August 13, 2015

Google splitting in two is proof we're on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution

Posted in Irish Independent · 50 comments ·

If you wanted proof that we are indeed on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution that will profoundly change our society, look no further than Google’s announcement yesterday that it will split into two companies.

Old Google – essentially a massively successful sales and marketing company – will split and a new company called “Alphabet” will be created. Alphabet will be a cutting-edge research, investment and speculative company that hopes to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

A big issue for Dublin and Ireland is whether much of the New Google or Alphabet’s R&D will be based in Dublin or whether Dublin will remain a sales and marketing hub?

Let’s come back to Ireland a bit later after we’ve looked at the big picture – this industrial revolution idea. This fourth industrial revolution is about a groundbreaking series of innovations in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology – all connected by billions of smart devices.

Google wants to own this revolution (or at least a big part of it) because the people who run Google realise that the world and the global economy is being restructured before our very eyes.

In time, there may not be any need for doctors, lawyers or accountants. One highly competent doctor with an iPad will be able to scan people’s files, diagnose and deploy medicines in the same way that travel agent software that can identify best prices and options destroyed the travel agent. In a similar vein, Airbnb is changing the hotel landscape.

The fourth industrial revolution will eliminate thousands of less competent doctors at a stroke. This will be creative destruction like we have never seen. Google wants to be on top of these changes.

My own experience with Google has always been positive. I first came across the inner sanctum of Google when I was asked to speak at its Zeitgeist Conference in the US a few years back. This experience allowed me to observe CEO Larry Page up close. He appeared to me to be a sort of phenomenon: part entrepreneur, part engineer – a 21st century hyper-nerd with huge vision – and, most of all, a dreamer who takes big risks. He is the one, it seems, joining up the dots.

And there are a lot of digital dots to join up. For example, every minute last year the world’s internet users – all three billion of us – sent 204 million emails, uploaded 72 hours of YouTube video, undertook 4 million Google searches, shared 2.46 million pieces of Facebook content, published 277,000 tweets, posted 216,000 new photos on Instagram and spent $83,000 on Amazon.

Google is a corporate monster at the centre of all this.

It handles 3.5 billion searches daily and controls up to 90pc of the market in most countries. It was valued at $400bn last year – more than seven times General Motors, which employs nearly four times more people. Google is essentially a huge digital sales and advertising company. And it is advertising that drives revenue.

Its two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are worth $30bn apiece. But they are not content to be glorified advertising salesmen; these guys are dreamers and they understand that the fourth industrial revolution will have winners, and these winners will take all.

This logic explains Alphabet.

In the same way as the internet has created monopolies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, which have destroyed the competition and made monopoly-style fortunes for their owners, the fourth industrial revolution, from genetics to 3D printing, will do the same.

Governments should be aware of this and look to get a piece of this industrial action which will provide jobs, extra tax revenue and the hope that a Google operation in the country or the city will be the anchor tenant for a spawning tech business.

As the likes of Google are now central to the broader fourth industrial revolution with its investments in life sciences and genetics, the aim would be to build a fourth industrial revolution platform in Ireland.

Ireland is very small; we need only a tiny piece of the global action to make a big difference.

This brings us to Silicon Dock and Dublin in general.

Despite their ruthless ‘winner takes all’ attitude to business, the ethos of companies of the fourth industrial revolution is cosmopolitan, liberal and driven by a lifestyle that is suited to urban living. These businesses will not locate in the middle of nowhere. They will locate in the middle of everything.

The cities that provide this kind of lifestyle will have the edge in 50/50 investment decisions over those that don’t. And speaking English is essential; not helpful, but essential.

One part of the lifestyle, not just for foreigners but for us too, is to have a liveable, preferably walkable city that sees itself as public amenity for the people who live there. This means, whether we like it or not, dramatically reducing the number of cars in the city centre.

All over the world, getting more cars out of the city rather than more cars into the city is the central plank of urban regeneration. Dublin has got to be the same. We also have to build more apartments and build up so that we can have the population density to nourish a living city. There’s no point in having a car-free city centre if no one can afford to live there.

The city has to be part of Ireland’s sale pitch for the new fourth industrial revolution.

