August 12, 2013

Sitting on our hands or facing facts

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The other week, when in Henley in England, I spoke to an English couple from Exeter who had recently visited Dublin. They loved the city but said that they didn’t do any shopping because the place was far too expensive. They couldn’t understand how a country suffering from 14% unemployment and emigration, while the domestic economy was on its knees could have such expensive retail prices.

They put it down to the Euro and they were mostly right. If we had a currency commensurate with our weakened economy, that currency would have weakened dramatically from 2008-2013 to reflect the collapse in the domestic economy. This devaluation would have helped Ireland to become more competitive again quickly. Wages and prices would have fallen dramatically making Ireland a fantastic place to invest. But that didn’t happen.

The English tourists had a good time, but didn’t spend what they had intended to because the country is too expensive largely as a result of trading in a currency, which is far stronger than the weak Irish economy can sustain.

If the tourists had been Japanese and found Ireland expensive that wouldn’t be too bad, but they were English and the English are our biggest source of tourism. This is why the exchange rate with Britain matters hugely.

The currency any country trades in matters enormously because it sets the price for everything. If a country want to bring local prices down Vis a Vis foreign ones, the quickest way to do this is via your currency. Otherwise, a country will face years of girinding down wages and prices in order to achieve something, which can be attained easily via currency devaluation. This grinding down of prices and wages is exactly what peripheral Europe and Ireland are involved in now.

Given that, ridiculously, our political and policy-making elite has tied us to the Germany economy, the single most important price in Ireland is the sterling/euro exchange rate – over which we have absolutely no control.

Therefore we should pay very close attention to what happens in the UK economy not least because Ireland and Britain do €1 billion a week in trade together.

The big question this week from the UK, is whether Britain on the cusp of a new housing upswing, which will boost consumer confidence and kick on into retail spending, driving down unemployment and pushing up tax revenue?

A housing recovery may seem like an unusual question particularly as many of its banks are still extremely fragile, some are still owned by the State and when the memory of the last housing boom and bust is still fresh.

But the signs are there.

UK banks advanced over £5 billion new buy-to-let mortgages in the second quarter of the year – 21 per cent up on the previous quarter and nearly a third higher than a year ago. This was the highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and significantly this was before the policy change announced by the new Bank of England governor Mark Carney last Wednesday.

The Carney revolution at the Bank of England has been quite spectacular and last week he said that UK interest rates would stay low at 0.5% until unemployment, now at 7.8% hits 7%. This is a massive change in central banking policy because in the past ten years the Bank of England only really worried about the rate of inflation.

Now we have Carney, taking the Bernanke line and linking interest rates to unemployment. This policy of picking a target in the future and saying that interest rates are linked to the achievement of this target at some stage in the future is now know as “forward guidance”.

The Bank of England doesn’t expect unemployment to fall to 7% until the end of 2016. Interestingly the Bank said that even if the rate of unemployment fell below 7% it didn’t automatically man that interest rates would rise.

Interest rates in the UK are at the lowest in the Bank of England’s 300-year history. And because the recovery is so shallow in the UK, the Bank is happy to keep them there for a number of years. Now obviously if inflation were to increase dramatically, all bet are off. But this doesn’t look even remotely likely.

The Bank also said that it would continue to fund the British government’s borrowing by buying gilts in whatever quantity it saw fit as long as unemployment remained above 7%.

So people now know that interest rates will be low for a considerable length of time, and the banks are lending again and on top of that the UK government has put in place new tax incentives for the buy to let machine to crank up again

Regular readers of this column will know that I am no fan of housing market driven upswings in activity, however, what is interesting from an Irish perspective is what this new policy will mean for us. Lower interest rates should push down sterling, particularly against the dollar. Against the Euro, sterling mightn’t fall too much because the Euro crisis is far from over. Indeed, the likelihood of another volatile chapter in the on-going Euro saga is extremely high.

The implication is that Ireland will remain very expensive for English tourists.

From a macro-economic perspective, what is interesting in the response of the UK is that fact that their policy makers are prepared to abandon all sorts of rules and regulations and throw the kitchen sink at the economy because the rate of unemployment is 7.8%. The British top brass find unemployment above 7% absolutely unacceptable.
In stark contrast to the Irish elite is doing nothing much when the rate of unemployment is almost twice the British level. The contrast between our policy makers and those in the UK is extraordinary.

Our central bank which controls the monetary response to an Irish crisis – a crisis which was largely of its making given the terrible financial regulation of the banks and housing market in the Noughties – should be actively engaged in adopting policies aimed at reducing unemployment.

If that means changing the currency, to allow Irish costs to fall on international markets, admitting that the Euro adventure was a monumental mistake and reverting to the Irish Punt, then so be it.

If it will not entertain this – and this is not something we should consider lightly – it behooves the central bank to tell us exactly how our unemployment queues will be shortened by the present monetary policies. What exactly is the mechanism and what exactly will be the catalyst?

In the UK they are taking risks when faced with 7% unemployment, in Ireland we sit on our hands when faced with an unemployment rate of twice that! It is quite unbelievable.

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  1. moneydoesnotmatter

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  2. DanielSexton

    I’m aware the following is anecdotal.

    But it would really stick in the craw were I to come across an English couple complaining about prices in Ireland – because I have been obliged to holiday in Southern England this summer and last summer (including Devon) for family reasons and I never will again given the cost of eating out and the appalling quality of hotels that feel justified in charging £100 per night for rooms that would be 60 euro here.

    I even distinctly remember being charged money to go into the park in the centre of Bath, which we travelled through one day, on the basis that only city residents could access it for free! Imagine a stunt like that being pulled in St Stephen’s Green!

    Sorry, but Spaniards and Italians complaining about price I can understand. But a couple from Devon? I don’t think so.

    • Patrick

      I have to agree even though it is a few years since I visited UK.

    • lff12

      Daniel, it’s much the same in my experience. Northern England is in a catastrophic state. I spent 3 weekends in the UK this summer, 2 in London, 1 in Manchester.

      It was a tale of two Englands. I paid 38 pounds for a Sunday night hotel stay in Manchester and an express train ticket to the airport was 4 pounds. There was even a free shuttle operating around the city. Otherwise, it was very like Dublin, I was last there in I think, 2004, and the same ghastly overbuilding and faux “gentrification” had gouged similarly ugly scars on the city. Vast swathes of office, retail and residential space lies idle, even with such cheap prices. Like the greedy Dublin developers of the 1980s, they’d rather let the city fall into dereliction than make smaller profits by letting or selling more cheaply.

      London was precisely the opposite. I lived in London for nearly a year at the beginning of the 2000s, like an unspoken many, driven away by an inability to make ends meet on my modest Dublin salary. I went back to Ireland but did occasional work in London until late 2006. But I still couldn’t believe how prices have soared. Gone are the 4 pound off peak travel card, replaced by £8 plus alternatives. Gone was the cheap all weekend card.

      Forget eating a main course in even a pub for less than about 14 pounds. Hotels are now on a Par with NYC and good luck seeking quality, you can just as easily spend 200 euro a Night on a very mediocre hotel. Taxis are as pricey as ever and trains to the regional airports are only staggering: we paid an eye watering 48 pounds for returns for 2, only to find a deplorable service on the return leg with cancellations and a mess at the station. We only just made the flight.

      Friends who work in London are now living on the coastline (including some very high earners by any standards), it’s so costly in London. One even finds it cheaper to commute from ……Leeds.

      The housing market in the south of the UK is being stoked by exactly the Same kind of crony capitalism that went on here under Bertie. The commons is full of amateur landlords with large portfolios of houses who will directly gain. A social war is being waged against those who have the audacity to live in social housing through penalties such as the “bedroom” tax and a tightening welfare system which outsources the disability assessment system to a multinational under orders to squeeze very hard. Meanwhile, the media abounds with blame game accounts blaming the poor for their predicament, projecting those on welfare as feckless and lazy. There are welfare caps and even terrifying 3rd level fee rises to make sure that Boris and David’s friends in the bollinger club don’t have to compete with you little people with your “new” university degrees.

      Meanwhile, Russian oligarchs and financial services tax exiles dance in soho and enjoy the ballet at taxpayer subsidised Covent garden. They can even evade some housing taxes through setting up companies, eyeing their offshore colonial tax havens while lecturing us on our low corporation tax.

      It’s not rosy. The uk is even more unequal than here, and becoming more so. I certainly wouldn’t be aping its greedy little ways any time soon.

      • +1. If only I could write clear, logical posts like that! Anyway…My son arrived back from BoomTown Festival today to open a letter from “Student Finance UK” informing him it will cost around £50k to do his degree. But he calmed down when I explained that his debt would help keep the Boomer elders and betters of my age from facing facts.. Like the US, we now have young people facing student fees/car loan/mortgage/commuting fees/childcare costs all to prop up their ‘punk rock parents’ scams. No wonder Carney feels at home at Poshstock rock festivals!

        Soon public healthcare and 7-18 education will be got rid off and lots of people will be juggling 2 or 3 zero-hours ‘jobs’ as we veer towards American meltdown.

        The problem for Ireland is that it’s tied to Britain -and not just for tourism. Can’t understand why the grand geo-strategic masterminds behind joining the Euro in 99 didn’t forsee the need to reduce economic links with the old oppressor and engage elsewhere.

