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 The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?

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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Thu May 01, 2008 12:26 am

cactus flower wrote:
The UK are having to bring the railway network back into public ownership at enormous cost. They have not privatised health services.

not yet according to some commentators! am not a natural Monbiot fan but found interesting

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/29/nhs.health

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/11/nhs.health
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Thu May 01, 2008 12:35 pm

I think a leaner and more efficient public service is a must. There is huge waste due to lax systems, a lack of knowledge of how to cure the waste and a lack of willingness on the part of the unions to do the right thing and buy into these reforms at no cost to the exchequer. While these problems must be addressed I think privatisation can be a quick fix that will not necessarily deliver the outcomes that the Government desire.

I think a piece of legislation should be passed requiring all civil servants to co-operate fully in all cost saving measures that do not require them to work additional hours. It amazes me that somebody in the Dept of Justice or the Dept of Health hasn't already suggested this Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 12:16 am

And tourism - our figures for tourism are down (can't find the figures now sorry) but maybe that's propaganda from Keep Ireland Open. UK and elsewhere get more tourists than us. We should change this by making our land easier to enjoy by getting rid of cows and pasture and putting those walks everywhere and making more National Parks etc.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 12:18 am

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I think a leaner and more efficient public service is a must. There is huge waste due to lax systems, a lack of knowledge of how to cure the waste and a lack of willingness on the part of the unions to do the right thing and buy into these reforms at no cost to the exchequer. While these problems must be addressed I think privatisation can be a quick fix that will not necessarily deliver the outcomes that the Government desire.

I don't think you can make the public service leaner. Its politically impossible, because you can't trim services without stimulating a hornets nest of popular discontent. Nor can you go after the unions, not unless you're willing to endure months of industrial unrest, which has its own implications for economic competitiveness.

Moreover, public sector reform is like a honey pot for the media; as soon as you try and do something radical, the media is all over like a rash, inventing all sorts of conspiracies that tap into the public myth that all politics is self-serving and corrupt.

Its not difficult to see why Governments are increasingly going to the private sector. I wish we could have a public sector that was efficient, pragmatic and versatile, but at this point, I've pretty much given up hope. Now, I just want things to work, and to be able to earn a living, and if the private sector can tick the boxes, I won't object.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

I think a piece of legislation should be passed requiring all civil servants to co-operate fully in all cost saving measures that do not require them to work additional hours. It amazes me that somebody in the Dept of Justice or the Dept of Health hasn't already suggested this Very Happy Very Happy

Not in this Universe, I'm afraid.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 12:38 am

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:


I agree wholeheartedly with Cactus Flower's point about the public service ethos and the public service being better placed to provide critical infrastructure. Civil Servants may have their flaws (elevenses, fear or performance monitoring and low risk taking) but they have great virtues as well.

Obviously, the public/private debate is multi-faceted, but what I'm trying to get at is whether or not a leaner public sector improves economic competitiveness.

If it does, it has to form part of our decision-making.

Privatisation in the UK has obviously had all sorts of negative and positive effects in terms of social equality, environmental protection, public safety etc etc, but in purely economic terms, was it the right thing to do?

The UK was an economic basket case in the 1970s, but today its economy is far more robust than that of its traditional rivals in France and Germany, who continue to spends vasts amounts of their national wealth on the public sector.

From Ireland's point of view, economic success or failure has a far more immediate impact on quality of life than in larger economies, so should we put economic stability at the forefront of our decision making?

The British economy doesn't look that hot - sterling very low, house prices falling. The word was that the German economy was motoring along again. Isn't that the main reason why interest rates were raised?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 1:48 am

cactus flower wrote:
seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:


I agree wholeheartedly with Cactus Flower's point about the public service ethos and the public service being better placed to provide critical infrastructure. Civil Servants may have their flaws (elevenses, fear or performance monitoring and low risk taking) but they have great virtues as well.

Obviously, the public/private debate is multi-faceted, but what I'm trying to get at is whether or not a leaner public sector improves economic competitiveness.

If it does, it has to form part of our decision-making.

Privatisation in the UK has obviously had all sorts of negative and positive effects in terms of social equality, environmental protection, public safety etc etc, but in purely economic terms, was it the right thing to do?

The UK was an economic basket case in the 1970s, but today its economy is far more robust than that of its traditional rivals in France and Germany, who continue to spends vasts amounts of their national wealth on the public sector.

