Sunday Times Death Spiral Watch

Reading my Sunday newspapers for insights on the economic crisis, I came across the following from Damien Kiberd in the Sunday Times: “Two hundred economists gathered at UCD last week and all we heard from them were suggestions for more taxes: the reintroduction of domestic rates and third-level fees, taxes on child benefit, carbon taxes, taxes on social welfare, sucking the low-paid back into the tax net and higher excise duties. This is exactly what we did in the 1980s, when Ireland nearly went bankrupt.”

What a pity I missed that conference. Now I did attend an event on Monday at the Royal College of Physicians (organised by UCD and the Dublin Economics Workshop) and funnily enough that event had about two hundred people at it also. But there the similarities end. Participants at the conference I went to focused heavily on the need to cut public sector pay and of the range of tax measures mentioned by Kiberd, only one (reintroducing rates) was discussed. It’s rather strange of UCD to organise two different conferences on the same topic in the same week, but then that’s economists for you.

2 replies on “Sunday Times Death Spiral Watch”

Karl – Its the sunday papers. AKA tomorrows fish wrapper. Could I suggest that we remember a few things?
a) our views matter, but late , cumulativly and mediated via the media and political lenses. The media and political commentators will always be more weighty in the public consensus.
b) we need to be careful and measured in what we say and consistent, as the role of newspapers is to be sold. Like stock analysts, accuracy is a second order issue.
c) In dealing with the media, we need to be simple (simplistic even) and remember that we are not dealing with a sophisticated economic audience.
d) There is a greshams law in media – comments that can be spun as bad and ones that can be sensationalised will drive out ones that are not .
e) Our role, imho, as academics, is not to use our position as bully pulpits (nobody is either) but to be calm, reasoned, critical and analytical. We dont have a monopoly of wisdom
f) Lets remember in conclusion that we are now again into Political Economy…not economic theorising.

This careful and measured guy can’t be the Brian Lucey that I heard telling Morning Ireland that the Taoiseach was in cloud cuckoo land?

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