Articles %


December 5, 2016

Today, Italy votes on a referendum that will change the course of not just Italy but the entire EU. While we gripe about water charges, bogged down by our own incompetence, the world around us is changing dramatically. These changes will have enormous ramifications for us. More

December 1, 2016

I love the word ‘bedlam’, meaning insane or totally out of control. It comes from the Royal St Mary Bethlehem Hospital in Bishopsgate, London. The Royal Bethlehem was an asylum dating back to the 15th century where poor creatures suffering from seizures and other afflictions were remanded to end their days roaring and screaming, packed away out of sight. Bethlehem was abbreviated to Bedlam and the word bedlam fell into common usage. More

November 28, 2016

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 coax builders who are sitting around waiting for prices to rise, to begin to dig foundations. This is state-sanctioned house price inflation. Nothing less. It’s like a hostage situation. More

November 24, 2016

‘Stunning façades are finished in a unique glass cladding by Lithodecor, the reflective finish breaks down visual barriers to deliver a magical interplay between landscape and architecture.’ More

November 21, 2016

Make no mistake about it: the series of public sector strikes that we have experienced — and are about to see more of — are entirely linked to housing. The fact that middle-ranking public sector workers can’t, or at least don’t feel that they can, afford to live in this country is at the root of the latest industrial unrest. For the state, the message should be clear: fix housing and you more or less fix most of the grievance. In contrast, allow the continuation of the dysfunctional market for housing and accommodation in general, and you have a recipe for industrial relations war. More

November 17, 2016

The Bangladeshi selfie-stick hawkers are doing a brisk trade outside the Colosseum. Local chain-smoking lads dressed as gladiators prey on vulnerable tourists, while portly priests on their annual visit to Catholicism’s corporate HQ take time out from soul-searching. More

November 14, 2016

Could Donald Trump be the saviour of Europe? He might be. The papers are full of people telling us how much they hate Trump and lamenting that the US is now a racist swamp where the vilest of sentiments have suddenly been given currency. This is the predictable line, but maybe it’s not accurate. More

November 10, 2016

We all now know what has happened in America, but the big question is not what has happened, but why it is happening? In order to answer this question, we have to look much deeper into the campaign, the insults and the upsets. We have to explore the economic, demographic and political forces that have come together in a perfect electoral storm in the land of the free. More

November 7, 2016

Make no mistake about it, the series of public sector strikes that we have experienced — and are about to see more of — are entirely linked to housing. The fact that middle ranking public sector workers can’t, or at least don’t feel that they can, afford to live in this country is at the root of the latest industrial unrest. For the State, the message should be clear: fix housing and you more or less fix most of the grievance. In contrast, allow the continuation of the dysfunctional market for housing and accommodation in general, and you have a recipe for industrial relations war. More

November 3, 2016

The main reason the public-sector unions are on strike is the price of housing. Sort out housing and we begin to sort out lots of things that are problematic in the economy. Unless the State gets to grips with the fact that middle-ranking workers can’t find a place to live in this country, there will be higher and higher wage demands. More

Articles

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?

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