From Ireland's point of view, economic success or failure has a far more immediate impact on quality of life than in larger economies, so should we put economic stability at the forefront of our decision making?

The British economy doesn't look that hot - sterling very low, house prices falling. The word was that the German economy was motoring along again. Isn't that the main reason why interest rates were raised?

The value of sterling is relative to the value of the dollar, and has little to do with the success of the UK economy, and house prices are falling because of a housing boom that resulted from sustained economic growth.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 1:52 am

Germany 2007 Link

Doesn't look too bad to me.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 2:09 am

cactus flower wrote:
Germany 2007 Link

Doesn't look too bad to me.

Unemployment in Germany is at 8%, and was as high as 12% 2 years ago. The UK unemployment rate hasn't breached 6% this century, and is currently falling.

Your link shows GDP growth rates in the range of 1% to 3% over the last 3 to 4 years. UK economic growth has ranged from 2% to 4% in the same period.

However, the most significant point in this is the distance the UK economy has come during and since the Thatcher era.

In the 1970s, Germany was the richest and most productive country in Europe, and the UK was a union-ridden economic backwater. Whether you like it or not, Thatcher had a lot to do with reversing that trend.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 1:28 pm

seinfeld wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Germany 2007 Link

Doesn't look too bad to me.

Unemployment in Germany is at 8%, and was as high as 12% 2 years ago. The UK unemployment rate hasn't breached 6% this century, and is currently falling.

Your link shows GDP growth rates in the range of 1% to 3% over the last 3 to 4 years. UK economic growth has ranged from 2% to 4% in the same period.

However, the most significant point in this is the distance the UK economy has come during and since the Thatcher era.

In the 1970s, Germany was the richest and most productive country in Europe, and the UK was a union-ridden economic backwater. Whether you like it or not, Thatcher had a lot to do with reversing that trend.

Damn you Seinfeld! you are going to force me to do more reading on this. As though the US elections, "Collapse" and Lisbon were not enough.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Fri May 02, 2008 6:56 pm

seinfeld wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Germany 2007 Link

Doesn't look too bad to me.

Unemployment in Germany is at 8%, and was as high as 12% 2 years ago. The UK unemployment rate hasn't breached 6% this century, and is currently falling.

Your link shows GDP growth rates in the range of 1% to 3% over the last 3 to 4 years. UK economic growth has ranged from 2% to 4% in the same period.

However, the most significant point in this is the distance the UK economy has come during and since the Thatcher era.

In the 1970s, Germany was the richest and most productive country in Europe, and the UK was a union-ridden economic backwater. Whether you like it or not, Thatcher had a lot to do with reversing that trend.

Exactly, and if you fast forward to 2020, the same disparity will exist between Germany and the UK. The only difference will be is that the gaps will be wider. Germany's "boom" is already over after only 1 year of barely respectable growth in 2006. People perennially castigate the Irish economy for being building-dependent. Well, Germany is perennially export-dependent and should be equally castigated for that. Government after government of the Bundesrepublik have failed to spread the economic growth in exports to consumption, personal spending, building and domestic services. If you strip out the growth in exports in Germany, the country's economy has barely grown since 2000.
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PostSubject: The Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:19 pm

This is related to the Independent article about what needs to be done about the Irish economy.

I reject the idea of a state-backed mortage rescue as it is an un-warranted intrusion into the realm of private markets by the public sector. It is un-warranted for the reason that market forces must be allowed to play out to ensure that investment funds are correctly re-assigned, individuals are correctly re-employed and the assets of the land are used in different industries. Construction accounted for too great a proportion of our national economic activity from the period of 2003 on to 2006. A degree of correction emerged last year and it should be the Government's priority to ensure that this continues so that, come the next election, we will not have the building trade hanging over us like an over-indulged albatross.

What the Government should do is:

1.Maintain the capital programme: In a time when there are many builders available on a long-term basis, much-needed infrastructural investments into education, transport, sanitation, communication should be completed. It is through the capital programme that the future wealth-creating capacity of the economy is engendered. Investment here will give us an excellent platform to enjoy a vigorous recovery from this period of re-trenchment.

