. The Triple Curve shows this and the real figures including the “shadow” system have them petrified.

        Much better to intervene now, as FDR did. Ethics are one thing, we need action and action now.

    • martino

      Hi grougho, thanks for the link to that programme. I watched it and found it very interesting. Anybody else think the reporter looked a bit like a sun burned Vincent Browne?

    • bonbon

      Had a good look at it (get it on youtube if arte blocks it). Schumann leaves the real question unanswered, why are we trying to save the system? He makes no proposal other than the politicians do a mea-culpa in public. No concept of what FDR did in 1933 when Pecora extracted a mea-culpa from Wall Street, and FDR split up the banks. That is so far uniquely American. We have the example, we know what to do. The so-called bailed out anonymous crowd will become very public then. The chorous from London will be deafening.

      So the question is why does Schumann not follow up where the trail leads?

    • bonbon

      Karl Whelan, interviewed in that Staatsgeheimnis, “State Secret Bailout” video did something very interesting over at Political World, and posted

      A Marshall Plan for Europe – A proposal from German Confederation of Trade Unions

      This is a sign of a break with existing policies, and addresses the physical economy. There is still a monetarist overtone (no mention of Glass-Steagall as far as I can see so far), but good work.

  16. dwalsh

    Abu Dhabi indeed.
    Capital of the United Arab Emirates; a federation of medieval absolute monarchies; staunch allies of that great champion of freedom and democracy, the United States of America; itself an oligarchical corporatocracy that masquerades as a democracy.

    Yes no doubt things motor along quite well in Abu Dhabi on the backs of privately owned national resources an underclass of indentured serfs.

  17. dwalsh

    Abu Dhabi indeed.
    Capital of the United Arab Emirates; a federation of medieval absolute monarchies; staunch allies of that great champion of freedom and democracy, the United States of America; itself an oligarchical corporatocracy that masquerades as a democracy.

    Yes no doubt things motor along quite well in Abu Dhabi on the backs of privately owned national resources and an underclass of indentured serfs.

    • bonbon

      Very close to London. Scratch the sand and look at the Sykes-Picot lines on the map – now I wonder who drew them?

  18. dwalsh

    Please excuse my double post above; editing and system glitches.

    David wrote:

    “The old are looting the young by ringfencing their pensions, wages and working conditions.”

    This is to my mind an appalling statement; and untrue.
    I dislike intensely David’s divisive notion of a “Generational War”.
    It places the blame for the crisis in the wrong place entirely.

    It further implies a solution that requires the older classes to be dispossessed of their earned rights to pensions, and their human rights to decent wages and working conditions – medical care as well I suppose – along with the younger generations who are being told not to expect rights to pensions, or to decent wages and working conditions.

    We should all be standing together and saying NO to this systematic program of austerity and impoverishment of our working population.

    We should stand together; not stand at the parish pump pointing the finger of blame at our neighbours; or our parents.

    The older generations are equally the victims of this synthetic crisis as the younger.

    That older generations have more depth of resources is on account of being older; having worked a lifetime etc; it is not because they are out to take advantage of the young; or profited from the debt enslavement of their children.

    To claim that people who have worked all their lives and built this nation are seeking to loot their children’s futures by expecting to retire with some dignity is awful and wrongheaded.

    Just my opinion David.

    • EMMETTOR

      +1 That post, so good you made it twice and the follow up are correct.

    • bonbon

      Just to add to my comment below on the Boomer catastrophe, one essential disastrous result of the rock-drug-sex Boomer revolution of the 1960′s is the complete loos of the future. The result is the utter disregard of youth, who are after all the future. They are literally being left on the sidewalk. Noonan, Boomer : “its a lifestyle choice” sums up the Boomer.

      This is what really angers the younger. It is a real, dangerous and disgusting situation.

      I am not sure if DMcW wants to point the finger at the cultural roots of this depravity, the British Empire, and that is why Boomers are furious. It was done to them and their parents were utterly helpless to stop it.

    • 5Fingers

      +1 Very eloquently expressed.

  19. CorkPlasticPaddy

    @Thriftcriminal

    Why are you giving the ‘Boomers’ such a hard time?? We went through really hard times when we were growing up in the 50′s and the 60′s. There was no way your parents could walk in and ask their local bank manager for a loan back in those days, especially in Ireland, and the plain and simple reason for that was because there was no way you could get a loan without being out through the ‘Third Degree’ by your local bank manager and even after going through all of that there was a 95% chance that you’d get nothing at all!! So come off the stage!!!