        Dublin should just beat Brum and Blackpool to host the gambling ‘Las Vegas of Europe’ stuff. Brits would flock to gamble, fight, fcuk, and watch U2 holographs playing live every night at U2 Tower. Temple Bar x 1001 And all the gamblers in the IFSC would love that too for the afterwork salaryman karoake thingy…there you go. What’s not to like? Other than the Catholic church talking nonsense about Usury and stuff..

        Scenario Brainstorm #4: Scotland will leave the UK, then London will do a Singapore and become some kind of City State for the footlose rich who are bidding up home prices. Then The Shire of Mercia can finally declare war on the Norman Toraigh Whores of Sauron who destroyed our Saxon idyll. The ‘UK’ is just as much a fiction as the First Irish Republic. Trust me. I’m a prophet. Of sorts..I guess South Dublin will do a similar thing as London and become an enclave, if recent house price ‘intelligence’ is to be believed..which is open to question. “Ireland’s “Great Divergence” continues”or NOT? Good bun-fight with Ronan and fellow wonks:

        http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/07/01/daft-inception/

        Of course in a capitalist market economy, the shortage of family size housing in South Dublin or South East England would be met by building rather than maintaining artificial shortages for NAMA and the RBS/HBOS crew. Thank God we all live in State Managed Central Bank planned democracies! Our welfare payments to the banking system are a sure fire bet on a prosperous future.

        Rental Allowance/Housing Benefit, are to support the loans made by the banking system, not to ‘help’ poor people afford Ponzi rent scams. In a ‘market’ rents would be roughly in line with earnings. It wouldn’t surprise me if London ends up like Mumbai/Dharavi with folk sleeping in shacks. Oh, that’s already happening?…how about Dublin? Like the casino stuff, there’s another entrepreneurial sphere to explore.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346759/Council-uses-spy-plane-thermal-imaging-cameras-catch-immigrants-living-illegally-garden-sheds.html

    • Last November I spent 6 days at the Torquay Palace hotel on Babbicombe rd., Devon. Set on 20 plus acres, with lawns and extensive gardens and providing the care , attention and service of an Agatha Christie hotel (Her home town ).

      Room a little stuffy but fine and ensuite bath. full breakfast buffet, eat all you want with juices and coffee galore. A full five course menu supper (Dinner) and use of pool, games rooms and lounge and wifi. Worst thing was I had to buy my own wine!!!

      3 days for the price of two. Cost me about 60 pounds a day the lot. Fabulous deal and a short walk to the beach.

      Closest thing in Ireland I found were some good BnBs at 35-42 Euro a night.

  3. Bamboo

    Staying with anecdotal. What I am noticing is that there are more and more young people going on holidays outside Europe and in particular Asia. Many are sick and tired of the hidden costs for a holiday in Europe in general. A two week holiday somewhere in Asia is often much cheaper than in Europe. I personally have given up holidaying in Ireland for the last 12 years. Going abroad has always been much cheaper in my opinion. Having said that I found restaurants and food in general in Ireland much better as in price, quality and variety. In the last 8 years I’ve given up holidaying in Europe. Not that I have so much money but between the accommodation, food and booking on time, it has been so much cheaper.

  4. moneydoesnotmatter

    Ok I’ve joined the elite club….Where do I sign to collect the keys…

  5. The war of competitive devaluations is in full progress.

    If only we can reduce the value of our currency we will gain a trade advantage. All major trading blocks value each others currencies against themselves. There is no measuring stick to show how all drop simultaneously against tangible assets.

    This is why everything gets more expensive; it is called inflation.

    When government massages statistics to report lower inflation than is the case we are all duped. (see http://www.shadowstats.com for example).

    Better the case to look for ways to increase productivity and quality and compete with the world that way.

    Nobody ever won an Olympic medal trying to be worse than their neighbor.

  6. Grey Fox

    The € Euro project is long dead, it was doomed from the start but as with most everything else it will be artificially supported indefinitely because one quality totally missing from politicians is the ability to say – we got that one wrong.

  7. I’m clueless but curious when it comes to economics, but just some thoughts on your article: if the Central Bank is not going to consider leaving the Euro – an action which would have massive implications above and beyond the positive factors you rather selectively highlight – what other steps are available to them to “take risks” to tackle unemployment? You detail some of the actions the UK have taken but then immediately suggest you disagree with their policies (“Regular readers of this column will know that I am no fan of housing market driven upswings in activity”).

    It’d be interesting to see some suggestions from you on what you think might be effective policies for the Irish Central Bank – this could result in a more detailed and educational discussion. You could also discuss what related policies they already publicly state in their Strategic Plan (found here: http://www.centralbank.ie/publications/documents/central%20bank%20of%20ireland%20strategic%20plan%202013%20-%202015.pdf). Unfortunately they don’t mention unemployment once in the document as far as I can tell (unlike their plan for 2010-2012), but they do talk about economic growth which I presume would be their primary target – given that this should result in reduced unemployment.

    “it behooves the central bank to tell us exactly how our unemployment queues will be shortened by the present monetary policies”

    Well, yes, they should have a strategy that involves reducing unemployment as a target, but ultimately there is only so much they can do, and if it was possible to specify _exactly_ how to shorten unemployment queues then I’m sure everyone would be doing it. I don’t mean to nitpick; it’s just worth bearing in mind that (as far as I can tell anyway) these institutions have only very limited power in affecting the Irish economy and no-one knows with certainty exactly the entire effect of any given policy change.

  8. Deco

    When an English couple cannot spend money, it is indeed an indictment of the cost base which is driven up by state quangos, and insidious extortion of business. Perhaps the English couple brought their own food to avoid ripoff joints like Dublin airport, or Dublin city centre.

    However, what happens when a UK multinational has to send a van full of booze to avoid buying it here. As a present for the gardai, in Belmullet, involved in the Rossport saga.

    This was reported in the UK observer.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/10/shell-pipeline-protests-county-mayo

    No coverage from Pravda/RTE. Zero. Not a mention.

    And they are part of the cost base. This is yet another example of the rip-off. You are instructed, under a threat of a jail sentence to pay money to this state quango. And in return they officially don’t see anything dodgy.

    So you have to buy an English newspaper to find out what is going on in Ireland.

    I know exactly how the English couple feel. It is perfectly understandable.

    We are failing to reform ourselves. Gombeenism is rife. We are in a knowledge economy, and yet information is hidden.

    • Paul Divers

      “the Goliath that is Shell, backed by the Irish police” …

      “the project is 10 years behind schedule and its budget has trebled”

      Cases of booze for the Garda. It’s like some corrupt West African crap hole. No-one thought about how this would look and clearly don’t really care

      Not only are we failing to reform but we are failing to inform.

    • Paul Divers

      Life goes on as usual and state violence goes unreported

      This type of police activity was common in rough areas of Glasgow. Police would take the numbers off their uniforms and go into areas like Blackhill in unmarked vans

      All it did was ensure people lived in terror of being whisekd away in the night. British Policing is dirty and so was their dirty war in these Islands

      We are dealing with the same types of minds closer to home but we try to kid on that we are more civilised than that. We are asleep

    • “So you have to buy an English newspaper to find out what is going on in Ireland.”

      Bit harsh on the Indo given the expose of Drummer and his Deutschland Uber Alles singing sidekick, but I get your drift.

      Can’t Dear Leader Enda just put a block on people reading The Grauniad and other subversive literature? Can’t he ban people from wearing Man U shirts, joining UK Boy bands and Uk Big Brother?

      The ‘cost base’ will continue to inflate [property/consumption/income tax] until every ‘hardworking bankster who played by the rules’ is rescued by a rising tide of Public Debt. Tsunami, not Tide. Same nonsense in the UK. Worldwide. I’d rant more but Max Keiser and others do it on my behalf. This blog looks fun. Love it when i find stuff like this:

      http://ponziworld.blogspot.co.uk/

    • jaysus

      +1 well said Deco.

  9. Deco

    When “presents” for the police are purchased outside the state, you know you have a cost problem inside the state….

    • Paul Divers

      No. It is a problem for those who claim we live in a democracy.
      This has got nothing to do with internal accounting. It’s worse.

      Did the Garda accept this payoff?

      If so then Ireland looks like a banana republic. Again.

      If it’s true then it’s shameful.

  10. Adam Byrne

    “– it behooves the central bank to tell us exactly how our unemployment queues will be shortened by the present monetary policies. What exactly is the mechanism and what exactly will be the catalyst?”

    First of all, the Central Bank here doesn’t have a clue what they are doing.

    Secondly, the couldn’t care less about the unemployment situation – as far as they are concerned it’s not their problem.

  11. [...] do touted by most austerity monkeys here) Mac Wiliams has been proposing it for a long time now. Sitting on our hands or facing facts | David McWilliams we need to strongly consider doing the right thing here and taking one in the chest for the [...]

  12. lilywhite

    There would likely be many disadvantages if Ireland was to leave the euro; My tracker mortgage is linked to the ECB base rate. What would happen if Ireland was to leave the euro?. What about the billions of euro of debt?.

  13. michaelcoughlan

    Hi,

    Your piece is more of a political rant than anything else. The central bank will do SFA. They answer to the govt not the people. We have to do it for ourselves.