I’m not saying that we should remove cars from the city because Larry Page wants to rollerblade through College Green on a Wednesday afternoon, but reducing cars and ceding space to walkers and cyclists is the future of urban living.

Cars clogging up cities are very much the story of the last industrial revolution, the mechanised revolution of Henry Ford’s day.

The new, urban fourth industrial revolution will walk, not drive.

  1. patricia03

    It certainly will be a different world. For such a different world perhaps there should be a review of taxation so that a country benefits from that fourth industrial state. What if we abolished all or most of the taxes (including GST ((VAT is what I think you call it)) and started again. No income tax but no deductions either. Zilch. I would like to see a tax on all deposits in a Bank – a bit like what Prof Tobin reccomended in the 1970s on hot money. The level would be set by Parliament and collected by the Banks on behalf of the state. It would be a more cleaner to have a tax on deposits rather than transfers but if a a depositor tried to transfer money to another bank/country that did not make such deductions then the tax should be on transfers as well. Personally, to furthers reduce inequality in society I would tax all inheritance, reintroduce gift duty and perhaps an income tax on high incomes but those taxes would merely be for that purpose as I think the amount of taxes obtained for a tax on all deposits would be much more than is obtained now through all the myriad of taxes that now exist. Just think of all the lawyers and accountants who would be queuing up for a benefit though!! It would be so simple and completely remove all the energy that is currently expended trying to avoid taxation.

  2. Pat Flannery

    What happened to the Third Industrial Revolution? Wasn’t that about creating an Internet-like system for DISTRIBUTING renewable energy? You can’t have the innovative communications you describe without a sustainable renewable energy grid system. That is what the Third Industrial Revolution is all about, decentralizing energy production, just as the Internet decentralized information.

    Read Jeremy Rifkin’s 2011 book The Third Industrial Revolution, which is still on the New York Times bestseller list. I read it in 2012. Here is an extract:

    San Diego has eagerly embraced Rifkin’s ideas and is currently working on becoming the first distributed energy city in the world, made possible by San Diego’s abundant sunshine and highly educated population. We also are lucky to have a power company that understands that it will have to be in both markets for a while, centralized power and distributed power.

    Smart energy companies like this know that they are entering a transition period of which unbundling is the first step. The San Diego power company was one of the first to understand that it is transitioning to become the router of energies produced by multiple parties, much as Cisco is the router for multiple communications producers.

    All revolutions are based on new energy paradigms. The first was based on coal, the second on oil, the third will be on integrated renewables.

    The current financial crisis is merely a symptom of the dying industrial economy that was based on fossil fuels. The crisis is a “sunset” phenomenon where the sun appears to get larger nearer the horizon due to refraction.

    Google is not an energy company. In fact it doesn’t produce anything. Like financial service companies we call banks it is just a communications service company. They each seem more important than they really are.

    The immediate future belongs to property developers with the vision to see houses and offices as micro–power plants that collect, story and distribute renewable energy. The new Google will be the company that offers smart developers a simple workable hydrogen-based storage technology to install in millions of new private living units and work places.

    What you describe above will be part of the Third Industrial Revolution, the service part of it, not a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Lets get the next energy system built first. The first country or continent to escape the straitjacket of the second industrial revolution paradigm, based on fossil fuels, will be the richest society on earth in the coming century.

    Google Jeremy Rifkin. That can be Google’s best current contribution.

  3. douglaskastle

    I am still trying to digest the google announcement.

    However two points I’d like to make. One the existing business in Ireland is largely the boring google part, admin and sales, though I did chat with some nest guys at the ideal homes exhibition and I think I’ve been convinced to get one.

    The guys were Israeli, which is my second point, during the recession engineering education slots take up in college were dismal. I graduated from EE in UCC in late 90s with a class size of 60, my most recent figure for 2 years ago, same class, was only 6. Engineering companies at the moment can’t find any new grads to employ, and they are also struggling to find the people to do the donkey work coding as the main work force is aging and want to move up the chain, management, blah blah blah.

    For a new company, like alphabet is looking to be, they will struggle to find new, young talent locally, they might convince some overseas talent to migrate, or they will just pass Ireland by altogether and move onto the next country that had the talent.

    When I see the google self driving car on the streets of Ireland I’ll know which of the two happened. (or will that be the alphabet self driving car now?)

