September 12, 2016

What Dublin Bus workers can learn from Genghis Khan

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 75 comments ·

Sometimes it is good to look back at history in order to look forward. Since long before the Apple judgment, I have been trying to figure out what could be the economic model for Ireland in a globalised world of free trade, large-scale movements of people and free capital flows. The Apple judgment simply brings the issue to the fore. It focuses the mind.


In addition, although not always appreciated, there is a strong link between Ireland’s position in this trading world and the strike at Dublin Bus, which I will examine in time.


But let’s kick off this week with a bit of history in the ancient coastal city of Ayas just north of another ancient place, the devastated city of Aleppo. Marco Polo stayed in Ayas and mentioned it glowingly in his travels. Have you ever heard of it?


It was the Ireland of the 13th century. It was a remarkable trading entity and its strategy in a world of trade between east and west is the key to understanding what might be Ireland’s next geopolitical move.


Ayas was the capital city of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia. These were exiled Armenians who had been kicked out of their Armenian homeland years before. Although Armenia seems far away in a long forgotten part of the globe, it was once the centre of the world. The one problem with being at the hub of things is that people tend to invade you.


These Armenian refugees settled in this Mediterranean part of what is now Turkey, just north of Syria. Once safe, they had to figure out what they were going to do for a living and how they would provide an income for their populations.


Obviously, as subjects of a tiny city, they couldn’t live off their own produce. They had to trade and, as they hadn’t much to sell, they had to attract other people’s produce into the city and trade that material with someone who wanted it.


So the Armenians of Ayas set themselves up as the key port that would be the entry point and warehouse for Italian merchants coming from Genoa and Venice in the west and the Mongol empire in the east. Far from being the rapists and pillagers of myth, the Mongols were highly sophisticated commercial traders. Once they had viciously conquered territory, they set about holding the territory via commerce*.


This is why Genghis Khan’s empire lasted for centuries. Everyone had a stake, Mongols and conquered alike. Unlike other empires, the Mongols were tolerant of other religions and most interestingly they knew how to play the international tax game.


The Armenians of Ayas knew they had to play all sides off against each other, but they also knew that the taxes charged at other big ports on the eastern Mediterranean were exorbitant.


So the Armenians working with the Mongols kept taxes and levies for exports passing through their ports low – never exceeding 3-5 per cent.


In contrast, sources at the time indicated that in the great port of Alexandria taxes could be as high as 30 per cent and never below 10 per cent. In business, margin is everything and so the Italian merchants who were buying exotic produce from the east invested heavily in low-tax Ayas.


When we in western Europe think of 1300AD, we think of the Dark Ages, but in the east this was a bright period of hectic learning and commerce. This world was trading, selling, buying and moving all sorts of goods, from peppers and spices, to silks, Tartar cloth and dyes. Everything was on the move and low-tax Ayas was the centre of trade.


By keeping its taxes lower than the more acquisitive and much more powerful Alexandria, tiny Ayas flourished. The Venetians and Genovese set up little free trade zones within the city of Ayas from where they traded with the Mongols and others and the city became immensely wealthy in the process.


The Italians brought their money and knowhow to Ayas. The Mongols brought exotic goods from all over the east to trade with the Italians. In return, the Armenians kept their taxes low, which diverted Italian and Mongol trade through the city, throwing off enough cash to make the city a thriving metropolis on the Mediterranean.


It was a fulcrum of activity. All sorts of people and companies settled there, attracted by low taxes and access to the great markets of both east and west. Certainty about the ease of trade and the city’s reasonably tolerant attitude towards religions, minorities and foreigners made this place a hive of activity and immigration.


Obviously, neighbouring cities and regions became jealous of Ayas, particularly the Malmuks in Egypt, who were furious at the Armenians’ mercantile success and the fact that trade was being diverted to Ayas from Alexandria. However, the city stood its ground, kept its taxes low, did deals with Crusaders as well as Mongols and became the flourishing centre that Marco Polo writes so glowingly about.


This was their economic strategy. Now the local Ayas economy had an international trading platform off which to operate.


The money generated by the traders – the multinational companies of their time – paid for the municipal services in the city. The rubbish collection and urban lighting system were second to none, and of course the local tradesmen benefited from the demand that the new investors created. So cobblers, innkeepers, blacksmiths and the like were in clover.


Everyone benefited from trade, low taxes and the flow of goods.


Ayas should be our model. It was the Ireland of its time, an attractive place for foreign investment attracting capital and opprobrium in equal measure.


The key to the city’s success was to play all these competing sides – the Italians, the Mongols – the Malmuks and obviously keep the local Armenians happy.


The trade created the economic cycle for the city and as trade ebbed and flowed, the economic cycle would ebb and flow. When the city was jammed with merchants, prices would go up. The local people would push prices up a notch or two as local unemployment fell and things started to boom. Rents would rise and ultimately wages for workers in the port, the hotels, the city’s municipal services too.


Ultimately, the lads who lit the fires which kept the city streets bright at night, the local policemen and the lads who carried and transported stuff around the alleyways and streets got pay rises to reflect the vibrant economy.


Wage demands are the sign of a successful economy. Typically, workers only strike when they feel that they have a good chance of success, when they feel that they are being left behind by the rising cost of living around them. Typically, wage demands lag the economic cycle by a number of years and then they come all at once.


So expect more wage increases after years of wage moderation. It’s a sign of success. However, the big picture is to remain the Ayas of the 21st century. If we forget that we are goosed. If you think big, the little things look after themselves.


* If you want to learn more about the history of the east and trading, read The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

  1. michaelcoughlan

    Woooooo whoooooo!

  2. patricia03

    David, you may think that globalisation is going to save the world but so far it has been a dismal failure. Just producing more and more stuff at the cheapest price possible is not the answer.

    • Tull McAdoo

      I like the idea of producing enough stuff to satisfy demand. How would that sit wit you patricia03 ?

