The latest unemployment and emigration data

This post was written by Kevin O’Rourke

It would be wrong not to have a thread on the latest unemployment and emigration data.

Together with the recent data on our consumer price level, relative to the rest of the EU, they show (as if there were any doubt on the matter) that even in small, open, flexible Ireland, the current poster boy for the EU’s preferred austerity/internal devaluation strategy, wage and price flexibility — while impressive — isn’t what certain macro theories assume it to be.

67 Responses to “The latest unemployment and emigration data”

  1. disgruntled observer Says:

    @ Kevin,

    What on earth are people expecting. That we can continue to drive the economy into the ground, have half of our ever increasing number of unemployed as long term unemployed, and that well, as long as the interest rate is cut, ye know, and we get the appropriate pat on the head, well, it’ll be ok, to be sure, to be sure. Sure if you follow the road round that bend, you’ll find there’s the corner ye want. Now turn that corner and take the next to the left, and straight ahead for….

    We’ve had an investment collapse. Plain and simple. We require infrastructural investment. Plain and simple. Am I missing something here.

    Oh, sure, there’ll be two things. The first is the one’s who say, sure aren’t we running a massive deficit, and isn’t that a stimulus. To them I say, no, it’s not. The deficit is exactly what should happen when you get a massive shock to the system. It’s the automatic stabilisers kicking in. But it’s also wasteful, for it’s people sitting about on the dole, doing nothing productive, adding no value, creating nothing but grooves on the couch and (hopefully not) havoc in their homes. Stimulus is how you eat into that unproductive portion of the deficit by investing. It provides a return by increasing the capacity of the state to grow. What sort of damage are we doing to our productive capacity at present I can only guess at.

    Then there’ll be the others, saying: But we’re bankrupt, sure don’t we have to borrow the money from the troika, and sure aren’t they telling us that we have to cut, and that we’ve lost our sovereignty.

    Well, my God aren’t we a spineless lot. Two things: democracy, if it has any meaning, can’t tolerate this for much longer. Unelected, essentially anonymous overlords (that we seem to be too comfortable having around, and for some are too happy to use as an excuse to suit their ideological agenda) are telling us, that not only do we have to honour unsecured, unguaranteed bonds, but that we have to cut, cut, cut and drive our economy even further into the ground. My God, selling the 25% stake in Aerlingus is worth one week of interest payments. This is pathetic.

    The other thing I would say is: if this is what the euro means, it’s not worth having. It’s society, for the banks and by the banks. This is corporatism on a scale that Mussolini would have loved. It’s fascism, pure and simple. It’s not an accident, that Jobbik, the brown shirts of Hungary exist in a country that has gone through years of austerity. Is that what we want here? Put blue shirts back on the streets. Have the citizens army?

    The euro is rotten. I hope the Germans who are sick of it all have their way. They’re right. They shouldn’t have to pay for this rotten financial system. And neither should we.

    I would have hoped that someone would have driven a stake through it by now, but if needs be….

  2. grumpy Says:

    “wage and price flexibility — while impressive — isn’t what certain macro theories assume it to be”

    The real mystery here is how anybody who bothered to think about it could possibly have failed to anticipate this. Said devaluation is a “me last!” competition - where is even the attempt to argue it is not.

    The self employed and the most economically vulnerable, least unionised, least sheltered were always going to get dumped on. Council charges, business rates etc were always going to be sticky. What is amazing is that all the academics in the land of saints and Scholars are quietly, very quietly, OK with that.

    You really have to decide - are you waiting for a conversion to Keynes by the Great and the not so good (and the Germans) or is it time to be prepared to fart in the space suit?

  3. PR Guy Says:

    Just looking at the CSO figures today and reading the thread about incentives in Ireland, it looks as though the main incentive in Ireland is the plane out of here!

    Emigration up, unemployment up and the numbers in employment down. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for the tax take or consumer spending increasing!

    Many of the people who have literally been forced into what has now become long term unemployment for them may never recover from it - irrepairably damaged. This is a human tragedy.