2.Maintain investment in education: Education is the most important department after the Department of Finance. It is where the future of our country is made, it is where our human capital is developed and nurtured, it is where our entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and executives build the skills to drive our nation forward. Strong, sustained investment in improving thie area must continue in order to create the people we need in order to face the challenges of the 21st Century.

3.Governmental pay-restraint: The Government must face up to the fact that their pay-rises are significantly impairing their ability to achieve pay restraint in these round of pay talks which are taking place against the back-drop of rising food and energy prices. A pay cut for the Taoiseach and the Cabinet would aid the Government's chances of achieving a restrained rise in pay levels for workers in the Irish economy.

4.Taxation: Our low taxes must be maintained, lowered in some cases to encourage aggregate demand and made simpler. Taxation is an important catalyst for investment into Ireland, so we should retain this edge as we go into the future.

5.Enterprise Ireland: Enterprise Ireland, along with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Shannon Development and the County Enterprise Boards should have their scales of operations significantly enhanced. Giving them the resources to successfully nurture a whole cohort of employing, expanding, exporting enterprises here in Ireland is essential to ensuring that the re-balancing of the economy away from building is a success.

6.FÁS: Fás should be given, like those I detailed above, a great deal more resources with which to tackle the issue of skills among those who are affected by the down-turn in building activity. Many of those who will be made and have been made redundant from the building trade have issues with transferring their skills set to another position of employment in the economy. A campaign of re-training would ensure that these people successfully re-employ and is a further way in which we can re-balance our economy.

What do other citizens think needs to be done in order to preserve and progress our great economic achievements?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:22 pm

Far be it from me to be pessimistic but because monetary control was given away nothing can be done. That is why my name for Brian Cowen is so apt.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:03 pm

I'll link to myself HERE on the Irish Economy Watch thread where I posted a link to an SBP article which was reporting the National Economic and Social Forum's recommendations to push borrowing to the limit to do just what you are saying, Ard-Taoiseach - continue to spend on capital projects like roads and invest in education because they see a Next Wave of economic prosperity for which we should be ready. It could be argued that this wave of economic prosperity might not appear and we may be left with Autobahns from Derry to Dungarvan but barely able to afford 200kms worth of petrol per week, if not less. I am positive we will sort out the Petroleum Pin© issue before too long though.

I think decentralisation is a decent project and worth doing and worth continuing and should free-up some very expensive asset property and sites in Dublin which the government could flog.

Infrastructure development in Dublin should continue to be pressed ahead - if possible using any low tech solutions too like pedestrianising the city centre, favouring electric vehicles, QBCs, cycle lanes, City Bicycles... making the capital a pleasant place for tourist families to visit indeed we should push any tourist projects around the country to the limit too - creation of more walking and cycle lanes and trails across the country and promotion of those through targeting customers abroad.

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
5.Enterprise Ireland: Enterprise Ireland, along with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Shannon Development and the County Enterprise Boards should have their scales of operations significantly enhanced. Giving them the resources to successfully nurture a whole cohort of employing, expanding, exporting enterprises here in Ireland is essential to ensuring that the re-balancing of the economy away from building is a success.

Tech and broadband must be focused on whatever the wolf at the door is saying; projects planned should be pushed ahead. Communications and broadband rollout is mentioned in the SBP today where they say the project cost is €435 million. Another €430 million is mentioned for Leader programmes which are meant to enable local business start ups. Now, I believe that forums like this or such a format should go hand in hand with the Leader programme. A means of communicating locally (from your own home) is available to us and I envisage forums where locals can post their ideas for local development, the ideas are grouped and if ideas occur with enough regularity and similarity between different people's ideas then they should be open for discussion if not consulation at a level where they may be actually implemented. That was by way of acknowledging, extending and democratising your point above.

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
3.Governmental pay-restraint: The Government must face up to the fact that their pay-rises are significantly impairing their ability to achieve pay restraint in these round of pay talks which are taking place against the back-drop of rising food and energy prices. A pay cut for the Taoiseach and the Cabinet would aid the Government's chances of achieving a restrained rise in pay levels for workers in the Irish economy.
On good employees and bad employees and inefficiencies everywhere: Should the Comptroller and Auditor General not be given sufficient teeth and jaws now to bite people or what's the story? There's some amount of motherf*ckery going on with pen-pushers in this country that if you knew what was going on at all you'd be sorry you asked in the first place. There is no accountability in some cases, too much redundancy, incompetence and pure outright ignorance. Ombudsmen, C&AG offices and their like need to be given the remit to turf some tools out of their jobs if they have to due to the sheer level of unprofessional assholism that is ubiquitously afoot in our public services. Cull cull cull. If it's too aggressive to do so all at once then a policy of making all this rubbernecking extinct within ten years need to be unleashed on them. We have to protect our good employees - the place doesn't produce anything without them.