      • Tull McAdoo

        We could even encourage people to keep their demands reasonable and sustainable….

      • patricia03

        Demand can never be satisfied.

        • McCawber

          Demand for what? All I see right now is an over supply of most things.
          The only areas of demand where supply is in short supply are health, education etc but the robots will sort that out too.
          In the not too distant future we will no longer produce adults who can’t read or write because their teachers and/or/both parents didn’t do their jobs.

        • Tull McAdoo

          What if we satisfied peoples basic physiological needs and agreed that to be a minimum requirement of a tolerant and caring society?

        • Satisfied demand results in a surplus. A surplus results in lower pricing. Lower pricing is often called a “sale”. Lower ‘sale’ prices recreate demand and everyone rushes off to the sales. The market thus regulates supply to meet demand and so demand is satisfied.

    • McCawber

      It is the answer if the wealth created is distributed properly.
      That of course won’t happen when you have un-elected organizations like the EC and ECB, along with a small cabal of politicians with whom they are in cahoots, making most of the decisions.

      • McCawber

        BTW – Globalization is the inevitable byproduct of technological advancement, not least the internet as one example.
        It can’t be stopped so therefore it is very important to insure that it is used for the benefit of all.
        King Canute would have understood this.
        He knew that you can’t stop the tide.
        He knew his “Officials” were the problem, not the tide.
        Embrace change, don’t fight it.

  3. McCawber

    As I read this article, another penny dropped.
    The issue regarding Ireland’s low Corporate Tax rate has been represented by the EC as “Low tax = Bad”. Ireland and Apple (et al) are evil being the narrative.
    In reality Low taxes are Bad for Bureaucracies, Civil Servant and Politicians and Good for the rest of us.
    I appreciate that there is a balance but for Officialdom that balance point is way too high and is leading to gross inefficiency and over interference in our lives and not for our good but for theirs (for they are the true elite, after all).

    My abiding memory of a book (fictional adventure) I read about the Mongols and GK in particular was that they trained their horses to be able to avoid trampling a fallen rider.
    In modern day parlance it would nice if Officialdom learned to avoid trampling all over their citizens.

  4. CorkRob

    Why don’t we just follow the example of Hong Kong from the 50′s until now? It may take a year or two of adjustment, but the rewards would be immense.

  5. Mike Lucey


  6. Deco

    The Dublin Bus workers are more likely to listen to a trade union politician, on the make, and be short termist. At least the union officials have that inclination.

    A bus strike might result in uber and car-pooling. It will definitely cause more teleworking. And it will cause people to start driving. Or to get themselves ready for driving.

  7. Deco

    If I was Minister Ross, I would take a broad view on this, and threaten to bring in tax incentives for carpooling initiatives. And to get ready for DART extensions to locations like Leixlip, Lucan South, etc… And perhaps the DART-Underground.

    A DART link to Leixlip is far better economic sense than a DART to Balbriggan.

    Think of better cycling options in the built up area in the city centre.

    In other words, build alternatives into the system.

    The bus strike is led by trade union politicians who whole career is based on extractive ability from the rest of society. Which is very similar to the rest of the political profession.

    A politicians first job is extraction of sweat from the rest of the populace in return for votes.

  8. mcsean2163

    Don’t subscribe to this.

    “The city was increasingly oppressed by the Mamluks and fell definitively into their hands in 1347″. looks like the Mamluks didn’t appreciate their low tax environment.

    Taxes pay for schools, hospital, roads, etc. When are in the race to the bottom, robbing taxes from UK, US, etc. Do you think they will tolerate this indefinitely?

    Take the $13billion and raise corporation tax to 15%, otherwise we are enablers of large multinational tax avoidance.

  9. As far as generous benefit to all goes, can we expect of today’s transnational predators as much compunction as a Mongol?

    Evidence says otherwise and we need the tax money a lot more than those guys do.

    Greetings from the terribly poor state of New Mexico, whose governor is a puppet of the Kochs.

    • McCawber

      I’d far prefer to get value for the taxes we already pay before we raise taxes from other sources.
      More taxes = More waste.

      • Deco

        More taxes = More waste.

        Correct. Look at the TV tax. Millions of Euro for Tubridy, Finucane, etc… almost as many sent to the Olympics to provide coverage as to compete.

        I don’t watch TV. It is a waste of time. And a pile of lies.

        I wish the same freedom for the rest of you.

  10. In historical terms the port of Ayas did not last long a a low tax trade port. As soon as it became prosperous it was invaded by stronger neighbours with the glint of greed in their eye.

    The first lesson to learn is that the trade came first. The merchants and governance of the city port were not greedy, “taxing the rich to give to the poor”. The poorer were rewarded with the trickle down effect of a prosperous middle and upper class.

    Then to learn, is that the minute there is economic success which equals social success somebody else will try to take it from you, either through tax or invasion and war. Thus a successful society must be able to exert enough power to have a capable defense force to resist these greedy invaders. (Currently Europe and Britain is being invaded by economic migrants
    and even though the invasion can be physically resisted there is not the moral conscience to do so.) and to resist the power and greed of government.

    Marco Polo took the universally accepted gold coins with him to The Ghengis Khan empire and was astonished to find the Chinese using paper money. The use of gold and silver as money was punishable by death as was the counterfeiting of the official “fiat” currency. GK printed as much of this “free” money as he wanted and others could sell their gold and silver to the “royal mint” in exchange for paper fiat. Thus the Khan gathered the wealth of the people into the central government store in exchange for worthless pieces of paper he made at little expense. Does that sound familiar to the system we use today?

    The Chinese found that the the production of unlimited paper money caused rampant inflation that destroyed the economy and eventually the empire itself. That is another lesson we are about to learn.

    The last lesson to remember is that those who do not heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

    “Now that you have heard the ways and means whereby the great Khan may have, and in fact has, more treasure than all the kings in the world; and you know all about it and the reason why.”