    • The central bank is there to answer to the bankers, Michael, who then tell the politicos what to do. But the CB has autonomy and can do just what it pleases. CBs report to BIS in Basel. All BIS employees have diplomat immunity and travel with impunity.

      Guess who really run the world. The bankers.

      So David, talking of a change in currency, make sure it is not another CB currency or nothing is changed. Money is or should be private property and if you must have government money make sure it is issued debt free by treasury. Look up social credit.
      Look up commodity money. Use anything but CB debt based money or we are hooped.

      While I am at it may I remind everyone to remove all assets from the banks before they strip you clean. Privatise your pension if you can and remove from the banking system or as sure as can be you will be bailed in like Detroit , or Cyprus , or coming to a place in your home town soon.

      Sorry , Michael, I know you get it but many others do not.

  14. Pat Flannery

    “The other week, when in Henley in England…”

    I wish McWilliams would take his anglophile ass to Henley permanently! And let us mere Irish sort out our problems, in or out of the Euro but definitely not Sterling, without his constant lecturing us about how wonderful the Brits are and how slow we Oirish must be not to imitate them in every way.

    We know how wonderful the Brits are David – for themselves. They exploited us every way they could for as long as they could and would do it all again if we let them.

    It makes me sick to think of McWilliams over there agreeing with everything every English ignoramus he meets in the street has to say about us silly Oirish. I know, I spent six years there.

    Go write for an English newspaper David. Stop living off the mere Oirish who buy newspapers here and whom you obviously despise. Thank God I don’t have to pay to read you online – when I can stand it which occasions are getting fewer and fewer.

    “It is quite unbelievable”! ‘Tis.

    • Deco

      Any external imperial racket that wants to exploit the Irish, always found an eager collection of gombeens waiting for them here, to assist them in the process.

      The real enemy is within.

      • Pat Flannery

        Unfortunately you are quite correct Deco. Britain’s laissez faire policies could not have killed millions of Irish people during the Great Famine without the eager cooperation of thousands of Irish gombeen men, whose descendent have ruled Ireland ever since as the so-called merchant class.

    • Paul Divers

      “I wish McWilliams would take his anglophile ass to Henley permanently!”

      I agree. It’s nauseating.

      • It’s awful when people on Teh Interwebz don’t agree with you and start with that ‘free speech’ crap…WAIT!

        • Paul Divers

          He sounds like he is on a different planet and so do you frankly.

          • Paulm that’s put me in my place! Oh no! another ‘medication failure’. I’ll discuss it with my psychiatrist tomorrow showing him your ‘reality check’. No doubt David will intervene and ban me from his sensible blog and you can all get back to, y’know, goldbugging and stuff…what an eejit i’ve made of myself again. *rollseyes*

          • Paul Divers

            Lol. I was referring to your colourful use of language Andrew. Anyway I am a fine one to talk!

            Good to see you back. You bring spark to the proceedings and we could be doing with more of that.

    • moneydoesnotmatter

      Thank God I don’t have to pay to read you online – when I can stand it which occasions are getting fewer and fewer.
      This has to be the most pathetic comment ever made on David Mcwilliams blogsite.

      • Pat Flannery

        moneydoesnotmatter: His constant campaigning against the Euro and his constant propaganda to get Ireland back into the U.K. and the Sterling currency makes me mad.

        Obviously you are a big fan of his and have drunk his coolaid.

        • Paul Divers

          It’s altruistic that you want to save us all and I thank you for your interest but maybe we just prefer the Koolaid?

    • My God Pat, Am I actually reading this right? You truly need to have you head examined. The idea of bringing back our currency is all about national sovereignty. Wow! Is this the level of thought that you put into your scribbling?

      I am astounded

      David

      • Pat Flannery

        David: perhaps you are so accustomed to the sycophancy you enjoy on this blog that any opinion other than your own is mere “scribbling”.

        As for “having my head examined”, one usually associates that kind of remark with the adolescent forums my grandchildren enjoy.

      • joe hack

        I commented on Pat Flannery posts with the following yesterday: It seems those that don’t live in Ireland only see the green of Ireland. Then one wonders why the opposition to a more patriotic idea-that is having one’s own sovereignty.

        For what died the sons… – was it the Euro …

        I will take this opportunity to add this; how much of DMcW suggestion it’s patriotic or pragmatic.

        • Pat Flannery

          joe hack: I live in Ireland. In many ways I never left it. I ran a business in California because I could not do so here.

          But all my kids and grandkids were educated here and they ALL live here. Hopefully they will never have to spend long lonely times out of Ireland as I had to. I know Ireland’s green – and its darker colors too.

          As for its sovereignty, it never lost it. It never will. That is vested in the people and can never be subverted by anything so mundane as a currency. Such spurious talk is to fill column inches by newspaper pundits – so that the check comes every week.

          • joe hack

            If country does not control it’s own money it is not a sovereign nation.

            Ireland is now under control of the big boys in the euro zone similar to the way it was under British rule.

            “anything as mundane as currency” Eh! then what is your issue if currency is mundane.

          • Pat Flannery

            joe hack: it is a mistake to equate currency with sovereignty. The Euro Zone was established by Treaty. Treaties do not abrogate sovereignty.

          • joe hack

            Nonsense, this country is not been managed here.(A sovereign state is a Self-governing; independent state.)

            Pat Flannery, Now your trying to redefine the word sovereignty.

          • Pat Flannery

            joe hack: The “we have lost our currency therefore we have lost our sovereignty” crowd are conditional you into thinking: what does it matter, we have lost our sovereignty anyway, why don’t we just go back under mother England’s wing.

            This debate is not about the Euro or whatever currency we might freely decide to use. McWilliams and others are very subtly leading you back into the U.K. and the Sterling currency.

            If that is what you want Joe just so and we can go on from there.

          • joe hack

            I don’t speak for D. McW but he has previous suggested along the above lines that we should adopt An Punt Nua -Aligned to those we do most business with, at present we do most business with the UK.

            That may change we may do more business with others in future, if so we then align ourselves with them or they with us we may even align ourselves with the euro.

            Meaning our patriotic money would be related to our real economy our real wealth. I don’t believe he is suggesting it for patriotic reasons I believe he is suggesting for pragmatic reasons.

            We are broke with in the euro zone and mostly because of it. We are living beyond out real global wealth. It is you that has made into a pro/anti British debate there are many not so nice past imperialistic and genocidal country’s that we are aligned to now and who reside within the EU and elsewhere.

            It’s business it’s not personnel you might not realize but most of what you live on relates to trade with the UK.

            I prefer it was not this way but I shopped in Tesco and Aldi am pro British or am I pro German are the British pro Irish because they eat our horse meat?

      • michaelcoughlan

        You only risk being considered an idiot when you respond to one.

    • BrianMc

      Did you read beyond the first line?

    • BrianMc

      Did you read past the 1st line..
      Apparently not.

  15. 5Fingers

    The primary cause of our cost/ competition problems is a complete dissociation of officialdom from the real economy. Taxman has no problem shutting a business down – and they are very joyful and upbeat about it as well, various quangos (sorry, I mean certification bodies in health and safety no less etc) have no problem destroying a business for any misdemeanor – we are not talking about accidentally poisoning anyone. Tax advantages are biased towards incoming investment rather than anything locally grown. Did you know for example that due to the staffing overload in the driver testing, the company that runs our NCT (yet another despicable and dishonest operation) were called in to help. Result: if you turned up to do a test, your car would be checked and even the slightest irregularity would stop the test process. Irish people are being bullied and harassed by Irish officialdom. It’s plain nuts.

    David, whatever about Irelands’s silly Government, Justice and Banking system, the catering and accommodation business is streets ahead of the UK in spite of all the $h1t happening to them courtesy of officialdom.

    We are not moving from the Euro unless it collapses. The arguments on having own currency do not work for a lot of our key input costs. All that would happen is that Quango input costs would ramp to accommodate downward effects of the devalued currency (I mean how are our officialdom to afford their German Car renewal every 2-3 years!!). Labour is less and less important and knowledge and/or a lot of professional work is a global play as they are mobile.

    Talk to any small business providing a service where certification is involved – say electrician or a plumber or any of the trades which are deemed as subject to “oversight” – there is a need to pay up front (or risk massive business breaking fines) 5000 Euro. There is certification per person that needs “renewal” and so on. Food business? Where do we start? The number of ways you can be shut down is myriad. 10s of 000s of up front money required to be paid before you can serve a coffee.

    I do not want England mixed up in this. In fact, I think we have imported all of their anal practices and foisted same on the Irish public with the added constraints and cost of the EU standards. The pity is we have not imported their accountability.

    A most distracting article that fudges rather than hit at the real cost of doing anything in this place while delivering a UKIP like swipe at Europe.

  16. Paul Divers

    “In the UK they are taking risks when faced with 7% unemployment”

    According to Keiser this is going to blow up in their faces.

  17. Visiting Ireland earlier this year I found ok deal online for a good-quality hotel, but the ‘non-negotional incidentals’ such as taxis, pints and meals out to be as annoyingly expensive as they were in 2007 – no different to London. To take the family would cost a lot more than going to South Devon- which has been the family holiday destination for the last 3 years.So it’s unlikely to happen. Unless they have Irish ‘ancestor’ issues, I can’t see why most English people would stump up the premium to visit Ireland when the same kind of Celtic-kitsch fiddles’n'whiskey malarkey is available in the Highlands and Snowdownia, even if Scots and Welsh are even more resentful than Paddy.

