Articles

Archives

Article Archives

David has been running this website for over 18 years and there are plenty of articles covering some of the most turbulent times in the world economy.

Below is a year by year list of Davids’s articles.

ARCHIVES 2016

Italy is gradually going out of business

A few weeks ago, I stayed in the Grand Hotel in Rimini. This place has real significance for Italian movie lovers because this was the base camp for the brilliant Italian director Federico Fellini. Not only did Fellini use the Grand Hotel in Rimini as his set, but he...

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Mortgage rule change is a Pyrrhic victory for first-time buyers

Let’s be clear, when housing supply is stuck, any increase to housing demand will produce higher prices. The Central Bank understands this logic and this is why it relaxed deposit rules last week. The deposit rules were relaxed in order for prices to rise, in order to...

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ARCHIVES 2015

Ireland may yet warm to climate change

“If the Dutch lived in Ireland, they’d feed the world; if the Irish lived in Holland, they’d drown.” Have you heard this one? How true is it? What is wrong with this country? Every time there is a short, sharp spell of rain, the place fills up to the brim and then...

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Persuasion is the name of the game

The Other Voices festival in Dingle is a simple but brilliant microcosm of our unique selling points as a nation This Krzysztof exuded a calm, efficient sense of authority. He radiated with the type of firm confidence given off by those who know what they are doing...

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Swap tax take for real skin in the game

There is something giant stirring in the corporate world. The company that makes Viagra has just got into bed with the company that makes fake boobs and Botox, coming together in one of the biggest corporate deals ever. Dublin will be its headquarters. Not only does...

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ARCHIVES 2014

Opportunity knocks, but will we take it?

Forty years ago this weekend, at the Geneva peace conference between the Arabs and the Israelis, the Israeli foreign minister and one-time Belfast resident, Abba Eban, declared of the Palestinian negotiators that “they never miss an opportunity to miss an...

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Joyeux Noël – from Russia with love

Under the watchful eye of Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, the first stones of Notre Dame cathedral were laid in 1136. In the medieval ages, no city could proclaim itself a truly great urban centre without a cathedral. Paris had none. How could a city with...

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ARCHIVES 2013

His pragmatism was the key to building a new South Africa

In 2001, I was lucky enough to work briefly in Johannesburg for a large South African advertising agency. The project was a government-sponsored initiative on how to re-brand the new South Africa and how to position the economy. For the first few years post-apartheid,...

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How We Spend “The Christmas”

This weekend, publicans braced themselves for the beginning of what is idiosyncratically known in Ireland as “the Christmas’’. “The Christmas’’ is not just a celebratory event which falls on one day, as it is in most of the rest of the world. That would be far too...

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ARCHIVES 2012

His pragmatism was the key to building a new South Africa

In 2001, I was lucky enough to work briefly in Johannesburg for a large South African advertising agency. The project was a government-sponsored initiative on how to re-brand the new South Africa and how to position the economy. For the first few years post-apartheid,...

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How We Spend “The Christmas”

This weekend, publicans braced themselves for the beginning of what is idiosyncratically known in Ireland as “the Christmas’’. “The Christmas’’ is not just a celebratory event which falls on one day, as it is in most of the rest of the world. That would be far too...

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ARCHIVES 2011

Phantom FM Top 5 Albums

On a lighter note, John Caddell of Phantom FM was foolish enough to invite an economist in to DJ the other day - we had a great chat and lots of fun. Listen here.

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Bringing it all back home

Have you heard of the newest trend sweeping through corporate America? After nearly three decades of worshipping at the altar of “outsourcing” - moving production out of the United States attracted by lower wages and lower taxes in the foreign companies - American...

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Corporation tax sleight of hand will turn us into world pariahs

Can a reasonably well-behaved country with few, if any, enemies, become an international pariah? Can a country that has pursued neutrality, contributed much to the UN and taken diplomatic political correctness to asphyxiating heights, come crashing down and become...

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EU Presidency provides a great opportunity for us

Driving past the RDS last week, as the city played host to bigwig foreign ministers, gave me a feel of what Dublin is going to look like for the next six months. The place was, to use the new terminology, 'locked down', as is now necessary when someone as important as...

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Budget is yet another botched job from our impotent Government

JK Galbraith, the great American economist, said that the key job of a leader was to "understand the anxieties of the people, and do something to ease these anxieties". The Budget is an opportunity to set out the stall of any leadership, to articulate a coherent...

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ARCHIVES 2010

Time to play the Brady hunch

Last week, we had the tale of two countries. One country, Iceland, apparently did ‘everything wrong’ by defaulting on its bank debt and increasing government spending as the people of Iceland saved. Iceland told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to back off until...

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FF’s parting gift of corporate welfare will sink the country

A farmer told me he had just taken €53,000 out of the local bank and put it under his bed YESTERDAY was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In many other Catholic countries, particularly in Belgium and southern Holland, this is also the week that Santa comes and...