    The Tragedy of Paper

    Marco Polo’s account of this unique Chinese method of the minting of money through the use of paper is both amusing and tragic. It is amusing to us in this so-called enlightened, modern and sophisticated age to recall the ease at which the absolute monarch of China controlled the currency of his empire. It is easy to laugh at how mandarins, merchants and ordinary people were “taken” by their government during the years of the Yuan dynasty in China under a thoroughly autocratic regime. After all, it was the 13th century. But look at what the western democratic governments have done to money in this the twentieth century. It is no laughing matter, and it becomes more tragic with each passing day.

    We are emulating the mistakes of the past and allowing the central bankers and the elites to accumulate the real wealth while we all gather scraps of worthless paper.

    Thus the rich grow richer at our expense and the rest poorer. Our money system is deliberately set up for this to be so. The elites understand the lessons of history, the rest of us do not.

    Any sovereign nation, in order to have an affluent society, needs entrepreneurship, modest government concerned only with defense of the person and defense of the realm. It needs a sovereign currency based on the principles of sound money or it matters not what else is done, it will fail as a state.

    A final quote from this link is to be ruminated upon.

    “On returning to my library, to my dismay I really couldn’t decide what economist best explains money and how the various governments use and misuse it to any great degree of clarity in less than a million words. The central problem of the economist during the past century, in my opinion, is his inability to explain fundamental economic principles with an economy of words.”

    • Deco

      Exactly. It was taken over by the local imperial racket, the local pwer monopoly.

      It is in our interests that the centralist power base of the EU gets broken up and fragmented.

      • Yes. Get out. Leave. Be an independent, entrepreneurial state, inhabited by energetic, positive people going about their business in their own self interest but not at the expense of others. Libertarians all!!

        • Truthist

          “Self-interest” is all fine up to an extent ;
          Most advances in thought throughout human history come from seeking to please God the Creator [ however he has been considered to be at various times in various locations ] ;
          And, a great way to please God is to be help ur fellow human.
          And, Aristotle said that man’s purpose is to be happy.
          And, then he states that the best happiness is got through doing good deeds for other people.
          But, “The Blind cannot lead the Blind.” makes sense.
          So, my Irish want to bring matters full circle arrives to support what u said ;
          But, with a moral & theological reminder.

        • “” not at the expense of others.”"

  11. Mongol[edit]
    The Mongol-founded Yuan dynasty (Chinese: ?, 1271–1368) also attempted to use paper currency. Unlike the Song dynasty, they created a unified, national system that was not backed by silver or gold. The currency issued by the Yuan was the world’s first fiat currency, known as Chao. The Yuan government attempted to prohibit all transactions in or possession of silver or gold, which had to be turned over to the government. Inflation in 1260 caused the government to replace the existing paper currency with a new one in 1287, but inflation that resulted from undisciplined printing remained a problem for the Yuan court until the end of the Dynasty.

  12. The modern manifestation of the Khan monopoly on currency is the Federal Reserve and all the offspring central bankers around the world. The grand mother of all is the Bank of England. The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.

    No fiat money system has survive without bringing down the economy and the regime that fostered it.

  13. survivalist

    I have some question relating to the theory that workers can or are in fact able to strike for higher wages.

    The evidence shows that typically workers don’t strike these days, and have not especially since the 1980 at least relative to historical highs of strike action.

    In other words the prevalence of strikes is at historically low rates. And high, medium or low wages have made no significant difference as to strike rate or number of working days lost, and neither does union density make any difference to strike rates.

    But I would like to know WHAT exactly the relationship between striking and achieving higher wages is supposed to be? How is this process supposed to play out? How can it possibly work?

    Consider the question of what percentage of a company’s revenue goes to payroll.

    If striking actually worked to determine wages, then how is this percentage of revenue actually agreed upon and by who?

    Is it not the case that typically workers do not get their wages relative to the revenue of the particular business or company that they work for?

    How well paid would Apple Inc’s handful of Irish workers have to be if their wages were related to the revenue of that enterprise?
    Rather are wages not fixed in relation to some other arbitrary industry or professional classification system or device?

    I would like to hear the theory of how striking equals higher wages.
    I believe that suggesting that Unions strike to secure higher wages grossly overstates the ambitions of Unions. Rather they are interested in preserving a system in which wages can shuffling up or down a few percentage points within an extremely narrow range which has already been set.

    Unless unions are demanding a cut of revenue with a profit remainder then are they not negotiating over wages already negotiated upon. Is that not in fact a tacit agreement to relinquish control of decision making on the matter of wages?

    In the UK 2005 157,000 days were lost to strikes, which was the lowest on historical record, and in 2014 it was more than 3 times that at 788,000 days lost. How did this affect wage growth?

    In contrast 162.2m days were lost in 1926 but back then it was a battle for freedom to decide how society was regulated not a matter of tinkering about the edges.

  14. AlfieMoone

    ‘The Armenians of Ayas’: Did they have their own currency or use the currency of one of the local hegemons? Did they use the Mongol Dollar? Or the MalmEUk EUro? One can set out various fantasy scenarios but gaming geo-political seismic shifts of political tectonic plates is only possible by a Nation State or City State that has Sovereignty over it’s own tax & spend affairs.

    Did the ‘Armenians of Ayas’ mis-manage their trading hub for 100 years, periodically crashing & burning the entire economy, sending it’s youth into foreign exile, just to protect the ill-gotten wealth of venal, corrupt leaders?

    Did they then ‘invite’ in a MalmEUk EUro foreign oversight regime called ‘The Troika’ who basically told them they were now a satrapy, that they had to submit the budget of the ‘Nation State’ for prior inspection by foreign powers before the leaders/parliament/regime running the place told the populace what their future was?

