December 17, 2015

As the election looms it's worth looking at the real division - wealth

Posted in Irish Independent · 88 comments ·

A little while ago, I presented a programme on RTÉ called ‘Ireland’s Great Wealth Divide’. The aim of the documentary was to highlight the significant and persistent divide in wealth that exists in Ireland. The reason it is an important issue to highlight is that even when the economy recovers, the benefits will not be evenly – or even remotely evenly – spread and this wealth divide has significant, long-term ramifications for the health of the society.


At the time of screening, there were some people who, like climate change deniers, continued to express the opinion that the wealth divide in Ireland was not a big deal and that it might be overstated.

This is not the case, and in the past few weeks, two other major studies – one by TASC and one by the OECD – have added to the canon of work proving that the divide in wealth in this country is a serious issue and that in the past few years, the divide between the income of those at the very top and those at the bottom has also increased.

This divide is important, because if people get left behind they may give up hope. Having wealth or having even a meagre stake in society changes the way people view themselves and the way they view the future.

For example, consider this one experiment involving a group of poor American families. Some of the parents were given a small savings fund, which was to be set aside for their children’s university fees when the kids grew up.

The kids were then assessed for cognitive reasoning every two years and, by the fourth year, the children whose parents had the small education fund were performing better in all tests than those who hadn’t received the fund. The implication of this is that the parents with this small stake in the future were changing their own behaviour towards their children’s education, such as reading to them, paying more attention to their homework and so on. This is extraordinary, because it reveals what having a stake in society, having something to aim for, does to people. It focuses people and gives them something to believe in.

If people have something small – a savings fund, a bit of wealth, a sense that they matter and that their future is in their hands – they change their behaviour for the better. Now armed with this type of thinking, look at the two almost identical charts. These show how wealth is divided in Ireland. One chart represents the estimates of the international bank Credit Suisse and the other represents the findings of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. These charts are taken from the recent TASC paper published last week entitled ‘The Distribution of Wealth in Ireland’. I urge you to read it if you have any interest in the future of this society.

If we look at the share of the wealth owned by the top 10pc, top 5pc and top 1pc in Ireland, we see similar evidence produced by both reports. According to the survey carried out by the CSO the top 10pc own 53.8pc of the wealth of this country; the top 5pc own 37pc of the wealth; and the top 1pc own 15pc.


Tasc HFCS Chart

According to Credit Suisse, the concentration at the top is even stronger. Its estimates suggest that the top 10pc own 58.6pc of the wealth; the top 5pc own 46.4pc; and the top 1pc own 27pc. Even taking into account the slight disparity, the concentration of wealth at the very top in both studies is extraordinary on any democratic basis.


Tasc Credit Suisse Chart

Indeed, because the CSO data is from a survey in which it asked people to declare their wealth, there is a very strong possibility that at the very top the very rich decided to understate their wealth, so the very rich might have played down their assets. The difference between the two is the split within the 10pc; not the split between the top 10pc and the rest. In both studies, the top 10pc own over half the wealth of the country.

The interesting aspect of these studies is the sense that Irish people know things aren’t right. We feel that something is not right and every time we are asked we say that we would prefer the society to be fairer. In the programme ‘Ireland’s Great Wealth Divide’ we conducted our own survey, where we asked people what they thought was the gap between the top 20pc and next 20pc and so on, down to the people at the bottom. We asked what you thought the gap was, then what you thought it “ought” to be and then we revealed what it actually was.

The gap between what you thought it was, what you thought it ought to be and what it is in reality is a huge one.

The consensus from a Red C poll of 1,000 people commissioned for the documentary was that Ireland’s richest 20pc had 60pc of the country’s wealth and that the poorest 20pc have 11pc.

The reality? The most affluent 20pc in Ireland actually own 73pc of the country’s wealth and the poorest 20pc own just 0.2pc. As for the top 5pc, their combined wealth is nearly double that of the entire “squeezed middle”.

Now look at the people at the bottom in Ireland in the two charts. While there are slight variations, the overall message is very clear. The charts are broken down into the top 10pc and down to the bottom 10pc.

Don’t just look at the very bottom, who have nothing, but look at the bottom 50pc – they own almost nothing of the country.

These are the facts. This is not opinion. This is Ireland.

As we head into an election year, it’s worth considering just how many people are being left behind, how many are being shut out. Consider how many people wake up with no hope, no stake, no way of seeing how they play a role in our society, no way of seeing a road map to a better future.

That’s what the wealth gap is all about. It is undeniable and it is persistent. Shouldn’t this be the main electoral issue next year in the year that we celebrate the centenary of a Republic that was supposed to cherish all the children equally?

But will it be?

    • Deco

      Pass this around folks.

      This is how the wealth inequality, keeps getting worse. Because adult suburban males are living out a fantasy instead of winning the intellectual battle.

      “Normal” is currently a world in which we are all instructed to remain as children, and never to grow up and be men. Because to be a man, means to be dangerous to other powerful men.

      And instead the masses must be culturally and intellectually castrated. The dumbed down society. Where nobody makes demands of political stooges, to serve the people. Instead pr stunts for the people, more power for the institutional state. And the wealthy keep getting wealthier.

      • Deco

        The most important thrust of societal control, is to prevent men in the middle of the income spectrum from undermining the power of the extremely wealthy.

        We are living in an instruction based system, in which wealth enables a few to instruct the many how to think. The only permitted challengers in such a system are daft types like Richard Boyd Barrett, who are loaded up with ideas that amount to unworkable nonsense.

        The system is controlled from the top.

        The US election is a classic example. Loads of button pressing rhetoric. Identity politics (like as if it was a sports tournament). And lots of absurdity. Enormous amounts of absurdity.

        Disaster follows.

      • Anyone see the Rugger Bluffer sketch on Mario Rosenstock the other night? Was funny.

        • He says ‘In your own life you have no power at all’ (hence the sporting outlet forever) – I understand the point he is making, but it’s not strictly true – you can make your own life what you want it to be if you have the drive and the willpower. Most people don’t.