    I wonder if even this 14.5% catches the real quantification of the unemployment problem. I somehow doubt it as I know there are many unemployed people ‘back in training/education’, there are a ton of self-employed people effectively unemployed but don’t appear on the stats, etc. And one assumes that if all those people hadn’t left over the past couple of years the unemployment figures would look even worse.

    And I don’t see any real, concrete action being taken to improve the unemployment situation from policy-makers (or employers for that matter - though they sure as hell are taking advantage of the situation).

    Farce. Absolute farce.

  4. Jake Watts Says:

    Yes, these are numbers. However, one must meticulously examine the individual emigrants and immigrants to come to any real analysis of what is happening demographically. For example, if one Irish Noble Laureate, a modern day Beckett or an also ran like James Joyce, were to emigrate only to be replaced by AGNIESZKA PONATOSKA, a Polish cleaning lady from Gdansk, then we can safely say that two plus one is definitely not three. If you get my drift. But, for a real analysis of the world economic situation please see:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-economic-recovery-resting-on-man-currently-peru,21359/

  5. Aidan R Says:

    Indeed. Ireland’s labour market , of all the Eurozone economies (with exception of Estonia and Slovakia), is the closest to what is assumed to be required in monetary union. A liberal flexible labour market capable of a wage devaluation is the assumed necessary micro condition to complement EMU (according to neoclassical monetary theory). It would make you wonder why those old fashioned economies such as Finland, Netherlands and Germany (95, 85 and 65 percent of workers covered by collective bargaining not the assumed free flexible labour market) managed to both internalize the EMU constraints more efficiently in their wage setting mechanisms and respond when the crisis hit with a variety of strategies to maintain employment. Collective bargaining not the market has proven to be much more effective in improving labour market performance across Europe.

  6. JohnTheOptimist Says:

    The comments by the posters above and in today’s Irish media demonstrate what I have long believed, namely very few people in Ireland have a clue how to anlayse statistical data.

    For the record, the figures published yesterday on population and emigration are preliminary figures based on the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey. This is like a large opinion poll. The recent census showed that it was erroneous and had under-estimated the population in April 2011 by almost 100k. Therefore, the preliminary population figures published yesterday will eventually be revised up and the preliminary net emigration figures published yesterday will be revised down by this amount. No need to take my word for it, although I said it on here the day the census results were published. The CSO themselves confirmed it yesterday. This is what they said:

    “The Preliminary population estimate from the 2011 Census was 4.58 million, a
    difference of 97,000 persons with these estimates. It is planned to publish revised population estimates for the years 2007 to 2011 (i.e. the period over which this differential arose) next year once a thorough analysis at a detailed level of the final Census results has been completed.”

    According to the preliminary QNHS-based figures, net emigration in each of the past 5 years was (- indicates net immigration, + indicates net emigration):

    year to April 2007: -67.3k
    year to April 2008: -38.5k
    year to April 2009: +7.8k
    year to April 2010: +34.5k
    year to April 2011: +34.1k

    All we know at this stage is that a total of almost 100k has to be subtracted from these net emigration figures over the 5 years 2007 to 2011. At this stage, we don’t really have any clue as to how the 100k (almost) will be distributed between the individual years, although the CSO used the word ‘incrementally’ when referring to how the divergence between the QNHS figures and the census figures developed, which implies it will be distributed increasingly over the 5 years, rather than all in 2007.

    If the 100k (almost) extra persons revealed by the census was distributed equally over the 5 years, then the final net emigration figures will be (- indicates net immigration, + indicates net emigration):

    year to April 2007: -87.3k
    year to April 2008: -58.5k
    year to April 2009: -12.2k
    year to April 2010: +14.5k
    year to April 2011: +14.1k

    If the divergenced developed incrementally over the 5 years and was greater in the more recent years, say 10k, 15k, 20k, 25k, 30k, then the final net emigration figures will be (- indicates net immigration, + indicates net emigration):

    year to April 2007: -77.3k
    year to April 2008: -53.5k
    year to April 2009: -12.2k
    year to April 2010: +9.5k
    year to April 2011: +4.1k

    At this stage, we simply don’t know the figures for the individual years. All we know is that, when the CSO revises the figures using the latest census results, almost 100k in total for the 5 years will be subtracted from the preliminary net emigration figures published yesterday. Even these figures are much lower than what ESRI were predicting. They predicted 70k in the year to April 2011.