    I am sitting in a ‘budget’ hotel in Copenhagen. It is silent, but soon the industrious Danes will spill out of trains in the nearby Central Station, ready for another day’s hard graft to keep their unique economic show on the road. I am watching DR2 Morgen whilst reading (in Danish & English analysis) how they have basically fcUK’d the Brits up the arse by playing and winning the negotiation game over the North Sea Wind Power Bonanza. They control the supply chain, they run the show because the Danish government made sure that there was a strategic overview to proceedings despite any EU blathering. The Danes have kept the Krone, kept their Language & Culture & have spread their bets over a wide ranging portfolio of possibilities ‘going forward’. From hi-tech industrial production to nano-Design innovations in lifestyle and fashion, it’s all rather bizarre when you compare the place to London and Dublin. Brussels & Berlin can’t pull a gun on them as they can just walk away without a Bank Holiday closure whilst the printing presses churn out the a new Krone. Taking the train from Copenhagen to Malmo is ‘instructive’ when one observes just how radically different the two Cultural Algorithms are despite common legacy projects informing both. Ditto flying from Birmingham to Dublin.

    Copenhagen seems more likely as a candidate for a new ‘Armenians of Ayas’ trading hub. I fly out to Vilnius in a few hours to get a handle on how the Danes game the Baltics, not just for R&R from CPH’s absurd alcohol prices but for lots of other less banal activities.

    After Brexit, London appears very clearly to be envisaging an Armenian Ayas future. And if I was in charge of Dublin, I’d be crapping myself over the prospects of other nearby embryo emergent City-States such as Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol and Birmingham once the Normans Of London are served their arses on a plate via Article 50. I’d also be having panic attacks about ‘East Dublin’ aka: Liverpool. And Belfast. Especially Belfast when it gets some breath-taking kick-starter deal on Corporate Tax from London…..but I’d imagine all the ‘movers and shakers’ who run Dublin are sleeping in their beds as it’s only 6:15am GMT whilst it’s 7:15 CET.

    No Currency-No Country. No Language-No Culture. There’s a caveat about the latter as the Irish Mind just trolls English & morphs it into ‘something else’ everytime the RTE types try to enforce their Norman Speech Codes. The natter on Dublin buses being the guide to this. I record that stuff on my phone for ‘future projects’. LOL!

    Yes, wage rises are the crumbs from the master’s table finally being swept down to the floor of the minimum/living waged. But within the Euro all this does is prepare for the next conflagration when the Bundesbank finally goes beserk at Merkel over the property situation in places like Berlin. They will NOT tolerate a wages/inflation spiral within the EU to mimic the Brits Monopoly Economy: they would love to but they can’t because they are irrevocably entrenched in a Hard Money ‘cult’ which is totally incompatible with the US-UK-Danish ‘money as societal lubricant’ via dollar/pound/krone. The droning Gold Bugs on this site are going to win if Ireland Inc remains within the EUro, they will get their Germanic Stability but the problem is that the entire superstructure of Irish business and culture is geared towards an Atlanticist vision of ‘Money as Societal Lubricant’.

    My recollection is that Mr McWilliams advocated for leaving the Euro during the ECB Banking Crisis and has recently ‘come out’ as an advocate for Ireland leaving the European Union if that project cannot accommodate Irish ‘economic sensibilities’. But it’s obvious to me that the EUro project is a project to make Europe adhere to the Core Euro hard money philosophy of the Germans, Dutch and Finns. But the French, Spanish, Portuguese & Italians can’t ever do that without ‘losing their religion’ with regard to their unique Cultural Algorithms, never mind fringe ‘basket-cases’ like Greece. And Ireland…..Draghi has made a bad bet on changing the psyche as he is another useless ‘economist’ who simply doesn’t understand the primacy of Culture.

    Ireland is trapped. Nothing is possible until the final denouement of the EUro Project which will be triggered by Grexit. Theresa May is playing the Long Game but might turn it into 5 a Side if she judges that triggering Grexit by serving Article 50 during the build-up to the next French and German electoral cycles will generate the necessary Creative Destruction within the fragile EUro system. That allows the bizarre possibility of a ‘dynamic healing crisis’ that turns the EU into a project that respects the Atlanticist Mind-set of the Brits and Danes thus preventing the necessity of Brexit and DANexit. Ireland is irrelevant in these forthcoming dramas as it is Juncker’s prison-bitch, trapped in his EUro Kilmainham. And Enda Kenny, wiht his buggered Christian Brother Stockholm Syndrome submissive ‘fight/flight/fawn/freeze’ nonsense isn’t going to be part of the negotiating dramas. It’s a shame as I thought I could make a man of him, finally…. He stood up to the Holy See only to drop to his knees and fluff again. He did the Marital Equality thingy cause he knew what was coming if he defied me/us/them (del as applic according to conspiracy theory). But with the RepealThe8th and renewed tantrums in the Headmaster’s Office when Juncker tells him to drop his pants and take the punishment prove he’s just not up to it. Get rid of him. Then go to Mass as the only productive thing to do about Ireland at the moment is pray that “events, dear boy…events!” conspire to allow the Irish Nation State to rise from the shallow grave which the EUro Projects consigned it via it’s traitorous, deluded overseers in D4, the IFSC and, especially, in the Dail and Sinead.

    ‘The new Viking invasion: How Denmark’s offshore wind giant conquered the UK seas.’

    “The real Plastic Paddies are sitting in the Dail….” Andy Mooney

    • AlfieMoone

      The final irony of 1916, as I explained to Micheal Collins as we walked around Nyhavn last night, is that it is the Brits who will rescue the Irish from a fate worse than death, from the Death Of The Irish Nation State. And it will be done with the pen, not the sword, it will be done via this QWERTY Ouija key-board….it’s already in escrow thus Andy Mooney, Global Taoiseach of The Fifth Province Archipelago Of EngEireland’s Isles of Wonder decrees:

      “*Lads*! Make it feckin’ so!”

