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Author Topic: A Continuation of Seamus's Front of House People  (Read 6825 times)
RSL
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« on: April 11, 2011, 02:22:01 PM »
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To be sure, Russ, the US stands on the brink, but her capacity to recover is much more powerful than the puny economic clout we wield (if wield is even the right word). Right now, we have ceded our economic independence and to all intents and purposes, our hard-won status as a sovereign nation to the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund,and a collection of banks, mainly in Germany and France who recklessly fuelled the so-called Celtic Tiger (basically a property bubble) with cheap money of which we readily and greedily availed at catastrophic cost to a once proud country. It's cold comfort to know that we are not alone. What's hard to swallow is the knowledge that we took the shilling and did most of the damage to ourselves. What else is new!

All this is a far cry from the poor gnomes above - I posted the picture for a bit of fun after trying out my s90.When feppe suggested they might be going on a trip, it occurred to me there is nowhere for them to go and they'd be better advised to stay behind the garden wall because what's outside it ain't a pretty sight at the moment.

Seamus, You're right. The US is remarkably resilient and I have high hopes that we'll be able to change course soon enough to avoid the chasm. But we've already plunged ourselves into a serious inflation. Our "leaders" tell us that so far there's no inflation because except for gasoline and groceries, prices haven't risen noticeably. But if I remember correctly from economics, "inflation" is defined as an increase in the supply of money relative to the supply of goods. If that definition is the correct one we're already in the midst of a massive inflation. The only reason "core" prices haven't risen is that everyone's sitting on what they have left and the "velocity" of money hasn't increased. So until the velocity of money increases we average householders are okay as long as we don't need gasoline or groceries.

I agree that what's happened to the Celtic Tiger is tragic, especially the loss of sovereignty that went with it. I see the same thing happening to my own country, though perhaps not as precipitously as it happened there. And I pray that Ireland and the other countries that followed the Pied Piper will find their way back home.

But from what I've learned from having been stationed with Australians on more than one occasion, they're a wonderful people, so perhaps the gnomes wouldn't be too badly off if they joined the exodus.
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 03:17:07 PM »
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I suspect that Tigers of all colours are coming home to roost, if tigers can roost. I don't really believe that economics are much to do with the world in which I live, rather do I believe them to be a form of flexible theory brought out in times of stress to calm the nerves of the savages who might, just might, go nuts and drop all pretence at civilization if some faith healing wasn't brough out of the cupboard at the appropriate moment.

The sort of economic sense that appears to work is one based on basic barter: my eggs for your mandarins. Which is very cool, until you start to question just how many eggs a mandarin make. Or the other way around, depending on your balance of eggs. Or your reserve of mandarins.

Unfortunately, when we swap these things that we all need for exotica beyond our comprehension, we get left behind and have to start trusting our betters. Only then do we discover that they aren't really better at all, just more cunning and ruthless with the added plus of not being troubled by that silly little thing we call a conscience.

But how can we blame them for trying? They'd get nowhere without our unreserved help: our own suspended belief of reality allows us to think we can only do better as we follow the yellow brick road; we buy what we can't afford, rob Peter to pay Paul and then stand amazed, aghast, when the yellow brick road turns into a friggin' yellow brick hole. But it's always somebody else's fault, haven't you noticed?

;-(

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 03:19:42 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rocco Penny
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2011, 04:00:52 PM »
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I learned someone that knows how to outfit lighting in public places makes an annual salary near six figures.
Sure we need that, but from where the trickle down begins,
to the very wages and value commanded,
there has always been some strange disconnect in just who will be paying, and who will be taking.
So you have a fabulous idea to fund speculation and deals with real estate value?
Just who pays for the land?
And who pays their wages?
Demanding employers willing to go to an lengths to see collective bargaining abolished?
Just who pays and who takes?
Money is a barbaric concept and a poison to humanity
We're limited by it,
bound to it,
can't imagine a world without it.
All preposterous by most measures.
Offer me 3 million for almost anything and my mind is subject to change.
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seamus finn
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2011, 04:36:34 PM »
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Russ, thanks for moving the topic here. I never intended a discussion like this to start in Critique.

You're right about the Australians. I have a son working there as a graphic designer, with his own business for many years now. The difference between his story and many others nowadays is that he emigrated voluntarily and made a fine life for himself Down Under. The current young generation have no choice but to go because there is no work here. I have another son in Barcelona. He too chose to go and again has succeeded in Spain.

Neither one of them would come home, even if there was work for them. They detest what has happened to this country and abhor the political and banking system which brought about our ruination. I wonder if many people outside Ireland really understand the true scale of the catastrophe, and, worse still, what will continue to happen to our children's children.