    • McGoo

      I share your concern about the poor uptake of science and engineering courses. But I can see it from the kids point of view. Their reason for going to college, and probably accruing debt, is to try and achieve at least a middle class standard of living. They have very wisely realised that science and engineering are unlikely to deliver that. Science and engineering are also not a reliable route into management blah blah, which unfortunately is where the money is.
      Basically, they have to choose between studying fun stuff and being able to buy a house.

  4. Mike Lucey

    I agree with much of what DMcW is suggesting but I think that proposing Dublin as the self-contained business hub is a mistake unless a few more dots are quickly joined up in this country and I mean that literally.

    How about we get serious about rapid transport and develop a high speed inter-rail system using something like Germany’s Mag-Lev monorail capable of 280mph. This could be re-engineered using a cantilever support system that would not interfere with the current rail track system.

    The existing wide gauge track system could be used for freight and the mono for commuters delivering times for, Limerick – Dublin 26min, Cork – Dublin 33min, Galway – Dublin 27min.

    We are a very small country and it doesn’t make a lot of sense squeezing a third of our population into a single city that has area expansion limitations.

    I actually had a ‘close encounter’ with Sergey Brin while attending a 3D Basecamp at the Googleplex in 2008. I was crossing a road and he nearly flattened me while on a fast jog. My nimble footwork saved the day.

    • DB4545

      Mike Lucey

      Because a citystate model like singapore or barcelona or london creates the cosmopolitan conditions and dynamics that are attractive to individuals and business. Dispersing those resources all over the Island is not an efficient use of those taxpayer resources.We have empty IDA ghost estates in remote areas.What’s the sense in building high speed rail links to gweedore or two mile borris at taxpayer expense if business doesn’t want to locate there and has to be bribed again at taxpayer expense?

      Look at how Shannon stifled Dublin until commonsense prevailed. Enda can welcome all the pilgrims he wants to mayo airports to aid his chances in an election year but what business wants to locate there without taxpayer funded bribes?

      Build up the infrastructure where it can deliver the best bang for the buck and it helps everyone on the Island.Would you prefer to visit your grandchildren in Dublin several times a year or once in their lifetime in Sydney or San Francisco?

      • Mike Lucey


        I take your point but I am not suggesting a high speed rail system that services Qweedore of even Doolin directly.

        My suggestion is that the other three major university cities in our small island be linked so that they can function as a single unit with Dublin as the hub.

        Even though I’m located just twelve miles from Shannon Airport it really doesn’t bother me that I have to travel to Dublin for a flight now that we have a motorway all the way but getting there in 30 minutes would even be better.

        If the country can be properly joined up it won’t matter which city a business is located in as its only 30 minutes away from Dublin.

        Dublin’s infrastructure is currently creaking and becoming just too expensive to live in at the moment. I wonder what folks, even 50 years ago, would think about the idea of water being pumped from the Shannon to Dublin!

        Cities have an optimum natural growth size which is governed by locally available resources. Once the city starts to require the costly importation of these resources it runs the risk of becoming unsustainable in the long term.

        All commerce these days is governed by energy and this currently is oil. When this form of energy runs out in 30-50 years time we would be much better positioned if we have sustainable cities from a size point of view.

        I’ve just read an article by Norma Pagett, ‘And you thought Greece had a problem?’ here,

        The last paragraph reads, ‘In one hundred years time, would you prefer to be living in the United States, China, Saudi Arabia…..or Greece?’ After reading I feel most folks would probably pick Greece. I would also like to think that Ireland would also be a good choice.

        • DB4545

          Mike Lucey

          There’s merit in better public transport links between the major cities but what’s the cost and who pays for it Mike? Would it be a political vanity project for a country and western ministerial seat? My son had to meet me at dublin airport straight from a remote mayo gaeltacht last week.14 euros one way isn’t bad. Why throw huge amounts of money into rail when the demand is seasonal and buses are more flexible? That principle applies to dublin too.

    • Deco

      Pat we don’t have the scale of utilization for MagLev.

      It is being used in Shanghai, but that is the central coastal region of the most populated coastline in the world. China builds everything to scale, and then uses that scale to generate efficiencies for hundreds of millions of people.

