April 18, 2013

The Unemployment Contagion

Posted in Irish Economy · 244 comments ·

Did you know that divorce is contagious? A recent US study found that divorce can spread through social networks, like a virus, passing among friends, siblings, even people you work with.

According to the researcher James Fowler, who followed thousands of people over 30 years, if your friend gets divorced, it increases the likelihood that you’ll get divorced by about 147pc. Friends share attitudes to divorce, so that if someone close to you – let’s say a good friend – gets divorced, it makes it more acceptable for you to divorce too.

This study reveals the power of context in our lives. People are influenced enormously by those around them. Things can become “normal” quite easily. We are highly social, interactive animals and we are inclined to copy those around us. We see this with all sorts of aspects of human behaviour, smokers hang around with smokers, drinkers with drinkers and, if obesity becomes commonplace, then it will proliferate because it is more acceptable.

In recent years there have been huge advances made in understanding the power of peer pressure and the willingness of humans to behave in a herd-like fashion. Our herd mentality flies in the face of economic analysis, which is based on the notion that each person is an independent entity who weighs up rationally what is in his best interest and acts autonomously to achieve the best for himself, irrespective of what those around him are doing.

The unfortunate thing for economists is that these rational, self-interested human beings don’t exist or if they do they are an extreme minority. The average person is profoundly influenced by the world around them and collective behaviour – rather than individual initiative – predominates. This is called the power of context.

I want to discuss the power of context with reference to unemployment in Ireland, because the figures on unemployment and long-term unemployment are extremely worrying. Is unemployment contagious?

One more thing to bear in mind is that periods of unemployment early in a career have profound long-term consequences. American research shows that being unemployed for more than 18 months in your twenties has a permanent negative impact on your lifetime earning. You don’t recover.

With that in mind, we should compare the rates of unemployment here and elsewhere in peripheral Europe with those of Germany, where young Germans are finding employment easily and young people in the rest of the periphery are not.

The question is whether unemployment – once it becomes normal or at least not unusual – becomes ingrained? Do people, when they see unemployment all around them, come to accept that this is their fate and begin the process, even when very young, of dropping out and off the radar screen? In short, does unemployment make people become unemployable, in the same way as divorce amongst your friends and peers make it much more likely that you too will get divorced?

If this is the case, then economic policy needs to be redirected toward intervention in order that young people find work quickly or, more to the point, that young people are qualified to do something when they leave school. This is where the German example is highly instructive because many German teenagers are trained in apprenticeships very early so that when they reach their early twenties they are able to actually do something. They have a skill, normally a hard skill such as a trade.

Look at the outcome of this apprenticeship policy.

Typically, two-thirds of young Germans begin an apprenticeship. Four out of five complete them. This means that more than half of all young people have completed an apprenticeship. They are work-ready when they finish. Two-thirds of these apprentices receive full-time employment at the company where they train.

Now look at the figures. Youth unemployment is 8pc in Germany, as opposed to over 50pc in Greece and Spain. In Ireland, 30pc of people under 25 are on the dole.

Not only does the apprentice system insure that young people are ready for work, it also matches the person with the company. In this way the education/apprentice system helps match the supply of young workers to the demand for them.

The situation in Ireland could not be more different. Here we have a strange state of affairs. Irish teenagers are much more likely to go to college than previous generations, but what are they able to do when they leave college? Are they qualified for something? Or could it be that they actually come out of university de-skilled?

There was a very interesting newspaper article recently addressing this issue. The writer, Ed Walsh, notes that we have dreadfully low levels of employment and yet thousands of unfilled job vacancies exist. Walsh points out that “Cisco senior vice-president Barry O’Sullivan told the Global Technology Leaders Summit last January that there are 5,000 unfilled vacancies in the hi-tech area and the summit heard that Ireland is producing only half the engineering and computer science graduates enterprise requires. Sean O’Sullivan, Avego chief executive, speaks of 20,000 jobs that could be filled if the right kind of talent was available in Ireland”.

Maybe, given this skills mismatch and the success of apprenticeships in Germany, we could look at re-engineering the way we regard education and training here. There is still a snobbery in Ireland toward the trades and people with dirty fingernails. Every mammy wants her children to grow up a professional, with a white collar and a corner office. Equally, there will be a push back from the vested interests in our education system, who are doing quite well out of the present set up.

But if unemployment can be contagious and if the power of context is as strong as it appears to be, then there is the real risk that young people become unemployable after the experience of youth unemployment. If this is the case, it is essential that Ireland cops on to the world around us and does something about this.

We hear a lot about our “great education system”, but what and who is it great for?

These are serious questions and every time a young person loses faith and loses hope because he or she is on the labour, these questions become more serious.


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  1. Grey Fox


  2. Grey Fox

    I had to do this just once in my life, bucket list item ticked…. had to redraft the bucket list….recession you know and all that blah blah…

  3. redriversix

    Speaking of Contagion….

    I remember my many years working in the Bar trade,When the “Bar” was busy all day…

    Sometimes..you would have a “request” to…. “change that pint willya something wrong wit it” now ..this guys pint may be full or 3/4 full..but before you knew it…the whole Bar would be up at the counter…demanding theirs be changed too..! some of these glasses would only have moisture in them ! So..when faced with a compliant..change the pint immediately,otherwise you would have contagion…Pub style.!!

  4. lff12

    David, good thoughts and certainly agree that the German system encourages youth to be work ready rather than helpless.

    However, we did have a good apprentice system here – the problem is that many of these apprentices are no longer needed, and secondarily the impact of the JLAs and Labour court salary setting processes escalated entry level wages in those sectors to unaffordable levels.

    For example I recall meeting the brother of friend who at 21 was getting almost 40k PA as a mechanic – he had qualified the previous year and the starting wage was – and is – 37-38k. This is the STARTING rate: what companies are going to actually hire 21 year olds with very little experience at that sort of rate? To boot, he was the most stupid young fellow I’d ever met in my life, he had a level of thickness that knew no boundaries. You know then, when you go to get your car serviced, and you are charged an obscene amount for work that possibly doesn’t need to be done? Or you take your car for an NCT, and after spending 800 euro (or more!) are then failed? And that “minor” repair is yet another 300 euro? Well there is the output of the system above. Its not actually an “apprecenticeship” system – its actually a fellowship to an elite club for the terminally stupid. And that guy who gets 40k at 21 – he’s going to want 80k by the time he is 30, and a 100k at 40 – but he’s as thick as 2 planks. Yet Ireland is flooded with guys like this – guys who don’t know whats hit them because for years, this was the way things “worked.” (I put “worked” in inverted commas, because it worked for them, not you).

    I am not arguing for an end to JLAs or labour wage mechanisms, but should we really be paying 21-year old thickos a starting wage of 37k pa? Same in building industry. Same in so many trades – and this is exactly where the problems with collapsed employment have occurred.

    Now the flip side is the situation with Cisco etc. Ah diddums!! These poor tech companies that laid off all of their entry level staff or paid them buttons and now “cannot find staff.” No wonder: by removing lower levels or shipping the jobs off to India, that “learning” system people in those companies had by starting off in easier roles and working their way up has gone. And in many cases, its not possible to even advance in some areas, because there is no “entry level” anymore – virtualisation skills are a good example. You cannot “start” at an entry level because no employer will hire somebody to manage something like that without skills and experience. So its a chicken and egg situation (in fact, what happens is people with skills in related areas “transfer in” on transferable skills like server skills – that is the only way). When companies like the many tech big names quietly shut down their tech support centres or downgraded them, they effectively removed a training system that brought them higher end workers later on.

    For example, one very large employer, failed to keep up proper wages, and most of their long term permanent staff left or leave because after 10-15 years their “skilled” jobs pay them maybe 30-35k a year – in other words, average at best. So the company loses skills and guess what – they are now totally dependent on contractors who are paid an absolute minimum of 250 per day and more often 300 per day. Plus they get another 1k a month on overtime and oncall – meaning instead of properly paying a staffer maybe 40-50k a year, they now pay 82k, plus 23% VAT and a 25% fee to an agency – a total cost of just over 120k per head. And you tell me this is “savings”? It couldn’t ever be. Its false accounting. And that same company has loads of government and SME contracts in Ireland – which means those huge contract costs get passed on – to me and you, as consumers, as taxpayers. And a lot of those contractors would have been happy to take a permanent job at 50-55k.

    These are just 2 examples, but our system is broken, it serves only the needs of those already “in the system” – and until it is changed, we will have huge unemployment – and growing unemployment.

    • Reality Check

      Spot on, More often than not the individuals needs & wants; (professionalism, decent conditions, training and payment) are not aligned with the corporations aims (getting employees as cheap as possible) Jobs are designed to benefit employers rather than employees, (Irish managed & owned companies are considerably worse in this regard) It’s a serious malaise out there.

    • Bamboo

      lff12, Did you actually believe that “stupid young fellow” was on 40k PA as a mechanic at 21? That is the biggest problem. (Young) people often boast about their salaries especially during the boom years. They are in the game to compete with each other, especially because Ireland is a society based on very small communities. To show off their salaries they spend it on cars, holidays, etc.

      BTW: Australia is going though a phase where many are on so called such high salaries that they often put a minimum to what they are prepared to work for per week. Ireland was exactly the same but now many have their tails between the legs.

      To actually believe that these people are on that much money is a little naïve. That is also a reason how property prices went crazy here in Ireland. People say how much they have sold their properties for because there was no way of finding out what the real selling price is. So people tell each other juicy lies. All these people who bought properties in sunny places along the Mediterranean have been telling each other more lies as in the name of Anonymity. Telling these lies has become one big contagion and now that has become part of society.

      During the boom people boast by telling each other lies of how much money they are making and now they are still at it. The only difference is that they are boasting to each other how much money they have lost.

      The biggest problem is that people believe these stories.

      • jeeaaan

        priorities lost!Most do not declare their offshore revenue in Ireland either,although they will brag about their “Job title”offshore property, designer clothes they wear and car they drive.It is instilled in them since the so called tiger.Its a bit like a councillor being elected because he has a groupie following but nothing in the line of education to back up the post.

    • Bamboo

      lff12 re: NCT. Get your car tested first at the NCT then do work that is required to pass the test. No point doing a so called pre-NCT test.

    • CorkRob

      Here, Here .

      I was stunned at a Woodwork Trade Fair in Nurenberg in 2012, to see so many German Manufacturing companies exhibiting domestically produced machinery, from micro hobbyist units to multi-million euro large scale manufacturing plant.