    Despite the glorious weather, haven’t seen one advert in mainstream Britain even suggesting a visit to Ireland next year. Mind you, with ‘Love/Hate’ airing on C4, perhaps that’s all for the best..

    Plus, there’s still misguided prejudice towards British accents if you turn the wrong corner/enter the wrong pub with Tony Flannery’s beserk doppleganger holding court! Given the ‘fleg’ nonsense erupting in Northern Ireland, I have no intention of putting up with any concretising ahoristircal Gombeen ‘MOPE’ narratives which seek to revivify prejudice against ordinary Brits whose accents and culture allows sleveen ‘soldiers of destiny’ to sell an untterly discredited explanation for the moral, political and economic collapse of The First Irish Republic [1916-2016]. Whilst I have every sympathy with the predicament of those whose affiliation to ‘Ireland’ precludes them from facings painful facts regarding the transition from Norman to Roman to Franco-German servitude, it can’t be at the expense of ordinary Brits whose intersectional oppression under the Norman Tory (Toraigh) Royal hegemony has often been just as egregious as that endured by those on the other island in these “Isles of Wonder”. Pat Flannery might want to re-read Marx and Orwell and other narratives of industrial England before blithely asuming all who reside here are in thrall to the Royalist Imperialist agenda. Or ever were!

    Intersectionality In Transition: Lessons From Northern Ireland. Eilish Rooney

    http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk/2007/issue5/rooney5.html

    and:

    “Republicans are people like you who simply want what’s best for Britain.”

    http://www.republic.org.uk/Who%20we%20are/index.php

    After the Papal “Ireland IFSC Inc” sold the soul of the foundational inspriation behind the Irish Republic to Franco-German Banksters. Sad, but probably too late to do anything now other than accept Ireland’s tourist income needs to consolidate upmarket trips from German dentists and American CEOs. Forget the Brits, other than ‘plastic Paddy’ types at St Paddy’s and The Gathering.

    ps: hope none of this raises anyone’s blood pressure. I’ve decided to be more ‘diplomatic’ on this blog from now on. Not like ‘back in the day’…*raises eyebrow, LOL! etc*

  18. george

    We don’t even have to change the currency.
    We have to change our mentality, and cut the cloth according to our own measure.
    .
    We still have in the Public Sector, and in the Professional classes, people being overpaid. And with more holidays, benefits, lump sums, than their counterparts in most of Europe and Germany; the steam engine of Europe, and one of the leaders in the World Export Market, and in the technology field. In the meantime here we talk about leading the World with a smart economy, but are unable to produce even an indigenous bicycle. So no surprise if here everything is more expensive, from rates, rents, to medicines.
    .
    In the meantime we have to beg cap in hand, so other people with more sense, will lend us money, to pay inflated salaries, and even inflated rates of pensions and social welfare rates. And all it, because our Elites in the Public and Private Sector, want to keep their privileges, and keep going holidaying in Europe and the rest of the World, like Princess of the Renaissance. And because instead of doing something courageous like the Icelandic Government did, they hide behind the Constitution, so the status quo is maintained.
    .
    It doesn’t make sense, and the only solution the Government and the main opposition party have here, is keep taxing the productive sector of the ecconomy, except big multinationals that are like sacred cows, until probably they’ll break the camels back. But for then, the elites will have gotten all the lump sums to cushioned themselves, while the Country probably will be much worst than it is now.
    .
    Yes you are right, we rather sit on our hands than face facts!

  19. David, nicely provocative article which it amuses me to respond to. I note you applauding diaspora-Canuck Carney and his ‘Forward Guidnace Wonkster Initiatives’ …I’ve taken a sedative so let’s begin debunking his egregious Boomer Lifeboat QE / Student Loans / “Help To Buy” chicanery by antrhopologically observing this dimwit Central Bankster ‘in the field’:

    “The new Bank of England governor topped off a week of managing expectations about monetary policy with a trip to the Wilderness music festival in Oxfordshire…”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-23671661

    Barf! Pass the sick bag. Eew! Central bankers should only ever be seen in suits and brylcreem at times of national emergency. Not cavorting. My son has just got back from the BoomTown Festival and he’s appalled at the sight of people his Dad’s age still trying to ‘get down with the kids’. What next? Enda and Carney on stage with those Dancing Gardai, fuelled by imported cheap Tesco booze? You couldn’t make it up.Still, shows how utterly redunant pop culture has become, signally failing to rise to the challenge of ‘Economics Is The New Rock’n'Roll’ and David’s punk cartoons.

    After the Lawson Boom of 88, the price crash to 95 is often ignored. Pump-priming the British economy with taxpayer largesse for a pre-election house-price boom is the same nonsense that every clueless Neo-Liberal clown politician from Thatcher to Brown to Ahern to Cameron has resorted to, in lieu of actually addressing post-industrial decline.

    “Let them eat Debt!”…so long as it’s disguised as Ponzi HELOC Credit none of the plebs will notice until the music stops once again and the confused.com consumers scramble for remaining Middle-Class seats on the UK Titanic.

    If in doubt, create artificial shortages of housing and have a House Price Boom. Britain needs a house-building boom, time to sell off those arid ‘green belt’ fields and allow Tokyo-Yokohma to be mirrored in a London-Birmingham urban corridor with high-speed rail and Heathrow Runway 3 at Birmingham International. What could possibly go wrong?….[hint-i once paid 15.4% mortgage interest rate for a year and lived on beans on toast, lots of young Brit property porn types are in for the mother of all shocks]

    Shame all those ghost estates in Ireland weren’t timber-frame modular build so they could just be picked up and dumped into Bedfordshire. Missed opportunity, so after demolishing ‘excess’ stock in this cycle, remember to make all future builds transportable on a trailer! Still, nice of the D4-Troika Emergency Regime to send the youthful Irish”flower of the mountain” over on the boats. Just like the 50s with my Mom and Dad, but high-level professionals mostly rather than labouring class. Though they’ll follow when the Bail-In Implosion begins:

    http://boombustblog.com/blog/item/9109-anglo-irish-anglo-lies-anglo-insolvency-all-hoisted-upon-the-irish-version-of-us-muppets-aka-irish-taxpayer

    Ireland used to be called “Sicily In The Rain” by scurrilous types who were hip to the D4 criminal truths, never mind amateur hour gangsters in ‘Love/Hate’, but it’s time to move on from “Ireland is not Greece” to “Ireland is not Cyprus”, etc. Britain is just spinning the wheel once more time, gambling that the City of London will remain with it’s fangs in the neck of the British Taxpayer rather than fc-uk off to Shanghai / Dubai/ HK/ Singapore for a few more decades. Two Tribes. Two Islands. Disparate futures? Enda and ‘Dave’ roll the dice..

    • Paul Divers

      And it started all over again

      • I know…don’t worry the emergency services will arrive just as soon as the TSA/GCHQ get my I.P address from David.

        • joe hack

          I have it but you’re not important enough I could fake something if you upset to many eurekaphiles or should that be europhiles?

          • Eurekaphiles! Very good, explains a lot of the Neo Liberal cabal’s antics over the last 30 years. Just “Print, baby! Print”.

            It’s always amused me that folk on this blog (and others) bother with a pseudonym. After Snowden, I’m sure it’s now dawning on all the keyboard warriors agitating for change that the Irish Security Services have tapped into the NSA/GCHQ datastream courtesy of your local ISP and logged who’s behind each and every ‘Anonymous’ mask. After Shannon renditions, it was a small favour to repay.

            I gave up that charade years ago. Recent events have only confirmed what I’ve always suspected: The Internet is what Tolkein always warned of with Sauron’s “all seeing eye”. Others now also are taking a similar view:

            “The Eye of Sauron Is the Modern Surveillance State. Tolkien, not Orwell, understood today’s spying best.”

            http://slate.me/18qhUPx

            Hence, like David, I post in my real legal name. Becuz,erm, I just don’t give a fcuk, etc. At some stage everyone’s online ‘personas’ will be matched up to their credit rating and employment history so the Corporations know who to trust and who to bother advertising to. I love having moved from ‘conspiracy theory’ to ‘factual reality’. Like an episode of Dr Who, not that anyone in Ireland would watch that Brit rubbish.

            Remember: you’re Social Media plug-ins link you to almost every site you visit, including the dodgy pornos. srsly. And it will all end up with “Human Resources” and/or “Internal Security” when the next, final crisis explodes. Just sayin!

          • Adam Byrne

            Dead right Andrew, I surmised the same thing a long time ago. Waste of time hiding behind monikers and cowardly in the extreme.

            Hope all is well, Adam.

          • Adam Byrne

            Glad to see you back and posting good stuff.

          • joe hack

            It’s not the likes of the NSA that people use monikers it’s the spouse or employer. Anyways always enjoys reading your thoughts maybe because I am in tune with them but not always fully in agreement. John Smith, I hope read more of your musings.

            Best regards,
            from
            Jane Smith

          • Hello Adam! Hope you are also well and enjoyed the Caribbean Summer weather in Ireland. Hello to 5Fingers too, some smart thinking from both of you. Everyone else: don’t worry. My mission here is just about complete, soon gone.