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:06 pm

I've been thinking about this all afternoon whilst planting things out in the garden. I'm still not ready to post. By the time I am hopefully the crisis will be over.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:52 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
This is related to the Independent article about what needs to be done about the Irish economy.

I reject the idea of a state-backed mortage rescue as it is an un-warranted intrusion into the realm of private markets by the public sector. It is un-warranted for the reason that market forces must be allowed to play out to ensure that investment funds are correctly re-assigned, individuals are correctly re-employed and the assets of the land are used in different industries. Construction accounted for too great a proportion of our national economic activity from the period of 2003 on to 2006. A degree of correction emerged last year and it should be the Government's priority to ensure that this continues so that, come the next election, we will not have the building trade hanging over us like an over-indulged albatross.

What the Government should do is:

1.Maintain the capital programme: In a time when there are many builders available on a long-term basis, much-needed infrastructural investments into education, transport, sanitation, communication should be completed. It is through the capital programme that the future wealth-creating capacity of the economy is engendered. Investment here will give us an excellent platform to enjoy a vigorous recovery from this period of re-trenchment.
The capital programme will no doubt be cut, probably rightly. With oil prices soaring, all our new roads may be looking like white elephants in a few years.

Most of it was probably wasted anyway, like the Port Tunnel that can no longer take standard size trucks.
Quote :


2.Maintain investment in education: Education is the most important department after the Department of Finance. It is where the future of our country is made, it is where our human capital is developed and nurtured, it is where our entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and executives build the skills to drive our nation forward. Strong, sustained investment in improving thie area must continue in order to create the people we need in order to face the challenges of the 21st Century.
There will very little money for extra education. Personally, I think any available resources should be directed at the bottom of the heap.

There are some simple things that could be done at little cost. For example, I would introduce a regulation that all computers sold in the Republic must include a working programming language development environment (Borland Delphi, etc) . This would do more for the Irish software industry than any number of extra teachers in school or college.

Quote :

3.Governmental pay-restraint: The Government must face up to the fact that their pay-rises are significantly impairing their ability to achieve pay restraint in these round of pay talks which are taking place against the back-drop of rising food and energy prices. A pay cut for the Taoiseach and the Cabinet would aid the Government's chances of achieving a restrained rise in pay levels for workers in the Irish economy.
It's all too little to late. We will probably be looking at a pay freeze in the public service soon.

Quote :


4.Taxation: Our low taxes must be maintained, lowered in some cases to encourage aggregate demand and made simpler. Taxation is an important catalyst for investment into Ireland, so we should retain this edge as we go into the future.

I think that you are like the Republicans in the US for whom the answer to every problem is lower taxes.
If the economy is doing well, lower taxes as the govt doesn't need the money.
If the economy is doing badly, lower taxes to stimulate the economy.
Is there any circumstance in which you would not advocate a policy of lower taxes?

Quote :

5.Enterprise Ireland: Enterprise Ireland, along with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Shannon Development and the County Enterprise Boards should have their scales of operations significantly enhanced. Giving them the resources to successfully nurture a whole cohort of employing, expanding, exporting enterprises here in Ireland is essential to ensuring that the re-balancing of the economy away from building is a success.
More civil servants is not the answer. It is not possible to magic a "cohort of employing, expanding, exporting enterprises" into place.
Quote :

6.FÁS: Fás should be given, like those I detailed above, a great deal more resources with which to tackle the issue of skills among those who are affected by the down-turn in building activity. Many of those who will be made and have been made redundant from the building trade have issues with transferring their skills set to another position of employment in the economy. A campaign of re-training would ensure that these people successfully re-employ and is a further way in which we can re-balance our economy.
Again, more civil servants is not the answer. And where will these extra resources come from if you want to lower taxes?
Quote :

What do other citizens think needs to be done in order to preserve and progress our great economic achievements?
The reality is that the boom was squandered. We had no "economic achievements". We have empty housing estates and apartment blocks dotted around the country like the statues in Easter island.