      It occurred to me that we in Ireland have lost most if not all of our heavy industry and with it the knowledge base and ability to resurrect such industry in the future.

      I took an academic AnCo (FÁS) course post University in 1985 and the two centres I worked in (Cork & Waterford) were awash with technical apprenticeship students.

      How many apprentices are we creating now? There ARE NO jobs for them if we produce them.

      We have lost our way – we make nothing – we have gotten soft on making a quick buck on turning over money and gambling on hedge funds and exchange rates (IFSC).

      As Iff12 points out, the multinationals have outsourced a lot of the entry level technical positions to India and former Eastern Block countries and the huge fanfares around recent job creation announcements hide the fact that the majority of those positions are minimum wage level Customer Service positions for Immigrants with “Native Speaker” level foreign language skills – i.e. No Irish born English speaking person will EVER get one of those jobs.

      I recently attended a “jobs fair” in the National Convention Centre in Dublin 1 and the majority of attendees were overseas students and immigrants and certainly they were making up the majority of those having interest shown in THEM by the Multinationals present.

      I have a son sitting the Leaving Cert in June and hoping to study Electrical Engineering or Energy Engineering in UCC next year. The latter course had a 65 point drop in entry requirements for the 2012 recruitment – even though there are only 45 places per year available – one reason was the governments lack of support and encouragement for renewable energy research & development and tangible support and encouragement for that research to develop into tangible jobs and manufacturing output.
      My son is already resigned to facing emigration on graduation unless there is a see-change in Government policy and action in the next 5 years.

      I’m not even going to start on Celtic Tiger Tradesmen’s rates and “Call-out charges”, except to say that manners have been put on many of them by now, although a few are still trying it on.

  5. 5Fingers

    Could we not have chosen a better and maybe less inflammatory example than divorce. Yes, it’s a cluster effect for suicide, intergenerational social welfare and so on. Oh, and I forgot, taking on excessive debt cos everyone else did.

    Lets debunk a few myths

    1) The demand for Graduates in the likes of the Ciscos etc is for mentally menial low cost support jobs. They are not hi-tech. In fact an engineering grad finished their 1st year in college would do this stuff withe their eyes closed. I would advise any engineer to run a mile from the Googles. Ciscos and SAPs if they want to see their tech and professional careers to develop properly. There is near zero R&D content, you are just a process grunt. These companies want cheap grads – and they know the Irish are good but guess what? The game is up. Your Irish grad wants a job with more meat in it.

    2) Apprenticeships start with demand. No demand, no skills. German skills are based on ability to work in highly capitalised industry. What does Ireland have? Hollowed out multinational tax dodging exercises.

    David, you forgot one big contagion…the one suffered by our useless government (also intergenerational) going cap in hand to the EU and taking it up the a%$e.

    It’s called group think. It is the stuff of GAA, Soccer and Rugby and Pubs. If you cannot think for yourself, you are also not listening either…on your on head be it.

    • KD

      +1 – I’m with you on that 5Fingers!

      • Reality Check

        Me too! Excellent analysis 5Fingers.

        • Bamboo

          If I ever decide to leave my wife and kids, I can blame it on divorce contagion.

          • dd

            Re point 1.
            I believe in the next few years we will see many of the financial services companies leave Ireland. These companies don’t come here for our skilled work force, they are here just to avail of corporation tax. We are already seeing the UK target this in the last budget. Financial services companies esp. in the IFSC are a great example of how graduates are performing repetitive tasks. Emphasis is put on keeping Operational risk to a minimum – this means workers operating the same tasks day in, day out, basically in a glorified production line. I think fund services would be a good example of this (the Model T of our time???)

    • As an engineer who works in networking ( cisco, juniper et al. )…can you advise as to where an engineer should look if not to cisco and google?



      • Bamboo

        the objective of Cloud computing is to make IT departments and its people redundant.

      • 5Fingers

        As an engineer, you should be building your professional credentials (and I do not mean learning about boxes or software specifics) beyond the technology of the day. Do not box yourself in by the success of the day. “Networking” and I presume that’s IP for most part is but one tiny aspect of telecoms. IMS/ LTE/ Cloud is coming very fast – and again you need to stand above it and not be sucked in. Develop that engineering strategy head. Googles, Ciscos etc want atomisers, not strategists or real engineering talent.

        • Bamboo

          I’ve worked in the IT industry almost all my working life. I’ve had these jobs because there was a position in some company and I applied for that position. This was a time that if you own a PC then you are in demand because you are practically a wiz kid. Little do they know.

          When I came to Ireland I discovered there are no real opportunities like that anymore for me. I had to re-invent myself and sell my services to a company that never had particular open positions as such.

          These companies are in essence a bit like a supermarket with empty shelves. They are looking to fill these shelves with products that they can sell and make a bit of a profit out of it. They are not looking for people to stack up the shelves. They have plenty of people who can fill up shelves but what products to put on these shelves was the big challenge.

          The bigger software houses are looking mostly for shelf stackers or people who can manage these shelves. Another example is post-doc positions whereby institutions are looking for the numbers of previous funding you’ve managed to get and the number of published papers you’ve produced. So it is becoming very difficult for young people to make a living out there.

          We have seen examples of very young talented children inventing and developing all sort of wonderful apps. We can’t all be so talented and brilliant of course as most kids have a real life.

          So my advice is not to depend too much on these shelf-stacking jobs but concentrate on the products itself. Be in IT, art, food, etc. (Apologies for this comparison but it is all I can think of)

        • Excellent points

          As an engineer it is also important to be aware of the difference between international standards and proprietary standards; the difference between free software and non-free software

          Everything is a system whether it is a server farm powering amazon.com to a small python program running on a mobile. Small systems can be fitted into larger systems and large systems can be integrated using open technologies

          After about 20 years it will all sink in :-)

          • Writing is a neglected skill and there are many styles to appreciate:

            Technical reports, instruction manuals, sales literature, web articles, landing pages

            Practising writing is great because it focuses the mind and organises our thinking

            Reading is also important. Engineers will have a personal library of quality literature they use for quick reference

            This means documents with an excellent navigation structure with hyperlinking and A-Z indexing for example

            It is takes more than three clicks it’s unusable and won’t be used

    • michaelcoughlan


    • JusMc

      5fingers, nail on the head…start a political party will ye?

  6. joe hack

    Everybody Wants A Degree And Why Not… its time to Bring Back the Sponsored Apprenticeships…

    The problem with a degree is that people do a degree in something which they have absolutely no comprehension of or understanding how their degree is practiced within the working environment.

    They spend 3/4/5 years studying at something which the colleges and others oversold using images of shiny happy people portrayed in a lab or sitting around a conference table with engineering drawing.

    The reality is much different the chemist ends up trapped in a space suit in some sanitised factory, day in day out – doing repetitive tests the engineer gets stuck in some dark back room writing or checking for flaws in reports.

    We then end up with people doing jobs for which they have no aptitude or their interest will soon fade. They are now stuck – as the education system won’t pay for a second degree and why would IT.

    It’s Enough to make one go on disability.

    Its time to bring back the apprenticeship, from day one the apprentice is paid and is contributing to the economy while degree student costs tens of thousands.

    Within months both the apprentice and employer will know when it’s time to move on or not if so the apprentice is then free to find a new calling and may even opt for a degree course.

    An apprenticeship needs to be available to all ages the one chance apprenticeship is foolish they tried to replace them with slave labour-internships.

    They even have degrees for journalism now just goes to show how silly some degrees are you only have to compare a hack with a formula fed degree journalist of today . The nurses of the past were much more dedicated than the degree nurses of today “a career nurse” an oxymoron.

    there is one major problem with apprenticeships you need to know someone to get a place but then this apply s to most things it takes one employed person to know another and one unemployed person to know devocee

  7. Peter Schum

    I have worked with German companies for many years, and seen their apprentice system first hand. Unlike Ireland, the apprenticeship doesn’t just relate to the standard trades such as electrician, plumber, bar-person etc, but also applies to factory roles, where the apprentice will work in warehouse, sales, manufacturing etc, and will work their way up the ladder over time. These companies tend to retain their staff for long periods, entire work life in some cases. With education costs increasing in Ireland limiting some LC student opportunities to move on to 3rd level, this would be an alternative option, especially as the value of the degree qualification diminishes in the current climate. So why not start up an apprenticeship program in Ciscos etc, and enable these organisations to tailor the apprenticeship to meet their needs. We definitely need to do something to get the U-25′s back to work in this economy, as I agree with you David, unemployment is a contagion which we don’t want to become ingrained in our society, especially in the U-25′s. Our future lies in their hands.

    • 5Fingers

      Long term planning. Careers & vocation rather than jobs. I worked for the Germans and their training and maturation management ethic is something to behold.

  8. KD

    Good article David. You’ve nearly got this one right – I’ll come back to that.
    I have contended for quite a while that our economy is out of balance. You need a spread of job types across the economy to cater for all. Not everyone has go to college and more to the point, not everyone should go to college.
    We have got lost in the rhetoric of the “knowledge economy” and “high tech jobs”. We take these company MDs at their word and convince ourselves that we can shoehorn all our young population into high tech jobs. Nobody seems to consider that maybe, just maybe, we are pretty much producing the maximum number of these graduates as we can. I think we are. Our population is finite (and small and not really growing), so that means we have a finite number of people BOTH capable AND interested in pursuing careers in these “high tech” areas.
    This is where I think your article starts to slip David. You question the education system, but that’s not where the problem is. We could train more apprentices, but where are they going to work. Not only that, but we also have to cater to the people that just want to work straight after school. You contrast us with with Germany – it has a vibrant manufacturing sector. It still manages to make stuff and sell it. That’s what I mean by a balanced economy – jobs in all sectors to cater for all.
    How do we do it? – I quite simply don’t know. But I suppose starting a wider discussion helps!

  9. Harve

    Great article David!

    We do indeed have to reevaluate our education system. Numerous students attend a university course for 3-4 years and many of these courses have less than 10 hours of practical instruction per week. Universities may argue that students need to study independently but the reality is that a lot of students become lazy and used to this easy-life routine. They may roll their sleeves up in the last year to get a 2.2 but even at this stage, a lifestyle has become ingrained which does make unemployment somewhat more tolerable due to the large amount of free time that a student lifestyle sometimes provides.

    Like Germany, we need more practical courses. Apprenticeships in engineering with the option of a part-time practical degree in the longer term if desired. Therefore students will get into a work routine from day one and those who become accustomed to a work routine are less likely to accept unemployment in the longer term.