  1. Antaine

    Hi David,
    Seeing as there’s an election coming and you’re worried about the wealth divide. Who would you think would be best suited to bridge the gap? Which parties policies do you think would be best for the entire country and not just the golden elite?

    • juniorjb

      Hardly FG anyway. I received some electioneering bumpf from my local TD that promotes budget 2016 in these terms : A family of four with one income of 35000 will get an extra 700 euros while a family of four with two incomes combing to 105000 will be better off by 2400 euros. If you take this in the context of a policy of transferring service costs in water and health to charges and insurance you are looking at a general move away from progressive taxation that will exacerbate the wealth divide. IIRC the 40 to 50% of the population on health insurance contribute 15% of the funding to the health service – a long term goal of funding entirely from insurance contributions, not allowing for addressing current shortfalls, would have to see premiums for 100% coverage at least double the current rates perhaps.Combine this with realistic water charges you will see a huge chunk of that 35000 + 700 euros disappearing. I’m just guessing here so perhaps some other contributor has a better handle on this?

      • DJR

        “IIRC the 40 to 50% of the population on health insurance contribute 15% of the funding to the health service”
        You are completely ignoring tax contribution. Do you really want a health system where you pay for ‘universal health insurance’ & income/corporation/capitalgains tax and then join the back of the queue when you enter the hospital?

        • mcsean2163

          In the UK now, can’t believe how good the NHS is.

        • juniorjb

          I don’t think that’s relevant to the point I’m making, I’m just having a stab at assessing how high premiums would have to be to fund the health system entirely, if we choose to go down that route. I believe FG would like to do this, ultimately, but I don’t rate their chances of getting there.
          Actually, I’m not sure what your point is.

          • juniorjb

            Perhaps I should have said the private insurance premiums paid by the 40-50% of the population on private schemes provides 15% of the funding, not that these 40-50% of people do not contribute through taxation as well. Hope that makes it clearer.

    • Apparently the website will have every candidate in each constituency for the general election to have a percentage match to the questions you answer to see who closely matches your ideals.
      Like most people I thought I was voting in more of a centrist government in 2011 for a more equal society. It’s simple economics that if you have a progressive tax system, more money will flow to the economy when there are tax cuts. As we saw last October, everyone on over €100,000 will be better off by around €900 every year – which is money more likely to stay in their bank accounts than when low income families get a tax cut which will more likely be spent on goods/services they badly need.

      • Deco

        Most of the candidates are returning party HQ aligned answers. It is a highly centrlized, controlled system of thinking.

        And ultimately, the very rich are in cotnrol.

        And we cannot trust the really rich to decide what is best for everybody else.


    “Climate Change Deniers” Ha ha ha ha hah hahahh hhhhaaa HAAH LMFAO ROFL.
    Woo Id better get with it. Dont deny what cannot be proven son, go with the consensus. Yep, thats science at its best. I will think for myself thank you.
    As for the wealth divide, the dogs in the street know its a rigged game and the divide is getting worse. Rich get richer etc. Cliche but true. The answer is to go out and get a piece of the action. Go for it. Dont wait for some poorly dressed muppet in a political party to give you a handout. Get off your ass and take some chances. No guts, no glory, No pain, no gain, No risk, no reward. Climate change deniers, hoo waa ha hah hhha ha hah aha ha ha ha oh fluckity fluck fluck fluck…..Vote Trump.

    • cooldude

      First thing I noticed about the article as well Smokey. There was no need to bring climate change into an article about wealth except to denigrate the intelligence of people who look at the facts of this matter in a scientific manner rather than look at it from an irrational hysterical way. Funny thing is that the ultra rich elite are actually funding this climate hysteria for their own extremely dodgy agenda. Here is an article about how the Rockef Foundation overtly and covertly supports this hysteria

    • coldblow


      Yes, the ‘denier’ jumped out at me too. If we are Deniers then they are Dupes.

      And the thing is we aren’t even going against the consensus because there isn’t one (which isn’t quite the same as wishing there were one). D’ya know, you couldn’t make it up!

    • DB4545

      Difficult to say if republican Americans will vote for a cowardly draft dodger. This is a man after all who made digusting gestures when commenting on a journalist with disabilities. If he’s attacking Muslims he could at least demonstrate some of his supposed Christian values. A key value as I understand it is to defend the weak which would include the physically and intellectually disabled.It’s just called common human decency which Trump seems to lack along with a character flaw called cowardice.


        Smart people didn’t go to Vietnam, Bush jnr, Clinton had no problem being elected. War hero Mc Cain is despised for being dumb enough to be a pow.

        • DJR

          Bush & Clinton were elected because they had enough wealthy backers. Both avoided combat because they were wealthy/entering a wealthy profession. Smart/Dumb had nothing to do with it.
          Wealth/hereditry v’s intelligence – an unresolved issue in Ireland too.

          • Deco

            Bush & Clinton delivered for the Patrician class. The Plebs got shafted with more competition for their labour, and more fiddling with the financial system to drive up their cost of living.

      • DB4545 you surprise me on this minor point about Trump.

        Who wants to fight in ‘another man’s war’ (see song below), following their ‘leader’?

        Isn’t everyone their own leader – according to you (and me by the way).

        Forget that, I would rather fight to the death AVOIDING going to war for those assholes.

        I’d be the dodgiest draft dodger in town.

        • DB4545

          Adam and Slickmick

          That’s not my argument. There is a perception sometimes well founded (in most advanced societies) that the sharpest cookies don’t rush to join the military. Fair enough play cute hoor keep the head down and make your bucks in real estate and good luck to you. No issue there.

          But don’t come back 50 years later and try to bullshit people that you possess the gravitas,moral authority,leadership abilities and intellectual characteristics required to be President of the US when your actions prove otherwise. The ability to acquire lots of dollar bills are not a substitute and I like making a buck.

          I’m not in any way religious but Austin O’Malley made a valid comment many years ago.”God shows his contempt for money by the type of people he chooses to receive it”. The comment could have been written for Donald the draft dodger.

      • Deco

        The Republicans will vote for a lying draft dodger.

        The Democrats will vote for a corrupt, rich liar.