Rob, it's true many chickens are coming home to roost but I doubt if any of them will be as malignant as the one we have here. I could go on at length about the mindset that piled our own self-created recession on top of the world-wide one, but I'd only bore you all to tears.  
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 04:39:31 PM by seamus finn » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 02:34:01 AM »
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They detest what has happened to this country and abhor the political and banking system which brought about our ruination. I wonder if many people outside Ireland really understand the true scale of the catastrophe, and, worse still, what will continue to happen to our children's children.

Rob, it's true many chickens are coming home to roost but I doubt if any of them will be as malignant as the one we have here. I could go on at length about the mindset that piled our own self-created recession on top of the world-wide one, but I'd only bore you all to tears.  
It's all very well to blame the bankers and the politicians. What happened in Ireland could not have happened without the wholehearted support of its people, who having lived in a poor country suddenly found themselves living in one perceived to be rich, with rampant property prices and a supposedly booming economy, and loved it. The Irish population can't absolve themselves of all responsibility by finding scapegoats.

Jeremy
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 02:55:12 AM »
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It's all very well to blame the bankers and the politicians. What happened in Ireland could not have happened without the wholehearted support of its people, who having lived in a poor country suddenly found themselves living in one perceived to be rich, with rampant property prices and a supposedly booming economy, and loved it. The Irish population can't absolve themselves of all responsibility by finding scapegoats.

Jeremy

Absolutely, and a sentiment shared in my own post above. We self-congratulate whilst things are cool and then blame the rest of humanity when things go pear-shaped.

I was watching our UK top politico's excoriation of Oxford Univerity for having a negligible intake of coloured students. Not a word was mentioned about qualifications, but all the emphasis put upon catching more minority votes in a parody of the socialist governments prior to the era of Mrs Thatcher. How absurd to watch one emperor don the invisible clothes of yet another... In those days it was called 'positive discrimination'; you know, selective favouritism for targeted political gain. I think today's mantra for the same tilting of reality is a 'fair' society. I just love words like fair; so flexible and so open to interpretation...

Some days I think I may as well just let the tv die without trying to fix, or even live with, its funny now-it-works-now-it-doesn't state of being.

Rob C
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seamus finn
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 03:41:47 AM »
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Quote
It's all very well to blame the bankers and the politicians. What happened in Ireland could not have happened without the wholehearted support of its people, who having lived in a poor country suddenly found themselves living in one perceived to be rich, with rampant property prices and a supposedly booming economy, and loved it. The Irish population can't absolve themselves of all responsibility by finding scapegoats.


I absolutely agree with both yourself and Rob. I always take as a given the public's capacity for self-delusion and greed - especially when the money is flowing. We waded into the deep end with out eyes wide shut. That's what people do - everywhere. That's why the scorpion stung the frog - it's in his nature.

Remember, a similar bubble happened in Holland in 1637  when Tulip Mania hit the country during the so-called Dutch Golden Age.  Contract prices for bulbs soared to incredibly high levels and then suddenly collapsed. At the peak of tulip mania, in February 1637, single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Many economists regard this as the first recorded speculative bubble. Substitute tulips for property in Ireland and you get the picture. Banks behaved recklessly to gain market share and the public couldn't resist. Sure, I blame them for their irresponsibility and lack of foresight.
  

What I cannot forgive, however, is the lack of political oversight. Where were the banking regulators, the Central Bank et al while the bubble grew? The regulatory system failed abysmally. The Minister for Finance refused to intervene.   The authorities turned a blind eye because the political climate of the day required a see no evil approach. Elections were bought with the public's own money. Public service costs ran out of control. Wages soared. You all know the story by now. Nobody in any elected position of authority cried stop. Instead, the buzz phrase was 'soft landing'.

A few economic commentators warned there would be a terrible day of reckoning. They were told by our then Prime Minister to take a hike. He wondered if they felt that way why the didn't go off and commit suicide.

One of the functions of government is to protect the common good. It didn't happen here. Instead we had a period of hubris, arrogance,  corruption and scandals, followed by inordinately expensive tribunals of enquiry, one of which took something like fourteen years to complete its work.

And all this, mind you, in a country whose population is probably smaller than Manchester, England - a country which boasted at the height of the boom that it was one of the richest in the world!




« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 04:30:51 AM by seamus finn » Logged

colinb
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 05:49:43 AM »
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Talk of tulip bubbles reminds me of a fine book, on that and other examples of people going crazy [the South Sea Bubble, etc.]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds

Published in 1841, could have been last week. Also, Mackay has a nice turn of phrase.

