To make good policy in these unprecedented times is extraordinarily difficult. It is imperative that all public policy-making institutions have unquestionable governance. This is currently not the case. There is an elephant in the living room of the Irish policy-making community. Elephant Standing Right Infront.
The staff and board of the ESRI are therefore of fundamental importance.Especially the director:http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2010/0102/1224261527333.htmlAnd the chairperson:http://www.independent.ie/business/wheels-within-wheels-within-dublins-dockland-authority-124825.htmlhttp://www.independent.ie/national-news/how-troubled-dockland-agency-landed-in-hot-water-1988284.htmlhttp://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/lack-of-inquiry-helping-no-one-1988321.htmlAnd the board:http://www.esri.ie/about_us/the_institute/governance/council/
The board of the ESRI also includes:The Former Governor of a Central Bank who supervised a banking system that collapsed.A board member of the Central Bank when the banking system collapsed (and continues to be).The current Secretary General of the Dept. of Finance (since 2006) in office when our public finances collapsed.The former chair of the Bank of Ireland who appointed the chief executive who led the bank to…where it is now.http://www.esri.ie/about_us/the_institute/governance/council/The governance of the ESRI is, I believe, deeply unsatisfactory.
@Oliver VandtThat's astounding. I'm not from Ireland but I've never seen the governance of the ESRI discussed on TASC or on irisheconomy.ie before. Have none of them noticed?
@Tony DeMelloA full sized elephant did not appear in the room all at once. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_in_the_roomIt was only as the banking and financial collapse became more and more apparent that the Esriphant in the policy living room grew larger and larger. This made it easier to ignore.Then a combination of many different things kicked in including: 1. A strong insider element. Many are professionally acquainted with the ESRI board members.2. The traditional Irish reluctance to question the establishment, no matter how questionable the establishment is.3. Admiration for the high qualities of staff of the ESRI. Questioning the institution they belong to is seen as a personal attack on them.Esriphant got bigger and bigger but no one wanted to talk about her.
The country has had a banking, budgetary and economic collapse and this is who we have on our main policy making body? This isn't just one elephant in the living room, it's a whole herd!
@AnonymousI agree. This is an entire herd of "esriphants"!
@demello.tonySurely this can't continue indefinitely? Surely policy analysts can't condemn cosy irish capitalism and question the continuance unaltered of the boards of the regulators and banks and the government itself? How will they react when this is finally discussed?http://www.progressive-economy.ie/search/label/%27cosy%20irish%20capitalism%27
@anonymousIf I know Irish academics and experts they will react to questioning of their own standards of corporate governance by....ceasing all criticism of everyone else's for many years, but not making any public criticism of the governance of the ESRI.Once people start throwing the corporate governance of the ESRI back at them they will probably just shut up and flee entirely from the public domain. This is what happened with most of the 46 economists who signed the letter on NAMA and I would expect it will happen again. It is the total distate for confrontation of Irish academics and experts that gives the opportunists and carpet baggers of the times the unchallenged space to do the damage they do. It is a major factor in the Irish disease: a pathalogical aversion to transparency, accountability and the demanding of high standards in high places. The most damaging manifestation of this is the avoidance at all costs of stating full, blunt truths, even about matters as seemingly unavoidable as the giant elephants that are standing right beside them.
@ALLWhat do TASC contributors think about the governance of the ESRI? Can I take it they are fully satisfied with it? That's astounding.
See the Irish Economy thread on this week's ESRI publication on municipal waste. http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/02/03/municipal-waste-management-policy/The ESRI accepted a 125k commission from Dublin City Council to critically review a major piece of independent international policy work that the Government published in Nov 09. The ESRI report heavily critises the Government document but now it seems that there are fundamental errors in the ESRI conclusions and the 125k may well be another waste of public money.Imbalanced governance does not just threaten the credibility of economic research which concluded favourable economic growth - it also threatens the credibility of broader research. If the ESRI is to start straying into significant new research areas like waste management and climate change then they need a corporate structure reflective of these areas to help in strategic decisions around such research commissions and hopefully to avoid more costly errors of judgement in the future.
@anonymousOn the issue of the ESRI's report on waste management:It all comes down to who you believe. I have deep reservations about the ESRI’s governance and many questions about its reports on the wider economy up until 2008. On the other hand I am expected to believe that the “soviet economy” policies proposed by Minister Gormley (grounded in his entirely sincere beliefs) will produce the best policy outcome. If even Gorbachev couldn’t make a command and control approach work than I certainly don’t see Gormdropov succeeding. I look at who compiled the ESRI report and peer reviewed it and I say, well, I have many questions about the institute, but if ALL of them got this UTTERLY wrong then the ESRI should be shut down.Then I look at John Gormley and the Irish Green Party - who are gleefully assaulting the reputation of all those associated with this report - and I see this:http://www.politics.ie/green-party/What I have read in the ESRI report is absolute economic common sense. Whereas Gormley is a minister who, two and a half years into office, can’t keep the taps flowing in Dublin weeks after the cold weather. He now believes he can bring Ireland -at no extra cost - a world class waste management system, the best of the best.My Conclusion:We can’t throw away money any more. I’m going with the ESRI.
Nat O'Connor writes (As extracted from his reply on another thread):"As for the governance of the ESRI, I agree that governance is an important issue. But I also believe that the academic work of the institute is professional and well insulated from interference.The ESRI explain their governance here, including the fact that “The Institute enjoys full academic independence and is answerable ultimately to its subscribing members, currently over 300 companies and individuals.”
@anonymousThe ESRI's report on waste management is better discussed on the "Une Doce, Une Voce" thread.@ALLThis thread is for discussing the governance of the ESRI only. Another thread has been opened for discussing Finance Bill 2010.
This thread is now closed. Comments on the Finance Bill should be posted here: http://short.ie/jb82zq
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