    People need to be proactive and not reactive. Large swathes of the current university system indirectly fosters a more reactive and lethargic attitude. We will need plenty of dirty finger-nails if we are ever to get out of this economic mess!

  10. CorkPlasticPaddy

    @Joe Hack.
    Couldn’t agree more with what you had to say!! I saw it for myself when I was working as a process operator in a pharmaceutical factory. For most of the time I was working for that company there was some kind of expansion or extension works going on and there they were wearing ‘hard hats’ and suits walking around the place!! They were like ‘lost souls’in an environment they simply hadn’t a clue about!!

    It was all very well to graduate from college with a degree of one kind or another, but when it came to to the practical, well, they simply hadn’t a clue. You can have all the theory in the world, but when it comes down to the ‘nitty-gritty’ all the theory in the world won’t help with the practical side of things!!

  11. David,
    While there may be a skills shortage in tech, I wonder if some of the arguments stand up. As you are well aware, the first thing any economist starts talking about is supply and demand.
    If there is a shortage of people, has this increased demand driven up prices (i.e. wages)? I don’t believe it has. Has it modified any employer behavior? Are recruiters tracking down potential candidates and approaching them? I haven’t heard of any such instances.
    I work in tech and I remember the infamous dot-com boom and bust. The behavior of tech companies during that period showed they actively recruited.
    This would suggest that the 5,000 vacancies this time around are “nice to have” and not “have to have.” Or maybe, hiring managers are being unrealistic e.g. they want 1,000 native Portuguese speakers in Dundalk.
    Whatever the case, I am a little skeptical of the claim.

    • Hi John

      Fair enough re the claim which is why I put it in quotes attributed to the guys making the claim.

      All the best


    • paddythepig

      You speak the truth.

    • So a Portuguese plantation in Dundalk….will there be a similar want for “native” english speakers in the Algarve I wonder.

    • bonbon

      Are some beginning to realize that “job vacancies” at recruitment agencies, head-hunters, replicated up to 10 times each, are really in fact COMPANY ADVERTISEMENTS ?

      That is even worse than “nice to have”. A form of marketing.

      Also remember how a company employee sees such advertisements – OMG that’s MY job on the roster!

      Pressure anyone? Talk about psychotic management psychology!

      • I don’t believe them and think jobs market is a sham. I’ve been to interviews where they have no intention of offering a job. It was all for pretence

        If they are serious they will bend over backwards to get us there. Otherwise they can whistle


        Because I know they will make more out of my knowledge that I will from them. I am not a charity and I tell them so even if they don’t like it

        If they can’t handle straight conversations with home truths them you know you can never trust them

        It’s got to be straight down the middle with no pissing about and anyone who think otherwise is not at the races

  12. Interesting post. I think you’re right that a gap has once again opened up between education and skills, and I think the IoTs have a role to play here.
    On the Fowler study, the scientist in me would worry about cause vs correlation – how did he eliminate the possibility that this is simply a strong correlation among people of similar social class and experiences?
    On context, I think you missed one – one imagines there is a difference between a young person in a job interview who has been unemployed in a country of high unemployment like ireland, and one in Germany – not to say it is ever a good thing.

  13. Puschkin the Black and White Cat

    I agree with John above, I too have worked in IT, for the past 32 years. Shortage of skills ? , well I don’t know. During 2002 and 2003 there were thousands (perhaps 15,000) of unemployed IT people in Ireland, still RTE spouted it’s mantra of an IT skills shortage, I guess this was in order to get cheap “yellow pack” programmers from the non EU world. I don’t know why they do it, some of the requirements are just plain silly, listing 10 or more skill sets and expecting a perfect match. Apprenticeships well, I guess we’re not a industrial country, we never were.

    So please, I don’t want to hear the IT skill shortage stuff any more, sure, wasn’t there a shortage of new houses in Leitrim in 2006.

    • Bamboo

      Don’t mind RTE. RTE trots out stuff like that. There was a shortage of dentists before and now they are telling us that Maths teachers are like gold dust.

    • I remember 2002 clearly. It was when I saw an ad for a course and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I knew electronics was finished in Ireland and that I had to up skill

      I was not doing it for the goal of getting a job in a call centre or server room hell in the IT industry. I did it because I saw an exciting future in technology terms and knew that computers would soon be pervasive

      I think of technology as a toolbox full of tricks for building systems. I like building interfaces things and making them look good while some guys prefer back end work. Rare is the guy with both talents and it how to find the edge I think

      Looking at adverts for IT positions is a laugh. The expectations are so high all this will do is make the jobseekers think ‘I am not worthy’. It has to be realistic and you want to make sure the job is a doddle and that nothing will stop you from your 5 O’Clock pint of stout. None of this ‘oh can you work to 9 pm’

      Even if they are tested on their technical knowledge and land the position they could screw up if they are weak under pressure and are bad planners or organisers. It’s a risky business

      Even for internships some of the requirements are brazen

      IT is a great hobby and intellectual pursuit. It’s never boring if you do the things you like and hopefully one day you get so good at it people will want to pay you

      This is my philosophy and I don’t beat myself up about it

  14. 5Fingers

    We need to move from the concept of Job to one of Career.

    Gladwell’s guide of 10,000 hrs of practice in anything we do is the key to getting the best out of it and being good at it. Football, Singing, Shopkeeper, Plumber, Engineer, Doctor…

    A typical working year is 1,800 hrs. That is 5 to 6 years of sol id practice. What is your average duration in a job? 1-2 years. This is why is is so difficult to get deep specialists in Ireland about anything much. We are basically jack of all trades and master of none.

    The biggest joke of all is that our idiot government seem to recognise this and hire all their advisers from abroad – deepening any knowledge divide between what the locals have and what our international brethren have.

    It gets worse…becasue we are so undercapitalised, we will never have serious eng or science talent in anything other than ultralight low value activity. So forget about us building out own tunnels, our own power stations, our own trains and so on. Now a lot will say….ah come on!! we are a small place and few people, and no economies of scale and so on. Well, look are Denmark (build massive bridges and turbines, Norway who build a massive shipping fleet and a road and tunnel infrastructure to die for…Finland…and so on…

    David, we as a nation are drowning in the groupthink of a welfare culture that has no faith in itself to get off its own arse. We are painting ourselves into an intellectual and professional corner that keeps us second rate and the FDI cannot believe how malleable we are…a bunch of very intelligent idiots with no faith except in fairies and property price recovery.

  15. DC

    “The industrial economy won’t disappear, but the agenda will increasingly be set by those who make connection, not widgets.”

    “The industrial revolution is being consumed by technology… What the Internet has created is the connection revolution.”

    — Seth Godin. – The Icarus Deception

    For any person, especially young people this book(and others by the author) in my opinion is a is a must read.

    The old values and assumptions created by the industrial age are fading quickly, we need to adapt and connect – The art of moving forward lies in understanding what to leave behind.

    A related Link for a taster on his views.



    A mate of mine set up a recruitment business orgainising summer jobs in Germany, Holland and the south of England for Irish students. With overtime, a worker could make €500 a week. When he tried to organise a similar scheme in Ireland, he was given two fingers by Irish employers who wanted to recruit school kids who would work for zero money.
    Foreign owned companies provide almost
    all the graduate recruitment in this country, the concept of paying and training a person causes an allergic reaction amongst tallentless Irish employers. Proportionately, 5 times as many Paddies as Brits are returned emigrants, Irish employers have always had access to a large steady flow of skilled experienced staff, so why waste time & money training a person who may leave for pastures new ? The IFSC recruits staff from London and farher afield while it turns it’s nose @ inexperienced Irish people desperate to get their first break. Expect this trend to worsen. We don’t need 100,000 people leaving the education system each year , never have, never will.

    • Bamboo

      Child labour is rampant in Ireland that is outsourced by the county councils. If I see some of the work that is carried out around my area I can only conclude that it can only be done by a child.

      • jeeaaan

        Adult workers rights are virtually non existent at the moment in Ireland.We have complex EU employment laws being totally ignored by the private sector (non union)and left unchallenged.Employers in Ireland at the moment are in some instances bullies and getting away with it.

  17. Irish PI

    As somone who grew up with having the experiance of both the Irish and German education system I have to concur with what you have written David.
    Too much vested intrest over here and still the attitude that children are a raw material for the education system that must be filled with knowledge wheter suitable or not for them and moved down the educational conveyor belt to a quality control exam called the leaving cert. Where they are either rejected or approved for a further process called college.Which churns out another product,now rather substandard by EU and world standards[Que howls of indignation!]

    German education system recognises the second grade product earlier,and diverts it into a useful and proably more suitable educational path for it.This is somthing the Irish system does not have,and until it is totally reformed will never have or allow.

    • 5Fingers

      Careful there. It is not second grade. It is different grade – usually superior actually. We need to watch that. The Germans clearly do not see it as second grade.

      That said, the German system has aspects of inflexibility that could cause it problems. Cannot put my finger on it, but I sense elitism tends to be embedded at too early an age.

  18. molly

    Apprenticeships seam to be dead in the water in this country,I know plenty of self employed trades men who not only will they not employ apprentices , they will. Not employed trades men.
    Because they have been taken for a ride by the system in this country.

    • molly

      Tradesmen need to charge a certain amount per hour to pay all the over heads that come with running a small company ,to keep everything right and in simple terms the customer simply won’t pay the figure needed and so you end up with the black market and cheep cut price jobs , where cash is king and the government have caused this to happen and the certainly have not been of any help in any way in correcting this .
      When you cut the spenders pay , the spender becomes part of the black market

      • Bamboo

        Apprenticeships are only for cheap or free labour. Anybody with some common sense can do any job at anytime and anywhere.

        • Not true but true in a sense

          Engineering workshops can be very dangerous places

          That is why daft wee boys were not allowed to play with dangerous machinery until they were trained and could be trusted. It can cost lives

          I takes 4 years years to become a machine shop engineer and you can’t afford to cut corners

  19. michaelcoughlan


    This article is a superb offering. It brought me to tears because for me personally it cuts so close to the bone. I trained as a construction manager and had to watch from the side lines during the boom whilst one accountant, sports star, dentist, doctor, you name it, after another who knew fuck all about the industry drove prices through the roof.

    Those of us who knew better were forced out of the industry knowing how unsustainable everything was. And now contracting prices are substantially below costs for the last five years so we still can’t get back in because there is a free for all at the lower end. Main contractors are bankrupting suppliers and subcontractors alike because contracts are being awarded (even by state agencies) to the lowest price only IRRESPECTIVE of whether the job can be done for the price which are in actual fact is substantially below cost.