        Time for new political parties.

  3. coldblow

    Here, Ex Pat, in case you don’t want to look on the last thread I’ve posted my last comment here as well, for your convenience.

    Ex Pat Northerner

    More on your last post.

    ‘You do know that Anthony Watts gets funding from the Heartland Institute and has no formal scientific background.’

    Who are Heartland? Why should I care if he got funding from them? Wiki calls it ‘the primary American supporter of climate change denial.’ (There’s that word again.) Wiki is biased of course, but even so what is the problem? AGW denier is funded by AGW denying body.

    Now, what exactly is this funding?

    ‘They do not regularly fund me or my WUWT website, I take no salary from them of any kind.’

    Watts says Heartland helped him find a donor for funding for a special project. He mentions that Gore had a $300m advertizing budget. Watts describes this as David and Goliath. What do you think?

    Wiki on Watts: ‘Watts rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.’ I know next to nothing about the man but surely this should read, ‘rejects that there is a scientific consensus’? I couldn’t find a reference to the fact that his weblog won the 2013 Bloggies Award. I am not spending time trawling everything but I understand he won earlier awards, perhaps a lot of them. Why no reference in Wiki? (I assume you got your information from Wiki; please correct me if I am wrong and tell me where you did get it, if not – Skeptical Science?)

    No formal scientific background: again so what? This provides no immunity to mass delusion.

    I have no formal scientific background myself and don’t regret it. In my O levels year (not class but year) at grammar school in 1974 I won the prize for physics. I was, as I recall, 12% clear of the next boy (from my own class) who in turn was 9% clear of the third placed (also in our class, although both classes were supposed to be equal). I was fortunate in that a friend who was expelled from another local Catholic grammar gave me his physics textbook, which was excellent and I studied it myself. Years later I was surprised while going through my loft to find that I had won the Chemistry prize too. Perhaps it was for the 4th year. Chemistry? That didn’t even figure on the radar and I must have forgotten that prize as soon as I got it. After all I’d won 6 of the prizes at O level. We had to choose between arts and science so there was no competition. There was something about the culture of science, the technology fetish and the authoritarian know-all-ness that repelled me. Actually, funnily enough, what I decided to do at that age (and regretted) was to be a psychologist – there was no requirement for science A levels, at least not then. I understand the principles of statistics myself.

    ‘and one can see how the fossil fuel industry (for it is they who are funding the climate deniers) use this [analysis techniques] to boost search results.- they even bought ‘josh fox’ and ‘gasland’ when his movie became a threat.’

    You might provide details of this funding. I’m a climate denier and I haven’t seen any of it, although I wouldn’t say no. I’d be surprised if Christopher Booker has either. As I went to some length to explain earlier the skewed statistics, pre-selected data, corrupted peer review process, refusals to release for inspection data and details of models (as well, of course, as well-funded propaganda and smear campaigns, cheered on by a gullible and enthusiastic media) are all on the IPCC side. But tell me about this funding anyway, in particular where you got your information. I am so confident I have nothing to fear that I am beginning to enjoy this.

    To conclude this session in response to your last post, I did this word search, seeing as you have included the Sun on your list of influential deniers:

    the sun newspaper global warming articles

    The first page of results yielded one article, entitled: ‘Fatties Cause Global Warming’

    Are you seriously suggesting that this can compete with the BBC and nearly everyone else?

    ‘I believe the media to be firmly tilted againt true reporting on climate change matters.’

    It seems you are capable of believing anything.

    To be contd. (possibly)

    • David NZ

      But the climate is changing. The ice caps are shrinking. The Northwest passage is now a reality. The Russians are looking to drill in the Arctic.

      David’s article about the positive benefits to Ireland should have had a proviso – what if the gulf stream current changes? Ireland could end up more like Canada than a place where you can grow more crops.

      With climate change some places will be hotter some will be colder, no-one knows yet what the actual effects will be.

      In the little ice age people skated on the Thames. That was only 300 years ago.

      • coldblow

        The ice caps are melting, the glaciers are shrinking, the gulf stream is flipping, somersaulting or going into reverse, the hurricanes are howling, droughts are deteriorating, the polar bears are drowning, walruses dying, the science is settled, the fault is our greed, to punish humanity, temperatures are rising (like a… like a… like a HOCKEY STICK!!). Temperatures are RISING!!!

        This is according to our models, which we have worked at (damn hard!) to smooth out the inconvenient medieval warm period. We went to a LOT of trouble to find the right data to support this.

        We won’t release our data, we won’t let our models be inspected, we will fix the peer reviews, we will spend millions on, er, ‘information’ to counter the malicious propaganda spread by irresponsible deniers who are funded by mysterious, cynical corporations.

        This is the TRUTH. We knew this right from the word go. All the computer models ever since have proved this. The science is settled. The people are united and in harmony. We are all singing from the same hymnsheet. Scientists (get this: not grubby politicians or ignorant bloggers, incomptetent amateurs or hysterical lay persons, but brutally honest, incorruptible, ethical, objective, unimipeachable, dedicated, highly trained, peer reviewed, impersonal, detached, disinterested, antiseptic, sterilized, modest, unassuming, cool, rational, eminent, jargon intoning, slide-rule wielding, passive-voice reporting, precision engineered, mankind’s only hope, horséd in white, robéd in apparel that is purer than the virgin snows, spotless, immaculate and free from sin SCIENTISTS)yes, it is science who hath decreed it.

        And the deniers? Evil, misanthropic, slimy, unethical, ignorant, misguided, brainwashed, greedy, selfish, neo-liberal, corrupt, unscrupulous, dark, polluting, sinister, unclean, ugly, unhinged, misshapen orcs and fascists, science deniers, troglodites, global corporations, fossil fuel consortiums, media emperors and their cynical, bought and paid public relations spin doctors, their blogging lapdogs and other contemptible agents of denial.

        • coldblow

          Nice summary by Booker here putting the scare in the context of other scares and pointing out their common elements. He was writing The Great Climate Disaster at the time, as he says.