    The trouble with you and many more people like you is that you didn’t have to go through what we had to go through. Our parents more than likely had to save up before they could go out to buy furniture or a mode of transport not to mention houses. 90% of the population of the town of Kinsale where I partly grew up didn’t own their houses. They certainly didn’t have mortgages, because they couldn’t afford to have a mortgage in the first place. They paid rent to some absentee landlord of one kind or another and they continued to do so well on into the 70′s and the 80′s even!! SO DON’T BE GOING ON WITH ALL THIS CLAPTRAP ABOUT THE BOOMERS BEING AT FAULT FOR THE FINANCIAL ILLS OF THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT!!!!

    • bonbon

      The Boomer problem is very well known – it the result of their utter debasement by the 1968 rock-drug-sex counter revolution. The result of this is those in power are completely, totally unable to muster an idea such as Glass-Steagall, NAWAPA, Arctic Development.

      Vietnam destroyed the mental capability of most in the US, and in Europe, the loss of a progressive US sent it straight back to the British Empire.
      That onslaught on the belief in progress, creative reason, family, government, science, engineering, poetry, theater, music – and I mean music especially, precisely because it it the key to creative thinking as Einstein often said. In fact music alone sums up the Boomer catastrophe.

  20. kplcards

    For anyones information (Really):- The US and Saudi have armed, trained, and financed approx. 30k Sunni Muslim Jihadists and transported them to Syria to overthrow a secular constitutional democracy – You did know that Syria has an elected government didn’t you ! The US is desperate to invade Syria which is no treat to anyone in order to seize its resources and pave the way for a war with Iran. The only thing stopping it is Putin who has reportedly said he would defend Syria on the streets of Moscow. I believe three US aircraft carriers withdrew from the area when Putin sent a small navel force to Syria. We live in a world where the only country defending international law is Russia !
    Were do you think Alquida came from ? or do you think a son of Saudis ruling elite magically appeared in a cave in Afghanistan all by himself ? Obama has already attempted to overthrow the elected government of Ecuador (Which explains Assage’s presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy), has covertly overthrown the elected president of Honduras, has illegally invaded Libya to overthrow an unelected leader previously put in power by the CIA, has launched a war against Syria which has cost over 50k innocent lives, he continues to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq and has sent military forces to over thirty different African countries (And no he didn’t send them there to bring peace and happiness to Africa). No country has overthrown more Democratic governments then America and Obama is no exception.

    If you want to know what’s really going on in the middle east check voltairenet

    • bonbon

      Strange omission of the British role there. Odd, especially as its all over the London Times.

      Assad Strongly Condemns US and British Terrorist Support and Colonial Crimes Against the UN Charter in London Times Interview

      March 5, 2013 (LPAC) — The full March 3 London Times interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was published on various websites today. While the questions were all of the sort: Aren’t you divorced from reality? Aren’t you a war criminal? Are you ready to go into exile? and so on, Assad calmly and powerfully indicted the multiple crimes of the British Empire, by name, and the U.S. compicity in those crimes. The full interview is well worth reading, at
      http://www.sana-syria.com/eng/21/2013/03/03/470326.htm

      Here are some excerpts:

      – On British And American Support For Al Qaeda: -
      [The British are] saying that they want to send military aid [to the rebels] that they describe as non-lethal. The intelligence, communication, and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities.
      The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra, which is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical! What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children — all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!

      – On The Free Syrian Army: –
      When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations. The so-called Free Army is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi – there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.

      – On The British Empire -
      There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region), an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region.
      The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!

      – On The Casualty Figures Used By London: -
      The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were u able to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention.

      – On The Demand That He Leave Office -
      – And The Chaos After Other Invasions: -
      This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future. If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster. So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure.

      - On The Role Of The UN And The International Criminal Court -
      Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years – that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UNs charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British, French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear. You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organizations and about credibility.

  21. EMMETTOR

    Well this “Generational” analysis has not been put to bed, more dead and buried. Next!

  22. bonbon

    From DT’s AEP “Brave Ireland Is the Poster-Child of EMU Cruelty and Folly”

    Finance Minister Michael Noonan claims Ireland is a success story, the EU’s latest survey on “poverty and social exclusion” shows that the number of children at risk in Ireland is 37.6%, worse than Italy (32%), Greece (31%), Spain (30%) or Portugal (29%). Because of the debt payment, its budget deficit is still 8% of Gross Domestic Product and public debt is 121% of GDP this year. Investment has collapsed to 10% of GDP, the lowest in recorded Irish history and the currently the lowest in the EU. Unemployment is 14.1%, which doesn’t include the 40-50,000 who leave the country annually seeking work. Of those on the unemployment rolls, 60% have been out of work for over a year, the highest rate in Europe.