      ‘…it is in the interest of both the United Kingdom and the continent to see that revolution happen. History warns us of the risks associated with monocultures, whether biological or ideological. Our communal interest lies in not seeing a single homogenous continental bloc coalescing, particularly when democratically and economically it embodies so many tectonic flaws….Britain has not slain the European dragon – only wounded it. So the likes of Bill Cash, John Redwood, Frank Field and their counterparts can’t hang up their swords just yet….the heavy lifting however has already been done. The greatest gift the UK will now provide will be that of example. Meanwhile, let us not though be selfish in offering aid to our Eurosceptic friends who seek to join us in our happy lot.’

      ‘Can Brexit create a revolution across Europe?’

  15. Truthist

    Sideshow Bob,
    Thank u for a most helpful reply to a mind-block I had about difference “Private” Property between “Real” Property, posted on 3 Sep. 2016 at 12:02 pm to David’s article “For Dublin, the only way is up”.
    I would not have known about this reply only that I dared to have another glance at the penultimate article by our host where I spotted a post by u to me.
    Perhaps, it is best to post on current blogs at any time rather than hope that the contributors to a particular article’s blog would continue to view that very blog.

    And, further thanks for then explaining why this distinction is so important when exploring & / or discussing & / or proposing anything to do with housing policy & / or housing laws & / or housing transactions inter alia.
    I must say that ur reply is another of so many from contributors on this blog that should be archived as classic handles on the various important & relevant topics & subsequent sub-topics of this Socio Cultural Political ECONOMICS Blog.
    Actually, it would be even better if creator of any such classic handle had facility to edit their “handles” with agreement of a sub-blog for this purpose.
    Just a suggestion.
    It would sure be amusing to have such handles on Institutional State of the Irish State [ I.S.I.S. ], Civil Serpents of Irish State, Garda-Landlordism / Landlord-Gardaism, Irish State post 1973 = Irish Garrison for E.U. Empire, Bankster Scam [ B.S. ] Bundle, etc.

    • Sideshow Bob

      De nada, Truthist.

      Yeah, point taken about the current blog posts. I never know are people still watching the one´s or not. That said, I don´t want to distract from the current theme. Hard to know what to do.

      And while I feel there is much to debate on property and housing the starting point hereabouts is just too inaccurate and simplistic. This is mainly the authors fault for not getting his facts right. I have found the experience of talking about it to be very frustrating I am not sure as a result I will be posting much more. I had hoped the quality of the debate would develop and mature but that last article you mention where David McWilliams repeated whole sections of an inaccurate piece from about a year ago, and almost verbatim ( about north-facing apartments and sizes ) was really the death-knell for me for any hope of an evolution in the authors mind on the topic and to any kind of significant debate, here or nationally spurred on by him. Who ever was using him for spin must be delighted with themselves. It is a pity!

      • Truthist

        Further to Housing Provision ;
        I hope that u or some other poster here will provide reliable charges for 2nd-hand I.S.O. Shipping Containers to buy as 1 piece only delivered or collected in Ireland ?
        Price not incl. VAT
        Price incl. VAT
        Delivery Charges per location
        Charges for Crane Hire from local company if Customer collects container themselves –
        Type :
        20ft GP Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood

        Type :
        40ft GP Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood
        Type ;
        45ft GP Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood
        Type :
        20ft HQ Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood
        Type :
        40ft HQ Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood
        Type ;
        45ft HQ Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood

        Bare Empty Container
        Grade C ; “As Is”
        Grade B ; Sea Worthy Condition
        Grade A ; Newly Refurbished With New Paint & Inner Wood

        Suitable grade of container depends on final use.
        If plan is to heavily modify a container or have only a basic store ; ==> Grade C is fine.
        If plan is to have a higher quality container for storage or shipping ; ==> Grade B
        A would be better.
        Outline of the condition.
        Grade C (Good) ;
        Containers come as delivered direct from shipping stock. Exterior and interior are fairly good.
        May have some dents & scratches.
        Some parts may be missing.
        Inner floor may be damaged etc.
        Grade B (Sea Worthy Condition)
        Containers come as delivered.
        Outer & inner paintwork is fairly good.
        Outer skin has very little damage.
        All parts are complete.
        Minor damage to inner floor / walls
        Grade A (Refurbished)
        Containers come as delivered.
        Outer & Inner paintwork has been re done.
        Outer skin has been fully repaired.
        All parts are complete.
        Inner floor / Walls in very good condition.

  16. Shane F

    Watched an English quiz show the other day. Well known host when talking about prize money made disparaging joke about Irish banks. – Shades of ‘economic wild west’ again.
    Same day Simon Coveney was on the radio talking about basically curbing power of Central bank. They have been warning against borrowing as we know, Notice he did mot say anything about funny money of vulture funds.

    Huge corporations paying no tax, and leprechaun economics of 25% GDP is not a good starting point for Davids vision.

    To be a trading center hub in the future means having good regulation. not socialist capitalism etc….

    I would fear Ireland would end up being the: Liberia registered, flag of convienence. for these global fleecers, With the ordinary populace paying the piper once again.

  17. Truthist

    2 fundamental issues are not satisfactorily explained by anyone on the internet or books as far as I have experienced thus far :

    Why / How does
    “Inflation of issue of currency” [ i.e. extra standard paper currency added to the esisting sum of the currency ] by Private Central Bank OR State’s own Central Bank [ e.g. today ? ] & / or State’s Treasury & / or Fractional Reserve Banking by the commercial Banks
    Inflation of Prices in the Economy / Devaluation of the power of existing Currency ?
    Surely the Commercial Banks in operating Fractional Reserve Banking are somehow :
    benefiting the Private Central Bank ?
    in some profits of any or all Commercial Bank[s] going to Private Central Bank by some generic algorithm ?
    & / or
    in some profits of any or all Commercial Bank[s] going to the Shareholders of the Private Central Bank as individual if they happen to be Shareholders also of the said Commercial Bank[s] ?
    It is just that it is too suspicious not to be ;
    But, presently, I do not know how.
    & / OR
    arguably undermining the worth of each currency note already issued [ Ref. Q. 1 above Re ; Inflation of issue of Currency CAUSING Inflation of Prices / Devaluation of power existing Currency ]
    & thus
    the wealth of :
    the Central Bank ; Private or State’s
    the Treasury
    the Commercial Banks ?
    Perhaps David might explain given that he is the only Central Banker on this Blog.

