10 thoughts on “Michael Casey in DRB”

  1. Thank you, seafóid, I enjoyed that piece too.

    More than I enjoyed Michael Casey’s piece, I have to say.

    Writing an article that long which just goes over the ‘soft options’ Ireland has pursued, without providing any credible policy suggestions for the future, is itself a bit of a ‘soft option’ I’m afraid.

    Yes we made mistakes. Yes Irish people, like others on this planet, prefer a comfortable armchair to driving nails into their fingers.

    But it is surely not all doom and gloom. Ireland has a good road infrastructure now, a decent housing stock, and a reasonably young, flexible labour force. We still speak the global language of business and we’ve kicked our inferiority complex a bit.

    Despite M Casey’s dismissal, the Irish voters have proven that democracy works – they have punished the party that wrought economic destruction on us in an unprecendented manner.

    The Church has perhaps had a stranglehold on Irish society in the past, but much of the recent dialogue in the public sphere has gone some way to creating a more balanced (and hopefully spiritually mature) relationship between the people and the faith.

    And another thing: People everywhere in the world (outside a few narrow Brussels corridors, perhaps) like the Irish.

    They like the Irish because, beyond the colonial complexes and the begrudery and all the rest, the Irish people are very likable. Fun. Clever and witty. And in their own way ingenious.

    The Celtic Tiger boozefest is over and we’ve all woken up with a hangover and saying “Aww, never again!”

    Now is the time to build: Reform personal bankruptcy law. Dismantle the HSE and rebuild a new single-tier health service from scratch. (single tier as in: if you are getting paid by the state, you cannot accept fees from private patients. Or else you go to prison.) Transparent public spending including CBAs on all capital investment projects. Modest, land-value based property taxation, not just creeping use fees.

  2. I think the author was still in the Central Bank in 1998. Surprising that he didn’t notice that we revalued against the DM at that time. I find frequent faults in his offerings.

  3. @ LHE: “Now is the time to build: Reform personal bankruptcy law. Dismantle the HSE and rebuild a new single-tier health service from scratch. (single tier as in: if you are getting paid by the state, you cannot accept fees from private patients. Or else you go to prison.) Transparent public spending including CBAs on all capital investment projects. Modest, land-value based property taxation, not just creeping use fees.”

    Very well said. I concur. But when the final whistle blows, it will be Status Quo Athletic 1: Reform Disunited 0. Hope not, but the home-team has 90% possession so far.

    BpW

  4. The article is full of lazy assertions and is not a great advertisement for the DRB.

    Here a few examples of what I mean:

    “Consequently, in Ireland we followed a dear food policy.” – really?

    “The myth that we had evolved a flexible market-driven economy which the more corporatist continental countries could not do.” – but didn’t we also boast of the benefits of corporatism aka social partnership?

    “After the first oil crisis in 1975 we started on the slippery slope of fiscal easing and massive borrowing. It was easy to borrow abroad. . . Ireland made the most of this and ran up debt at a rate equivalent to that obtaining today. ” – there is no discussion of how we dragged ourselves out of this predicament without international assistance.

    The discussion of the contribution of FDI to the Irish economy is snide – if it were so easy, why don’t other European countries snatch the prizes?

    Ditto the discussion of the IFSC – ‘another soft option’ – If it’s so easy, how come we are ahead of the posse?

    As Frank Barry has pointed out, the discussion of our exchange rate policy is strange, coming from a former Central Banker.

    ‘Remember the ATM known as benchmarking?’ – Casey, like many other commentators, forgets that Benchmarking II made virtually no upwards pay awards.

    ‘Our banks were cosseted over the years by light touch regulation accompanied by virtually no protection of the consumer. They made supernormal [sic] profits and knew that if they ever got into trouble the taxpayer would bail them out.’ – very strange indeed from a former Central Banker. Supranormal profits did attract outsiders into the industry. And whoever gave the banks the belief that they would be bailed out by the taxpayer?

    “In the last couple of years the government tried to regain some popularity by boasting that it had taken hard decisions. It had done no such thing.” Not true. see Karl Whelan’s earlier post on this topic.

    One could go on and on with comparable quotes and critiques from this superficial piece. Why bother? The DRB is probably not too widely read outside a certain clique.

    Just ponder the last sentence – which come after a passage lamenting our betrayal of the (unspecified) ideals of Pearse and Connolly:

    “The economy of the first Irish republic has not prospered, and it is time to build a better, more autonomous one.”

    Talk about easy (rhetorical) options!

  5. “They like the Irish because, beyond the colonial complexes and the begrudery and all the rest, the Irish people are very likable. Fun. Clever and witty. And in their own way ingenious.”
    This reads like something straight from Myles na gCopaleen. Only clearly ironic in his case. Good to see the Cathecism of Cliché is alive and well.

  6. ‘Fraud [one could add Corruption] may technically be a crime in this country but it is impossible to prove. It is like the modern theology of hell: it exists as a concept but no one actually goes there. ‘

    Quite!

    Yet Colin Scott’s earlier thread on ‘regulation’ elicited just 7 comments!

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2011/03/07/renewing-the-regulatory-state/#comment-130873

    And More_e_ya_Eye_Teeth has just been published.

    @ Cormac Ó Gráda

    Ta for link to DRB.

  7. @ Kevin Denny,

    You see, your comment is a perfect example of how fun, witty, ingenious and likeable you are, as an Irishman.

    Thank you for proving my point!

  8. @LHE
    “Now is the time to build: ….”
    We need to go beyond your points to design, implement and use a series of checks and balances to limit the scope for excess by the powerful, whether they be public or private, elected or appointed in
    order to ;
    · ensure competence and moderation in government
    and
    · overcome inertia at government level, both national and local;
    so that our constitution is a framework for a free government that limits, restrains and allows for the exercise of political power, which we as citizens of a Republic own.

    We need to ensure that our way of governing ourselves has both
    · the means to be successful for the common good with increased democratic accountability
    and
    · the capacity and of adapting to the changes that constantly descend upon it.

    We citizens need to ensure that the state’s decision making-processes are structured and disciplined. We need to copper fasten new ways of governing ourselves to avoid the kind of muddling through, inertia. lack of foresight, and reversal that marks previous efforts at
    reform.
    To ensure this, I am firmly convinced that we need to embed both
    · Swedish style Freedom of Information
    and
    · Swiss style direct democracy
    into our constitution.

    However, these steps will take longer to research, consider and implement. For expediency we must take those steps which we can, just to get us started on political and institutional reform.

    For more see my contribution (from p. 56) to the Dublin City Business Association 10 point manifesto Towards a Second Republic
    http://www.dcba.ie/static/doclib/Towards_a_Second_Republic.pdf

    Only thus can our skills and energies open the paths to sustainable standards of living and greater justice for all who wish to live and work here.

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