    Given that the CSO themselves are telling us in advance that the preliminary figures will be revised down by almost 100k, today’s media analyses of the preliminary and erroneous figures published yesterday are dumb, even by the standards of the Irish media. The CSO can’t really make it any simpler than in their comment yesterday that I quoted above. Which part of it do people not understand?

  7. Ludwig Heinrich Edler Says:

    It has to be said that JtO has been dead-on in refuting most of the wilder predictions on mass-emigration that followed 2008.

    Migration flows have proved modest, as JtO predicted they would.

    When you think about it, this makes sense. UE and welfare payments in Ireland are still an awful lot better than the pay packet for manual labour jobs in Romania and BG, while many of the natives still have pockets full of bubble cash to keep their celtic offspring in designer jeans and hair gel.

    European labour mobility is a joke everywhere, and the Irish are no exception. If a European can possibly find a way to stay in his village, he inevitably will.

  8. Jagdip Singh Says:

    @JtO

    “Given that the CSO themselves are telling us in advance that the preliminary figures will be revised down by almost 100k, today’s media analyses of the preliminary and erroneous figures published yesterday are dumb, even by the standards of the Irish media.”

    Is this really fair and are you not conflating two CSO estimates and characterising both as wrong when we only know for a fact that just one is; the two in question being

    (1) Estimate of population in April 2011 - the CSO got this wrong because the preliminary census indicates 100k more people than the CSO estimates.
    (2) Estimate of emigration, immigration, births and deaths for the year ended April 2011 - the CSO has issued an estimate. It may be right, it may be wrong. We know the CSO base their estimates on household surveys which they extrapolate to the whole nation.

    So the media today examining no 2 above, are using the best annual information available. Somewhere between 2006 and 2011 the annual estimates by the CSO did not match actuality but we do not know when.

    On a more general note, given this country’s tragic history of emigration, is it not time for the CSO to adopt more robust annual measuring of emigration. It was claimed in the press this morning that the QNHS will not capture entire families emigrating, I wonder will it capture entirely new households immigrating?

  9. Paul Hunt Says:

    Rather than this unproductive moithering about emigration data, it would be useful if the assembled economic brains here could give some attention to why the cost of living in Ireland, having fallen rapidly from a super-high in 2008, seems to have remained stuck at nearly 20% above the EU average and almost 14% above the EZ average. And to what needs to be done. And please don’t focus exclusively on pay levels.

  10. JohnTheOptimist Says:

    @jagdip Singh

    I haven’t said (and didn’t say after the census results came out in June) that the migration estimate for 2011 is wrong, although the probability is high that it is. What I have said and have always said is that, if we add up the CSO’s preliminary net emigration/immigration estimates for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (which themselves are much lower than ESRI forecast), they over-estimate total net emigration in those 5 years by almost 100k. We know this because the much more reliable census figures tell us that. And the CSO are now explicitly saying this also and saying that the figures published yesterday will be revised down next year by almost 100k in total for the 5 years. But, to repeat what I said above: “At this stage, we simply don’t know the figures for the individual years.” We simply have to wait and see how the extra 100k persons are distributed to the individual years. As of now, I have no more clue than anyone as to how this distribution will work out. I expect the CSO are busy working on it right now. I gave a couple of examples above as illustrations of the effect on the preliminary figures, depending on how the 100k is distributed. But, illustrations is all they are.

  11. grumpy Says:

    Paul

    Presumably you have some transport costs. You also have the economy’s most easily variable costs reducing in response to economic pressures, principally non-sheltered private sector pay (though not exclusively).

    The rest you can think of a pseudo-fixed costs.

    The trick is to have effective leadership with a plan to simultaneously reduce the costs people and businesses are required to pay, and wages (thereby allowing some of the costs to be reduced. Anyone who remembers the ,70s will appreciate that simultaneous movement heels dig in and everybody thinks they are right to simply pursue their own interests - at the cost of the broader economy.

    All the politicians have a personal interest in dot doing this, as do many others who might influence the debate.