  23. molly

    On Wednesday, the morning airwaves had it that a mobility allowance for people with disabilities was to be abolished by Government. Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin raised this during Leader’s questions to Taoiseach Kenny. “The decision to abolish two key allowances – the mobility allowance and the motorised transport allowance – is incomprehensible and wrong . . . . It will be a permanent cut of more than €208 per month for up to 5,000 people . . . (it) is scandalous and reprehensible.”
    The Taoiseach / Fine Gael leader was waiting for him, well prepared by officials who had anticipated the question. He reached in to his folder and extracted documents referring to some years ago when Mr Martin was a senior Government Minister. Hardly able to contain his glee he began, “The Deputy has a brass neck to make a political football out of an issue which is very serious . . He sat on these benches and reduced the blind person’s allowance, not once but twice, he cut the mobility allowance and the carer’s allowance and the carer’s benefit and he removed the Christmas payment which amounted to a cut of 10%.”
    A week earlier we had a similar exchange – just a different issue. The Fianna Fail leader, “The Government is in negotiations to extend the Croke Park agreement. There is growing concern that the news agreement will impose a disproportionate burden on front line workers who are rostered to work on a 24 / 7 basis. . . A nurse on an average salary of €40,000 will face a pay cut of €320 per month. These amounts are excessive.”
    The Taoiseach / Fine Gael leader, “I am not at all taken by the mock anger of Deputy Martin on this matter. Everything he says these days goes back on what he signed off on. . . the reason we have to make all of these challenging decisions is because of the mess created by the Government of which Deputy Martin was a member.”
    And so it goes. The leader of Fianna Fail confronting the leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach in terms almost exactly identical to those used to the Fianna Fail Taoiseach of day by the same Fine Gael leader when he was in opposition. Enda Kenny then railed against savage cuts in public sector wages and disability allowances. Now Taoiseach, he answers the current Fianna Fail leader in opposition defending the same cuts he excoriated, while it is Micheal Martin’s turn to rail against the same cuts his government imposed when he was a Minister.
    When the Labour Party leader deputises for the Taoiseach, we are treated to the same show except that everyone remembers that Mr Gilmore employed even more bombastic rhetoric in the past against the policies he now implements. Government leaders are also well rehearsed to counter Sinn Fein attacks usually deploying that party’s support for the disastrous paramilitary campaign of the IRA and its current role in implementing austerity on the people of Northern Ireland on the Troika-like instructions of a Tory led government in Westminster.
    Is it any wonder that so many ordinary people now look on the political establishment with unconcealed contempt? However, it is imperative that victims of the bail out / austerity programme move from hurt and anger to determined action. The wage cuts in the new Croke Park proposals are shattering for the low and middle income public sector workers. Public and private workers, with pensioners and the unemployed, will receive letters from Revenue in a few weeks demanding a property tax with menaces(legal of course). A generalised movement of opposition is demanded by the situation.
    Public sector workers should push their unions to reject Croke Park. Unions opposing should have a common front of action. There should be a general boycott of the property tax and a united front of action by homeowners with trade unionised workers public and private. This is the only way these austerity attacks can be repelled and consign to irrelevancy the right wing leaders’ Punch and Judy show that masquerades as serious drama in the national parliament.

  24. Tom Crowley

    Having looked at the youth unemployment data Constantin Gurdgiev concludes EU facing social unrest. Long hot summer on the way!
    http://www.businessinsider.com/wall-streets-most-worrying-charts-2013-3#constantin-gurdgiev-trinity-college-dublin-37

  25. bonbon

    In Honour of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    See what FDR had to say about money in his first inaugural address-Saturday, March 4, 1933.

    Yesterday was the 8oth Anniversary of the first inauguration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The bold action he inaugurated on 4 March 1933, at the peak of the great depression, we must emulate today, starting with restoring his Glass-Steagall Act, as we find ourselves in an international financial blowout far worse than the stock market crash of 1929.