    • McCawber

      Good Stuff.
      Could I throw in some more basic question.
      A government prints more money.
      How does it put that money into circulation? What is backing this new money.
      If QE is another name for printing money why is interest being charged on it. What is backing this new money.
      A comment.
      When Ireland got the bailout money there was a significant amount of money given to banks for “finding” the money.
      If the ECB injects €100 of QE into the system what is the net injection following ALL deductions involved and where are those deductions going.
      Maybe David with his CB background might have some insight.
      Why is QE ending up in the stock market pockets nstead of all pockets?

      • Truthist

        Certain aul Trinners students are watching this space avidly for “the full truth AND nothing but the truth” to come from their new dazzling young Professor of Global Economics.

      • You know the answers to those questions McCawber. You have been given then several times.

        The velocity of money has slowed to a crawl. Trillions of dollars are issued by central banks to commercial banks. The money sits there as reserves on the commercial banks balance sheets. The banks cannot find decent places to lend the money as the world is saturated in debt.
        Then the central banks buy government bonds directly putting money in the hands of government that they have not earned or taxed. Central banks buy corporate bonds directly putting money into the hands of the corporations. Most corporates are buying back company shares rather than spending on research and development.
        Central bankers are buying shares directly on the stock market. Japan owns half of the equities on the Japanese stock market.

        All this is driving down the interest rates and increasing the value of the bonds to record bubble territory.. Low interest rates have driven up the prices of realestate. Ditto the bubble. Prices on the general stock market are close to all time highs and do not reflect the falling earnings and the general economy. ditto the bubble.

        The overall effect is as you observe. Financial assets gone through the roof and all else failing.

        It is about to unwind in a hurry as Mr. Market overpowers the manipulators seditious activities. Real interest rates will rise. financial assets will crumble.

        The IMF will ride to the rescue with special drawing rights as the new world currency. China’s currency is about to be included in this bundle and gold will be added as a component.

        National currencies will crash and the inflation of the currencies, masked at the moment, will be evident in high if not hyper inflation for some and the real economy grinds slower and slower.

        That is one reason the Swiss and the Norse have headed into PM shares of the major miners.(see last posting below). They do not intend to go down with the ship. Neither should you if you move quickly to safeguard yourself.

    • It has all been explained to you several times. This just muddies the waters. The fact that David is central bank oriented is the reason he is silent. The explanation in real life goes against the faith in the central bank mantra/propoganda.

      • Truthist


        Please, do not spoil David’s chance to provide “the whole truth AND nothing but the truth” to each & all of the above questions.

        Thank u

        Furthermore, if the Banks “physically” destroy the currency that was paid by the borrower, why charge Interest at all ?

        • The banks foreclose on the real assets, and the borrower is reduce to less than nothing.

          The central banks now are paying interest to borrowers as they cannot get enough to borrow otherwise.

          See posting under McCawber to see what CB are doing now. buying up the countries debts and buying the stock markets with both hands.

          Swiss ans Norse using CB’s to buy PM stocks.

          David has lots of chances to explain. Ha can’t as it sticks in his craw. It goes against his training. He is imbued with classical economist training in Keynes and has a Cb trained background. He is of the faith of central banking control of the economy.

          • Truthist

            I know all of the above u just put in ur post to McCawber & also what u just put in ur post to me ;
            Per my questions actually put to David, u made absolutely no attempt to answer my 2 questions nor my further question about why charge interest, or indeed have no common interest charge by all lenders, if the cash as interest given to the lender by the borrower eventually gets physically destroyed.
            Instead, u just reported other stuff.

            U arguably answered Q.2 when u report to McCawber ;
            Trillions of dollars are issued by central banks to commercial banks.
            The money sits there as reserves on the commercial banks balance sheets.
            When commericial bank obtains currency from central bank, I wonder about the terms :
            does Central Bank get paid / pay in interest until all outstanding interest & the principal is paid by CommericaL Bank to Central Bank.
            & / or
            does Central Bank get some multiple “geater than One / 1″ of the particular reserve that is associated with loans given to Borrowers by the Commercial Bank with the Commercial Bank operating “Fractional Reserve Banking” ?
            Does the Central Bank atimes operate “by proxie” Fractional Reserve Banking ?
            As in suggestion above by me.

            Please note Tony, ur statement above is not emphatically saying that this is :
            an obligatory system that commercial banks must perform.

            These 3 questions have yet to be satisfactorly explained by u or any other person.
            Until then the waters are more than muddled ;
            They are most viscous.
            And, ur interlocutors will prefer to linger playing with the Quick Silver than journey further with Captain Bligh up the Khyber who is still not able to explain how Fletcher did his trick of disappearing with the Honeys.
            “No Money ; No Honey.!”

          • Truthist

            Here is a read to start you on your way to understanding. Happy days!



            Here is a load of connected essays. I have not the time to review them myself but perhaps you can pick those of interest to you.


        • Those questions have been answered explicitly several times.

    • Truthist


      & / OR
      arguably undermining the worth of …

      & / OR
      arguably undermining the worth of …

  18. Deco

    There is the nonsense end of the political spectrum. It consists of opportunists promising a “left” “alternative” and “real socialism”.

    They are opportunists peddling nonsense, who want the throw money at productivity disasters.