Upon graduating in 1986, I left Ireland. I wonder if it feels more or less cheerless now than it did then. I guess the social situation has changed markedly in ways that I like, but the financial straits seem considerably worse. Perhaps all that fab infrastructure built at EU-expense will make the recovery happen a little faster than otherwise. It can't harm.

c
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RSL
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 10:21:55 AM »
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One of the functions of government is to protect the common good. It didn't happen here. Instead we had a period of hubris, arrogance,  corruption and scandals, followed by inordinately expensive tribunals of enquiry, one of which took something like fourteen years to complete its work.

Seamus, the US experienced a similar abdication of responsibility on the part of its government. Instead of responsible oversight we saw members of congress insisting that our government-backed mortgage companies make loans to people who couldn't possibly pay them back. Hubris certainly was involved, but buying votes with taxpayers' money was the bottom line, as well as under-the-table financial favors toward certain congressmen. That's corruption plain and simple, and, of course as soon as honest investigators began looking into the corruption the scandals were exposed -- mostly on the back pages of our newspapers of "record."

What bothers me most is that old question: "Where's the outrage?" When I was in my twenties something like this would have brought down thunder and lightning on the perpetrators, but the reaction here has been pretty ho-hum. So far, no tribunals. But when I look at some of the tribunals of the past I realize that tribunals amount to the foxes guarding the henhouse and pay the foxes quite well for the privilege.

As you point out, all this is nothing new. Human nature never changes

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RSL
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 10:28:28 AM »
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Some days I think I may as well just let the tv die without trying to fix, or even live with, its funny now-it-works-now-it-doesn't state of being.

Rob, Take it from me, that's an excellent idea. For many years I watched TV every evening, always thinking that it couldn't get any worse. Finally, I realized I was wrong and just quit. I haven't watched TV since, except when election returns are coming in. Haven't missed it at all. Get a lot of reading done. Am able to sneer at people who tell me about TV programs. Life is wonderful again.
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seamus finn
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 10:41:25 AM »
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Russ and Rob,

Although retired, I'm a journalist and editor of the old school (the decent school I truly believe), forty years of it, printer's ink in my veins. The other week I shocked myself by turning off the radio lunchtime news which I thought was an essential part of living. That evening, I consciously refused to watch the television news and the following morning, didn't buy any paper.  I've been doing that more often ever since. I guess I'm trying to tell myself something. Whatever's going on, it's a novel feeling!
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seamus finn
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 01:33:54 PM »
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Upon graduating in 1986, I left Ireland. I wonder if it feels more or less cheerless now than it did then. I guess the social situation has changed markedly in ways that I like, but the financial straits seem considerably worse. Perhaps all that fab infrastructure built at EU-expense will make the recovery happen a little faster than otherwise. It can't harm.


Things have changed a lot in many ways.

1.  Separation of church and state (big time). Country far more pluralist than before. (About time)
2   Not as cheerless as you might expect, all things considered.
3   Major unemployment.
4.  Country basically bankrupt. Kindness of strangers (as one economist put it) keeping us afloat.
5.  Plenty of zombie banks around the place.
6   IMF personnel visit us twice a month to make sure we're meeting our commitments. (Humiliating).
7   Sovereignty surrendered to European Central Bank, IMF etc. (More humiliation)
8.  Default on sovereign debts on the cards in the medium term as the gap between national income and expenditure is simply too much.
9.  Plenty of empty retail outlets. Also loads of busted developers and householders in negative equity.
10.Take my advice and don't come back.
11. Other than that......well, the glass of Guinness is half empty rather than half full.
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 03:13:45 PM »
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Things have changed a lot in many ways.

1.  Separation of church and state (big time). Country far more pluralist than before. (About time)
2   Not as cheerless as you might expect, all things considered.
3   Major unemployment.
4.  Country basically bankrupt. Kindness of strangers (as one economist put it) keeping us afloat.
5.  Plenty of zombie banks around the place.
6   IMF personnel visit us twice a month to make sure we're meeting our commitments. (Humiliating).
7   Sovereignty surrendered to European Central Bank, IMF etc. (More humiliation)
8.  Default on sovereign debts on the cards in the medium term as the gap between national income and expenditure is simply too much.
9.  Plenty of empty retail outlets. Also loads of busted developers and householders in negative equity.
10.Take my advice and don't come back.
11. Other than that......well, the glass of Guinness is half empty rather than half full.




