January 29, 2015
Like most Irish people, I like flying Aer Lingus. I like the staff, I like the feeling of being at home, but I can see what is happening. The airline is caught in a rapidly changing market having to offer a traditional, almost nostalgic, service in a world where customers’ expectations about flights are changing rapidly. More
January 26, 2015
Two major and interrelated events occurred on Thursday. The first was an Italian coup d’état at the heart of the German monetary establishment in Frankfurt. More
January 22, 2015
I am on the RER train from the centre of Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport after having what could only be described as a very French adventure. Over an hour before, I had arrived at the airport a few hours early to write this article in peace. But as is unfortunately typical for me, I realised I had left my passport in the hotel. So I had to jump back into a cab and get it. More
January 19, 2015
In the early 1990s, I used to take the Dart from Dalkey to Pearse Station every day. Back then, Lansdowne Road station was the frontline. It marked the border where the leafy back gardens of upmarket south Dublin gave way to the gritty urban reality of the canals, old railway carriages and the abandoned commercial landscape of warehouses, docks and run down scrap metal yards. It was an urban wasteland. More
January 15, 2015
Contrary to the popular myth, Hitler was voted into power in Germany because of deflation, not inflation. Hitler was elected in 1932, following three years of deflation – the consequence of restrictive polices after the great crash in 1929. More
January 12, 2015
Leg warmers, Hall & Oates, mullets, Spandau Ballet, big hair, Bonnie Tyler, trickle down economics, overalls, shoulder pads and Charlie – my God! – Charlie Haughey. The 1980s are everywhere at the moment. More
January 8, 2015
When I was a kid my favourite toy was a moon buggy, a little model the size of a matchbox. I loved it and spent hours pretending to drive around the moon, avoiding moon craters and inventing moon creatures in my head. More
January 5, 2015
The new year will kick off with another financial crisis in Greece. The problem for Greece in 2012/13 was not that it defaulted, but that it didn’t default enough. More
January 1, 2015
Napoleon dismissed the English as a “nation of shopkeepers”. By this he meant that the English were an inconsequential nation of money-grabbing mediocrities who were only interested in, to paraphrase WB Yeats’s expression, “fumbling in a greasy till, And add the halfpence to the pence”. More
December 29, 2014
One of the many positive by-products of the system of better roads built in Ireland over the last decade is the patchwork of better views. Many of the new roads have cut through parts of the countryside that were never seen before, and lots of new vistas of our lovely countryside have been opened up. 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?