Market liberalisation: A certain path of political failure

Many of Ireland's leading lights fancy themselves as classical market liberals in the tradition of Adam Smith, David Hume, and David Ricardo. These would be liberals feel the 'dead hand' of the State should be removed whenever possible-that fundamentally, for countries to prosper, they must practice openness and competition to foster economic growth. Economic growth will then increase the wealth and living standards of the citizens of the nation. By Stephen Kinsella

The transformation of private debt into public debt

Ireland has guaranteed the assets and liabilities of a large part of its banking system. Parts of this banking system are, to use a technical term, dead. That is, these parts of the banking system will no longer provide credit (for a profit) to the real economy (plumbers who need overdrafts to pay their workers and buy materials).

Policy choices and the political business cycle

The political business cycle - the theory that during the run up to an election, the government has an incentive to produce a giveaway budget to woo prospective voters – is a perpetual feature of elections. Recent research on the US economy has shown election outcomes are strongly correlated with only the last two quarters of economic output. In other words, voters have very short memories. Struggling politicians therefore have a strong incentive to produce giveaway budgets near election years, regardless of whether it is a good idea economically or not.

Regenerating the Regeneration Project

A new, scaled-down regeneration project for Limerick is to be sent to cabinet next week.

The revised plan will cost €924m, approximately 57% of the cost of the original. This revision of cost is a recognition that we live in straightened times, but also that the cost of construction has gone down quite a lot. Overall I’m not too surprised or upset by this downward revision. Most of the work of the regeneration project’s initial phases will be completed using these funds.

Quinn and the spin of ‘systemic importance’


Rules. They are there for a reason. When dealing with financial products like insurance, the financial regulator sets the rules. The rules are there for a very good reason: the consequences for the public for a large insurer getting into financial difficulty are enormous.

Could Ireland contract ‘Japan Disease’?

Ireland’s population will get older, as these cool graphs from Aidan Kane show. The bloggers from define ‘Japan disease’, where an economy is full of aging workers, and also highly indebted. How likely is it Ireland could contract a mild form of Japan Disease in the next 20-40 years?

Ireland in 2050: The Death of Feminism

Let’s talk about the future.

Feminism is going to die in the next 40 years. By 2050, equal rights, legal protection, and social equality for women will have been enshrined in Irish law and, more importantly, in the Zeitgeist, for three generations or more.

Be smart: Jobs first, smart economy second

The smart economy is a nice idea, perhaps even a good idea. But like most nice ideas, when exposed to reality, the smart economy just breaks down. The smart economy as a concept takes no notice of the detail: who is looking for what type of job right now, and how long will it take those people to train for new ones?When confronted by the facts, we have to augment our industrial development strategy if we want to protect the real, on-the-ground, economy.

Prospects for the Elderly in a Brave New World

A recent headline from the Irish Times ("Elderly Take Over", Jan. 13) conjures images of the medical card protests in October 2008 by the elderly citizens of Ireland. Clearly, the effect of an ageing population on economics, politics, and society in general is in need of contemplation. The UN Population Division has issued a report showing how trends in the average age of workers will affect advanced societies.