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Farmers could have saved us

The men bidding at the Ennis mart would have negotiated a better deal with the IMF and ECB than our inept bureaucrats did Last Thursday morning in the freezing cold, the temperature in Ennis mart was rising. The age-old ritual of buying and selling cattle was in full...

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Bailout will sink Ireland before we can even swim

Foreign banks and creditors should lose everything they gambled on the likes of Anglo, but instead, they have been saved by the taxpayer Make no mistake about it, this 'bailout' will sink Ireland. We are witnessing a monumental struggle between the innocent average...

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Time to play the ECB card

Our government, with its New best friends the EU and IMF, has considered finally crossing the Rubicon and announcing burden-sharing for senior bondholders of the banks. The fact that this should come as news to anyone amazes me. We don’t have the money to pay them so...

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ARCHIVES 2009

Let’s grab this golden chance

If I had the ear of finance minister Brian Lenihan, I’d be telling him not to look a gift horse in the mouth. The British government has this week handed Ireland a gilt-edged opportunity to kick-start the battered IFSC and, with it, the fortunes of thousands of young Irish graduates and workers.

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Planet’s polluters are moral equivalent of slave traders

IN 1784, Matthew Carey, a young man who flirted with the United Irishmen, decided like many republicans at the time to emigrate to the USA and, more importantly, to the hub of American intellectualism, Philadelphia. Fuelled by ideas of solidarity, equality and human rights, Carey hung around taverns and meeting houses, giving talks and listening to others espousing the fundamental rights of man. Like many others he became a pamphleteer, writing short essays on the rights and wrongs of the world as he saw it.

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Stuck in an economic cul-de-sac

Will 2010 be worse than 2009 for Ireland? Most mainstream economists believe that the economy will stabilise next year, and I hope they are right. But there are many reasons to be worried.

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We need to tap talent like John Gray in floods crisis

Have you ever bothered to look at the statues on O’Connell Street? There are the obvious ones of Larkin, O’Connell and, of course, Parnell, but there is also one statue of a character called John Gray. Leopold Bloom in ‘Ulysses’ walked past the statue of John Gray and was equally flummoxed, asking who was yer man? It is interesting that Bloom — a man obsessed throughout ‘Ulysses’ by water — could have been so ignorant about the man who made Dublin’s taps gush with fresh pressurised water.

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ARCHIVES 2008

Harsh lessons of economic history

Admittedly, looking out towards the horizon of the Indian Ocean from the volcanic heights of the French island of La Reunion is not the worst place to be writing about any economic crisis

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Why O’Leary would be a fine catch for Aer Lingus

She must have got it from her mother, who in turn got it from her mother, otherwise, she’d never have delivered the immortal lines with such certainty. When my mother pronounced, as she did on numerous occasions, the favourite put-down of the Irish Mammy, “she’s far too good for him, you know”, it seemed she was saying something so self-evidently obvious that it couldn’t be challenged.

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Banking on future growth

The sight of Ireland’s top bankers traipsing in to meet finance minister Brian Lenihan last Friday with their lawyers in tow indicates just how far we have come since the chest-thumping of a few weeks back, when the bankers said that they could go it alone.

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ARCHIVES 2007

Global forces take command

You would be mad to buy a house now. In recent days the Irish housing lobby – which has hijacked the economic debate in this country and made an absolute fortune in the process – has started to spin the line that ‘‘now is a good time to buy’’.

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State’s lack of respect for services affects us all

It is funny how odd bits of relatively useless information that you learned in school sneak up on you. Somewhere in the back of our brains is a skip for stuff we crammed in at some stage. Every now and then some of it re-emerges. For example, last Friday night, Archimedes’ principle elbowed its way through the crowd to take an unwanted cameo role in my consciousness.

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Back to basics for Ireland Inc

After the property gold rush, it’s now time for us to focus on small businesses in areas that make sense for the country’s economy.

The biggest lie doing the rounds here in the past few days – peddled by the same stockbrokers, estate agents, journalists and banks who told you that there would be a ‘‘soft landing’’ in the Irish property market – is that the collapse in Irish shares is merely a symptom of a greater global malaise. This is not true.

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ARCHIVES 2006

NY is our new Lourdes as we shop til we drop in Big Apple

Linda is a shopping planner. Yes, you heard right – a shopping planner. Not only does she organise tours of the great shopping Mecca that is New York City, she organises limos, special spa, nail and wax treatments and books restaurants after a hard day’s spending in the Big Apple.

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Caught between two powers

The dollar appears eventually to be going the way every economist has been predicting for the past ten years: downwards. How far it will go is anyone’s guess, but it will have ramifications. What does it mean for us, the most American-dependent country in Europe? And what does it mean for global economic relations?

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Our future is not in the EU alone

Are we coming to the end of an era? Will the world’s economic geography shift dramatically in the next 20 years? What if the action does, in fact, shift to Asia?