          I haven’t mentioned extraverts even once on this topic. It should be taken as read that they are in the thick of it.

          • I think most of the ‘climate change’ stuff is a pile of crap coldblow – but then again, I’m supposed to be an ‘extravert’ according to you – so much for that theory.

            That’s what happens when you have a sample group of 1 – yerself hahaha!

            Poof! Up in smoke!

          • coldblow

            And so you are, Adam. It’s a good point and one that fascinates me. A couple of years ago I was wondering if there were any exceptions to the follow the crowd rule among extraverts. It can’t be that simple as if it were it would surely have been noticed by now. What I realized was that some people I had classified as introverts because they took strong contrary positions were not in fact introverts after all. Indeed, it is those extraverts who do take a contrary position, for whatever reason, be it intellectual or whatever, who are the most vocal and the most effective. Examples would include John Waters, Kevin Myers and Christopher Booker. Yet they all retain the basic extraversion and at some level they will ‘connect with people’ and the collective.

            What seems to be the case is that inevitably when it comes to doing things, creating a stir, convincing and swaying others and in particular getting caught up in daft and irrational causes it will be an extravert leading the charge. But it doesn’t mean that if you are an extravert you will always get caught up in it, it’s just much more likely. For example, on James Kunstler’s CFN blog by far the majority of the posters, even the most anti-liberal ones, are extraverts (because they form the great majority on every blog).

            Mary Robinson was on the Late Late just now. On top of woman’s rights, human right, ending world poverty and righting global injustice she has now wholeheartedly embraced global warming. This tells you something. She goes on to talk about her great friends she has made in Africa, the personal connection, the poem at the recent Paris climate conference read out by a little girl whose island (Marshall Islands – it won’t) will soon disappear below the rising sea level and which had people in tears (vomit!) supports it. Because she has such a wooden way of speaking (like Pat Kenny, another extravert) you tend to dismiss her as a rare introvert in public life (as Thatcher was). The only way to be sure though is to know more about her husband. Photos help but you need film and perhaps to see what kinds of things he has written. That’s how you do it. Everyone knows at a basic level that the divide is there but you can only really learn about it once you build up experience in actually identifying them.

            In the last thread on AGW there was so much in the responses I got that I have now grown to expect. It would take a couple of pages to summarize it and you probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. But I particularly enjoyed Ex Pat’s rather cross post to myself where he confidently rattled off a list of media outlets which made up the denialist bias against the cause. All made very confidently, all unchecked and wrong. That’s just one very small example of what I am talking about.

            Just to go back to John Waters before I leave it, I was thrown by his contrary position and Sinead’s odd behaviour. Surely she was the extravert. And Wiki claimed she was bi-polar so that should have settled it, but there were many things that made me uneasy. She recently said this was a misdiagnosis and I fully believe her as it afflicts extraverts (flight into their external reality).

            More recently I revisited Al Gore. He is well known as an introvert and encourages this perception. Indeed, in Susan Cain’s Quiet she gives a few pages over to him as an example of an introvert. Well, reading about his actions in Booker’s book, and his daft film and the rest, he simply *had* to be one, and he is.

            There is so much to say but I’ll leave it there. I must write that book but doubt if many would understand it even if it were to get published.

            I’m pleased someone is paying attention, Adam. Not too many though and not too closely as I don’t want anyone to steal my ideas.


    The 400,000 people who left Ireland during the eighties were almost all 30. A similar pattern exists today. Is there any other society that discriminates against young people so much ?
    The cost of housing in Dublin has increased 200 times post 1950, has the mean wage ( 1951) increased by a similar multiple from £ 8 per week ?

    • Deco

      A lot of the emogration is intellectually based. Ireland is very much a society with overwhelming institutional control. People are leaving to get away from it, as much as from the income crisis.

      A stagnant culture is in control. It is highly dishonest.

      My approach is to stay here, and switch off RTE.

  5. joe sod

    As grzegorz eloquently put reply to an article last week, it’s not really about wealth in Ireland but how connected into the system you are, who you know. Also the issue of home ownership distorts the wealth distribution in Ireland compared to somewhere like Germany. If you own your house on paper you are a lot wealthier than a middle class German who rents, although the German will have the better lifestyle because of superior infrastructure and state services. The state in Ireland is incapable of providing those services because of the power of the people who work in the system. They want the bulk of the expenditure played out to them in wages rather than in buildings and infrastructure. People paying high taxes will not pay more because of the waste in the system. We saw dun laoighre council waste 30 million on a controversial library yet no flood defences put in towns along the shannon. If the so called wealth inequality was to be addressed by a move to the left well then surely the corporation tax would have to be raised as this is the most extreme example of inequality. But even the most left leaning voices are avoiding this as they know the tax and employment system in Ireland would collapse with this.

    • juniorjb

      The state in Ireland is incapable of providing those services because it is paying off the enormous debts it chose to guarantee in our name, not because of public servants (even if some of them could do with a good kick up the backside and a swift reality check).

  6. DB4545

    I think there’s a nice American phrase which says if you know better you do better and that is the essence of education. Adam Smith pointed out the dangers to any society if it excluded people from a fair opportunity to own property. He was commenting on the slave trade which on a practical level wasted the talents of people and was the most expensive form of labour ever devised by mankind.

    Adam Smith described how slaves work for subsidence and all profit goes to their masters or owners. They are not incentivized apart from acts of violence to be productive. Would you be in such a situation? The wealth demographics you’ve described David seem dangerously similar to slavery.It may be slavery with iphones and company cars or social welfare and methodone or even a combination of those elements.If even “a good job” prevents you from acquiring the means to own property or assets does this mean you’ve been reduced to a very modern form of slavery? Grezgorz pointed out recently that modern taxation systems require us to work for over 6 months of the year before we reap the benefit of our labour not unlike a medieval serf.

    As you’ve described in the article people are not stupid and there is a general unease that something is not right with the “system” and that applies globally and locally. Corporations operate like modern day pirates on the high seas of the global financial system unelected and accountable to any Nation State. The liberal handwringers and guiltrippers are some of the biggest offenders.Adopt a black child/sing for the victims of Paris and then lodge your tax free cash in your Dutch/Irish offshore bank account.Australia took a brave step today naming and shaming the corporations who make billions in Australian but who contribute little or no tax to Australia. The names will not surprise you and remember you can learn to avoid doing business with people who steal from you.