  26. bonbon

    Yet Another “Anything-But-Glass-Steagall” D.C. Event

    March 5, 2013 (LPAC) — Wall Street mogul Peter Peterson’s International Institute for Economics hosted a March 5 event at its Washington headquarters, whose purpose was to get leading figures who support Glass-Steagall, to discuss other “solutions” as if Glass-Steagall were impossible to re-enact. The “other solution” being promoted here was “downsizing the too-big-to-fail banks,” the big favorite lately of those threatened by Obama and Wall Street into “anything but Glass-Steagall” retreats.
    The panel discussion was organized by MIT (former IMF) economist Simon Johnson, who has publicly called for Glass-Steagall over the past two years. Now attached to Peterson IIE, Johnson threw leading questions — leading in the direction of placing various kinds of fees or penalties on largest banks to make them “downsize” — to Sheila Bair, John Huntsman, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, all of whom have indicated they know that Glass-Steagall re-enactment is what really needs to be done.
    Only Brown followed through on the track Johnson offered, and the panel discussion was quite low-key, and the invitation-only audience very small, primarily financial journalists, bankers, and IIE fellows.
    But as intended, these Glass-Steagall supporters never even came close to discussing Glass-Steagall. The Peterson moderator (not Johnson) finally raised Glass-Steagall, and Bair responded, “I don’t think you have to go so far” as that.
    Near the end of the questions, however, Senator Brown volunteered, “There’s some discussion now in Congress of `what do you do about Glass-Steagall?” “Some discussion,” indeed!

  27. bonbon

    For those bewildered by the banks carry-on on a vast criminal scale, here is a reminder of what banking must be about
    Draft Legislation to Restore the Original Bank of the United States.

    The difference between the monetarist outrage currently on disgusting public display, and a credit system for production is nowhere else so concisely explained.

    Mathew Carey, a Dublin man, was most important in the American national bank after emigrating to escape British jail because of his “The Freeman’s Journal” and “The Volunteer’s Journal”. Carey worked for Benjamin Franklin in Paris. Henry Carey, his son, was Lincoln’s economic advisor.

  28. molly

    Morning David would there be any chance of doing a article on soup kitchens and how people here are going to be able to cope with any more taxs ( such as property,water,and cost of living ect)
    This recession is a long way from beening over,when everything starts to kick in,things will start to affect people very fast.

    • bonbon

      It is not a recession, that’s what the banksters say. It is the worlds worst possible breakdown of the physical economy ever, right just ahead. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Knowing this the intention is not to provide soup, but to eliminate 6 billion in short order. Ireland got a taste of that before in 1846. It is urgent to make this point very clear. As in 1846 no soup will be provided.

      • dwalsh

        Yes…unless the financial markets are shut-down; and the banking system reconstructed; the physical economy will eventually be destroyed; and millions (at least) will die.

      • Dilly

        Many Irish people did not go hungry during this period. But that is all forgotten about.

    • 5Fingers

      Maybe an article on older folks who cannot afford winter heating or cost of nursing homes or how come people in their 50s are becoming the new unemployed or…

      This aspect of life pertained in the boom years and still nothing is or will be happening.

      To be honest, I cannot see FG/ Lab going much further. Perhaps they believe things might get better to make it on average more bearable. Perhaps it is all a big plot. Whatever it is…something is about to give and I hope it is sooner to avoid an even bigger splash.

      • Dilly

        They are only interested in votes. they may have done enough to keep votes, and that is all they care about as did Fianna Fail.

        • molly

          FG and LAB think they are doing a goog job) lets tell it like it is the low to middle class have gotten a very bad deal in all this ,why does it seam like its such a fight for suvival.
          The sitting TDs when they hold there clinics must here harrowing accounts of people’s life’s ,layed out in front of them like a train wreck ,why then do they not do something about it .
          How can they sit there and see the pain people are going through and vote in policy’s that makes it even tougher for the very people who voted them in in the first place.
          Where is there heart of hearts or is power pure evil.

  29. dwalsh

    Farewell to Hugo Chávez

    Chávez brought a measure of fairness to Venezuelan society; and dignity to ordinary working class Venezuelans. For this he earned the love of the ordinary people of Venezuela; and the hatred of oligarchs and neoliberals around the world.

    Make no mistake; that divide is the real battlefield on which the struggle for a rational and humane human world has and will always be fought.

    In that ages-long war Hugo Chávez was a hero of the people.

  30. molly

    Soup kitchens in America started around 1929 when the effects of a growing depression began to be felt. The need for soup kitchens was felt even more keenly when the tailspin in the economy worsened in 1932, and 12 million Americans — about 25 percent of the normal labor force — were out of work. Governmental unemployment relief ranged from nonexistent to inadequate.