          • joe hack

            You changed your avatar back to;end extreme poverty/ end extreme wealth . Which comes first… My dumb phone does not get on with this site I think it’s league with the nsa

        • Paul Divers

          Recent quote from Alec Baldwin:

          “I am 55 years old and I don’t give a fcuk”

          Good one don’t you think?

    • lff12

      The thoughts of Tories “Dad”‘s age at latitude cannot be more terrifying than the po-faced seriousness of Mrs Merkel at Bayreuth Festspiele t’other week.

      As I said above, note how little David and gorgeous George do to ensure ex pats pay their taxes and offshore tax havens declare theirs. The Uk is nowhere near out of the woods yet.

      • Agreed. But where’s bonbon? Has he a new ‘nom-de-plume’? We need some of his City of London/Great Satan riffs. I’ll have to improvise whilst he’s on holiday in Bavaria..

        Leave Angela out of it for now, she’s busy prepping for her re-election. Once that’s done, her and Hollande will be ‘revisiting’ the issue of Corporation Taxes across the EU, especially in the demonic hives of Canary Wharf and it’s Euro offspring Canary Dwarf.

        It was always a geo-political stich-up of clowns like Ahern: if the Euro implodes, move everything to London, if it succeeds, expand the IFSC. Head/Tails? Who cares? The City of London and Wall Street win either way. As Kissinger said “Who do I call if I want to talk to Europe?” As for the quaint notions of The First Irish Republic and a Sovereign English State free of it’s City incubus/succubus: ROFLMAO! Imagine if any of my ravings stood up to scrutiny?

  20. ” If a country want to bring local prices down Vis a Vis foreign ones, the quickest way to do this is via your currency”

    Devaluation of a currency is a two way street.

    Sure it makes ones domestic products easier to export. Does this employ more people. Debatable.
    It makes travel abroad more expensive and makes imports more expensive. It may increase the costs of production because a lot of the inputs to the economy are imported and these become more expensive.

    Currency devaluation generally is seen to have more negatives than positives. It may increase tourism where all those who have an efficient economy and are the richer for it come and drop a few crumbs from their table for the locals to feed themselves.

    The only tourism worth having is not because of devaluation of the currency but because of the value of the product offered the tourist. That is why the world beats a door to Whistler/Blackcomb ski resorts. People pay for high quality events and venues.

    It has been noted that Ireland produces enough food to feed 35 million people. Agriculture is a major industry. Is there a place for secondary and tertiary manufacturing or processing of Irish food products to be exported around the world? or just across the sea? Produced locally , sold internationally. Organic, high quality. Herbs, dried fruits, meats, etc. West Coast BC salmon is sold around the world for example. Epicure a Victoria small firm has grown to an international business.

    This despite the currency fluctuations of the Canadian dollar from par with the US dollar to a depreciated Canadian currency at 1.40 to the US dollar and back again to the near par ratio of today.

    http://www.epicureselections.com/en/company/company-quickfacts/

    • Don’t worry about currency fluctuations. Leave that to the ECB.

      “Agriculture is a major industry. Is there a place for secondary and tertiary manufacturing or processing of Irish food products to be exported around the world? or just across the sea?”

      Yes, absolutely, but none of that organic nonsense. Sell Laois /Offaly to China and get rid of all those silly little fields that remain around the new housing developments. I can’t wait till The Shire where I live and The Shire of Eire from when my ancestors emerged is one giant Sino Industrial Food Zone. Keep the organic fantasy herbal market garden drama for Wicklow area. Ballykissangel 2.0. The Brits are ahead on this race but Paddy’s catching up:

      “Pressure to meet growing demand for protein by radically increasing the size of farms has also spread to Ireland, where the authorities are backing plans to build one of the biggest salmon farms in the world in Galway Bay, doubling Irish salmon production at a stroke.”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/campaigners-warn-against-rise-of-the-megafarms-could-massive-pig-fish-and-dairy-units-harm-the-environment-8612471.html

      Salmon farming is easier to hide than pig and cattle ranches. It would probably annoy the high income French/German tourists if their ‘authentic’ wild West of Ireland trips were defaced with eyesores. And smells. Tourists do not want to visit modern Ireland, they want to visit ‘historic theme-park Ireland’. Shame about Shropshire next door to me, but who would stand against ‘progress’? Not me.

      • Organic is big and expanding. Anyone who eats the other is subject to consuming poisonous and malnutritious food.

        Organic is one area of quality that people will pay for. Costs little more to produce than GM food sprayed with Agent Orange courtesy of Monsanto.

        Green food from the Isle of Green! Soon nobody will eat anything other than Irish produced food. Trade mark it and allow nothing but Organic for the whole island of Ireland.

        Check out Glyphosate. It is in 90% of processed food and many others as well. Corn and soy are the carriers.

        https://www.google.ca/#bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=c79ffe694d8ab3c6&q=glyphosate

        • PS I try hard not to eat farmed salmon. It is as bad as other factory livestock food. Full of antibiotics and anti lice medicine.
          Colour additives are added to the food as the flesh is white whereas the flesh of wild salmon is strongly coloured.
          Farmed fish consume no astaxathins so we have no protection from cancer via the antioxidant. That is why one eats all the coloured fruit and vegetables one can. Coloured flesh too.

          In short salmon farms produce food that is not good for you unlike the wild “organic ” salmon.

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

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi,

          A lot of organic food can be produced cheaper even. Organic food in aldi and lidl is often much cheaper than standard in other shops.

      • Pat Flannery

        AndrewGMooney: would you please stop referring to Irish people in general as “Paddy”. You are contradicting your own description of yourself as enlightened modern liberal.

    • MrADC

      “That is why the world beats a door to Whistler/Blackcomb ski resorts. People pay for high quality events and venues.”

      Hahahahaha!!

  21. joe hack

    We lost our independence when we sucked up to the Euro, an island nation trying to be what we can’t be .

    It’s a fallacy that the republic of Ireland is the 15th richest country on the planet.

    • Adelaide

      Sunday Times 12-8-13
      JobBridge interns to run Nama.
      “The joke’s gone too far.” Willie O’Dea.

      Things get more surreal by the day.

      Ireland 15th Richest Country while Greece has been officially reclassified as an Emerging Market. Present reality is beyond parody.

      • joe hack

        It seems that debt is wealth I must have chat with my bank manger to see if I can get on to the Forbes rich list.

      • Paul Divers

        Surreal is an accurate adjective

        Defined – having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic: surreal complexities of the bureaucracy.

        No Irish comedy would be completely surreal without the obligatory priest and these lads have been busy and getting press. Apparently we are not catholic enough.

        It appears the only way to repent for our fecklessness would be to work for free and return to the fold and hope for forgiveness from the good faither.

        The real joke is that people in positions of authority still we are a bunch of bog trotters

      • Adelaide

        To Parody and Beyond!
        Wanted: Legal Officer for ‘defence litigation’ in AIB.

        http://lawsociety.ie/Pages/Legal_Vacancies/0814-Legal-Officer-Internship/

        Amazing JobBridge Opportunity! Are you a Qualified Solicitor who’s been on the dole 3xMonths+ and eager to defend the banks in court for NO remuneration. Then sign up pronto!

        Send your CV email header “Legal Officer Internship” to
        nodlaig.a.giles@aib.ie

  22. joe hack

    Did I see an add for teaching economics across borders (CNN might have some issues with that)would that included an punt nua?

  23. StephenKenny

    The UK experiment in inflating the property bubble even further is based on the direct intervention in the market by the government – rather than the buy-to-let people, who are merely responding to that. The UK government will take on all the risk of a personal residential mortgage – leaving the mortgagee and mortgager with no risk at all.

    As far as I know, this is a global first, and it now seems that investors are pointing to this as a sign of strength in the UK property market.

    • joe hack

      Recently I was talking with my dad of 90 and the emergency (WW2) came up the conversation drifted to queuing and how to it became automatic to queue. Rationing meant that when certain food stuffs came in people queued with their ration books, sometimes when a group stopped to chat people got in line, they assumed there was something at the end of the line, often these queues reached the hundreds. Wishfully hoping!

      I read Cameron and Osborne have become more popular as a result of this intervention in the property markets.

  24. SLICKMICK

    @50 E each, 51,000 tickets for the celtic / Liverpool game sold out in 10 minutes. Springsteen shifted 150,000 tickets for a similar price in 3 days. There seems to be plenty of discretionary cash available .
    Unemployed Brits can’t migrate in vast numbers to OZ Canada, around 140,000 Brits emigrate each year and 100,000 return. On top of this , there is a net gain of 200,000 foreigners .The UK doesn’t have the luxury of exporting surplus labour, hence wages have to be restrained, similar to America where the min wage is a laughable $ 7.25 an hour. You won’t survive long in New York on such a small sum.

  25. 5Fingers

    The model for growth in a modern economy in recent times seems to stem from an idea of obtaining credit based on the value of your fixed assets. If people are in positive equity, they can borrow more. If not, they must dig into savings (which depletes deposits) or do nothing.

    It seems we are in negative equity everywhere we look. Low interests rates not only reduce the risk of credit, but they can pull assets into positive equity which comes from market speculation due to cheap credit. So the UK push to more property investment will likely have this knock-on effect and make things rosier in the short term.