      If we could get the existing lines to be used for freight it might reduce our cost base, and make us all richer, by reducing the fuel import bill. But Irish Rail are incompetent clowns. Even the existing lines are not running on schedule.

      In fact, the DART-Underground proposal has been shelved again. This should have been done in the mid-1990s. It would have cost one quarter as much as now, and it would have been reducing the national fuel and motor care import bill since.

  5. Tony

    No need for doctors, lawyers and accountants?
    Thats a stretch. Given that the average “web based business” is most likely to employ tech graduates, I think I’ll keep going to the GP.
    Lawyers will never be replaced by an app. “Are you representing yourself here today?” “No judge, my iPad has it covered.”

    hmmm ….

    I’ll give you accountants.

  6. Deco

    In other words, Dublin will have to remodel itself to provide the volume and standard of living accommodation that exists currently in Downtown Vancouver.

    This has been evident now for almost a decade.

    But the banks and the developers, and especially the corrupt local authorities will not want that.

    David is 100% correct. In fact we should be doing it regardless of whether or not it suits Google.

    Certain districts are going to have to embrace building upwards. The district around Rathmines is particular packed at the moment, and is crying out for 8 levels of accommodation plus.

    And in common with building upwards we are going to need serious urban transport. That is a far better allocation of capital than bailing out Bondholders in INBS or Anglo.

  7. Deco

    I think the problems of regional Ireland and Dublin could be solved together, if the political capital was moved out of Dublin to Portloaise or Athlone.

    Dublin then concentrate on becoming a San Francisco, or a Sydney – and a Midland town could concentrate on being Canberra or Sacremento. It would liberate Dublin, and would solve the wider problem of economic development in the region.

    Instead Ireland is going for the Icelandic spatial strategy model.

    The Childrens hospital decision is another one of the overly centralist decisions that is not made in the context of national requirements. The best location for such a facility would be in Kildare. On the routes between Dublin, cork, Limerick and Waterford.

  8. Pat Flannery

    Denser urbanization is the result of a centralized energy supply.

    Urban density began with the arrival of steam and coal as energy sources. Horses, which required large quantities of hay, began to fade. The process was accelerated by the petrol driven horseless car. The decentralizing effect of the family farm was over. People moved to the cities. That paradigm has lasted for a century. Now that is over.

    The decentralizing effect of renewable energy is about to begin.

    • StephenKenny

      Although I support the view of decentralised power generation and storage, I take issue with the idea that the means of generating sufficient power is relevant at all, or that centralisation is any worse, or better, than decentralisation, from the point of view of the users of the generated power. As long as the light come-on when you click the switch, that’s all that matters. Both achieve that.

      This revolution, if it is one, just requires that the servers, and connected devices, are powered.

      • Pat Flannery

        It seems to me Stephen that for houses and offices to become micro–power plants that collect, store and distribute renewable energy, would mitigate against densely populated centers and favor a more decentralized society. But first we must look for better ways of harnessing renewables. That is the immediate challenge for technology.

        • StephenKenny

          What’s wrong with densely populated areas (OK, not too densely populated)? Real estate prices are simply a product of government policy, nothing whatsoever to do with anything ‘market forces’.

          I’m all for renewables, but I don’t really see how to two are related. Prices too high? Build a new city. It’s just zoning, and there lobbying from the current real estate interests and a dodgy legal and political system.

    • Basically agree Pat. Even decentralised agriculture will reappear as those who work in the new economy will move to the country on a small acreage.

      Small is beautiful.

      • Pat Flannery

        Tony, Apple is already ahead of Google in this way of thinking. Its €850m renewable-energy powered data centre in Athenry in Galway will power Apple’s online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri, for customers across Europe.

        Microsoft is believed to be behind (at least as a customer) the €300 million trans Atlantic fiber optic cable being opened by the Taoiseach at Killala in County Mayo today. In other words the big IT players are locating their key infrastructure components where they can harness renewable energy.

        • Deco

          It will need a new power plant. And it will need to be continual base load power. Wind power is highly variable. Solar is non-existent.

          That means imported fuel.

          I am wondering, did Ireland sell itself too cheaply again….

          For a few security and lab jobs in the West, and a massive power consumption.

          • Nuclear power is the answer. Modern technology of pebble dash reactors prevent melt downs and the process is safe. It needs a source of cooling water.