    When soup kitchens first appeared, they were run by churches or private charities. The Capuchin Services Center in southeast Detroit, for example, served 1,500 to 3,000 people a day. That center opened on November 2, 1929. Volunteers of America also was important in setting up soup kitchens all over America.

    By the mid-1930s, state and federal governments also were operating them.

    Soup kitchens served mostly soup and bread. Soup was economical because water could be added to serve more people, if necessary.

    At the outset of the Depression, Al Capone, the notorious gangster from Chicago, established the first soup kitchen. He started it because he wanted to clean up his shady image. Capone`s kitchen served three meals a day to ensure that everyone who had lost a job could get a meal.

    Every city and town had a soup kitchen. If a hungry person happened to be out in the country, he or she would have to travel to a nearby community to get a meal. Kitchens would either be run outdoors, in churches, cafeterias, or service centers.

    Soup kitchens still exist for homeless persons and struggling families across America. Some organizations that had started with kitchens expanded their services. For example, Volunteers of America is now involved with children`s daycare as well as family, elder, housing, correctional and emergency services.

  31. http://directdemocracyireland.ie/press-release-ben-gilroy-to-stand-in-meath-bi-election/#comments

    Ben Gilroy to stand in the bi election in Meath. He is a man to vote for to elicit change in governence in Ireland.

  32. Jim Sinclair: “The market character has now changed for gold and very few recognize that. Gold is a trading market which involves sovereign entities, very serious sovereign entities such as China and Russia. Recently you can even see the minor central banks such as South Korea purchasing gold.

    http://www.jsmineset.com

    Jim Sinclair – Paper Markets To Disappear As Gold War Rages

  33. From Midas du Metropole

    Dave with an encore…

    I SERIOUSLY CAN’T BELIEVE ERIC HOLDER

    JUST SAID THIS, UNDER OATH, IN FRONT OF CONGRESS:

    “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them,”

    This is truly mind-blowing. Basically, the Attorney General of the United States has said that the big banks are completely above the law. There’s nothing left for us to do. Eric Holder has officially turned this country over to the big Wall Street banks.

    This means that Obama and Eric Holder have COMPLETELY FAILED to do the job they are elected to do. Which is to uphold the Constitution and Rule of Law.

    The United States is OFFICIALLY a Banana Republic governed by The Rule of Banks.

    • dwalsh

      I know you probably know this Tony….but Obama & Co are doing exactly the job they were elected to do….by those who funded and promoted their election.

      As I have said many times on this blog….
      Do not believe what it says on the tin.
      Look inside. See what it actually does.

  34. Matthew

    I’m one of the proponents of the geological view of future oil production, who suggest that oil reserves are ultimately finite, easy-to-access oil is produced first, and therefore oil must become harder and more expensive to produce as the cumulative amount of oil already produced grows. According to many scientists in this group, the recently observed stagnant oil production in the face of persistent and large oil price increases is a sign that physical scarcity of oil is already here, or at least imminent, and that it must eventually overwhelm the stimulative effects of higher prices.

    Furthermore they state, on the basis of extensive studies of alternative technologies and resources, that suitable substitutes for oil simply do not exist on the required scale, and that technologies to improve oil recovery must eventually run into limits dictated by the laws of thermodynamics, specifically entropy. This view of oil supply traces its origins back to the work of M. King Hubbert (1956), a geoscientist who in 1956 correctly predicted that U.S. oil output would peak in 1970. It is discussed in a study for the U.S. Department of Energy , Hirsch et al. (2005), and in a subsequent book, Hirsch et al. (2010). The most thorough research available on this topic is UK Energy Research Centre (2009), which is succinctly summarized in Sorrell et al. (2010). Based on a wealth of geological and engineering evidence, these authors conclude that there is a significant risk of a peak in conventional oil production before 2020, with an inexorable decline thereafter.

    Looking into the future, both of these factors continue to be important, and point to a near doubling of real oil prices over the coming decade. But there is substantial uncertainty about these future trends that are rooted in our fundamental lack of knowledge, based on current data, about ultimately recoverable oil reserves, and about long-run price elasticities of oil demand and supply.

    Now I don’t suggest you take my word for this, better minds than mine profess these views. See http://www.openi.ie/ or http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/update/01/index.htm to download the full report.

    My question is this; do you believe that a return to growth allowing the generational gap to be bridged will be anything but temporary? In the longer term, are governments not simply managing the decline of advanced economy?

    BTW, if you happen to see it, I only started my blog yesterday so fillers were the order of the day until I can get to the meatier stuff.

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