    And maybe this is the point of a lot of what DMW is saying, we need to effect some kind of dramatic change in the short term in the hope of a longer term improvement – which no one can really guarantee. The thing is, the Euro swap out if not going to happen FULL STOP. So what other short term tactical weapon can be deployed other than demanding a more fair softly softly approach from our quango-ized officialdom.

  26. [...] doppelt so hohen Arbeitslosenquote zu tun haben! Es ist ziemlich unglaublich." (12.08.2013) +++ http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2013/08/12/sitting-on-our-hands-or-facing-facts +++ Superzug löst Polens Bahn-Probleme nicht Polityka Online – Polen. Die polnische Staatsbahn PKP [...]

  27. joe hack

    Only Our Rivers Run Free
    Michael McConnell

    When apples still grow in November
    When Blossoms still bloom from each tree
    When leaves are still green in December
    It’s then that our land will be free
    I wander her hills and her valleys
    And still through my sorrow I see
    A land that has never known freedom
    And only her rivers run free

    I drink to the death of her manhood
    Those men who’d rather have died
    Than to live in the cold chains of bondage
    To bring back their rights were denied
    Oh where are you now when we need you
    What burns where the flame used to be
    Are ye gone like the snows of last winter
    And will only our rivers run free?

    How sweet is life but we’re crying
    How mellow the wine but it’s dry
    How fragrant the rose but it’s dying
    How gentle the breeze but it sighs
    What good is in youth when it’s aging
    What joy is in eyes that can’t see
    When there’s sorrow in sunshine and flowers
    And still only our rivers run free

  28. Bamboo

    Living the life of Riley

    Please have a look at:
    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrUp8eAR2T0

    Part2:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPbNF1q_6tg

    PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE DUTCH LANGUAGE, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO ENABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES

  29. Wills

    What comes to mind reading the above article is the following:

    The definition of insanity of ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.

    In this case – house prices – and been told by media increase in house prices is good sign for the economy.

    God help us all.

  30. “it behooves the central bank to tell us exactly how our unemployment queues will be shortened by the present monetary policies. What exactly is the mechanism and what exactly will be the catalyst?”

    The major assumption in all the above discussions and in our fearless leader as quoted above, is that the Central bank(s) should be involved in doing something or other.

    The Central banking system forced itself into a position of unelected governance. All the questions revolve around what the central bank of this or that country will do. Implicit in this is the vague thought that the banking system is controlled by government. Well they are, but only to the point of being legislated into existence. Once in existence then they are free to do as they wish. The central bank controls all monetary policy while government is reduced to fiscal policy only.

    The question to ask is, is this good for us as a people, as a community.
    I see a central bank that commands attention to the point that all the discussion on economic matters is about what the bank will or will not do. Will they tackle inflation or unemployment or somehow both at the same time.

    It has often been pointed out that the definition of inflation is the inflation or expansion of the money supply. History shows, and that history graphed shows, that the central banks world wide have continually expanded the money supply particularly over the last 100 years, and especially since the closing of the final link to gold in 1971 and exponentially in the last 5 years.

    Central banks are by definition the instigators of inflation but then profess to be battling inflation to contain it. Either they are totally stupid or maliciously conniving. Take your pick.

    It seems evident that if the banks have as much control over the economy as they do then the actions of government are curtailed if not controlled by these same banks.

    In the 21st century a number of countries have been attacked or threatened if they do not submit to this banking system.

    Iraq for starters. Saddam threatened the US dollar reserve status by saying he would sell oil in Euros.
    Libya. Kaddafi stood up in the UN and said that the ancient Islamic coin, the gold dinar, would be offered as a Pan African currency. At the time Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa ,had a secular society, had reserves of 132 tonnes of gold and was not a part of the international banking system with no central bank. The first major administrative achievement by the rebels in Benghazi, supported by the NATO, was to form a central bank. Strange it was such a priority. Maybe that is how your funds reached the rebels.

    Iran tried to go its own way monetarily and was immediately branded and cut off from the international SWIFT system so that all money flows were stopped. Fortunately for Iran it has a valuable resource that others require and are willing to pay for.

    India came forward and said it would pay for oil in gold. This was not allowed by the higher powers and quashed. However other Countries back Iran and Iran sells its oil and receives real money in exchange as well as military support.

    Suffice it to say, the central banking system organized by the BIS in Basel controls almost all countries.

    So when there is talk of a change in currency to help a balance of trade situation or to make a country more competitive it is observed that this will in the longer term be of little help as all countries try the same tactic. Competitive devaluation.

    How is a currency devalued? By producing more of it which is dilution of the currency. The more there is of an item the cheaper it becomes. The more there is of it the less scarce it is and the less demand for it and so interest rates fall. But each unit of the currency now buys less than previously and so prices appear to arise. Classic inflation seeping into the economy.

    Your English couple finding Dublin expensive did not find it relatively expensive but surprisingly expensive, considering the reported economy, just like at home. Others quote English prices being expensive and yet others finding everything expensive. This is inflation. Money does not go as far. People can not afford what they used to. Business slows. Staff are laid off. The downward cycle is established.

    In my opinion, doing more of the same, that is increasing the money supply will only exaggerate the problem and will result in more and more production of money at ever increasing velocity. Sooner or later this will blow up and the engine of money growth with explode and then evaporate to nothing.

    Changing from one central bank currency to another changes nothing. All will be devalued. All are loaned into existence. All increase indebtedness. All increase the amount of interest owed and outstanding.
    All will lead to penury and economic destruction.

    To have any resilient change the monetary system must change. There must be an open and animated debate on the best system of money for a citizen or a nation. There is no point in saying that this or that is a good idea but will never happen. We need the brightest and best minds to listen and evaluate.

    There must be the recognition that the banks themselves will resist any changes. They are currently in control and want to remain so. Solutions suggested from the banking system will be in their own best interest.

    This is a question of the loss of sovereignty of all nations to the banking cabal. The bankers control must be broken. Civilization as we know it is at stake. Individual sovereignty must be reclaimed. Nation state sovereignty must be reclaimed.

    In the meantime an individual must do all they can to protect themselves from the banking , monetary, system. Get all assets out of the banking system or you assuredly will be bailed in.

    China is entering into a large number of bilateral currency agreements. Russia too, to a lesser degree. Asians and middle East countries are accumulating gold and silver too. Russia accumulates. Western nations disparage gold and ignore silver and try to maintain the primacy of paper money. They will fail. Fiat paper money backed by nothing is in its latter days. Interesting times are upon us as the Chinese might say.

    Keep a close eye on the upcoming G20 meeting from which the US has excused itself. There will be strong indications of the future direction of the world monetary systems.

    • joe hack

      The usa has not pulled out of the g20

      • Correct Joe
        Pulled out of Russia summit
        Thanks

        • crazy cat

          Speaking of the Russians, here’s a good giggle and some info from Pepe Escobar

          http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-090813.html

          • Very informative and adds to understanding global trade and military balance.
            Trans Siberia railroad beats Container Arctic sea route 2:1

            Putin the chess master outperforms all else by 10:1

          • joe hack

            Nice one Crazy Cat, some the comment of the USA’s press blogs(CNN , New York times, Wash post…) are funny considering the comments are coming USA-ers, the majority of which calling Obama’s stance childish and embarrassing – the not so polite comments go much further.

            The Russians invited the USA’s and others tank crews to a a challenge game the USA were to sulky to attend, or maybe the Abrams tank would be shown up?

            I been following this and related story’s for years.

            The west press for want of better word only focus on the Russians who may rightfully admonish Putin’s Russia but his popularity in Russia outshines most western leaders in their own country’s a fact that the western press rarely if ever mentions.

            One could argue the Russians need a strong leader and that they may be lucky to have him now.

            He for all his faults is the only one saying no to a sheepish mentality, he is creating a balance when he questions the west dominance.

            If only more leaders became more independent we might see a greater challenge to the single mind set of the herd.

            Hell at times I wish we had such leader here.

            I watched him and Angela Merkel been interviewed for over a hour, the interview was open to anyone in the assembled audience (unlike the staging in the west) in a large conference hall at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. Merkel commented that Putin speaks out a little too much, he later responded to a separate question in a whisper and asked Markel was that better.

            Ah the joy of a leader saying what he ‘believes in’?

            There only a middle when there two opposing sides……….

  31. Colin

    Great Article David,

    You are stating the obvious of course, yet it riles some people.

    As someone living in London, I hear people at work this week say the cost of groceries in Ireland is massive compared to that in London. And a round of drinks in the pub, way off the scale, but we all know the pub trade is a rigged game in Ireland, so no surprise there. But I will say pub dinners in London are inferior to those in pubs in Ireland, so a wee pat on the back there boys and girls.

    Anyway, the difference between UK and Irish governments is that the UK govt cares about its people more. It wants unemployment no higher than 7%. Got to hell is the Irish response!

    So much work is done by Eastern Europeans in London now, that if they were all sent home tomorrow morning and these positions filled by the English themselves, unemployment would be down to 4%, but the English don’t like to serve, they think its below them, so foreigners do that work.