            Then a power grid and you have all the energy one needs. High speed rail at 250KM/hr and electric powered vehicles means no imported power requirement and the ability to easily decentralise.

            No need for a landscape of aliens pretending to be wind power. No need for acres of solar power glass. Although these can be used for small scale “off the grid, local application “, combined with lithium battery storage such as Tesla applications.

        • I always knew Mayo was the centre of the universe!! Too bad my ancestors could not find enough food to eat to stay there! They had to split, as they say.

  9. dorn

    Where’s the “industry” of this industrial revolution within the digital realm? Surely traditional industry involves large physical machines with people huddled around them pulling levers and hoping nobody will notice that their job will only last until somebody invents a machine to allow a donkey walking around in a circle to do it instead. Google has never been an industrial company. Its a digital company. Mark Andreesen has been talking about this for a decade and more – that software will eat the world – but this has as much to do with industrial revolutions ad Karl Marx had to do with landing men on the moon.

    You also seem to think that our government has any idea what is actually going on around them. For the last 30 years their entire job creation strategy has been to plead to some American millionaire to give us a hand in exchange for some tax benefits. They dont know 3D printing from the arse end of a heifer. If there is an opportunity here, you can be sure that they will miss it, and then claim 5 years later that Ireland is where it started, while some other country does all the work and makes all the money. Irelands imported IT industry is a glorified support desk with a few other guys and gals running around swapping bits of server internals.

  10. sravrannies

    In typical American nomenclature, it is, apparently, called Industry 4.O


  11. StephenKenny

    When I read about Alphabet, the first thing that came to mind was Jeff Skilling at Enron, about 15 or 16 years ago.

    He was describing, in one of the big weekly newsmagazines, how he saw Enron developing. Listening to him describing this great and glorious future all based upon utilising the Internet, was quite startlingly similar to the descriptions of Google Alphabet. Ofcourse, Enron, didn’t have an income stream equivalent to Google Search to fund all this stuff, instead, they used Wall Street expertise to hide their losses, and energy trading to make earn income. All the major US and UK banks were up to their necks in this stuff, and, because it was still at a time when fraud by large organisations was prosecuted, some even went to prison. Jeff Skilling got 26 years, if my memory serves me correctly.

    In the internet world, to date, what we’ve seen is really just doing the same things in new ways: Streaming video is video rental; Uber is a car sharing service; Airbnb is rent-a-room; and so on. I remember a cycling holiday in Germany, about 30 years ago – you could roll up into a town, and rent-a-room for 10 marks. Brilliant. Many of us got places by going tup to a road, sticking out a thumb, and getting a lift, or answering a note a company/college noticeboard.

    What we’re waiting for is something really new – The Oculus Rift offers a very interesting path. MMOG are possible,but at the moment. Although you’re assured that there’re 100,000 players online, all you ever met is one or two, a wizard, and a couple of ogres with ridiculous powers. Imagine a game where you can join an army, and take part in a battle, surrounded by other people. Or joining the throng at the Mount of Olives, and wondering where the toilets were. Or being one of the massed ranks at one of the huge Nazi rallies, at learning one of the great lessons of history.

    This future is spectacular, but I think it’s much harder than it looks.

    • DB4545

      Just join up the dots.Make it a safe convivial city that’s easy to navigate and do business in.We really are halfway there. Personally I’d like it 10 degrees warmer but failing that tidy up the transport links and keep the bureaucracy at bay. It’s not that complicated.

  12. Willie C

    Very interesting article. The only point not touched is the future of energy, it would appear it too is undergoing an industrial revolution. Insightful and brave article by Paul Guilding on this very topic, main points;

    The fossil fuel energy industry is now entering terminal decline. Competing energy products of renewables and batteries, in a system with electric vehicles, will behave as a disruptive technology always does, delivering ever lower prices and ever higher quality in a decades’ long period of innovation and deployment, which fossil fuels can’t match.

    Because of the nature of this transformation, there will be a wide variety of new business players entering the market from the side, including Apple and Google (link to DmC’s article).

    The incumbents will stay in denial and fail to respond to what’s coming, despite it being obvious. They will hold on and fight against change as long as possible, but in the end will be wiped out by nimbler new players without the cultural or asset baggage of the old. There will be an unknown tipping point – I think before 2020 – at which time the momentum will rapidly accelerate.