    • juniorjb

      “Grezgorz pointed out recently that modern taxation systems require us to work for over 6 months of the year before we reap the benefit of our labour not unlike a medieval serf”. In fairness that’s only plausible if you believe that you receive no benefit when the taxes are spent – presumably, Gregorz and everyone else benefit from the roads, schools, hospitals, gardai, armed forces, fire brigade etc. and the structure and stability these make possible, in which case his point is pretty much misleading rhetoric.

  7. DB4545


    I don’t think Grzegorz was in any way misleading in fact he highlighted the real level and impact of taxation which is often misleading. We pay an effective rate of 52% (without even factoring stealth taxes like USC,VAT,LPT,car tax,water tax and insurance levies) and therefore are required to work like a medieval serf to our feudal lord the Irish State. We may get some benefits in the areas you’ve mentioned but guess who gets the most benefit from public infrastructure (roads, airports, schools,public transport,universities, hospitals etc.)without paying significant taxes? That’s right the corporations. The Swiss get a lot more structure and stability for their buck and pay significantly less in taxation. If you refer to fairness then why not ensure that everyone and every entity pays their fair share?

    • juniorjb

      He is misleading. He quite clearly states that for 6 months of the year we reap no benefit i.e. we receive NO benefit for our taxes. Obviously, this isn’t true. You quote it approvingly and defend it. Arguments about the fairness of our taxation systems are irrelevant to the truth of that statement. As it happens I agree with a good deal of what you say, but gregorz is trying to smuggle in a rather extreme ideological viewpoint. The fact that some of our grievances re. taxation may be reasonable does not warrant making extreme and unreasonable claims.

      • DB4545


        Who exactly do you feel he is misleading as your response clearly articulates that you haven’t been mislead? I felt it was a useful analogy to make a coherent and entirely valid point. I’m pretty middle of the road, socially liberal and financially pragmatic so I don’t tend to support extremist viewpoints. If people are barely subsisting it could be argued to be a form of serfdom albeit a very modern form. How would you describe a graduate on a jobsbridge internship for example? I certainly wouldn’t make the distinction in the way you have but I respect your right to do so.

        • juniorjb

          It’s misleading because it’s only true if we don’t receive any benefit for the taxes we pay. From a logical point of view the analogy depends on the validity of a premise that is untrue. It really is there in black and white. Now, it might seem that there is a bit of wiggle in this because we are discussing something that has a rhetorical and figurative dimension, but the analogy itself as expressed leans on the idea that somehow taxes are taken from us without any return benefit – this goes far beyond the idea that we are unhappy with the share some of us receive and seems to be designed to make the extremist point that all taxes are akin to theft and coercion.

          • DB4545


            I’m at a loss to understand how you can draw the conclusion that anyone is being mislead? We’re all adults here and more than capable of making a rational assessment of any information presented in support of an argument. The presumption that people on this site are capable of being mislead is highly misguided at best and very patronising at worst.

            On the contrary I feel you may have mislead yourself and have fallen down from the peaks of logic towards the slippery slopes of sophistry and you’re now in danger of falling on the stony ground of Absurdistan.

            I am therefore inclined to dismiss your comments and you’ll have to appeal to the better nature of the contributors to this site. I’m forced to draw my own conclusions and must let others do likewise.I note that you have constantly evaded my questions when I’ve honestly tried to answer yours. This is normally an indication that your future lies in politics.

          • juniorjb

            Don’t get yourself in a twist, DB. I’m not suggesting anyone is too dumb to draw their own conclusions. However, gregorz is wrong in his analogy and it is not illegitimate to point this out. I don’t see what your point is: I am of the opinion that he is wrong and therefore there is a point in me drawing attention to the flawed logic. It’s quite simple. When you make a statement: The first 50% of our earnings goes to tax. We only enjoy the benefits of the 50% of our earnings that are not taxed i.e “Grezgorz pointed out recently that modern taxation systems require us to work for over 6 months of the year before we reap the benefit of our labour not unlike a medieval serf.” Now I have simply pointed out that this is a statement to the effect that we don’t get ANY benefit from the 50% that goes in taxes. Do you think that statement is a factually true assessment or a rhetorical overstatement? You haven’t paid any attention to this and have not addressed this question. Restating your dissatisfaction and declaring incredulity does not amount to an answer. Descending to name-calling and insult is not one either. What you refer to as “honestly answer(ing) my questions” was to simply restate your convictions. The notion that no-one was mislead is an irrelevance. “Misleading” in this context means that the statement is untrue: whether or not you are all adults who can draw your own conclusions has nothing to do with it and is not relevant by implication or in any other way. The questions you ask me are similarly not relevant: how I decide to describe a jobsbridge graduate is beside the point . I can tell you that I agree that it may well qualify as the equivalent of serfdom. It has no bearing on the argument – jobsbridge graduates are not the majority of taxpayers, not even close to a substantial proportion.They could have “serf” tattooed on their foreheads and it wouldn’t make any difference (“some X are Y” is not the same as “all X are Y”, the fallacy of the undistributed middle, you work it out). Who exactly I think is being mislead is irrelevant: a statement can be misleading without anyone specifying who might be mislead – it is another way of saying untrue, but not obviously so. Just substitute “untrue” if that makes it more palatable for you.

            I did note above that you referred to my right to make distinctions and how much respect you have for this. I did wonder why you needed to do that – I assumed that was a given. However, now that you have decided to insult me I guess I should have been warned by the needless protestations of goodwill. I do hope you don’t wish to continue in that vein: I dare say we probably agree on more things than you think.

  8. “like climate change deniers,”

    This is gratuitous bullshit. My respect for you diminishes bit by bit. At this rate I see you as a shill for the establishment. Definitely not a free thinker.

  9. The prerato principle is the 80/20 rule. In a free market, 80% of the people will own 20% of the assets and vice versa.