For the past 50 years, the North Atlantic has been the place to be. This was the epicentre of the known world. Ireland has been ideally placed between the United States and Europe – the world’s economic superpowers.

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ARCHIVES 2005

The weddingometer guide to the Irish economy

Last week, Minister for Social and Family Affairs Seamus Brennan was in Britain advising some of the 30,000 Irish emigrants who are set to return this year to expect a different country.

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Credit drives people out of the cities

Last week’s three big news events underscored again the rise and rise of suburban Ireland. The mooted sale of Eircom, the Transport 21 initiative and the government’s burgeoning budget surplus are all directly related to the way we live, commute and organise our days.

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Banks are drowning us in debt

This Tuesday, the Central Bank will publish what is probably its most important report this year. The bank will unveil its financial stability report on Irish banks. It will assess whether the banks have been prudent in their lending over the course of the past year and whether there is any evidence of risk to the system.

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Protestant schools are bursting at the seams

Our local Protestant national school has a demand problem. It is too popular. The same issue is facing many Protestant national schools in Dublin and, most likely, all over the country. Not only has the last few years seen an increase in the Protestant population, but there are many Catholic parents enrolling their children in Protestant schools.

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ARCHIVES 2004

Bush, friend of the poor

Did you know that George W Bush won the eleven poorest states in the 2000 election, while Al Gore took the five most affluent? Could it be that the Republicans are actually the party of the poor in the US, while the Democratic Party is the natural home of the upper middle classes? If that proves to be the case in 2004, why do we in Ireland always plump for the Democratic candidate on the basis that he represents the interest of the downtrodden? If the Republican bloke is actually the man of the people, will we see Irish people, particularly those on the left wing who have traditionally supported the Democrats, changing sides?

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Ripping off the punter

Next week thousands of people will have to square up with the Revenue as the tax deadline for the self-employed looms.

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Arab world seeks past glory

Among all the many splendours of Andalucia, the finest has to be the Alhambra in Granada. Sultan Muhammad V built the palace in 1350, when the Islamic state in southern Spain was at its height.

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ARCHIVES 2003

A firm grip on all our lives

The Merchant of Venice stood nervously on the Rialto Bridge, hoping to catch a glimpse of his ships returning to Venice.

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Response to Hanly Report

Dr Christine O’Malley, Chairman of the IMO Consultant Committee and Independent TD Dr. Liam Twomey argue against the proposed health reform. [audio:hanly.mp3]

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ARCHIVES 2002

Credit reaches its expiry date

Further south in Argentina, state governance has ground to a halt, and people are organising into small local communes not unlike those workers’ co-operatives seen on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War

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ARCHIVES 2001

Borrowing bubble about to burst

When I was a kid there were only three types of football fans where we lived: Leeds fans, Man U fans and Liverpool fans. Okay, so there were a couple of Chelsea and Gunners supporters, but they were only mid-table FA cup teams and really didn’t matter.

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West should declare war on IMF

While cloaking itself in the language of economics, it is in fact anti-economic, anti-modern and regressive. Some would go so far as to suggest that economic fundamentalism seeks to reverse all the gains made by the profession since the great depression.

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Arabs created own Dark Age

Among all the many splendours of Andalusia, the finest has to be the Alhambra in Granada. Sultan Muhammad V built the palace in 1350 when the Islamic state in Southern Spain was at its height.

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Don’t pay twice for Aer Lingus

Clifden, founded in 1812 by Hyacinth D’Arcy, was a relatively quiet place until 1919 when John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Browne completed the first successful crossing from North America to Europe by crash-landing their aircraft in Roundstone bog outside

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Bad times bring profits too

In June 1940, the German army with no numerical advantage knocked out the entire French military and their British allies. France, which had been regarded as a major military power for three centuries, rolled over and capitulated in less than six weeks.

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ARCHIVES 2000

Depressing news about the Republicans

Modern history confirms that the United States suffers a recession within two years of voting in a new Republican President. Although the pedigree stretches back as far as Richard Nixon in 1969, this became more evident from Reagan onwards.

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Ireland looks like Japan before the bubble burst

Can a highly competitive economy with record export growth and growing international market share go into a slump? It certainly can. Japan is now in its tenth year of economic stagnation, banks are still filing for bankruptcy and, throughout the economy, bad debts continue to rise.

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Global wealth disappears down the glughole

What a week! Shares in Motorola, the world’s second largest mobile phone manufacturer, down 15 per cent. Shares in Yahoo!, the world’s largest internet portal, fell 17.5 per cent. Lucent Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment producer, down 31 per cent.

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Foreign sanctions are a gift to wily dictators

Over the coming days we will hear the very people who ordered the bombing of Serbia last year spin us yarns about why sanctions were instrumental in bringing down Slobodan Milosevic. When an event of this magnitude happens everyone wants to be a part of it and the EU will talk up the impact of sanctions until it’s all blue in the face.

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