    London is full of choice. Advice to tourists; Save money by not eating out in fancy restaurants – the cafes are just fine, full english breakfast for £4, meat and two veg with chips £6. Go to O’Neills pub chain for great value meals for £8 or less. Get yourself an Oyster Card and top it up, saves you loads of money compared to Daily Travelcard from the Tube Vending Machines. Irish hotels are better value for money so stay in London with friends or family or guesthouses.

    Also, you don’t need a car, so you save a fortune that way. Lots of places you can visit for free.

    Property is very expensive, so I won’t be buying, quite happy to rent, and it is quite reasonable too, only 15% of my net income including bills, so find yourself a good landlord, they are worth their weight in gold.

    And finally, memo to Joe R; Monday 26 August is a bank holiday in the UK. Sorry to disappoint you Joe R but London is treating me very well in all kinds of ways.

    • Joe R

      So they treat you well then? Let you out for bank holidays do they? Oh lucky you!

      Well done on the 15% rent + bills figure too! Do you live in one of those illegal sheds in Slough? Maybe with all the money you are saving you will be able to afford a personality transplant, whenever they are invented!

      • Colin

        Not just the company, London treats me well, in other words I have a good life here. Why not come over, a man with your experience from 1998 – 2011 delivering projects from scratch to completion would walk into any job here. Sure just tell them what you want per day and they’ll agree!

        Never been to Slough, sorry.

        Quite happy the way I am, but I could start a whip around for one for you – I’m a generous kind of guy you know, bound to be someone here he could help you.

        Half day today also, and 4 days holidays at the start of next week. More holidays in September.

        Chin up there Joe R, imagine your sidekick Pauldiv sharing a gaff there in slough, getting pissed on booze from Lidl and laughing along LOL on the blogosphere.

        Must dash, things to do….. catch you later

  32. MrADC

    Some musings on David’s piece and the commentary beneath:

    Ireland used to be widely admired across here in the UK for its “can-do” attitude and motivation to get things done. When I worked in Ireland it was really refreshing and frankly was a real drag when I moved to Scotland just how much more bureaucratic and unwieldy it was. Getting things done took so much longer….

    This Irish can-do attitude and relaxed attitude to regulation was one of the contributory factors to the subsequent crash but it was also a massive influence in the very real gains of the Celtic Tiger.

    My personal ten pence worth would be that the crisis has stripped the Irish of this ebullient and confident self belief and has instead imbued the country with a timid weakness that needs to be addressed forthwith. Big, bold and decisive actions are obviously needed – and David’s constant advocacy of leaving the Euro is frankly the most obvious bold and decisive action with obvious positive outcomes – and plenty of uncertain and negative outcomes. However one would have to conclude that it is no more of a risk ( and with hindsight much less of a risk ) that actually joining the Euro in the first place.

    Currency manipulation is the oldest (and most reliable) trick in the economic armoury – “export or die” was the mantra for the UK after WW2 … Selling goods to get valuable foreign currency – And the UK had much more debt in 1947 than we do In 2013. China’s modern economic miracle has an awful lot to do with the manipulation of their currency to keep their exports cheap. Ireland is a country plainly suffering massively under the Germanic disparity of the Euro…the Irish economy is based on agricultural exports and tourism?!? I mean, how simple an economic concept do you want? Devalue your new currency against Euro – and not artificially devalue but bring it down to the real level the market values it at judged on specifically Irish economic indicators: Not VW’s profits. Ireland will then start making very very serious inroads into foreign debts held in Euros. All goods in Ireland will cost the same to Irish people but becomes much cheaper for Eurozone and UK tourists…and if exports stay exactly the same in volume as they are now then the value of the income for Ireland increases exactly in inverse proportion to the devalue of the currency. ( and not forgetting the unspoken issue of massive amounts of Irish savers holding Euro accounts outside Ireland repatriating their more valuable savings thus hugely increasing domestic spending without creating a lending bubble ) . Plenty of obvious upsides.

    Forget the conspiracy theories, the Neo-Liberal bogeymen or the spectres of a colonial past…this is a very simple concept that all other countries emerging from the crisis are following to obvious success and if Ireland found its collective confidence and took some risks, dumped the Euro and actually positively steered their own economy then this crisis will be massively foreshortened….and I can come back to Ireland on holiday!!!

    David has been right about this for years now….

    • joe hack

      Wowi que lógico

    • Bamboo

      Great post! Thanks

    • StephenKenny

      The UK government may have had more debt in 1947 than now, but the UK consumer didn’t, UK business didn’t, and the UK consumer wouldn’t put up with rationing worse than those during wartime, that was key to starting to deal with the government debts – never mind consumer and corporate.

      It should be borne in mind that UK manufacturing employment includes cooks and chefs, meaning that every McDonalds provides two manufacturing jobs. I doubt that there’s an economic indicator in the UK, or the US for that matter, that’s worth the glass it’s projected on.

      Currency manipulation may be as old as the hills, but it comes at a price, which is why interest rates haven’t been at near 0% for 300 years. With cheapest ever money, and the government – taxpayer – effectively taking all financial risks of property debt, property and the financial markets are the only investments that even make sense – everything else is just too risky and low yielding.

      I’m sure we can all see where this is going – the same direction it’s been going since the 1990s, and the glory days of the dotcom bubbles.

      • coldblow

        Stephen, isn’t the risk of holding cash, especially Euros in the light of possible Cyprus-style controls or withdrawal from the single currency, another factor in driving property or stock market bubbles?

        By the way, I searched in vain for a quote you once gave about Jim Callaghan, from the 40s I think, showing that (to use your own words) he was no liberal. You wouldn’t have it to hand would you?

        • StephenKenny

          What astonishes me is people’s enthusiasm to believe only the things that suit them, and use the “it’s only natural, so therefore it’s right” reasoning. The UK has the lowest interest rates, effectively, ever; is intervening in the property markets and stock markets, to push them up; is borrowing almost $200bn per year, just to cover current expenditure; has put a total halt on the entire legal system, as it relates to financial services, and all the rest of it.
          The UK economy is clearly in a catastrophic state, probably never in a worse state, in terms of it’s prospects. The central bank and finance ministry, just as in the US, have tried everything, and are now in total panic mode, just throwing super-tankers full of money at anything that moves. The fact that many of them do so in an accent reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke at his most British, seems to immediately convince everyone that all is fine.

          It’s clearly 2005, and everyone is pouring poison and scorn on event the slightest intimation that property prices can ever go anywhere except vertically upwards.

          Jim Callaghan: The earlier quotes on here:
          http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/James_Callaghan

          • coldblow

            Thanks, I found them.

            The forecasts of doom from a few years back may not have come to pass but neither have they gone away, it seems.

    • Pat Flannery

      MrADC: you say “if exports stay exactly the same in volume as they are now then the value of the income for Ireland increases exactly in inverse proportion to the devalue of the currency”.

      But you “forgot” the part about what would happen if our imports stay exactly the same. Any gains by the increased value of our exports would be vastly outweighed by the crippling increase in the cost of our imports.

      David has been consistent about one thing for years all right: he wants us back begging at the door of our former masters the Brits.

      He knows very well that if we left the Euro for a Punt Nua it would not be long before the Irish Tesco shoppers would be screaming to be let into the Sterling.

      And speaking of Tesco I might ask Colin in London why Tesco and other British retailers operating in Ireland charge 25% more for exactly the same goods they sell in England? Does this have any effect on the price differential he spoke about?

      What would happen if we chased out the Germans and Britain became our only source? We would all have to move to London wouldn’t we and re-claim our rightful place as the servants to the English who “don’t like to serve” as Colin put it. Our English friends would much prefer us to those foreign East Europeans who have moved in and deprived us of our traditional role.

      Perhaps Colin could persuade David to join him in thriving London – or better still Henly the Dalkey of England. Maybe then we Irish can start to get our self-confidence back, which is our main problem not the Euro.

      • 5Fingers

        +1. Let’s forget about the argument of national control for a moment

        Do people ever think properly about the input costs and the ACTUAL control we have over them. e.g. Energy. Pay 5-8 Punt nua to the litre on your 1:1 converted Euro to Punt salary. Commodities like coffee, tea etc all climb the same way.

        Government Costs will align to foreign imposed input costs of energy. Up go your taxes.

        Yes…labour costs will drop…for non mobile low skill work. Skilled / mobile global work will ramp as these align with global pricing (a thing our host and many here do not fully comprehend). Your Med Consultant WhateverIst will ramp their costs and ditto your drugs etc.

        We are a weeny domestic market with zero capability to make little of our own without considerable foreign inputs and I for one would like to more rapidly proceed with decreasing the relative reliance on UK for any of our trade. Their dominance is still too large and when they take a role in any foreign concern here (UK or otherwise) their tendency is to keep the Irish down.

        Euro have been excellent for us. It will be again. UK is just a banking industry and little else.

        • joe hack

          Living beyond your means and off to Derry to spend borrowed Euros in foreign economy-Osborne will love you – Eurekaphiles – Europhiles. Ireland debts of 125% of GDP and rising borrowing when not earning is what is happing now, hey but someone else will pay- maybe the kids.

          If we were not borrowing debt money it would not be the price coffee you would be worried about.

          But someone else will pay, it must be comfortable chair you sit on.

          Ireland is living beyond means right now and your supporting more debt money as answer…

          Enjoy your holiday…
          Your contradicting your in the same tread

        • Pat Flannery

          5Fingers: It is nice to find somebody here who has not drank the McWilliams Kool-aid and understands basic economics.