    This is stretched to a 90/10 ratio because of the Acton’s of the central bankers.

  10. michaelcoughlan


    The article is articulate concise accurate and useless as tits on a bull.

    Its like saying in 1944 germany that 4m undesirables have now been gassed and will a change of policy occur?


    Not until a paratrooper who has a stake in making sure his realitves aren’t the ones been used for central heating kicks in the door of the cunt in charge and pumps him full of bullets.

    We now have the largest amounts of homeless famililies living in hotels ever, the largest ever native Irish emigration out of the place ever for the last three years consecuitively, wages at 1980s levels, children dying left right and centre in hospitals from medical malpractice, largest ever amounts of patients on trolleys in hospitals, one go after another quitying. Etc.

    Surely if we are going to talk about equality the first thing we must do is have an honest assesement of the he status quo.

    As for treating the all the children of the nation equally will a child 10 months old since conception who gets chopped up by a surgeon be treated equal to a child say 5 months old since conception if the bunch of fuckin fascists in charge succeed in raming abortion down evetyons

    • michaelcoughlan

      … down everyones throats? Go should read gp.

    • Deco

      Never mind all of that.

      Johnny Sexton will be big news next year. A collection of grown-ups chasing a ball around a field will be the focus of relentless media hype.

      This quote describes the world that we live in -

      films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult

      George Orwell, 1984.

      • joe sod

        Karl Marx said “religion is the opiate of the masses” but that was in the nineteenth century. I think you can safely replace religion with sport in today’s world. The morons who follow Connor McGregor would be the top of the list.

  11. Mike Lucey

    David could have done with leaving out the “like climate change deniers” comment as it looks to have side tracked his argument.

    Very few rich people are willing to part with their wealth via higher taxes which they feel will only be squandered by direct and semi-state gov bodies.

    One way we might see some more equity in Irish society might be to introduce tax incentives whereby the rich and not so rich can invest in small scale local and national startups. This would be one way of getting government out of the equation and at the same time transferring wealth from the haves to the that willing to get off their arses and do something constructive. It could be a win win for all involved.

    I wonder how many of our hundreds of thousands of bright and well educated young now contributing to the UK, USA, Canadian, Australian and other economies might have decided to ‘give it a go’ in Ireland before jumping on those flights?

    From what I see the present Government would have no interest in such an idea simply as they would not be in control. The only hope for such a scheme to get under way might be under a non party dominated Government. Could this happen?

  12. Deco

    Since the Reagan era, every Western society has been drifting increasingly towards oligarchy.

    In fact, if the Western society that you are living in, is not becomming increasingly oligarchical, then Washington will be getting increasingly concerned.

    And those oligarchies are controlling politics. In Ireland, the electorate voted for “change” in 2011. The result was more assets benig allocated to a smaller pool of beneficiaries, with debt write-downs to help out the rich.

    This is now reaching the point that we are heading towards irreversible moral decline. The Labour Party seems particularly obsessed with controlling the public discourse, and preventing discussion concerning wealthy elements in Irish society.

    That which James Connolly died for, and which Jim Larkin, spent his life fighting for, as been bought and sold, for the sake of hereditary seats in a political franchise.

    The oilgarchies control the political systems, and the information flow in most Western societies.

    Folks, we lost the Cold War. And we were defeated, by the top 1% of our own societies. The Patrician class are in control. They are in control of how little the vast majority of people know.

  13. Deco

    Some people are talking about “draft-dodgers”. And in particular how the draft-dodgers send other young men to fight for patriotism.

    We have a similar feature here – tax non domiciles.

    Hoors who like to engage in superficial PR stunts, and press the “green jersey” button. We see it a in a prominent hard sell pop-star who never misses an opportunity to appear as something of an “Irish” Bruce Sprinsteen.

    But he is a liar. a very wealthy, and highly effective liar. He gets presented to us, as somebody worthy of the deepest respect. The public mores are a lie, when ths occurs, in an unchallenged manner.

    We also see it in a prominent Tribunal personality, who loves to don the green jersey, and appear patriotic.

    A load of BS. People are wising up.

  14. If you want equal opportunity you have to provide a system that allows for it.
    Having an oligarchy dictating to government does not provide this. The recent trade deals ate secretly signed without debate and allow government to be sued by any cooperation who feels profits have been violated by government regulation.

    Still the money system as operated by central bankers pumps money directly to commercial banks and then into financial assets. These are mostly owned by the rich.

    As the stock and bond markets are also held up by government manipulation The rich get richer and the rest left behind.

    No worrie as they say here in NZ, al will fix itself when the trend reverses and the deflation really bites.

    • Above posted without my help.??

      When the stock market collapses and the bond market with it as interest rates are bid higher poorer folks will start to earn interest again on there savings account and the newly wealthy will be reduced to ashes.

      The real answer is to change the money system so this funding cannot take place. Fire the central bankers, issue money from treasury, debt free and interest free, Ban fractional reserve banking, and resume coin as real money instead of cheap shoddy, valueless coins we have today.
      A return to honest money is the only real answer.

      ” A self-respecting, upright government should not issue irredeemable debt, which essentially is the debt that is only redeemable in irredeemable currency. The mechanism involved in issuing irredeemable debt is check kiting: it is a form of fraud and therefore a crime dealt with by the Criminal Code. It is a conspiracy between the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve to defraud the general public. It will take a very long time for the U.S. to live down the infamy of robbing the rest of the world of its savings. Governments should not issue debt unless they can clearly see the revenues with which the debt can be retired. Contrary to some views, the gold standard is not designed to stabilize prices, which is neither possible nor desirable. It is designed to stabilize the interest rate structure which it has done admirably well over the one hundred year period between 1815 and 1913.
      Antal Fekete

      • cooldude

        Hi Tony, hope you are enjoying your holiday down under. Here is a critique of our banking system which comes to the conclusion [ surprise surprise] that is is quite simply a system of pure fraud right through from the creation of money, the fractional, or as he calls it, no reserve lending system and the pure gambling of the depositor’s money in the purely criminal derivative market. A very interesting read and one which I agree strongly. You can click on the other parts to get the preceding pieces.