Things that could be done?
1. Recentralisation. Scrap the ridiculous decentralisation policy. I wonder if decentralisation was a deliberate policy by McCreevy and the PDs to make the civil service less effective and thus weaken the state and strengthen the private sector.

2. Obvously, we should encourage research and development, but I am not sure how to go about it. I think that, somewhat ironically, our low-tax policy discourages R&D in Ireland. If you were a multinational operating in Europe, it makes sense to locate your R&D in countries like France and Germany, where the value of tax-relief for R&D is higher.

3. I am not a great fan of the Greens but, we should look at the possibilities of making Ireland a totally organic country, and branding Irish agricultural produce as being from "Organic Ireland". It should be possible to develop a successful brand like "Kerrygold". Obviously this would be a major change for Irish agriculture but it is worth considering. It would mean a moving the entire Irish agricultural industry up the value chain. Given that we are relatively small incomparison to the entire EU, it is something may be feasible. Even if it is not possible to do this for the entire country, possibly it could be done for a part of the country, eg Connacht or the Gaeltacht.

I don't want to be too negative but I think there are some very big problems looming in the next few years:-
a) private sector wages in many industries are going to come under severe pressure from competition from Europe, from higher transport costs, etc. while public sector wages are protected. This is going to cause major conflicts.
b) there are obviously major problems with the housing market and there are no easy answers. Lower house prices are a good thing in theory, except hundreds of thousands of houses have been bought for overvalued prices. The owners of these houses will feel poorer by the day and will cut back on spending, depressing the economy further.
c) the price of oil is increasing. Oil production worldwide seems to have reached a plateau, which would indicate that the price is probably going to keep rising. Ireland's geographic location means that transport costs for Irish industry are higher than most countries.

There are tough times ahead, and they are tougher than they need be if we had had better government over the last 10 years.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:23 am

I have many points but I will dwell on one. Are you going to force the farmers to go organic. Do you know the drop in output this would entail. Are you going to subsidise thefarmers for lost income. Are you going to subsidise the workers who will be paying big money for expensive food. Why not leave the farming to the farmers. This whole thread is pie in the sky because you are looking to the government to do something to save the day.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:37 am

youngdan wrote:
I have many points but I will dwell on one. Are you going to force the farmers to go organic. Do you know the drop in output this would entail. Are you going to subsidise thefarmers for lost income. Are you going to subsidise the workers who will be paying big money for expensive food. Why not leave the farming to the farmers. This whole thread is pie in the sky because you are looking to the government to do something to save the day.

There is always a choice between courses of action youngdan. This thread is about your ideas of what should be done in relation to the Economy. What are they?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:23 am

This is a good question Cactus that I will get back to tomorrow. The government at the moment are playing for time with the vote coming up. How about this suggestion. Make Clare a tax free zone and let the workers there keep all their pay. No corporate tax, no gas tax , no fag tax, no tax on anything. After 6 months when the boom is on have each worker pay 10% max. Auditor could afford top notch health car and he would forget about prius cars because he would have a rolls.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:26 am

youngdan wrote:
I have many points but I will dwell on one. Are you going to force the farmers to go organic. Do you know the drop in output this would entail. Are you going to subsidise thefarmers for lost income. Are you going to subsidise the workers who will be paying big money for expensive food. Why not leave the farming to the farmers. This whole thread is pie in the sky because you are looking to the government to do something to save the day.
YD,

the idea is not to reduce income, put to produce a more expensive product and earn more revenue.

Look at the beef industry:-
- there is obviously a demand for organic beef among many consumers, who are prepared to pay higher prices for it
- Ireland is (or was) viewed in Europe as a green and unspoiled land
- South American and other lower-cost beef producers are gaining access to EU markets
- Ireland has an ideal climate for producing beef
If you put the above together then surely the idea of producing organic beef in Ireland and marketing it throughout Europe, using Ireland's reputation as an unpolluted country, makes sense. And it doesn't have to be the government that does it - I can imagine that Kerry and/or Glanbia could organise it themselves - although some govt support would be required for inspections, etc.

