Thursday, 21 January 2010

Blog on fiscal situation in Greece

Slí Eile: Read the discussion on today's Irish economy on Greek fiscal situation following blog, there, by Michael Burke.


Paul Hunt said...

It probably says something that a post has to moved to the next parish to attract more attention. And it is sad that such engagement as there is on this site is teminated abruptly when the prejudices that motivate the blog run the risk of being exposed for what they are.

Nat O`Connor said...

We regularly post links to other blogs, including from “the next parish”. The fact that one of our bloggers has a guest post on Irish Economy might actually be evidence that they agree that we have useful things to say. ;-)

Paul Hunt said...

Basking in the reflected glow from such a high calibre blogger might not be wise. I fear that the narrowness of the discourse, a failure to engage when prejudices are threatened and the instinctive retreat to positions of ideological comfort will not generate the political traction required.

Just because Labour in Britain lost its compass under Tony Blair does not mean the New Labour journey was not worth while. The left-of-centre in Ireland needs to thread that path; but it fears it.

Michael Burke said...

I wasn't expecting much of a response, as the facts related to the FT are both widely known and accepted here.

No-one had posted the FT piece on Irish Economy, despite the fact that his views regularly get an airing here. I was hoping that it might challenge received wisdom, frequently reproduced there, which attempts to contradict those facts on the fiscal position and unit labour costs.

Instead, one of the first responses was to challenge those facts on debt levels, others were to miss the point about universal export-led growth and there was an interesting digression on national accounts. There was even an attempt to portray the actual competitiveness of Irish exports by removing the effects of pharma from the data.

An uncharitable soul might call that "a failure to engage....,etc."

Paul Hunt said...


For me the real failure to engage was on the level of prices in Ireland relative to other EU states which reduces the real value of pay in Ireland denoninated in Euro. I want to see higher real wages. And Martin Wolf was a bit behind the curve with his OECD data on where Ireland's debt/GDP (or GNP?) ratio is going. I know you believe there is scope for borrowing to invest. I want to see investment too, but I would like to see some sort of balance sheet and pro forma funds flow statement to form a view on how investment may be financed. I'm going to pursue this balance sheet idea, but I don't have the skills myself. Any takers?

Slí Eile said...

@ Paul

good ideas to flesh out the arguments with numbers. Borrowing to invest and reap a return is a risky strategy but one worth pursuing.