    • DB4545

      Willie C

      Thanks for the link to that very interesting article.I hope the people responsible for investments in major infrastructure projects on behalf of taxpayers take note. The nuclear power projects of our nearest neighbour may appear to be reckless stupidity within a decade. I think we have to be careful with any new technology shift as all technologies have a shelflife due to innovation.It’s just a useful product or service until a more useful one comes along.

      I don’t see a paradigm shift with the google move. It may just be a play to avoid anti-trust action in the US or EU competition law.Why engage in an expensive legal car crash if smart lawyers can help you avoid a collision and costs?

      That’s the global the local is how does this little Island exploit the opportunities that present themselves to us? Don’t waste what we have and squander taxpayer resources in remote locations(or any inapropriate locations for that matter).We’re on an election footing.Ask yourself as you receive election literature and hear ministerial announcements on pilgrims and data centres in mayo is that an efficient use of your money? 70 cent a mailshot when even email has become old fashioned? Electricity distribution infrastructure at taxpayer expense in a remote location for political ends? It’s old politics and we can’t afford it.

      There’s a political pissing contest taking place over the water charge issue. The court cases will create publicity for both camps.Whatever the outcome(most likely acquittal) it will cost taxpayers a fortune in legal fees and achieve zero.Stop wasting more of our f**king money with this bullshit and drop it.

      In essence start respecting the taxpayers who pay your obscene salaries and cut the f**king nonsense.Maybe it’s time to learn from the global corporations and pay politicians intern rates of pay and cut them loose if they’re not effective. Hasn’t done the multinationals any harm.

  13. Deco

    A critique of the Google to Alphabet move.

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (MarketWatch) — Investors’ reaction to Google’s reorganization plan is yet another sign of an overvalued stock market.

    That’s because the reorganization, along with the market’s exuberant reaction to it, is something often seen near the end of bull markets. It represents a triumph of financial engineering over substance.

    I suspect that Google have done this because, they have looked at a previous giant, Microsoft, and have started to get concerned about themselves becoming internally complacent. In other words, Google became the earlier version of Microsoft, with massive market dominance.

    And now they are concerned about avoiding the later version of Microsoft which was beaten by Google.

    Interestingly enough, the current version of Microsoft is bound to be thinking about returning to challenge Google.

    Particularly in the context that Google built itself up, underneath the nose of Microsoft, to the point of overtaking it in many internet aspects.

    Google will need to be prepared for any battle, wherein Microsoft returns to take back what Microsoft had earlier deemed to be it’s market territory.

  14. [...] 12 Signs That An Imminent Global Financial Crash Has Become Even More Likely – Zero Hedge Google splitting in two is proof we’re on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution – [...]

  15. sravrannies

    One for you TONY ALLEN – thoughts?

    “Mathematical Certainty:Market Collapse Will Occur During The Super Shemitah” [Sept 24 2014 - Sept 13 2015]

    “….energies which will guarantee the fundamental transformation of the Global Economic & Financial System (GE&FS), after its complete breakdown.”

    “The word Shemitah refers to Sabbath year observed in ancient Israel, when all working of the land ceased, the land rested. This took place every seventh year. On the last day of that year, all debts were wiped away, all credit was nullified, the financial accounts of the nation were, in effect, wiped clean”


  16. gibbonm

    In order to make Dublin a more liveable city, the royal and grand canals which are obsolete transport infrastructure, should be drained and converted into cycleways. This would separate a lot of cyclists from motorists which increases safety. The canals are also close to train and bus stations. Granted this proposal would be objected to, but I think that it would be great for the city, and relatively cheap to construct. Imagine being able to cycle from Clondalkin to the docks or from dolphins barn to the city centre safely and quickly.

    • DB4545


      I take it you’re taking the piss? Why not fill in all the canals in Amsterdam and do likewise? Because they’re an attractive and pleasant part of the built environment and they’re amenities we couldn’t afford to replicate today. Why not build a new city in the phoenix park while you’re at it? The liffey is obsolete as a transport link why not fill that in too and run a tram line from leixlip to silicon docks.