    I have decided to leave the industry behind with no amount of self-recrimination that the biggest idiot of all in all this madness is myself for ever having wanting to establish a company building eco-friendly buildings or even wanting to develop a career in such a fucked up industry or Country in the first instance.

    What the Ceo’s want (being the quick buck merchants they are) is someone who has the 10 years’ experience needed to do the job effectively but they don’t want the hassle or the risk or the cost of training, retaining and developing that person for the 10 year period. Hence “we can’t get the talent”. The words of the Mullingar motor mouth spring to mind when describing his ideal customer;
    “My ideal customer is a simple life form containing a heartbeat and just enough intelligence to operate a pre charged credit card to pay me, who is so stupid and illiterate they are simple to control to allow me lower my fares to the lowest level possible”

    You can be sure that staff who are expecting to get paid are treated with even more contempt.

    As for Ed Walshe he recently was on the radio castigating the salary of a nurse at north of €65k pa. He said costs had to come down. My daughter was born 4 years ago this May. The midwife had 38 years’ service and her salary was €37k per year. It seems to me that at best he is being misinformed.

    Mr Walshe (former head of University of Limerick) doesn’t seem to understand the difference between leadership and supervision. If he was demonstrating leadership he would have said “I will recommend to my colleagues to bring their pay and salaries into line with the rest of Europe especially since no Irish Universities are now in the top 100 in the world”.

    He would then admit that since he knew fuck all about nursing he would say that he erred in talking about a nurses’ salary from a supervisory point of view, eat humble shit, and fuck off and die.

    As for the jobs bridge programme; what a load of shite. Just another opportunity for Employers to take advantage of willing people desperate to get a break.

    As for employment versus working; let me tell you my story. First of all I’m not on the dole. I’m self-underemployed. What people who aren’t employed by someone else are finding out that not being employed by someone else isn’t the social stigma or no man’s land some people think it is.

    I have never been busier these past 5 years. When my daughter came along it was all hands to the tiller as child care costs were too prohibitive. Then 1 and half years later twins arrive. 3 kids under 3 in the space of 3 years. It’s been mayhem. On top of that I’ve just spent the past two years in a business incubation centre in Limerick trying to get a business focused on the organic sector up and running. Between the kids and the venture its 90 hours a week stuff.

    Would I go back and work for a cunt Like the Mullingar Motor Mouth?

    You must be fucking Joking.

    • dwalsh

      Good rant there Michael :)
      You certainly have a lot on your plate.
      I wish you success with your new business venture.

    • Well done Michael. I know exactly how you feel.
      We too had 3 kids in a 15 month span. self employed single wage earner. 70 hours was the normal week with 85-100 now and then.

      Three high chairs, three cribs, 3 car seats, three sets of dentures. BUT it was rewarding fun.

      Take pride in your achievement and your wife’s too!!! Good luck to you.

  20. armensark@gmail.com

    I can not believe this!!! Are you actually saying that our education system is useless?


    • michaelcoughlan


      Brilliant beyond description. Thank you so much for posting a link to something so profound.

    • bonbon

      I’m having a look at this. Speaker appears to define creativity.

      My question for such speakers is : explain why no animal ever used fire. Why us humans? What is the essential difference here? And what is fire?

      We then rapidly get to the the real value and meaning of creativity.

      Put this on the curriculum, in Ireland : De Cusa.

    • bonbon

      Amazing the Gentleman, sir Ken, said there was no public education before industrialism!

      Apparently the Good Sir has not heard of Colmcille, Kells, Colmbanus, and especially St. Gallen’s Scriptorium lauded wonderfully in Switzerland. One look at the first written vernacular of the Continent from Irish augustinian monks would delight anyone.

      As Schiller wrote, character first and then technical skills are easy. The exact opposite of the “practical” OECD “reforms” pushed in the 1970′s which produced the “lumpencharacter” “brotgelehrte” today in power in both Germany and Ireland.

      • bonbon

        And I heard that the Dublin Dept of Ed. pushed NAPOLEON’s educational “reforms” (who killed the Polytechnic), while Germany pushed Brandt’s destruction of Humboldt’s Gymnasium.

        Just imagine the deadly effect this has had on Germany and Ireland!

        Neither economy is functioning!

      • All you were mentioned were other than state sponsored and attendance was voluntary.

  21. Steaf35

    Interesting article. By pure coincidence there was a few of us in a bar last night (Not a regular occurence these days~)and the conversation shifted to occupations as I was reading the above article.All are aged between 35 to 45. Present there was a bar owner, builder, accountant,maintenance manager and a garda. Previous occupations included Bar manager, builder, painter,plumber and truck driver. While all are reasonably happy in what we’re doing at present each one of us agreed that we would like to do something else. Areas that arose were Horticulture, Child Psychology, Sports science, teaching and bakery. Now here is the difficulty; Access to experience these areas or some form of introductory study(instead of committing to a degree course) is difficult if you are in rural Ireland. You are dependent on the local VEC to run a course in something similar in the autumn or spring time. Then if one wishes to take it further there is only one route…..study…and probably full time; ok thats fair enough; but should there exist a system where the real life workings of these and other areas be experienced in association with the study programme in a respected apprentice type environment?? Maybe thats a bit too utopian!

  22. McGoo

    > “Ireland is producing only half the engineering and computer science graduates enterprise requires”

    Unfortunately, as a middle-aged guy who did a science degree many years ago and now works in Ireland for a US multinational IT company, I don’t blame young people for not choosing to study engineering or computer science. Technical degrees simply don’t make economic sense. Sure, they’ll get you a job in a call centre paying 24K in Ireland, but if you want to earn an average industrial wage you’ll have to go abroad, or take a supervisor role that wastes all your studying. If you want to do real IT engineering, your options are Silicon Valley, China or India, and only the best make it in Silicon Valley. For most people, science and engineering are hard work for low pay. Better to go into accountancy, or HR.

  23. Bamboo

    What young people need to learn:

    Step 1. Get up early in the morning, get dressed, wash your face, get out out of the house in the cold and rain, wait for the bus or the train with thousands of other commuters.

    Step 2. Your are obliged to work when you are in your work place and may only stop at the end of the day.

    Step 3. At the end of the day – make your way home again. With a bit of luck, your public transport comes on time to bring you home again.

    Be aware that there are only about four to six weeks holidays in the year. These days are allocated to you and cannot be taken all at once. Do this for the foreseeable future. Your rewards for all of this depends on certain circumstances. Most likely for most of you – these circumstances are not in your favour for the first couple of years of this new life. Unless you have friends and family who are in the position to let you skip the cue, you should be prepared that this is your life from now on.
    If you decide to have a family and children in the future then be aware that all of your earnings will go into the family. Your reward is the family itself.

    If you’ve come from third level education or any of the education programs that the government have come up with – be aware that it is particularly difficult to acclimatise to a full working day and full working year. Unfortunately excuses of headaches/hangovers, morning sickness, tummy bugs, and other serious illnesses are only tolerable in very exceptional circumstances.

    When you become a senior at work you may pass on your skills and responsibilities to others. However, at this stage you are obliged to bring your work home, live and breath your work as long as you are awake. Only when you are fast asleep you can put your work aside. Be aware that dreams or nightmares of the work you do may occur during your sleep on a regular basis.

    Step 4. Go to Step 1.

  24. Adelaide

    Only fools and horses work, son.

  25. Dorothy Jones

    It’s not only the young who emigrate. Some of us David’s age emigrated for a second time over the last year or two after being ack in Ireland for over a decade.
    It’s one thing saying your goodbyes in Keoghs over a few pints in your twenties. Didn’t think I’d be doing it again in my forties :)
    Ah well, the world is smaller these days and if portability is a pre-requisite, so be it. It’s a good thing sometimes, after living in Berlin for many years, then Dublin, Hamburg is the new home these days. Great city, sure it all shakes you out of yourself, all the better.
    The apprentice journey in Germany does work. The company culture is different to Ireland though, so that is a factor. There are chances for people with apprenticeships here that aren’t always open in similar situations in Ireland.

    • Bamboo

      Dorothy, yes the world is so small nowadays. We’re almost 60 and after twenty odd years living in Ireland, myself and my wife are leaving too. Our skills and experience are not needed anymore in Ireland but we can still make ourselves very useful somewhere else.
      6 more weeks and we’re off again. For a couple of years only I hope but you never know what live will bring us.

      • Dorothy Jones

        Sounds Good! Best of Luck. The young fella here is doing carpentry after finishing up his Masters in the Schweiz. Wonder what it will all be in ten years time for us all.

    • Adam Byrne

      Dorothy, you were on fine form when we said our goodbyes in The Palace Bar not so long ago so I think you are doing yourself an injustice, hahaha. I didn’t see anyone crying into their pints!

  26. bonbon

    In the Great Depression, unemployment seemed contagious, the soup queues reached 10 miles long all over the US. austerity by Wall Street seemed unavoidable – “TINA There-is-Alternative” the wailers of the day uttered.

    Look how quick FDR changed all that! Not by a Soviet “command economy”, nor by a liberal “competitive” circus, but by creative intervention. The US Constitution provided all the necessary tools. No dictatorship occurred (the Wall Street Business Plot was whistleblown), and we had a great example of grand progress. After WWII Germany applied some of this to rebuild in 10 year a power economy – no dictatorship, no Soviet “planned economy”. How? Guess!

    So as some above referenced creativity, look at the sheer rate of change it can attain! That is the best starting point to escape wallowing and to ask questions.

  27. Adelaide

    “But if unemployment can be contagious?”

    The discussion focuses on the relationship between education and youth unemployment, highlighting the successful German template, as, in there lies a proven solution for failing economies to adopt.

    “But what if unemployment is inevitable?” and Germany is an incongruous overachiever?

    Every forecast in popular economics books that I read could be abridged into one chapter entitled, “A Return To Full Unemployment” or perhaps into an axis chart with two diverging lines for population growth and employment demise.

    Unemployment will be the norm, for everybody, these forecasts simply follow the past trajectory and project it into the future. And not some distant future but the near future, in one or two generations.

    And yet, either all these forecasts are incorrect doom mongers who are lazily rehashing each others bogus data, or they are correct, and if they are, then the next un-born generation of the dispossessed have absolutely zero hope if they think our present destructive narcissistic generation is going to try to pre-empt their misery. Fuck that, did you see house prices in south Dublin are rising!!!

    • joe hack

      valid point – narcissism, a chip of the old block (world Stockholm syndrome) for the masses.