        • Pure fraud is the correct description for our money system. Only a fraction of the people see it for what it is and that includes all the bloggers here who steadfastly refuse to or are incapable off understanding. That includes DMW.

          There is a saying to the effect that if one makes consistent enquiry about any subject then the truth is revealed. It seems most are not curious enough. Others when presented with the truth refuse to accept it as so because the truth is so bizarre as to be unacceptable.

          I am afraid that we will have complete destruction of society because of this and then people will revolt but the solution to their problem will be unattainable because of a lack of understanding.

          In the meantime we will run our own lives, as Adam says, to the best of our ability.

          David’s inability or unwillingness to examine this subject and give it exposure is a surprise to me. I thought he was made of better stuff. I guess that at the first whiff of such discussion the press and TV would cut him off. Such is the world in which we live. Personal survival is a stronger motive than to do the honourable thing and to educate the public about what ails them.

          After all it is the PRIME REASON for the discrepancy between the one tenth of one percent and the rest of us.

          NZ is scenic, cool weather, and relatively expensive.
          Today we are in Akaroa on the Banks peninsula. 15 F and drizzle. It is NZ’s only French settlement and French is still spoken here. We are in a backpacker hostel called Chez La Mer, 50 Rue Lavaud.

          Take care Cooldude. Merry Christmas

          • Mike Lucey

            Tony, I’m up in Browns Bay, Auckland at the moment with ‘she who but be obeyed’ enjoying my daughter, son-in-law and our first grandson, two years old. I intend to spend at least 3 to 6 month here each year and get away from the rain and cold in Ireland.

            Its pricey enough but if you know where to shop its not too bad.

            I also hope David grasps the practically global financial fraud nettle soon, at the very least from even a supporter’s point of view. It would be interesting to see what good things he has to say about the shenanigans of the Central Banking System, if any.

            Like you, I think its just a matter of time before the proverbial hits the fan and I have no doubt that will happen when the .01% have finished bunkering themselves which they seem to be doing currently.

          • Hi Mike

            We will be in Nelson over Christmas to 29th Dec. We plan on the North Island to 19th Jan so if you are still there we could perhaps meet up to chew the fat and toast each other with a brew?
            If you know of any good places to spend a couple or three days at we will be happy to hear about them.

            Finding reasonable accommodation is the ticket for us and we are currently in a YHA hostel in Hanmer Springs. Lovely spot at the foot of the Alps or foothill it should be. It is warmer today and time for sandals , shorts, and a hat.

            my ph number is 0221006022

            If you know of any cheap places to stay!! let me know.

            hopefully we can tilt a glass together while down under.

          • Email me a photo of you two please gents when you meet up, just for my own edification – won’t be shared online or anything like that. Cheers!

  15. Deco

    What about Ponzi-scheme economics deniers ?

    I would include all the mainstream political parties, all of the media, most stock market investors, most banks, and most government bodies.

    Including the clowns in the ESRI (which Richard Tol left because they were being dishonest with the Irish people – let’s face it, the entire state system is dishonest to the people, because it is too busy serving the power centre in Brussels).

    • Sideshow Bob

      It makes no difference to their pensions who they lie to, be it friend or foe.

    • McCawber

      Deco you need to cop the f^ck on.
      To quote yourself. -
      ” the entire state system is dishonest to the people, because it is too busy serving the power centre in Brussels”
      That’s outrageously inaccurate and does the plain people of Ireland a huge dis-service.
      The entire state system is too busy serving ITSELF FFS.
      The power system in Brussels consists, in part, of a subset of the Irish state system. Ex ministers, ex heads of civil service depts and so on.

      • Deco

        The chain of command, consists of decisions made in Brussels, and handed down, without any objections.

        Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, from the top.

        • McCawber

          More like we had to do this dreadful thing because the EU made us and we’re not responsible if some of us (us being state sponsored personages) benefit more than others.

  16. you are on a roll, Deco. Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. “The only thing they are doing is deforming and inflating the Wall Street casino. As we have demonstrated so many times, the household credit channel of monetary policy transmission is over and done because we have reached a condition of peak debt.”

    “And one thing can be said with authority with respect to this soaring pile of junk. Namely, that it was overwhelmingly used for financial engineering in the form of stock buybacks, M&A deals and LBO’s. It thereby help to drive up the price of existing financial assets, not expand the US economy’s productive capacity and efficiency.”
    David Stockman

  18. McCawber

    In no particular order.
    Draft dodging – Before you criticize an alledged draft dodger ask your self a few questions.
    Have you every been drafted and if not why not.
    Do you for example have the luxury of living in a neutral country and thus avoid being drafted as a result.
    Have you children of draft age, how would you feel if they were drafted?

    Global Warming – Who the hell knows but there are at least two good reason for being energy efficient, your pocket and your health.

    How do I know if I’m one of the rich and wealthy and thus which side of the argument I should be on. What’s the criteria.

    • Draft dodging is a total red herring – I’m fearless but I’m not going off to fight for some neo-liberal cause no matter what fake premise (e.g. ISIS) the lunatic profiteers of the military industrial complex dream up – and neither are my kids. I would fight to the death to stop them drafting me.

      They may even have dreamed up the Nazis, although I’m more sceptical about that claim. This movie is a good one though:

      JFK to 911 Everything Is A Rich Man’s Trick – YouTube

      Very good points about Global Warming – even if it doesn’t exist there’s no excuse for polluting our environment and squandering scarce resources. Like I said, the whole debate needs to be reframed – forget about climate change and global warming – those terms are forever tainted. Change it to Pollution Prohibition and Environment Improvement (or whatever, those terms are just off the top of my head, someone more clever with words can do better – but you get the gist).

      • DB4545

        McCawber & Adam

        They’re both excellent points. I fully understand how people and certainly any parent is going to do everything within their power using wealth/connections etc. to keep themselves or their children out of harms way. Some people have done that in every war.That is human nature.People may also have strong moral or other objections to avoid getting involved in a war. That’s all fair comment.