If farming was left to the farmers, we'd all have mad cow disease.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:33 am

It does make sense but as you point out the market for it is at the high end. Without fertilizer and pest control however the volumn is down so even the basic eaters are paying more.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:30 am

Are there no more suggestions of what should be done. Organic for those farmers wishing to go that route is one decent suggestion. No one else in favour of eliminating taxes it would appear.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:51 am

Youngdan in Ireland we have had the warmest May since meteorological records began. We have all been out on the beaches and in our gardens making the most of it in case summer ends tomorrow. The economy will have to wait, but when it clouds over you'll find there are plenty of us ready to have a shot at revising the NDP.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:47 am





iseq yesterday

Public sector pay cutbacks advised now - was this a rehash of what happened in the eighties when the IMF were hanging around our garden gate ? Did we really blow the boom ? Would FG and Lab have handled the massive surpluses any differently ?

FF are solid in the opinion polls ... is it likely that whoever is going to feel this recession (if it is sustained) do not vote for FF. Or do they and they just don't know ? Or does FF and Richard Bruton's crying for Cowen's Head really have any relation to this at all and it was due and inevitable anyway ?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:42 am

The appalling vista all through the boom was construction sector collapse parallel to the exodus of Foreign Direct Investment jobs. Most small scale Irish manufacturing quietly slipped away during the boom years, masked by jobs in new shopping centres and call centres. Farmer numbers are now very much reduced from the 1980s and are threatened with decimation by the WTO. The call centres (Hibernian Insurance announced yesterday that 580 jobs were going to India) are now going. Rural tourism was wiped out since Foot and mouth and couldn't compete with the incentivised hotels. This is all going on in the middle of a US and UK recession.

I wouldn't entirely blame Fianna Fail even though I don't think they could have done worse in terms of what was in their power to do. Crazy money was thrown at public sector wages, broadband was too little too late, they allowed a shortage of IT graduates, there was little or no support for building indigenous industry and billions thrown at vanity projects and projects like the useless incentivised holiday home construction.

Our situation in the EU is also to blame - we weren't able to use currency policy or interest rates to take the heat out of the overheated economy.

We now have a high cost economy with poor infrastructure and we are competing with countries like India where top class IT graduates earn a fraction of Irish wages.

Our only advantage is that we are very small, and we only have to corner a small slice of a very large global market to do well.

In the 1990s economists had different ideas about what to do about our economy. We had a low cost base/overheads and a lot of young people. There was a debate as to whether to build up indigenous production or concentrate on FDI. The right answer in retrospect would have been to do both.

Time to put our heads together again and try and get out of this mess.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:59 am

cactus flower wrote:
The appalling vista all through the boom was construction sector collapse parallel to the exodus of Foreign Direct Investment jobs. Most small scale Irish manufacturing quietly slipped away during the boom years, masked by jobs in new shopping centres and call centres. Farmer numbers are now very much reduced from the 1980s and are threatened with decimation by the WTO. The call centres (Hibernian Insurance announced yesterday that 580 jobs were going to India) are now going. Rural tourism was wiped out since Foot and mouth and couldn't compete with the incentivised hotels. This is all going on in the middle of a US and UK recession.

I wouldn't entirely blame Fianna Fail even though I don't think they could have done worse in terms of what was in their power to do. Crazy money was thrown at public sector wages, broadband was too little too late, they allowed a shortage of IT graduates, there was little or no support for building indigenous industry and billions thrown at vanity projects and projects like the useless incentivised holiday home construction.

Our situation in the EU is also to blame - we weren't able to use currency policy or interest rates to take the heat out of the overheated economy.

We now have a high cost economy with poor infrastructure and we are competing with countries like India where top class IT graduates earn a fraction of Irish wages.

Our only advantage is that we are very small, and we only have to corner a small slice of a very large global market to do well.

In the 1990s economists had different ideas about what to do about our economy. We had a low cost base/overheads and a lot of young people. There was a debate as to whether to build up indigenous production or concentrate on FDI. The right answer in retrospect would have been to do both.

Time to put our heads together again and try and get out of this mess.
Good post. I think with regard to the Euro and money structure, we can offset the lack of power we have to set interest ways in other ways anyway - the ECB was lending at 2% I believe during the bubble but though Stamp Duty was a species of brake on borrowing it wasn't enough and we could have went for the longer-term by imposing the like of energy standards then which were only imposed this year by the GP in government.

Public land for forestry could have been bought too.
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