      The likelihood is that the next generation will be(are more-so ) as narcissistic as this one.

      You must therefore be arguing for a solid financial police (protect us from ourselves) would that be a from of Communism maybe religion

    • Destructive and narcissistic. Exactly. That sums up how I see the world outside now. I find that mass media soul destroying and I avoid it. I’d rather come here and talk to people with brains

      I just think it’s all pure bs but rather than look at my personal world view as being negative I think the exact opposite. I know I am right because my health and state of mind proves it

      The only world that matters is the world inside my head and I have found that that is best place to be most of the time. We have to be comfortable in our own skin and deprogram out the bs

      I wonder about the next generation and thank god that I will be under the ground before they are let off the leash

      Hard work for works sake?

      Working hard at what exactly?

  28. Adam Byrne

    They need to start sending people to the Moon and further afield – in their hundreds of thousands, in their millions.

    Plenty of work up there getting them ship shape and habitable for human colonization of the Solar System.

    They need to forget about these ridiculous safety concerns and get on with it. If people want to take a risk on travelling in space for adventure and potential riches then let them go for it.

    As soon as people start procreating up there, then we are a multi-planetary species – which lets face it, we need to be as we are making a total mess of the one world that we do live on at present.

    Can you imagine if they had all these safety restrictions back in the day of the American Pioneers? We wouldn’t have reached California. It’s ridiculous and indicative of the police cum nanny states that we live in today.

    Get me a ticket on the first rocket out of here.

    • Adam Byrne

      And the unemployment problem would be very quickly solved.

      • Adam Byrne

        Plenty of gold up there too for Tony and his mates to mine. Everyone’s a winner.

        • You can book a ticket right now I believe. I remember there was someone organizing trips to the moon!

          As far as gold goes we do not need any more. The secret of a stable monetary system is a static amount of money.(Do not get me started!!)

          Anyway I thought the moon was made of cheese?

          • Adam Byrne

            I’m sure you wouldn’t refuse a few more nuggets Tony.

            First rule of economics – our desires are insatiable.

          • Adam Byrne

            Besides, you can’t tell people NOT to mine on the Moon, that would be an attempt to control the free market and we can’t have that, can we Tony?

      • Adam Byrne

        Nope. The real point I am trying to make is that unemployment is only going to get worse due to technology.

        It is NEVER going to get better. The future is now.

        But I do believe that space travel is imperative and the sooner the better.

        • Thank god I went back to school in the boom and did a technology degree. I enjoy it and treat it like a life-long learning hobby. Couldn’t work at it though!

          I’ll see you on the Dark Side of The Moon

        • Adelaide

          Neil deGrasse Tyson calculated we could have financed the colonisation the solar system with the amount of money we sunk into banks worldwide. Maybe the not solar system but you get the idea. He’s one peeved astronomer. Think of all the ‘real life’ opportunities lost to propping up an ‘artificial construct’. Insane.

        • one might have said the same thing at the start of the industrial revolution as the people poored off the land into the cities.

          The high tech farming process “freed up ” 98% of the population to be off the farm and idle.

          I suspect there will be other things to do before the devil finds work for those idle hands.

        • Used to be that everyone worked on the farm.
          Now 99% of them do other things.
          something will turn up–it always does!

    • paddythepig

      Best post ever.

    • 5Fingers

      Health and safety concerns – the curse of progress…you know with all these extreme sports and head bangers participating in them, I’d have them as the vanguard. In fact I think people are crying out to live dangerously as it is in their nature. Even so, if it was a choice between a handglider or a Saturn V, I’d pick the latter every time.

  29. You could strip out the first 4 paragraphs and start from “The average person is profoundly influenced by The Power of Context”. The references to divorce are off topic. No-one gets divorced because it is fashionable and to suggest so is nuts.

    American research shows … what I could have told you from experience

    We do recover and we know we are well on the road to good health when we learn the lie behind working for companies like Cisco who claim they can’t get the staff

    Their graduate interview process is an appalling psyops operation that should be outlawed

    The Power of Context

  30. gizzy

    My daughter got her honours degree last year after 5 years studying. SHE IS THE HARDEST WORKING PERSON I KNOW. She holds down two part time jobs and an internship. The two part time jobs pay less than ten euros an hour and the intern employer has not given her a bob in seven months but promises the world. She needs to do the slave labour for her cv otherwise she could be accused of being a lazy young person.

    Few Points Germany has significant industry we do not.

    Many technology companies offer very short term contracts do they can pack up and leave without redundancy obligations

    We have unqualified morons at the top of the system that is why we have large unemployment everything else is just a symptom of that

    Note to a couple of contributors liking sport does not make you a cretin and playing it is good for you so put down the PC and pick up a ball before you go blind.

  31. There are many things to be said about the nature of empployment, perhaps more than about the nature of unemployment, however, the rate of unemployment is not the exclusive problem for the worker unemployed, but equally those whoe still are employed.

    It is no secret that economist consider certain unemployment rates to be beneficial for the overall economic health.

    Perhaps it is about time to ditch those who still are clutching at the ancient bibles of Keynes, Hayek etc. and start to re-define the social-political-economical forces interacting on purpose to recognize positive driving forces that benefit all of us, instead of a few.

    Unemployment as such is wanted to a degree and therein …. well

    • At EUR5 per week in allowed savings, a debtor would have to wait around 140 weeks in agonising pain before they can get a tooth cap.

      • Paul,

        just tried to call. Hope all is well with you. Sorry I’ve been out of touch, too much on my plate, you know the drill.

        Missing Ireland for sure, the real Ireland that is! Good people there, most stunning landscapes, well, not for the squeamish though… LOL :)

        All in all, did not regret to leave Ireland, despite being deeply attached, I knew it was right to leave. Tough decision though. Much tougher on friends of mine, living there since 3 and more generations, now packing it up, going Australia… being forced out by circumstances they did not bring upon themselves…. which allows me to link to this point… global migrations:


        • All is well Georg

          The temperature is up this week and I have some pale ale brewing in the kitchen

          It’s sad seeing people leave especially if we will never see them again. There are many reasons to leave but what do you do?

          It takes money to get out and set up elsewhere. People are in a poverty trap and it’s worse now than it ever was in Thatcher’s Britain

          The personal insolvency guidelines are humiliating and they are determined to make people suffer. Personally I think it is inhumane because it will kill people inside

          Thank god I opted out.

          • Reality Check

            Pale ale mmmmmm Delicious
            I would like to get into home brewing myself – I will when I get out of apartment living in Dublin.

          • Adam Byrne

            Pale Ale is the best. And this is the best I have tasted, I look forward to it every summer on my trip to the States:


            I also enjoy a Galway Hooker in The Palace Bar, Fleet Street on occasion. We should have a Pale Ale meet up there some time.

          • Good to see some fellow pale ale lovers. Pale ale is tops and so are stouts and dark ales

            I only made the brew yesterday and today I picked up some bottles of Greene King IPA in Aldi for Friday night. I will keep the bottles

            It makes economic sense and I think brewing will take off in Ireland because you can easily make a superior beer for a tenth of the price. A kit makes 40 pints

            Kit brewing is simple and costs 15 – 30 euros depending on if your are just adding brewing sugar for a straight brew or a kilo of malt to give the brew more body, texture and flavour

            You can make a brew anywhere and space is not a problem. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a small table and a radiator to get heat into it for fermentation

            A fermenting bucket, bottle capper and 100 caps will be about €30. That’s what I used to get started but the beer tasted so good straight out of the fermenter that it never made it into the bottles

            I made Irish Stout last week and it was delicious after only 7 days. No hangovers and no ill effects. Apparently hangovers are caused by Vitamin B5 deficiency and the yeasts in the home brew contains it. How cool is that

            I use homebrewwest.ie in Galway and the prices are very good

            I’ve heard good things about Galway Hooker and the best drinking experience I ever had in Ireland was in the The Porterhouse in Bray

            Most other pubs sell crap beer and are no place for a man who knows his beer

          • Adam Byrne

            Porterhouse has a great selection of beers, including Galway Hooker.

            Sierra Nevada is a nice generic Pale Ale in the bottle, available in a lot of supermarkets for €3 or less, but €6 per bottle in Porterhouse (rip off).

            Oberon is by far the best I have ever tasted, wish I could get a few bottles on the plane on the way back here in September.

            And you are right about the lack of hangovers Paul, you don’t get them from good Pale Ale. Galway Hooker will give you a slight hangover as it’s not perfect, but it tastes great nevertheless.

          • Adam Byrne

            Yeah the selection in most pubs is shameful but the proles are oblivious.

          • I like the thought of Oberon.

            Especially as they describe it as a gateway beer that will lead you to want to try all wheat beers and end up addicted to them

            You try Oberon then Blue Moon and after that is is all downhill. That’s great marketing

          • Adam Byrne

            Blue Moon is okay, middling – it ‘pales’ in comparison to Oberon – pardon the pun!

          • Marketing makes sales Adam even if the product is average

            I tried Blue Moon because I liked the label and the font on the title

            I prefer Franziskaner. It’s cheaper and much nicer

    • paddythepig

      Money grows on trees in academia.

    • Adelaide

      Interesting article.

      As an aside, a vague acquaintance recently signed mortgage documents for (gasp!) 400k, 30 years, for an average house in a desirable area.

      On discussing it, it became clear that they were not familiar with compound interest. They had neither calculated it, researched it or well, anything regarding its consequences, and they live from pay cheque to pay cheque so there’s no hubris there.

      What does one say to someone of this mindset?
      It’s beyond comprehension.

    • I missed your call Georg.

  32. Is/was he well educated??

    The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in “Metcalfe’s law” – which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants – becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.

    - Paul Krugman, 1998

    • 5Fingers

      Tony, you’re forgetting one little thingy…People only represent a very minor aspect of the communications. Most is machine to machine and the machine count is building to several units per sq metre. That’s a big network. We are fleas on an elephant. The next trick is to manage that elephant. The elephants of new work regimes, new employment regimes and so on. In fact, the idea of employment and worth may be irrelevant.

  33. Education of self preservation–get out of the euro before you are consumed. They are coming for your savings if you have any left.
    If the state will not leave , you as an individual can exit the euro. Silver and gold coin held in hand out of the banking system.


    In a debt based economy, if you don’t have a constant increase in borrowing, the economy contracts. But if the central banks’ answer continues to be buying more and more bonds – and printing vast sums of money to do so; at some point a trigger event will occur, and confidence in the currencies will literally collapse. That is the scenario we are now facing, because of the reckless behavior of central planners.