        But some people didn’t take that route. John McCain didn’t. John Kerry didn’t. I remember reading one account of a senior US military commander giving the order to deploy chemical defoliants (agent orange) in a particular region in Vietnam. His son was also serving in this region at the time. This commander wasn’t aware of the devastating effect of agent orange on humans( this information only emerged later) which resulted in the eventual death of his son. I’m sure such situations have been the consequence of many wars.

        But most people who have such moral or other objections don’t then apply for a job which involves making those life or death decisions. Trump made his choice and has lived and lives an affluent life because of that choice. The question that then arises is how is he fit to apply for a job which involves being a leader and making decisions that may put other people’s kids in harms way when he has made the decision to keep himself out of harms way? Surely being a leader means leading and not running away from the fight? How can any man or woman command the respect of those who serve under them?

        • juniorjb

          That’s some fightin’ talk, DB!

          I reckon though you’re the kind of fella that would come on all strong and get into a fight but when he finds he hasn’t got the goods to back it up he’ll get all hissy and high-falutin’ and just back on out of it cos the other boys just aren’t playing fair!

          • DB4545


            If you feel uncomfortable bring along who you like. I’ll be fine on my own.Like I said just name the time and place.

          • juniorjb

            Um dee dum, DB ????.
            Noon, your place. If I’m late, start without me.
            Don’t beat yourself up over it – you were born that way.
            (Do I have to spell it out for you?)

        • Get a room you two.

          But seriously, DB4545 there’s no logical connection, as you assert, between not being able to do a job which involves making life or death decisions just because you decided to ‘run away from a fight’.

          Surely that is a life and death decision in itself (the running away, choosing to live your own life, not at the behest of some distant general or whatever) if you want to go down that road?

          It just doesn’t make sense what you are saying on this occasion I’m afraid.

          Anyone with half a brain knows that it’s a waste of your own life sacrificing oneself for a cause (e.g. a war) that is dreamed up by corrupt governmenst and corporations to suit their own needs.

          In a perfect world, which we would assume genuine politicians (not that there are any genuine politicians currently) would aspire to, there would be no need for a military – it would be abolished as being superfluous, so in that case you (DB4545) are talking about getting respect from a class of people who are ‘serving’ (and I have issue with that word too) who don’t even exist. There’s more to being a leader than getting the dubious respect of a set of grunts that sign up for (or are drafted to) the military for the next contrived war on the neo-con agenda. Fuck them and their respect.

          No sorry, doesn’t make sense at all DB4545.

          Would be easier to explain to you what I mean in person. After you two have your cage fight in the Aviva (prior to McGregor’s next outing) I’ll pop down backstage for a rabbit.

          No Christmas drinks this year then lads?

          • DB4545

            Adam Byrne

            You’re absolutely right Adam. Having looked at my comments they clearly weren’t logical.Unfortunately I was placed under general anesthetic last thursday in relation to ongoing health problems. Looking at my comments anesthetic clearly doesn’t help with rational thought. They gave me a form telling me not to drive but it should have included an instruction to stay off this site. My comments in the past couple of days clearly could be offensive to some people and I apologize. There’s enough hurt in the world without me adding to it. Time for somw rest. I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful Christmas.

          • I’m not sure if you are being sarcastic or not DB4545!

            But if not, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

            You’d have to go a long way to offend me, it was merely a difference of opinion based on logic (or my perception of it at least – I’m no expert).

            Merry Christmas to you too.

      • Mike Lucey

        And don’t forget simply wasting non renewable (at least within millions of years) resources just because certain MNs are geared to exploit them.

        It looks that the FG/LP coalition is on for another 4 years at the helm after the next election according to the latest polls. Alternative coalitions seriously need to come up with some creative ideas that grab the imagination of the electorate otherwise we will be looking at Kenny belittling the nation every time he is abroad with comments that are unacceptable and just insulting to the nation, soldiers guarding the ATMs my arse! Shure we would not be stupid enough to think there would be cash in the ATMsor banks if there was a collapse.

  19. McCawber

    If the gold standard returned and “All debt” (What debt will be cancelled) is cancelled what would happened to the €100,000 (I wish) that I have in:-
    The Bank or
    The Credit Union or
    An post 4 year or 10 year government saving thingee or any other An Post savings. Or
    My Pension and/or soon to be Pension lump sum. or
    My PRSA or
    My Shares or
    Any other financial institution.
    What I’m asking, maybe specifically to Tony (but not exclusively), should I/We be careful what we wish for.
    What exactly are you wishing for when you talk about the gold standard.
    Give us a few example of how if would affect individuals.
    And is the cure just a bad as the disease because I don’t believe in free lunches. If there is a mess (I agree that there is) then it’s going to cost us and I’d like to have at least an idea of what that cost will be both personally and to my nearest and dearest who are in different financial circumstance to me including things like negative equity, accidental landlords and/or both and all that good stuff.

    For MY in any of the above substitute Your or Their or as appropriate.
    As part of your analysis look at the issues raised on a global basis and on a personal basis.

  20. survivalist

    The wealth gap issue is not necessarily a story supported by the appeal to look to the poor and ‘feel’ something for them and towards their situation.

    I mean it is if you are hoping to take a story of criminality and injustice and seek to reposition the peoples focus by tuning-in to their ‘softer’ feelings of inner compassion.

    Something like, “look don’t be angry with those who plan and support the poverty, feel compassion and Christmas charity towards the unfortunate underclass. YOU can help them by voting and that is all that needs to happen”. Vote well and it will all work out!

    …and by the way Global Warming is for suckers… or not…who cares it serves as a good distraction right here.

  21. goldbug















  22. applecrumble

    sorry but what is wealth in this context? and how is it not duplicated in this analysis.

    if 1 person owns a 500K house? does this mean they have 500K in wealth? What if 80% of this is mortgaged.

    These are just some questions I have when presented with these stats.

    Alternatively what % own nothing?

    “…the poorest 20pc own just 0.2pc…”

    Also, What exactly is this 0.2%? is it money in the bank. Or is it tangible goods?

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