    Probably the most clueless is Ruth Coppinger who wanted the state to take over the Dell factory, and make computers, when Dell moved out. She later proposed running the Starbucks chain in Ireland as a public enterprise.

    Sure, some of you might laugh and say that she is such an idiot, that nobody will ever put her in a position of influence.

    But Coppinger got elected to the Dail, on mantras about “inequality”, free stuff giveaway promises, and all sorts of empty promises.

    Vote-buying is rarely criticised in the media.

  19. in a previous writing David suggested that the country invest in Apple and other company shares as a form of sovereign wealth fund in lieu of forgone taxes. This investment would be in shares that are massively overvalued.

    Why not invest in shares of companies that are massively undervalued. Precious metal shares. The funds to invest can be provided by the central bank, the Irish central bank and produce currency from thin air with which to buy the shares.

    Switzerland and Norway have already done this and they have provided the list of companies to buy. Here is the fail safe investment of all time.

    To paraphrase JFK, if your country will not do it for you why not do itfor yourself??

    Switzerland and Norway Begin to Massively Accumulate Precious Metals Mining Shares

    Sprott Money’s picture
    by Sprott Money
    Sep 8, 2016 4:51 PM

    Switzerland and Norway Begin to Massively Accumulate Precious Metals Mining Shares

    Written by Nathan McDonald

    Events are moving behind the scenes. For decades, Western Central bankers have told the masses that gold is a barbarous relic. They have encouraged us to shed its protection and move into the sanctity of their highly corrupt and highly manipulated fiat assets.

    During this time period, our Western Central bankers have offloaded our countries’ hard earned wealth, shipping massive quantities of precious metals to far off lands in the East, never to be seen again – despite what they may think. Our wealth is being sold out from under our feet.

    Yet, as I have reported on recently, a shift is occurring. Call it what you will – I call it panic. Many Western Central bankers are trying to accumulate metals in stealthy ways, behind the scenes and unbeknownst to the masses, whom they wish to keep trapped in fiat money.

    The two most recent examples of Western Central Banks moving into precious metals in a serious way are the Swiss and Norwegian Central Banks.

    Both banks are being reported to have printed close to $1 billion dollars of fiat money as of recently. This should come as no shock to anyone, as this is all Central Banks know how to do – print money.

    What is more stunning, however, is where they immediately moved these funds. You guessed it right – into precious metals.

    They know that the physical precious metals market is limited, tight, and scarce. They also know that if they simply printed $1 billion worth of fiat money out of thin air and moved it into physical, then they would risk blowing the market apart, sending prices potentially catapulting higher.

    Since they are not yet willing to face the wrath of the other Central Bankers around the world, they did the next best thing. They bought shares in the gold mines themselves.

    Below, you will find two lists compiled by Smaulgold, which showcases the current gold mining stock holdings of both the Swiss and Norwegian Central Banks:

    These movements of funds are likely the cause of many of these stocks being up drastically this year and confirm the suspicions of many – that major entities were moving into the mining shares for protection.

    Yet, you must ask yourself: why? Why now? What do they fear? Do they know the folly that they and other Central Bankers have committed around the world? Do they know that this entire system is destined to fail and come crashing down on our heads?

    I believe they do. These people may be manipulative and they may be corrupt, but they are not stupid. They are getting prepared, just as you should be getting prepared, before it is too late and there is no escape.

  20. Home Counties Girl

    Nice piece.

    I’ve only just started to read the book. For anyone who’d like an express overview on this topic then check-out the 3 part series on The Silk Road by the Beeb. It’s like a fiver on the iPlayer, if you can’t access the iPlayer in your region then try amazon :-)

    • coldblow


      How far have you got in the book?

      Do you mind me asking where you are based? Do you know patricia03? Is it a caravan site near Galway?

      • patricia03

        Cold Blow. I live in Christchurch New Zealand, a long long way from Galway

        • coldblow

          Patricia, that’s right, I remember now. Tull is in Perth. I am in Kerry for the last few years, which are passing by unbelievably quickly. Adam in the W. Indies. Grzeg is in Dublin (probably still waiting for the bus). Stephen I think is in England. I assume Deco is in Dublin or somewhere in the south-east. John Allen (who has disappeared) was, as I recall, in or around Limerick. Georg (Laughing Bear) was in Donegal and said he was moving to the Northern Territories, I imagine to do research into Opus Dei. Bamboo (or perhaps someone else who has been here a long time on and off) lives in Holland. Andy/Alfie seems to still live in or around Brum. I have missed out a few, including one lad who is a coach driver and tourist guide. Of the remainder I think (I am a little bit psychic) most of them share a caravan or a bedsit in the West.

  21. Deco

    Looking forward, the primary goal of Irish policy with regard to the EU should be based on Ireland’s main need.

    And that is the need to end the gradual movement towards increased control from the power centre.

    Basically, Ireland needs to make every move possible to weaken centralism which is no clearly the basis for weakening Irish policy.

    Too bad, we have a collection of spineless gobsh!tes like Enda Kenny, Micheal Martin, who doff the cap, for the EU “leaders” (really useless self-promoting opportunists) and sell Ireland out repeatedly.

    On the 100th anniversary of 1916, it is time to make a break for freedom from Imperial control.

    In other words, hit Merkel + Hollande = Merde, now, and build an alliance with the dissidents, the fed-up-with-being-bossed-around, and rulebreakers. In particular those in Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.

  22. coldblow

    Off topic, here is an excellent short talk on the future of the EU by Christopher Booker (co-author of The Great Deception).

  23. coldblow

    It seems like, according to David, that the Mongols were yet another misunderstood great bunch of lads. It seems everyone in history was wise and tolerant apart from one group or relgion who shall not be named. Am I right?