    -Dan Norcini

  34. redriversix

    During the Eighties..Apprentice Barman were always wanted..3 year apprenticeship with a day a week in College.

    The Bar trade was a good career.The hours were lousy but the buzz working in the right Bar was excellent & the money was good,..it was certainly better than a apprentice tradesperson.

    But it was a vocation more than a job.

    Then in the late eighties the “powers that be” decided it was cheaper to use part time labour than to hire & train apprentices.

    This over a 5 year period led to a scarcity of Senior Bar men.

    This led to Publicans “head hunting” Senior Bar Staff.

    When this happened ,wage costs soared.

    Still no apprentices were hired,more & more part time staff came in to the trade as more Senior Staff left the trade for one reason or another..which led to a drop in standards and increased stock taking & security costs.

    As much technology as one could afford was introduced to the trade to limit the amount of decision making required, so this led to people being regarded as “a pair of hands” rather than a staff member.

    Where once,4 Snr Bar Tenders could “handle” a busy friday night..you ended up needing 6/7 part time staff [pairs of hands] to cover the same crowd.

    Now the only place you will find a Senior Bar Tender is in the Natural History Museum.

    That is my economic take on my experience with Apprenticeships.

    Good Morning

  35. Excellent article. A+. Haven’t time to read the comments yet, so a ‘brief’ musing as I wait for the taxi to the train..most folk just press ‘page down’ a few times, complain to DMcW why he hasn’t banned the Saxon Foe, etc. Here we go!

    Culture shapes Economics,not the other way around. When Thatcher said “Economics are the method. The object is to change the soul”, us “Gramscian Cultural Marxists” (rollseyes) did a total ROFLMAO! For, well, 3 decades.. And how we laughed at the ‘corrupt symbolism’ of her funeral parade, which will come back to bite the arse of those who stupidly used taxpayer’s money to fund her wake, whilst trashing the goodwill accrued to the Queen through visiting Ireland and jumping out of a helicopter at the Olympics.

    Money shot quote:

    “Work Habit is as important as Work Ethic”

    In fact, you cannot cultivate the latter without the former, so it’s more important. That’s why I’ve ‘worked’ an 18 hour day repairing my MTBI/PTSD ravaged brain whenever I could,throughout serious disability. Use it or lose it. Ditto social skills which I’ll be storming through Dublin next weekend to put a final polish on that software reinstall. However, most people aren’t political prisoners / victims of torture, in an endless “Aung San Suu Kyi, Mandela and Me” situation. I’m atypical, as in ‘slightly unusual’ with regard to the masses of human herd culture. Not many are destined for the mountaintops like Zarathurstra in Malvern under the Rule of Benedict, Marcus Aurelius at Elgar’s Grave, etc, blah, blah.

    Most need and crave the “culture of the Tribe”, which extends beyond the family and friend network to the football and hurling terrace, to the Hen and Stag do, to the Confirmation and Wedding knees up. And the Wake. But, after those ecstasies, it’s back to the laundry. Or the track at Longbridge. Not endless daytime t.v. and nipping to the garage in your jim-jams for fags till you retire, early expire. The fish rots from the head of the IFSC, the City and Wall Street. It all endorses and reinforces Values, whether those of Opus Dei, the Frankfurt School or variants of ‘Shameless’ Gallagher-dysfunction. Neoliberal stench giving me a nostril itch..

    Unemployment, underemployment, anomie, alienation, demoralisation, dysfunctional parenting and employment relationships: it’s not just divorce that’s contagious, but also enthusiasm, courage, hope and solidarity. And I’m not talking about throwing people on the scrapheap and paying them a pittance to be idle when I use the word ‘solidarity’. Hard time are here with worse to come. Unless all jettison the status bling crap, we’re doomed.

    We haven’t even begun to think through the implications of Robotics on all this. But the Japanese have, with Abenomics, they have set fire to the last 30 years in a final attempt to save themselves. The Brits will do it next. Or they will implode. Ireland has some serious choices to make ‘going forward’ [sic] And those choices are cultural more than economic.

    In 1983, I was in a squat in Leytonstone. Young Beckham was playing in the local park. The Falklands had given Thatcher’s vampire economics a transfusion: a culture of warmongering saved her, not the nonsenses of the Chicago boys. Things were grim. We watch afternoon t.v in sleeping bags with a coal fire whilst we found our feet. I did 2 jobs, office by day, pub restaurant by night. For the shags. Coming from ‘the Kilburn of Birmingham’ idleness was not part of the memetic code. But today, even in London I hear tales of youngsters on unpaid internships with all the connections struggling to make headway. My son is about to go off and do philosophy against my advice. He’d be better off at the construction school up the road, in my view. But it’s his life. His friends are in shock that the easy consumerism and career choices are over, but I’m not, because I’ve seen this move play out in Ireland in advance.

    It’s not just divorce. It’s everything. Abusive and dysfunctional relationships in any area of society become ‘memes’ that over-ride genes, overide simplistic economic nostrums and change society. Galtieri and Thacher were meme-generators. So was Hitler. So was every abusive teacher, nun, priest and ‘soldier of destiny’ who helped trash The First Irish Republic by being in thrall to foreign city-states. That’s the Holy See as well as the City of London, folks.

    Hey! Bertie! Calm down, man! Obviously I’m not saying you were that bad as a comic-strip Taoiseach, Bart! Just inept and guilty of not having spent long enough in the library as a lad. Too busy building the network at the pub and golf club, I suppose. As for you Biffo, don’t try and blame it on us Buffalo culchies or I’ll split those fat lips with my fist: metaphorically, of course. By debate. As for Enda…we need to talk.. The balls and backbone in standing up to Da Holy Sea needs to be found again for The Troika. The maths don’t stack up. You know it. Reggie Middleton knows it. How much gold has Ireland got to sell now the market has ‘mysteriously crashed’ just in time for the IMF to hoover it all up. Back up the truck if you can, folks.

    Actually, the barbaric relic is the ultimate symbol and signal of the breakdown of the Tribal Economic Mind: once people stop trusting in ‘fiat’ stop giving credo and kudos to bits of paper, you know the mayhem is on the horizon.

    We threw the Industrial Working Class of Europe under the bus 30 years ago for a brief fcuk-fest of profit in China and elsewhere. Well, I say ‘we’, but I never drank the Kool-Aid. I saw the Little Dublin of culchies in Small Heath and Sparkbrook turn from a community of upstanding men and women who mourned JFK and Churchill in quiet dignity to a shadowy underworld of hungover day labourers outside The Mermaid as I got the No 8 bus to Birmingham Oratory.

    Dublin is closer to Birmingham than Berlin or Boston: whether ye like it or not. To paraphrase one of my pupils “there is no future in Euro dreaming! No future..no future!” and so on and so forth.

    I’ve been in a ‘future ex-wife’ situation for over a decade now, but we both know it ain’t an option. It was full-on Catholic, not Marylebone Registry Office. And we’re very clear that the effects on the kids would have been catastrophic and still would be now they’re 18 and 15. One need only briefly survey the pain and anguish or Morrissey’s recorded output to have a lanscape of the pain caused to a young male when Mom and Dad can’t hack it. I know, I know, the wife-beaters and the gambling alcoholic fornicators: why the hell should any women put up with that crap? They shouldn’t. But neither should any other male in the tribe condone or endorse rogue masculinity whether in the bedroom or the boardroom. I really hoped women would mash it up through Feminism but it’s taken FEMEN getting their tits out for Putin to bring those memes back to full beserk power.

    Throw young people on the scrapheap, trash the economy for trans-generational selfish purposes, then stigmatise them as lazy and feckless: that’s declaring war on The Tribal Mind. These Isles of Wonder will not tolerate such betrays. Whilst Thatcher was being buried in an orgy of BBC fawning, I had the Olympic Opening Ceremony on another screen alongside it. There are “Two Tribes”, one is the Norman Toraigh Whores who trashed the world from 1066, and then there’s the rest of us. The ideology of that rogue Viking Tribe became the City of London and Wall Street. It makes me laugh when people send me Illooominati and Jewish Banking Conspiracy nonsense, as if rogue morality in economics and finances has anything to do with The Torah or Mendelssohn, or the true values of the Valahalla-on-Tyne.
    I’ll bring all this together in a formal new economic and political paradigm by 2016, as cultural Taoiseach of The Fifth Estate and consultant Memeticist to The Second Irish Republic. Hold on to your hats: Collapse and Singularity are coming down the tracks. Seoul and Pyongyang. Haiti and the Virgin Islands. It might be LOUD! More later if The Muses decree.

    Oh, wonk hand-job facial to finish: In a miracle of synchronicity and serendipity, as Thatcer is buried on top of Reagan (smirk) we see the first signs of the whole edifice that is the Temple Of Neoliberalism is unstable and will come crashing down..



    Post Peak Everything Post Keynesianism..it’s on my to-do list with everything else that the Third Act of an (Un)Examined Life has in store for me. And all of you! Must finish that application for the Global Economic Ethics Masters at Brum University. Andrew Carnegie gifted a beautiful building there. I’ll gaze upon it in wonder and gratitude later today. When i die, most of the millions I’ll make over the next two decades will go towards the AndrewGMooney campus in Edgbaston, with a mirror campus in Cork. I was saved by The Tribe. I will repay The Tribe: reciprocal altruism and the politics of the Bonobo. [nb: msg to Posterity-"he means it, maaan!"]


    • 5Fingers

      This comment is A+ as well….Wow!

    • gizzy

      great comment

    • Adam Byrne

      If you are in Dublin next weekend, we should all meet up in The Palace Bar Mr. Mooney. Maybe David might be tempted to come along?

      • Hello Adam Byrne. I’m out and about Thurs to Sun night, so if you lot are having a quiet pint and a philosophical debate, I’ll pop along if I can. Not sure which ‘personality’ I’ll have on display. Might be a few, but hopefully fun and/or shy, not psychotic or sarcastic. Email me the details or post here. AndrewGMooney[at]Hotmail[dot]com. Thanks to others for nice feedback, but insults and angry outrage is fine too for any lurkers who are about to explode. I’ll copy this to the latest thread as well.