          A devalued Irish Punt would destroy our economy completely. If you think government cutbacks (pejoratively called “austerity”) is bad a devaluation would be utterly devastating.

          The cost of imported oil and natural gas for example, which we have to pay for in U.S. dollars, would sky-rocket with a disastrous cascading effect on transport, electricity and just about everything that moves the economy. This is largely where we would be right now if we hadn’t joined the Euro.

          McWilliams always talks about a devalued currency in terms of exports only, never in terms of imports.

          What David is proposing therefore would be an Irish economic mass suicide analogous to Jim Jones’ cult followers who took his cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978.

        • “Euro have been excellent for us.”

          How exactly? Please explain.

          Euro credit lowered interest rates and sparked the deplored housing boom amongst other things that set off an orgy of spending on borrowed money, credit, that blew up in everyone’s’ faces causing a bank bailout and a doubling of the national debt. Just for starters.

      • joe hack

        Maybe they could go to the USA where all the – Detroit -patriots are – bankrupt.

        “what would happen if our imports” we would not be able to afford them, therefore we would be living with in our means and not on debt money /borrowed money, we would then have to produce, sell, work, make something, that others might want, maybe we could sell stuff to the UK , Germany, China…maybe we could do what the Germans and Chinese do we could work for a living,,, or we could continue to borrow until no one wants to lend…but we would still have massive debts, they have not gone away you know.

        • 5Fingers

          OK…Kill the imports. Where are we getting the energy? How will you keep the skills for acquiring that energy? If you can solve that, on on your side.

        • Use innovation to survive and trade. BC Canada has the same population as Ireland or New Zealand for that matter.

          Victoria is around 350,000 and Vancouver Island about 500,000 or more.

          Victoria has a small terminal “International” airport. Yet it spawns industry.

          Recently the designs were bought for the Twin Otter aircraft and the 60 year old design was put back into production with great success. International sales and spreading. Thousands are now employed in BC aero industries.

          Below is an account. Ireland has a large airport, and regional airports, innovative thinkers and well educated people. There must be similar opportunities to do something similar. I have no specifics to offer but enterprise will flourish when given the chance.

          http://www.timescolonist.com/business/boeing-offering-internships-for-vancouver-island-university-students-1.586783

          • 5Fingers

            Yeah…and I know there were a fair few Irish making it happen in that business as well over there in BC.

            Opportunity. Interesting word. You’re right, its not due to lack of energy. Or indeed lack of money or too much debt. Opportunity needs encouragement at a personal and trust level. It’s a trust thing. And for the Irish the US has been good in that regard and ditto Germany and France. These countries have played a large role in the economic maturation of this country.

            This bring me to England. There are a number of studies which have shown that because of its geo proximity

          • Adam Byrne

            I think it’s because the way the systems is set up here so that anyone showing hard work, talent and innovation get screwed sensless by the gombeen class. Many including some of the best, get fed up and go overseas where their talent is recognized. The good ones that are left behind here are pissing against the wind. Get rid of the parasitic insiders and the country has a chance. Don’t hold out much hope myself though for that to happen.

          • 5Fingers

            …proximity it has no need to allow Irish operations any autonomy in management. This damages opportunity for any local people to flourish under English management. Indeed it is well known to see English management move into a division of a non English corp or business and immediately close or stifle the Irish operation.

            Gombeenism is an English creation from famine years. Our institutions still ape the English model. If we are to have any hope of digging ourselves out of the hole we are in we need to be as far far away from UK to allow ourselves to develop. The next step to radically reshape our institutions to more align with a US or French or German model. Until that happens we will remain saddled with state that rubbishes its people far more than the English ever did.

          • 5Fingers

            Adam, exactly. But rather that make a moral judgement or refer to stupidity that I know exists in abundance I think we need to recognise the dynamics of what is happening. There are studies on this phenomenon and it happens all over the world. Poor UK just happens to be our nemesis for reasons of geography. They cannot help but pontificate and we need to tell them to where to get off.

      • Colin

        Pat,

        Send off a letter to Tesco and ask them. Sorry, I don’t work for them so I don’t know. But I do know Irish businessmen charge their English clients a lot more than they would charge Irish clients back home.

        I’m confident David is the best man to make decisions about where he should live, its none of my business and none of yours either to be honest with you.

        Paddy does well in England. Sorry it doesn’t fit in with your politics, but its the truth. And yes, English would prefer Irish people to Eastern Europeans serving in shops, sandwich bars and cafes, You also have the high end services like that Cork Doctor who led a team which successfully operated on conjoined Cork twins a few years back. And then there’s So Graham Norton, Terry Wogan, Louis Walsh creaming millions every year from British TV & Radio. And there’s a list as long as your arm of Irish millionaires in the Construction Industry; Murphy, O’Rourke, Harrington et al.

        Better serve and make a living than stay at home and rot on the dole due to the inept and corrupt Irish Insider Politics of self interest and to hell with everyone else.

        It all boils down to pride at the end of the day!

        • Pat Flannery

          “Paddy does well in England”. That says it all.

          • whatamess

            these guys are not so sensitive when it comes to slurs …well worth the watch…
            3 mins short

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egAMgNY84do

          • Pat Flannery

            whatamess: Thanks. I love Denis Leary. Just wondering: what is the racist name for white English guys?

          • Colin

            Ah Jaysus Pat, you’re fierce sensitive now. Let me re-phrase it for you then, “Irishmen and Irishwomen do well in London”.
            Or would you prefer Fir na hEireann agus Mna na hEireann?

            That’s the bottom line.

            Good luck with everything there Paddy, ooops, sorry… erm I mean Pat.

          • Pat Flannery

            Colin: you are right: “Irishmen and Irishwomen do well in London” provided they know their place – as Paddys. And you are also right: “It all boils down to pride at the end of the day!” Enjoy.

          • Adam Byrne

            We are in the 21st century now Pat – welcome to it.

            Pride and xenophobia is not the way forward.

            Global opportunities exist in all corners of the world for people, no matter what their so-called ‘nationality’.

          • Adam Byrne

            For hard-working people especially.

          • Pat Flannery

            Adam Byrne: I agree completely. So why not dump the “Paddy” stuff?

          • Adam Byrne

            Well it’s not a terminology I’d use myself either Pat but it’s trivial in the grand scheme of things.

            Brits, Paddies, Yanks etc. I wouldn’t get too worked up about. Some are worse than others – Wops, Dagos etc. – you get the picture so I guess it can be a slippery slope.

            Again, I would not use the terminology Paddy myself but I don’t lose much sleep over other people’s throwaway usage. Thanks.

          • Pat Flannery

            Adam Byrne: You don’t hear Latinos saying “Spicks do well in America” or Italians saying “WOPs do well in New York” or Mexicans saying “Wet backs do well in Texas” or Chinese saying “Chinks do well in San Francisco”.

            Then what is wrong with the Irish in Britain? No Irishman or Irishwomen would tolerate being called a “Paddy” in America and indeed very rarely are while it is the norm in Britain where apparently even the Irish call themselves “Paddys”!

            Is that 21st Century? I don’t think so. Quite the opposite.

  33. 27 August 2013 will be the global equity peak.

    Ultimately all of the leverage in the system by London and Wall Street is based on the consumer citizen. Britain’s lowest ever interest rates will have sucked the last of the able debtor population into the global dysequilibrium.

    The total valuation of the global asset-debt system is about one quadrillion equivalent dollars.

    As the last of the citizen debtors is sucked into the debtor population by the low interest rates, system saturated bad debt which represents a substantial part of that one quadrillion system will implode and the valuation of all system assets denominated in all other assets will implode in a reinforcing manner.

    Bad debt includes pension obligations that cannot be supported by taxes.

    Observe HYD, a US munifunds SPDR – the bad debt canary in a global asset-debt system coal mine with creaky old 155 year old rotting timbers and a bad smell coming from the dark passageways.

  34. 5Fingers

    Terrible News!!

    Europe is out of its recession.

    Total debt levels per household is at its lowest level since 2006. Still double earnings on average. Stands at 50k per adult over 18.

    China will not crash

    We are revving up again. Start buying more property.

    Oh…and weather is still amazing.

    I expect tourism numbers will totally debunk DMWs little anecdote.

    Heading to (London)Derry for the fleadh ceoil.

  35. michaelcoughlan

    Hi everyone,

    The following video is jim rogers speaking in plain straight forward language what he is doing with his own money and how he sees world economic developments for the foreseeable future.

    It’s a must watch for those of us wondering what to do with our spare few bob if lucky to have it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrmB5_l9ojo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  36. BrianMc

    Tangential to UK macroeconomics but fascinating to observe the societal & cultural clashes between UK versus Germany.. “Make Me a German” http://bbc.in/13HA6iV & reaction: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/posts/Make-Me-A-German

    Now, where is Ireland in this spectrum; to whom are we more culturally related?

  37. Joe R

    Mr/Miss Moderator.

    I am a bit tired of people on the blog having a pop at people who are not participating.

    Particularly the example of Mr John Mullins who dosen´t even comment but has been attacked three times by hiberian 56 ( see comments after the current article ). Some of it is bordering on defamation. Whatever about Colin.

    Very unfair!

    Joe.

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