    I was reading about Genghis Khan and his merry men a couple of weeks ago in a book about the rise of the West by Ian Morris, no slouch himself when it comes to political correctness. Young Genghis’s (as he was then not called) early life was particulary brutal and violent and it went downhill from there on. Here’s one bit, chosen almost at random (translated back into English from the Portuguese):

    ‘Genghis Khan did not need a social development index to tell him that China was the mother of all pillage. From what we are able to make out he tried to rob everything, expelled the peasantry from their land and converted the whole of northern China into pasture for his tough Steppes ponies. In 1215 he destroyed more than 90 cities and left Peking [sorry, 'Beijing'] burning for a month.

    For purely internal reasons (succession) the Mongols attacked the Near East and Europe, which didn’t know what hit them. The last Calif in Baghdad was kept without food or water for three days and then dragged to a pile of gold and told to eat it. When he didn’t he and his heirs were wrapped in carpets and trampled to death.

    According to a Persian chronicler Khan Ogodei attracted merchants to his capital city by adding 10% to the going price. After dinner, he wrote, he would sit in a chair outside his palace surrounded with all the merchandise he could get in heaps all around him. His successor told a Christian, “Just as God has given the hands different fingers so he has given Man different faiths.”

    He arranged a strange debate in his capital city in 1254 between Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. ‘Only in Caracorum could such a thing happen,’ writes Morris. According to Mongol tradition the representatives who had assembled in front of a large crowd were served fermented mare’s milk during the breaks. The Christians got drunk and began singing hymns while the Muslims responded with chanted verses of the Koran. The Buddists subsided into silent meditation, and were joined by the Christians and Muslims when they got too drunk to carry on.

  24. bilimori

    This article of Davids’ seems to be written for historical entertainment and adds to my confusion as to what DMcW’s economic philosophy really is.
    Recently he advocated that Ireland obtains Apple’s “owed taxes” which implies Ireland should stay in Europe and renege on its tax agreements with Apple. However, he has also recently implied that Ireland should be an Atlantic nation, implying Ireland should leave the ECC, and lately he encouraged Ireland to build sixty story apartment buildings in Dublin’s docklands. Presumably, these buildings could only be owned by the 1%ers, resulting in even more Irish people trudging on the elitist treadmills.

    Now this article suggesting Ireland be a tax extracting middle man from even more globalization, which could only be realized by an Ireland still in the ECC.

    I respectfully request that my favorite economist stop fence straddling and plainly declare if he advocates;

    An Ireland in or out of the ECC.
    For more globalization at the expense of Irish jobs, or for trade protection that will boost local employment.
    For an Irish government in the control of the working and middle classes, or for a Government in the control of bankers, big business and the elitists.
    For an independent currency for Ireland that is based on a solid core of constant and enduring value and the elimination of fiat money.
    For a Central Bank totally owned by the Irish citizenry or a continuance of the present system of National banking.

    I suspect the straddling is caused by a reluctance not to get out of step with his paymasters.

    When will we ever get a working philosophy from any economist which when followed will create a prosperous, enduring and balanced economy. An economy that produces at minimum a genuine middle-class life for all.


    “”Centuries ago banks actually stored real money (gold) and gave their customers paper receipts which made transferring and transporting easier.

    Then as time went by, banks just began storing currency. Unbacked fiat paper is not money.

    In those days the term “bank robbery” used to mean a man with a gun would come in and steal the currency from the bank.

    Now, in the 21st century, the term “bank robbery” has a completely different meaning. Now, to quote the popular Russian turn of phrase, the bank robs you!

    What occurred in Cyprus in 2013, was the most overt form of daylight robbery. Over the weekend the banks closed and upon reopening, anyone with substantial funds had approximately 50% less than they previously owned.

    Now, banks like Wells Fargo are just outright defrauding and stealing from people!”"

  26. Get smart!! Have nothing in a bank except what is required for day to day operations. Move deposits , savings plans, safety box contents etc. Banks more and more treat your assets as theirs to do with as they wish.

    • McCawber

      I wonder what would happen if one chose to walk through customs with a one ounce gold bar or a gold coin even.

      • nothing at all.
        If it is deemed a currency in transport then as long as one is below the amount allowed, currently 10,000 I believe there is no declaration needed. Just throw the coins in with your pocket change or leave them in you bag and they go through the xray inspection just fine.

        The other question I cannot answer is if the coins are valued for statutory purposes at their deemed value stamped on the coin, or the market value. Canadian gold maple leafs are legal tender at 50 dollars but would they be valued at spot as a non monetary asset. The question re gold jewelry is mute also.

        Non declaration of more than the statutory allowance of currency in hand leaved one open to seizure of your property (money) if discovered.

  27. “What is increasingly obvious however is that this sort of approach to financial journalism is bankrupt. There are hundreds of websites pointing out the difficulties with central banking in simple terms. And the simplest is that a small group of people ought not to be in charge of mandating the value of volume of money.”

  28. “How fast could interest rates rise, and how high could they go? Pento calculates, “What’s going to happen eventually is exponentially worse than what you saw last week and this week because eventually, they (central banks) are going to have to change their monetary policies. They (central banks) are going to have to, once their 2% inflation target is achieved, they are going to have to start unwinding their balance sheets. Otherwise, there is going to be no way to drain the money supply. They’re going to have to sell assets. Front runners that are front running the bids from central banks are going to have to get out. . . . So, yields are going to absolutely spike to at least where inflation is plus a percent or two. I am saying you can go from negative rates such as -.1% to 2% or 3% or to 4% in a matter of days. . . . When I say 2%, 3% or 4%, I am being generous. I think rates could spike dramatically, and the bond market is global in nature . . . . That’s going to spike all yields concurrently and in unison, and everything, Ferrari’s, diamonds, commodities, real estate investment trusts, municipal bonds, collateralized loan obligations, and I mean everything is priced off of that risk free rate of return. . . . If they are going to stop their repression of interest rates, everything is going to collapse concurrently.”

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