      The canal towpaths can perform the cycle lane function with minor tweaking and little cost.Medium density sensibly proportioned apartment blocks 3 to 5 stories high with secure courtyards for residents.Parks and playgrounds and transport links nearby.It’s worked in most of mainland Europe for at least five centuries.We need minor tweaks not soviet style overkill. Spend a couple of hundred euros on ryanair flights.Look at cities like berlin, barcelona, paris or even bergamo in northern italy.See what works and copy what they do.Why does georgian architecture still stand in the city? Because it’s attractive, adaptable and it functions.

      • gibbonm

        Hi thanks for the reply. Do you really consider the canal to be an amenitie? It is incredibly rare to see a barges on the canals, the vast length of the canal is neglected overgrown and full of rubbish. I just think that the city would benefit enormously if this were to happen. Think about it, rubbish filled canals used by nobody. Or cycle ways used by thousands every day, it’s an easy choice imo. But I think you can rest easy some like this is very unlikely to ever happen.

        • DB4545


          I absolutely do.Little venice and camden lock in london were derelict at one point.Richard Branson lived on a barge near little venice.It was convenient to a tube stop and allowed him to live close to central london at a low cost.Both areas are hipster central now and sought after.We just need to make city living a good experience for families. Look at the area around hanover quay and grand canal dock.

          We don’t need 8 storey matchboxes with impersonal living.3 to 5 storeys with 8 to 10 living units with courtyards work and would work well in dublin.It allows different generations to live alongside each other and reduces generational ghettoes.The city just needs tweaking not a nuclear bomb.We have a lot going for us let’s just use our considerable resources sensibly.

    • Deco

      If you decided to drain the canals and use them as luas lines, that would be a better idea than a cycle way. The cycle way suggestion does not add up. Especially in consideration of the weather issue.

      Much better still, build residential real estate close to the action. There are several derelict sites along the SCR, which could be converted into 8 stories or more of residential space. It would be a much better idea than putting up more semi-ds in in Tullow or Athy and having people clogging up the existing motorways.

      Alternatively just ask the IDA to force mncs to Kildare or Laoise. We have a serious problem in Ireland with respect to the time/distance aspect of residential space and work space. It is costs Ireland a fortune.

    • Deco

      The word “safely” is a joke in that comment gibbon m.

      The Irish criminal justice system is not structured to give safety a priority. The priority is to ensure that crime is sufficiently incentivized that the legal profession always have enough cases to keep them wealthy.

      Sorry, but that is the way things are in this country.

      • DB4545


        I fully agree.It’s a revolving door cash cow welfare benefit for the lower ranks of the legal profession. Legal aid dole money if you like. It can be a deflection though because there’s good money in family and tax/corporate law too. A nice case hit the headlines yesterday.A company called topaz was awarded a tender for 3 motorway service stations by the government.

        I’m sure the tender process was fair but applegreen and tedcastle don’t seem to think so and have launched legal proceedings against the regulatory agency/government ie you and me the taxpayers.That means as usual the taxpayer will pick up the cost.

        It sounds a bit complicated but the principle behind it is a method that somali pirates understand well. Let a merchant ship take all the risk travelling the oceans like any business.Let the ship collect wealth at various ports along the route. Then attack that merchant ship at a strategic location along the route and capture it.In the business world it’s a similar process and it’s called regulatory capture.

        In this case it could be argued that the point of attack is capture of the tender process at a strategic location. The bottom line is that it will cost taxpayers a fortune again.Levels not far off the cost of criminal justice.We have corporate pirates operating with impunity in our business waters and our government navy appears to be assisting them.If you’re a normal business would you operate in those waters?

  17. sravrannies

    Check out Valencia – because of repeated flooding they drained and diverted the river around the city and used the river bed for cycle lanes, paths, football pitches, museums, meeting places, beautiful gardens, music, min golf and so on. Brings a great feel to the city and supports the higher density apartment buildings that line the old river bed. Now, if only we had their climate – Valencia was founded as a retirement home for Roman soldiers! Oh, and they invented paella


    • DB4545


      Check out bergamo italy.Imagine a space half the size of howth with the same terrain and a funicular cable car to the summit.It was developed by the venetians.It’s home to 110k people.It’s what dublin might look like if the area around wood quay had remained in a medieval style like christchurch.

