October 12, 2015
Honduras is about as far from Ireland as you can get. It is extremely dangerous, very poor and over the past few years this little Central American country has become the fulcrum of the drug trafficking wars as vicious drug gangs battle it out for supremacy. More
October 8, 2015
Being on the right side of history is important. More
October 5, 2015
When you look around at the world economy, one thing strikes you: America is on its own in terms of having a growing economy. There simply has not been a period in recent history where global growth rates are so divergent. Europe is still gripped by austerity, Japan hasn’t been right for a generation and the Chinese economy is facing a rapid post-boom contraction. Elsewhere, the big commodity-based emerging markets like Brazil, South Africa and Russia are simply derivatives of China, as their wealth is largely a function of China’s demand for their raw materials. More
October 1, 2015
Regular readers of this column will know that we forget Russia on the global stage at our peril. Russia is still a major player in our part of the world. More
September 28, 2015
While at the National Ploughing Championships last year, in truth I felt like a bit of a fraud mooching among the Massey Fergusons. My suburban Dun Laoghaire is about as far from an upbringing in the Irish countryside as you are likely to have on this island. More
September 24, 2015
In May 1946, Churchill gave a speech considered to be the opening salvo of the Cold War. He declared: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” In addition to the “Iron Curtain” that had descended across Eastern Europe, Churchill spoke of “communist fifth columns” that were operating throughout western and southern Europe. More
September 21, 2015
It’s always odd to pass places you used to work. Nostalgia plays tricks on you. I am walking down the shaded side of Boston’s Newbury Street in the height of a wonderfully hot late September afternoon. Just across the road is the restaurant where I spent a summer washing dishes. There was a long Indian summer that year too. The heat in the kitchen must’ve been in the mid-90s. More
September 17, 2015
Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend have their gaffs here. Looking out over the Thames from Richmond Hill – the only view which is protected by a 1902 Act of Parliament – it is hardly surprising that ageing millionaire rockers want to hang here. More
September 14, 2015
For a documentary going out on RTE One the week after next on wealth in Ireland, we explored the recent returns to the stock market. In order to get a sense of the value of companies based here in Ireland, the team constructed a bespoke index, which measured the stock performance of the top ten US multi-national corporations that have part of their global business here in Ireland. More
September 10, 2015
The refugee crisis has shone a light on an issue that in Ireland is always simmering under the surface: housing. A lot of people have made the point that we have nowhere to put the refugees if they were to come here. This seems a natural thing to say when you think of the difficulties of finding accommodation, the upward movement in rents and the extreme version of this – real homelessness. More
I write two economics columns every week. They keep me sane and hopefully, on my toes – but you can be the judge of that! One appears in the Irish Independent on Wednesdays and the other in the Sunday Business Post every Sunday. I’ve been writing the columns for over ten years now, covering economic, financial, demographic, social and geo-political issues – and all sorts of other things that come into my head, sparked by things I’ve read, people I have spoken to or ideas I have heard, over the course of any particular week.
The world - and Ireland - is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to run out of things to write about. Since I rarely stop writing, the articles are composed and written in the oddest of places, in bars, on trains, in my office, on buses. You name it, I’ve written in, on or under it.
One of the great joys in the week is reading the responses to my articles in the comments on this site. Thanks so much to everyone who responds, challenges, argues and even blatantly insults! This is what freedom of expression and opinion is all about: two contrasting opinions – a buyer and a seller - make a market and makes for good discussion. Imagine a world where we all agreed?