    • This is a masterpiece and I hope all Irish commentators are forced to read it and raise their game because you have upped the bar as far I am concerned

      It deserves to be a blog post on it’s own and I hope you republish it as I would want to read your stuff any day

      Brilliant stuff and thanks for taking the time. This made my day

      Don’t be a stranger

  36. Original-Ed

    This is a very interesting article and depicts a world that unfamiliar to the Irish. I emigrated back in the 60’s with a reasonable leaving cert and got in on a engineering apprenticeship in an organisation that had 55 thousand employees.
    I attended college for one day and three night per week – it was high pressure stuff in the beginning as most of the others had A levels or an ONC. The work environment was astonishing with cutting research and development going on all around. Everybody was on the top of their game, even the lecturers were acting as consultants, the maths guy was modelling interacting vortices for the concord project.
    That period was the zenith of engineering in Britain and once they abolished the part time route to chartered professional, it went sharply into decline.

    Germany still has this approach and that’s why it’s so successful – exposure to the work environment at as young an age as is possible is critical to the learning process.

    Most graduate engineers coming out of college these days are one dimensional, they live in a simulated world and don’t want to leave it For them, the multidimensional imperfect world of reality is for others.

    When I want to get outside help with a projects, I source it from France, I’ve tried to source it here and all I get is bluff and sale talk about how good they are, but no hard evidence out there to point to.

    Ireland and some other countries are now living in a virtual world.

    • Adam Byrne

      A deluded world. Always looking for the next get-rich-quick scheme.

      Breaking out in a rash if the words ‘hard work’ are invoked, with notable exceptions of course.

      But in general ‘can’t be arsedery’ rules.

  37. Afternoon all

    Reading the comments today, I get a terrible sense if desperation, a type of contagious “endism” where hope is gone.

    Is that just my reading of the posts?

    In contrast, as Andrew pointed out enthusiasm and hard work are also contagious. Maybe that’s the way we all show leadership by working hard, doing it enthusiastically and coaxing/compelling others to follow suit.



    • Adam Byrne

      The country and the wider world is in shite David, so I think you are right about sensing desperation.

      Getting the head down and working is the only thing to do. That’s what I do anyway.

      The shameless elites, with their boundless greed see the ignorant masses as just something to be milked to maintain their own positions. The ignorant masses meanwhile, are busy watching The X Factor.

      I try to stay away from both parties, to steer a middle course. That’s the only way for me.

      Have to maintain one’s independence of mind and action.

      • I’ve never felt more positive in my life. For once millions of ordinary people are discussing common issues and this offers us a sense of brotherhood. We are all brothers whether we admit it or not

        The only people who are depressed are free market poster boys who throw their toys out of the pram when elections don’t go their way

        True awakening comes when you see the futility of it all because it makes you realise you are nothing. Only them does a a wise man examine his soul and ask who he is

        It’s got to be done

        • Adam Byrne

          I wouldn’t get your hopes up for the great unwashed Paul.

          There’s a nice sliver of clued up people out there showing good awareness with vibrant discussion.

          However… most of the muppets still have their heads in the sand, ostrich-like and they only surface for the pub, X-Factor and Man U of a Sunday, sporting the jersey of course.

          Just look at the by-election result in East Meath!

          F**k the lot of them. They get what they deserve (vote for).

    • StephenKenny

      It’s interesting though, as cycles will always turn down. There has to be an end to the sort of optimism that we’ve seen over the past 15-20 years, and the birth of a new sort of optimism. I remember a British government minister saying that “Casino’s attract optimistic people” and so were, they claimed, of a benefit to towns who had them.

      The real catastrophe of the last couple of decades is that people have been given a very inaccurate view of what ‘success’ is. Anyone under about 40 years old has probably never seen a company that is operating in a self-sustaining economy. Many of the things that we believe to be the correct way of doing things, and of viewing things, are, in fact, completely wrong.

      We were facing a much lighter version of this after the DotCom bubble in the early 2000s, and the solution was to get optimistic about property. So we still have to get rid of the massive mal investment that has taken place since the late 1990s.

      My chartist friends tell me that all the cycle indicators are that it will turn upwards in 2017.

      • bonbon

        Care to elaborate on your “chartist” friends? The plumbed the depths of statistics and fished out some “upturn”?

        Go ahead be brave, not desperate, and show how “chartists” suggest a raid turnaround.

        • StephenKenny

          There’re a number of economic cycles that people believe they have identified. One of the most popular was identified by a Soviet economist called Nikolai Kondratiev.
          He splits the cycle into four parts, named after the four seasons., with the general economic state reflected by the season.

          Unfortunately, his bosses in the Soviet Government didn’t like the idea of cycles, as opposed to their central planning ethos, so he went to the gulags where he died.

          Of course, as with all such observations, the trick is in the timing. It seems that there is some agreement that the last one began in the early 1980s, and the next is due in the next few years.

        • bonbon

          There was a Soviet interest in “mechanical” long waves. At the ISIES 2003 Vicenza, Kondratiev was discussed in a very interesting way : Question to LaRouche (from whom we have the Triple Curve), What do you think of Kondratiev?

          Kondratieff, of course, I know his work fairly well. Leontieff, Wassily Leontieff, who was the designer of the structural national income accounting system of the United States, was a student of Kondratieff. I also—in contemporary times—Professor, Academician Lvov, who’s head of the CEMI, the Center for Mathematical Economics [of the Russian Academy of Sciences], and my friend [Dr. Sergei] Glazyev, who is his prote´ge´, and son-in-law, are specialists in the area of Kondratieff today. Kondratieff’s work was based on a study of what he called technological long waves. The fault in that, that he does not understand, and did not take into account: That we, man, generate those long waves. For that reason, people such as Lvov and Glazyev have taken much interest, along with other Russians, in my work, because they are interested in the idea : Well, let’s get away from the Soviet idea of taking long waves as something that’s mechanistically determined, and let’s be Christians, and let’s make the long waves ourselves. I think they’ll come over completely into my camp…

        • bonbon

          We generate those waves. And the Triple Curve shows the casino-driver in action – a destructive shock wave.

          A science-driven economy, free of course of the casino, generates quite a different platformed progress. The metric is increasing relative potential population density and increasing energy-flux density of the economy. This is not “mechanical” but a willful choice, something absent from both the old Soviet and current laissez-faire collapses.

    • michaelcoughlan

      No David not endism but realism. Your post demonstrates a complete lack of clarity in the message being conveyed by the other people so let me clarify it for you:

      if you are advocating work for the sake if it I will gladly employ you on the same terms as the Mullingar motor mouth in your spare time. I will employ you to cut my lawn for the next 9 months under the jobsbridge programmee during which time I will pay you Nothing.

      I will fill you with shit about the great job you’ll get at the end of it but will hire you on a partime basis at €8.65/hr. If it rains you will be paid nothing. I will never allow you to work full time or build up 2 years continuous to ensure you never attain your rights. If you stay over I will charge you b and b rates and add on for any toiletpaper/soap/shampoo used. If you need training on the lawn mower I will be happy to charge you a training fee.

      Finally behind you back I will make little out of you to all and sundry saying all you are is a failed economist to ensure you remain so demoralised you never pluck up the courage to assert your rights and finally David overhead the door of the shed I keep the lawnmower I will hang the Sign “work makes you free” to brainwash you into believing that work is something you should be glad of no matter how psychotic the circumstances.

      Will you accept my offer of a parttime job David?

      Or would you expect someone else to be “glad” of the offer of such a job?

  38. CorkPlasticPaddy

    Hi David,
    What else could you really expect from all who contribute regularly to this blog?? This country continues ‘going down the pan’ and will continue on doing so as long as we have the same clowns running it. This supposedly new Insolvency Plan that’s being brought in is as far as I’m concerned a total and unmittigated con job!! Enda and co have made sure that the banks have the last word on everything!! Where is the democracy in that??? The banks caused most of if not all of the deep doodoo we find ourselves in and what do they go away and do?? More of the same!!! It just beggars belief!!! The banks have supposed to have been recapitalised with provision to be able to absorb wholesale losses of one kind or another and the state is supposed to have a controlling interest in both AIB and BOI in that they have been ‘Nationalised’. If the government is supposedly supposed to govern then why doesn’t the government go in to the banks and start ‘banging heads together’ and start bringing these banksters to their senses??? If I had my way I’d go in there and do a whole lot more than bang heads together, if you get my drift???

    • gizzy

      I heard people on radio today bragging that they were paying their debts and were only left with one hundred euros a week to live and they called those who may need to avail of a crap insolvency package debt dodgers. ( What the eff can you say to that)

    • Adam Byrne

      Those people (bankers, politicians, etc.) are just pure EVIL.

      There is no other word for it.

      On the other side of the coin, I think the masses were absolutely stupid to fall for the whole scam, but that being said, we need proper leadership to give this country a chance.

      Is that going to happen? I highly doubt it so the only option I have is to plough my own furrow.

    • paddythepig

      The government does not own a controlling stake in BOI.

      The recapitalisation of the banks occurred to restore the banks capital base that was wiped out when their share prices collapsed. It was not done to absorb wholesale losses as you put it.

      Absorbing across the board losses will only destroy the banks capital all over again, leading to a further recapitalization.

      It is your attitude that beggars belief.

  39. 5Fingers

    Can we make contagion positive? Viruses kill us. But we are starting to learn how to use their machinery to fix us as well. Bear with me on this…

    I am doubtful if a grand plan/ let’s make the solar system our back yard etc. will ever happen. But as long as we are run by vision-less leaders we will never be able to cost justify as we cannot read the future or consequences of such a paradigm shift. Long story short, No one would back it. It is terrible that the contagion of acceptance of trivial cost benefit analysis has so completely embedded itself.

    I look at the Arab spring and marvel at how people were mobilized. My view is that the state papers and media there were discredited from day 1. People only trusted the blogs.

    In our so-called sophisticated western world, we have grown accepting of the freedom of our press and its objectiveness. It is so difficult (and let’s be honest – scary) that RTE, IT and a lot of our “accepted” media are mere choreographed organs of an establishment who for the most part are unelected. These “accepted” media are like a flu weighing on the minds of the population. We see blogs and disruptive polemic stuff as something to be amused at while we close the door and tut tut those who march the streets on austerity.

    A few comments on over-education/ over expectation: I say this is how you control people. Promise, keep them busy and make sure their expectations are on something irrelevant. It replaces the concept of soul and religion originally used to open peoples minds to dying for their tribe in times of battle – while the chiefs stayed behind.

    David, the problem is not so much contagion of itself, but how we can create a contagion like the Arab Spring. Crack that and maybe, just maybe…

  40. Adam Byrne

    Life is short. I just found out that my ex-teammate, who had progressed to be coach of the Dominica national team, was killed in an accident earlier today:


    Kirt was a great guy, he was a defender, and me being a forward, we used to kick lumps out of each other in training and laugh about it over a beer afterwards. Such is life.

