Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The crisis as seen from London

Slí Eile: Ken Livingstone has an interesting blog (thanks to Alan Mathews for alerting to this recently in irisheconomy). Following a lengthy, thoughtful, facts-based and insightful article, Michael Burke (Ireland: The Nature of the Crisis) writes:
An alternative is readily apparent, which could restore rapidly economic activity. But to do so would require taking control of the main levers of the economy. Only the state can do that. At a minimum, the nationalisation of the leading elements of the banking, property and construction sectors, as well as a repudiation of some or all of their accumulated debts, can lay the basis for an economic recovery in Ireland.
I tend to agree. Fiscal stimulus, corporate governance change and tax reform are all necessary. But, we need something much more radical, joined-up and internationally associated to work. In the future I fear that we will regret not being bold enough to name it.


Anonymous said...

Says it all, unfortunately and cogently argued. Have we ever been compassionate? We had an clear opportunity to make a better society but Ireland Inc choose to line their pockets once more and are still trying to do so. Major addiction to gambling is my diagnosis alongside a co morbidity of sociopathy. Ireland is in a very sad and bad place right now

Martin O'Dea said...

Jaysus, but that's excellent stuff. Please tell me that all politicians are familiar with this document. Forgetting the fair/unfair elements of current government actions - something about NAMA - from its first mention, has always felt like compounding a problem; like treating a burn by drowning.
Anyone in TASC that would like to present some type of award to or some other avenue for Michael Burke's article to be allowed into the public domain quickly?

People possibly need mobilisation after being informed in such a clear manner as to the folly of this project, scratch that, the counter-productive, ideologically bereft, greed and self-protection motivation nature; of this project. It must be clear that the Fianna Fail cannot now perform an about turn and state that, 'in fact, Nama is a bad idea and sorry about that whole thing, there'.

If we are stuck with this government for another couple of years we are stuck with NAMA and its ramifications for a couple of generations. Bravo, to Michael for such a well-supported, clear presentation of a much more truthful analysis of our predicament

Slí Eile said...

@Martin The amazing aspect of public debate on economics in this country is just how narrow and ideologically colonised it. Folks who don't buy into the deflation are described as 'just not serious'. Swades of assumptions and assertions go unchallenged on a daily basis from Morning Ireland thorugh Joe Duffy to the evening papers and TV chat shows.
Another feature of the debate is that many with an interest in political economy feel constrained from commenting because they don't feel they have the analytical tools and training. This is nonsense. People need to lose their reticience. At the same time economists with a social conscience need to tell the truth and say that they got things wrong (we all do from time to time) and that the models just don't tell the whole story.

Martin O'Dea said...

Sli Eile, the question then arises who will challenge these assumptions and present counterpoints to the 'religion' currently offered, it should not be that hard as it is not really pro market (see NAMA) and it is not really pro state intervention (see NAMA also) it is, of course, based on status quo, protecting influencial interests, and finger-crossing. However, it should ideally be a group of Economists who have the language to withstand the inevitable attacks from the confident mainstreamers.
I am not an economist, and have only in recent weeks found this website, and attended the TASC conference at the weekend, so I am not well informed of the constitution or mission, but it would seem to me that the economists herein can perform this now essential function. Perhaps Fintan O'Toole who spoke so well at the weekend and holds such high esteem among the public at large could assist in opening up a media platform. I wouldn't think there need be any great plan or 'uniform' voice; many voices highlighting the general problems clearly indicated throughout this forum as well as many of the solutions should be absolutely worthwhile