External Review of Department of Finance

The last week has seen a lot of coverage of the announcement by Brian Lenihan that there will be an external review of the Department of Finance.  Some media responses:

Dan O’Brien

Eddie Molloy

Colm Kearney on the smart economy

In today’s Business Post, Colm argues that “smart” should be defined broadly if it is to stimulate economic growth, rather than the narrow focus on gadgets that the government is currently following

Others and I have argued roughly the same, in different words, but without much traction

I guess that in ten years time, when an independent expert will evaluate the lack of return on investment in the smart economy, politicians will argue no one had warned them at the time

The ESRI forecast record

The ESRI macro-economic forecast record has attracted some attention this week.

The Indo is unfair to Frances Ruane. The ESRI has long tried and failed to fill the gap in its expertise in finance. In 2006 and 2007, it was nigh impossible to hire an economist. Part of the problem was/is that the data on the financial sector were/are so murky.

The Irish Times is fair in its critique.

For the record, the ESRI did predict the end of the housing boom (as did most others because it was fairly obvious) but we did not foresee that this would coincide with a major international crisis in finance (again, we were not alone).

Waste incineration (episode N)

Stephen Collins writes about further delays with the Poolbeg incinerator in today’s Irish Times.

The promised review of waste projections is now overdue.

Paul Volcker on Ireland

Towards the end of a recent essay in The New York Review of Books (‘The Time We Have Is Growing Short’) Paul Volcker has some interesting remarks to make about the Irish economic situation.