  41. joe hack

    David in response to your comment on negativity:

    Killing to goose that lays a functioning economy…

    David on a positive note – A consumer creates jobs; to do this the consumer must have money. The low paid or minimum paid do not create jobs, nor the supper rich, that is a fallacy.

    If your want to be positive about a healthy economy your fist need to look at the wages. The removal of the unions by the like of Thatcher along with some of her policy has partly brought us to where we are but of course the people are complicit and lazy they believe they can be rich too – so they support this flaw.

    I am sorry David but I don’t earn enough to buy your books, the Sunday Business Post or the Irish Un-Independent, of course I would never buy Irish Independent to keep anyone in a job politics is everywhere eh…

    Maybe some rich person might by tens of thousands of your book or tens of thousands of meals in a restaurant and even tens of thousands of weakly shopping all in one day just to keep people in jobs but I doubt it?

    Inequity breeds negativity and those that are negative have good reason to be negative, David address the cause of the negativity and stop trying to put bandage on a cancer.

    • joe hack

      It seems from some of the comments above that beer is now to expensive so the home brew is becoming fashionable. On that note I am off to the pub to help contribute to job satiability in Guinness’s. Sorry David I need to prioritise my spending, it’s a political choice!

    • Good post. You talk in a plain and simple language that gets to the point fast

      Your last paragraph is right on the money

  42. lilywhite

    It really annoys me to hear human beings referred to as “animals” even highly social interactive ones.
    “I am not an animal, I am a human being” – quote from The Elephant Man
    Still a good article though.

    • bonbon

      DMcW shows his true West-Brit colors, animals and subjects of a crown have great difficulty with economics of Humanity.

      Still not a good article when we hear monke behavioral economics promoted by the “prominent”.

      That is the current fashion, in with the “big boys”, true alpha dogs.

      Excellent comment, though !

  43. It’s a fine spring night up Castlebalwin, Rural Sligo. Carnival Town. We make our own fun here and pale ale is the new drink of choice and why not. The pub is always closed!

    Who is to cater from the night worker or the man who enjoys a throaty draught when the sun comes up? No-one

    Real Pale Ale like all real beer is good for you. It is healthy and cures a multitude of illnesses whther real or imagined. Apathy, ignorance, depression, melancholy, blues, greed, envy and even stupidity have all reportedly been cured at one time or another by a good bucket of Castlebaldwin Pale Ale

    It’s all in the branding and we even have an old castle by the N4 to prove that there is indeed a ruined castle that was owned by someone called Baldwin. Just up the road we have Carrowkeel with it’s 6000 years old passage tombs with views over the lakes. This is a serious branding opportunity for someone who can see the potential

    That is the word on the streets according to The Castlbaldwin Crier and my spies in the community. I have spies everywhere and I don’t pay them because they know I am incorruptible. I trade on my IT skills and cases of beer

    There is no such things as the Castlebalwin Crier but if it existed and cost 20 cents it would be far more entertaining than a facebook community page. People still like to read the old fashioned way

    Everyone is asking about Castlebaldwin Pale Ale and interest in vigorous. People are copping on and pale ale is the next big thing because the price point is perfect and people want a good healthy drink rather than overpriced gasseous, watery and tasteless stuff produced by Ma Guinness and her Wee Weans, gold bells them

    Remember you heard it here first straight from the horses mouth. He who masters the pale ale making craft is on an equal footing with the competition and sane capitalism is finally returning to our communities

    Let’s put those derelict water mills into use and use our genius to harness the power of water to produce something magnificent out of next to nothing. Lets us show what can be achieved without bank loans and quangoes interfering

    I am not sure if making your own pale ale is a sneaky way to cream a couple of euro from the personal insolvency plan and I am sure Gurdiev would understand why a man must do what a man must do. At least he knows about the human condition whereas Dave seems to be devoid of apathy

    We have been together for 21 and a half years and lived through experiences that would have broken most true loves but we are still happy. We never forgot the hard times in Scotland and that is how we coped. It is possible to stay with the same person for life despite you making a mockery of divorce and cheapening it by comparing it to a fashion accessory. That is silly wee boy and dublin wives talk. Most of us don’t watch or listen to that tripe

    Always have a trade to fall back on. This was always the advice given you young men in the 60s when higher education was becoming accessible to the working classes

    Celtic used to give their youngsters time off to study. In that respect they were, as always, ahead of the times. Pioneers like Busby. Entry ranges for trades were rigid and if a young lad took a gamble and failed by 19 he would no have no trade to fall back on and be too old. Imagine you are told that you are finished at 19.

    That’s what happened to me when Thatcher was destroying our industries and I still think it was a needless waste of a young life. I don’t feel self pity but I know from personal experience that there are many people today going through that sort of pain and disorientation

    I know about the sort of damage that unemployment does and know it from experience but I have a hard time accepting the flippancy of comparing unemployment and divorce as so trivial that they can be equated with fashion accessories

    I would have been a world class locomotive or ship builder and that is all I wanted to do because it was in my blood. It still is 30 years later

    Same thing with faither. All he wanted was to become a bricklayer but when the war ended he was too old. Consigned to the scrap heat at 21 after having kept the waves of Britannia safe for 4 years. He was torpedoed

    Lisbon Lion Jim Craig became a career dentist and Danny McGrain wanted to be a mechanical engineer but instead became the number one right back in the world

    It was interesting to know that these guys valued education but that education was something that can be put on hold and planned


    What’s the rush there’s five minute to go and we need a goal!

    Relax will you. It’s coming

    Oh aye?

    Relax. It always does. We know what we are doing

  44. Adam Byrne

    David, I don’t mean to be a moan again but the functionality on the site is just crap – there’s no other word for it.

    I’ve put out a lot of posts today (mostly gibberish admittedly) and to have to go back to the top every time after I post, with the comments all hidden again is frankly ridiculous in this day and age and a total turn off and time waster.

    Any positive alterations and improvements would be very greatly appreciated.

    • He doesn’t seem to care and appears to be unaware of any problems with the shite.

    • bonbon

      Moaning on the moon. Lunatic carry-on.

      • Adam Byrne

        The view is nice from up here Mr. bonbon, everything looks so peaceful. You should try it.

        • bonbon

          Have you seen the Baron Munchausen with Sir John Neville? The King (R. Williams) and the Queen of the moon are hilarious, if a bit exaggerated. The Baron is, well, the Baron!

          I await the showing on the Lunar south pole where Helium-3 (the most valuable “raw material” ever, forget gold) is mined and packaged.

          The giggles will be uncontrollable. Hey, mining should be fun!

          And what will they say looking at Earth, that beautiful blue orb above the silver screen? Earthrise !

          • Adam Byrne

            Tony said we are not allowed to mine anything in space as it will upset the amount of gold in circulation. So there.

          • Naughty , naughty , Adam putting words into my mouth. I said we did not “need” any more gold as there is always enough to operate as a medium of exchange.

            Mining from the moon if in fact remotely profitable would be inflationary just like the huge amounts of gold imported into Europe from the Americas in the 16th-17 th centuries.

          • Adam Byrne

            Fair enough Tony but I do think your gold fixation is a tad embarrassing.

            You obviously live a full life. I think it would be fuller without concern for gold.

            Long after both me and you are gone, those snake-oil salesman will still be trying it on with their gold fantasies and scams.

    • The only time saver I have discovered (I imagine all the savvy techies already know this and more)is to right click on the links and choose to show in another window or tab. Then when you return to the blog you are where you were and do not have to go through the tedious process of trying to find out where you were when you answered a posting.

    • Adam

      What should I do to improve the experience?


      • Adam Byrne

        Thanks David, I really don’t mean to be a moan.

        I’ll try to be brief:

        1. At the top where is says “Posted in Irish Economy · 193 comments” – that word “xxx comments” should be hyperlinked so veterans can jump straight down to the comments if they want to, as they will probably have already read the article.

        2. When we post a comment, we don’t need to be taken back to the start page, where we can’t even see the comment we have just posted We should just end up where we already were in terms of posting and reading comments. Sometimes you need 4 or 5 clicks (and a CTRL+F find) just to get back to where you were previously which doesn’t make sense (and it’s even more laborious when the comments stretch to two pages – you get taken back to page one, with comments hidden, you have to open them, then go down to newer comments, click on that, get taken to a page where the comments are hidden AGAIN, click on comments, find your comment with a search, etc. etc. etc.!)

        Those are the main issues for me (and others). Your webmaster would be able to sort them out in two minutes. Otherwise I really like the new clean look.



        • Bamboo

          Hi David,
          I can confirm the same experience of what is outlined above. Generally there is a lot of scrolling to do. Most of the time I am lost where I am on the page because it is liked being thrown out of a system and have to make my way back again.

          Most of the time I have no real interest of what I have to say but more what others are commenting on posts. But then I have to go through all the comments again to find out a particular comment that I was interested in.
          A multilevel numbering system would solve the problem. For example: Comment 196 is followed by a reply and that will then be comment 196.1, 196.2, etc.

          If someone wants to create new comment or entry, the system will then create a new number 197, etc.

          Misc comment: The last (microphone) button only appears when I resize the window and doesn’t display if I maximize the window.
          I am using Firefox, Safari, Chrome and IE.
          Other than that great new look.

        • Thanks A. Will get onto the guys to have a look at this. D

  45. bonbon

    Hoenig: Roosevelt Enacted The Glass-Steagall Act, from Which Sprang Decades of Stability and Growth

    Europe has a long history of “contagious” desperation, which De Cusa recognized in the 1460′s. His letter which Columbus had, changed all that. So to expect something from “europe” is desperation indeed. Instead let us now take example from FDR, Franklin Roosevelt, and show the world that Europeans have learnt from a long desperate history.

    Ireland alone was not destroyed by Rome and saved civilization then – has the New Roman Empire, Britain, succeeded in spreading desperation, DMcW?

    So shove the desperate empire, and get on with reconstruction !
    What are you doing to counter this, personally?

  46. bonbon

    Glass-Steagall is contagious, and lawfully so.

    Glass-Steagall Crash Course for everyone who is sick up and fed with “desperation” !!

  47. bonbon

    UN Human Rights Council To Investigate Greek Austerity

    For the first time in postwar European history, the effect of the EU economic policies in a particular country will be investigated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Cephas Lumina, the UN’s expert on foreign debt and human rights, will arrive in Greece on April 22, for a five-day fact-finding mission to assess the impact of the austerity forced on the country by the infamous Troika. He will report his findings to the Council.

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