"7   Sovereignty surrendered to European Central Bank, IMF etc. (More humiliation)"


Sounds exactly like the entire backdrop to the EEC concept. In my opinion, it was a great idea to form a sort of open or common market but a very flawed one to inject ideas about shared sovereignty, which is exactly what seems to be happening, quite apart from the financial crisis. But, I can't deny that it makes it easier for me to live outwith my country of birth...

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 04:58:34 PM »
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Rob, Take it from me, that's an excellent idea. For many years I watched TV every evening, always thinking that it couldn't get any worse. Finally, I realized I was wrong and just quit. I haven't watched TV since, except when election returns are coming in. Haven't missed it at all. Get a lot of reading done. Am able to sneer at people who tell me about TV programs. Life is wonderful again.
I did exactly the same thing as you Russ, and get the same results.
Actually, I do not even have tv since I've moved.
Not just one time I missed it.
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graeme
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 03:32:24 AM »
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"7   Sovereignty surrendered to European Central Bank, IMF etc. (More humiliation)"


Sounds exactly like the entire backdrop to the EEC concept. In my opinion, it was a great idea to form a sort of open or common market but a very flawed one to inject ideas about shared sovereignty, which is exactly what seems to be happening, quite apart from the financial crisis. But, I can't deny that it makes it easier for me to live outwith my country of birth...

Rob C


Hi Rob

I heard an interesting take on the EU during a BBC 'Thinking Allowed' program ( the subject was 'Cosmopolitanism' ) a few days ago - that for all the EU's shortcomings the idea of a war between Western European nations is now more or less unthinkable. That's after centuries of butchery, bloodshed & genocide ( which was often exported to other parts of the world ).

As for sovereignty, I'm not sure I'm particularly bothered whether the UK is administered by a gang of Eurocrats in Brussels or a bunch of public schoolboys in London - they're both pretty unrepresentative of most of the UK ( and probably equally corrupt / incompetent ).

The direct link to the program is at:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/ta/ta_20110112-1530a.mp3

If that link doesn't work it's halfway down this page:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ta/all

Russ

I find that I need at least 3 glasses of wine in me before my mind is dulled enough to enjoy TV. And I can't remember how I wasted time before the Internet.

Gotta go and do some work.

Regards to you all.

Graeme
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 04:13:01 AM by graeme » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2011, 04:43:11 AM »
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"As for sovereignty, I'm not sure I'm particularly bothered whether the UK is administered by a gang of Eurocrats in Brussels or a bunch of public schoolboys in London - they're both pretty unrepresentative of most of the UK ( and probably equally corrupt / incompetent )."


Trouble is, if not people with a reasonably good education, what's left?

I've worked on a factory floor: I wouldn't recommend the denizens for thinking leadership either, though most did make very good followers, particularly the so-called leaders.

Rob C

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seamus finn
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2011, 04:52:23 AM »
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For a country like Ireland, who fought so hard for it, part of the price being a subsequent civil war, loss of sovereignty is a savage psychological blow. That's what people outside the Emerald Isle don't get.

As for the broader EU, the fundamental structural flaw at birth is that they are trying to impose a one-for-all economic structure based on countries like Germany on nations for whom that structure is entirely unsuited. For example,  the UK controls your own interest rates - a tool we could really do with right now. In the long run, maybe a two-tier Europe is on the way - one for the rich, and a second division for the likes of us. One thing is sure: if some structural reform isn't done soon, the euro itself may go down. However, given the massive political investment in the project, I can't see the big players allowing that to happen.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 04:57:39 AM by seamus finn » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2011, 11:21:18 AM »
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You may be right, Seamus, as nobody ever gets to really, really count the money it might as well be seventy-one percent imaginary as eighty-two percent: it matters not a jot. However, a two-tier Euro would be as useless as the present one: the Germans would still hanker after the Dmark and the Spanish and Italians will never forgive the Euro stopping so many from being able honestly to claim themselves millionaires. I know that I won't forgive the Euro for my present impression of impecuniosity!

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2011, 12:08:43 PM »
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...given the massive political investment in the project, I can't see the big players allowing that to happen.

Seamus, I'm sure they'll fight tooth and nail to make sure it doesn't happen, but in the long run they may not be able to keep control. Depends on how many more countries they try to "help." If I had to bet, I think I'd bet on the Euro going down the drain -- eventually. Individual nations need to be able to control their own currency. We're seeing a demonstration of that every day now. The whole Euro idea was based on doing away with individual sovereignty. Didn't quite happen. In the meantime I'm watching my own country try to give away its sovereignty to the UN.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2011, 04:21:48 AM »
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Here in Spain, someone recently posted a joke in a newspaper, saying something along the lines of "why do we need governments, when we have markets"...
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