      Mostly 3 to 5 storey converted townhouses or palazzos in a medieval style and laid out with generous georgian proportions.It houses 110 THOUSAND people in a relatively compact area and looks and feels low density. Fountains parks playgrounds restaurants and bars. There’s fig trees growing as weeds from the city walls.That’s what good urban planning can deliver.

      The romans were good at that sort of thing and they set the benchmark for others to’s been here for the best part of a thousand years and looks better than detroit after a hundred..maybe they know a thing or two and we might learn something?

  18. In the meantime all are in debt and the economy renting its money from the bankers. The rent payment is called interest and hundreds of billions are syphoned out of the productive economy and granted to the bankster elites and their fascist accomplices, the governments.

    This interest alone if returned to the people would fund all required infrastructure. Unfortunately there will be no change as there is a resistance to examining this problem. Not until there is a catastrophic event will it be looked at and of course none of the economists will have seen it coming.

    Now is another chance to view a dimension of the problem and a proffered solution or two. It is time to talk about this as a single country state can make this change if the people agree.

  19. coldblow

    I don’t know what everyone is on about. Would a life-size 3D printout of Dublin do the job?

  20. “People interested in gold and silver, including myself, spend much of our time examining the markets for clues when the old monetary metals and their miners will resume their bull market. But looking exclusively at the markets provides only a superficial understanding of what is actually going on in our world. The big picture for the market today is that the Western elite controlling our media, educational system, finance and politics have resorted to totalitarianism. This is a world view in which government (controlled by these same elite) expands far beyond what it should be, while everyone else are reduced to a human resource actively managed by the elite.-Mark Lundeen.

    “Today Washington is fat, dumb and happy with all the income pouring in from the economy. Something which can’t be said for the many people wiped out by the frequent market booms and busts since Alan Greenspan became Chairman of the Federal Reserve System in 1987. The same is true for the many college graduates still living at home with their parents, unable to pay off their huge college debts for lack of employment opportunities; huge debts and lack of employment opportunities both courtesy of the Fed. –Mark Lundeen

    This more or less describes all government and their direct employees in any country.

    “Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of over-turning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose….By combining a popular hatred of the class of entrepreneurs with the blow already given to social security by the violent and arbitrary disturbance of contract….governments are fast rendering impossible a continuance of the social and economic order of the nineteenth century.”

    - John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920, page 235

    “As you can see, I used the last line in the quote for this article’s title to illustrate the point that economists have long known the eventual outcome of inflationary-monetary policy and government meddling in the economy – chaos.–Mark Lundeen.

    Surely it is about time to have a chat about the current money system and the damage it does to us all??
    It has been inferred that my persistence with asking this question has resulted in less people being willing to post. I disagree as I note there has been nothing for several hours and I am merely trying to fill a void, a lack of activity with an engaging important subject. A matter that is leading to our subjugation in poverty and economic serfdom, and has almost achieved it’s aims must be worth a consideration. Either that or we slide unquestioning into slavery and poverty.

    “When you recall that one of the first moves by Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler was to outlaw individual ownership in gold, you begin to sense that there may be some connection between money, redeemable in gold, and the rare prize known as human liberty.” (Roosevelt too as I recall.

    - Congressman Howard Buffett / Warren Buffett’s Father

    Here are the ten planks from Karl Marx’s 1848 Communist Manifesto. Instituting these initiatives was not intended to benefit free markets, but to expand government and marginalize the individual making free markets impossible.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability (pay) of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

    #5 above perfectly describes the Federal Reserve and what they’ve accomplished over the past ninety-five years is shown in the chart below. —Mark Lundeen

  21. Chicago. Jobs emigrating because of economics. People emigrating because of climate and demographics. Chicago debt downgraded to junk. Pension funds underfunded by billions. Chicago is bankrupt but the state law says it is not permissible and so like the rest of the western world denies reality.

  22. redriversix

    Exactly how profitable is Google.. ?

    What are supposed to do when the machines take over ?

    Driverless trucks, planes that have pilots just to make passengers feel comfortable.

    Tractors now ploughing fields with G.P.S


    A McDonald’s in Lyon with almost no staff…totally electronic

    The fourth industrial revolution ….could it reverse evolution ?

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