    Maybe the only realistic way of doing this is to reintroduce some form of parallel Irish currency to be used as a means of deflating domestic costs quickly. Link that to bankruptcy reform etc and find a way to resolve the Irish banks and you might be getting somewhere.

  12. Examiner Says:

    To capture migration you could count passengers at ports and airports. But every year the gross passenger flows are in the tens of millions while the actual migrants are in the tens of thousands. Even very small errors in measurement would have a massive impact on the estimates. There’s also a land border with the UK.

    The quarterly household survey can only track people who answer the door and are willing to talk to a surveyor. Ireland does not oblige migrants to register with their municipality, in comparison to most European countries.

    I do have some sympathy for the CSO. Migration in Ireland is a very hard phenomenon to measure. At least we have a census every 5 years though, unlike the UK.

  13. Jagdip Singh Says:

    @JtO

    Thanks for clarification but does your criticism of press reporting today - you say “today’s media analyses of the preliminary and erroneous figures published yesterday are dumb, even by the standards of the Irish media” - not mean that you think the reporting of 76000 emigration and 42000 immigration in the year to April 2011 is “dumb”? It might be right and the errors in the 2006-2011 annual migration estimates might have taken place in previous years.

  14. grumpy Says:

    @Paul

    I imagine you are also thinking about efficiencies from reform. I wonder though if the undermining of the gravy train by switching off the Euro hose-pipe that goes into Irish semi-states, quangos etc, might itself alter the mindset. Lots of people in the FODAR are plugged into the hose-pipe and an alignment of interests might be as effective as targeted assaults on their practices.

  15. JohnTheOptimist Says:

    @Paul Hunt

    Rather than this unproductive moithering about emigration data, it would be useful if the assembled economic brains here could give some attention to why the cost of living in Ireland, having fallen rapidly from a super-high in 2008, seems to have remained stuck at nearly 20% above the EU average and almost 14% above the EZ average. And to what needs to be done. And please don’t focus exclusively on pay levels.

    JTO again:

    With all due respect, I don’t understand your point.

    As you correctly point out, the comparative price level in Ireland, relative to both the EU27 and the Eurozone average, fell dramatically between 2008 and 2010. That is the latest figure available. It was published by Eurostat about 6 months ago. There is nothing to suggest that it has stopped falling. The monthly inflation figures since then indicate that it has continued to fall. You may be getting confused because the figure was in the news again this week, as it was included in the CSO publication “Monitoring Ireland’s Progress”, which is a CSO compilation of the most importand statistics published in the previous year. But, it is not a new figure, it is a repetition of the 2010 figure, To the best of my knowledge, the 2011 figure won’t be published for another 6 months. But, based on the monthly inflation figures, there is every reason to expect a further fall.

    The data is published by Eurostat in here.

    c.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/purchasing_power_parities/data/database

    I have compiled the following 2 tables from it - they are for the comparative price level in Ireland relative to Eurozone (which is somewhat lower than for the EU27 as the latter contains the low-cost eastern countries). I have done it both for consumer prices and for prices across the whole of GDP. Ireland’s comparative price level improvement is greater for the latter as it contains investment and construction prices, which have fallen very sharply in Ireland in recent years.

    (a) prices for household final consumption expenditure:

    1999 1,11568 1,01528 - Ire rel to EZ: 109.889
    2000 1,14844 1,00096 - Ire rel to EZ: 114.734
    2001 1,19354 1,00394 - Ire rel to EZ: 118.886
    2002 1,25205 1,00418 - Ire rel to EZ: 124.684
    2003 1,2644 1,02899 - Ire rel to EZ: 122.878
    2004 1,25918 1,03017 - Ire rel to EZ: 122.230
    2005 1,23589(b) 1,01988(b) - Ire rel to EZ: 121.180
    2006 1,24507 1,01871 - Ire rel to EZ: 122.220
    2007 1,24059 1,01303 - Ire rel to EZ: 122.463
    2008 1,29119 1,03477 - Ire rel to EZ: 124.780
    2009 1,26041 1,06039 - Ire rel to EZ: 118.863
    2010 1,18204 1,0423 - Ire rel to EZ: 113.407

    (b) prices across the whole of GDP:

    1999 1,07482 1,0251 - Ire rel to EZ: 104.790
    2000 1,1061 1,01101 - Ire rel to EZ: 109.405
    2001 1,15642 1,01246 - Ire rel to EZ: 114.219
    2002 1,17466 1,01416 - Ire rel to EZ: 115.826
    2003 1,19998 1,03268 - Ire rel to EZ: 116.201
    2004 1,19397 1,03291 - Ire rel to EZ: 115.593
    2005 1,20762(b) 1,0243(b) - Ire rel to EZ: 117.897
    2006 1,20853 1,01995 - Ire rel to EZ: 118.489
    2007 1,18027 1,01353 - Ire rel to EZ: 116.451
    2008 1,21765 1,03512 - Ire rel to EZ: 117.634
    2009 1,19872 1,0614 - Ire rel to EZ: 112.938
    2010 1,12102 1,04921 - Ire rel to EZ: 106.844

    In both cases, there was a dramatic fall between 2008 and 2010. As I said above, the 2011 figures are not published yet. The figure in the news this week is the 2010 figure, which was published by Eurostat in March, but regurgitated in the CSO publication this week.

  16. Ronnie O'Toole Says:

    I think a lot of the confusion over these stats could have been avoided if the CSO had chosen to simply delay the publication of the population estimates given that they were, as they admit, not consistent with what we now know from the census.

    They had to publish the QNHS, so I have no problem with that, any anyway most of the key ratios from the QNHS are not particularly affected by the census results (though the absolute numbers are).

    I will give the CSO the benefit of the doubt that they had to publish the migration estimates because of some eu regulation or another.

  17. Paul Hunt Says:

    @grumpy,

    I’m sure anyone who reads this blog is fed up to the back teeth with my proposals for structural refrom in the semi-state and private sheltered sectors and in the quangocracy. Yes, it should be obvious that the Competition Authority should be empowered to root out monopoly profit gouging in the private sheltered sectors - and Government itself is directly responsible for fuelling some of these profits, but there are huge efficiencies to be gained from structural, financing, management and functional changes in the semi-states and the quangocracy. These should be tackled, particularly in the semi-states, before there is any consideration of privatisation.

    And yes, I accept that pay levels may have moved out of sync with productivity, but I would argue strongly for leaving these unchanged to secure the ‘buy-in’ to effect the structural, functional and management changes required. A beaten and battered workforce will never accept or implement the changes required - nor should they be expected to. If people could shift their thinking that the only way to secure savings and efficienies is by cutting pay we might actually be able to implement the necessary changes that would bring down the cost of living.

    The sequence is: cut the cost of living, increase disposable incomes, boost economic activity and then see what adjustments are required in taxation and welfare. And leave the alignment of pay and productivity to negotiations between owners/managers and unions/workers.

  18. Michael Hennigan - Finfacts Says:

    Flexibility is now part of German collective bargaining agreements and the reformed system worked reasonably well in 2008/09.

    Given limited language skills and the economic problems in Anglo-Saxon markets (even in Australia, outside of mining, there is no boom).

    The housing problems in the US have cut mobility as has the health insurance situation. Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick has argued that excessive home-ownership kills jobs.

    The flexibility Kevin O’Rourke refers to is in the unprotected private sector. Money available or not, life goes on as usual for the rest.

  19. grumpy Says:

    @Paul

    That sounds great, but how realistic is it that that route will be followed. What is going to motivate all that sensible reform. What mechanism is there available to dislodge the comfortable inertia?

    I don’t think you can do that without aligning economic realities and removing the incentives for resistance to reform.

  20. Paul Hunt Says:

    @grumpy,

    I agree. This whole process should have been kicked off in 2009 when the reality should have been apparent. It wasn’t. And, as time goes by, the chances of it happening are becoming even more remote. This silly and damaging decision in principle on ESB part-privatisation is a perfect example.

    The FODAR are too deeply entrenched and, as I commented elsewhere, those who prevent government from acting in the public interest are the government. They are beyond scrutiny or control. Ministers are simply highly paid PR operatives for the government machine behind it and this has been totally suborned by the FODAR.

    I suspect their hearts lifted when the emigration estimates were announced - though JtO’s reasoned critique could sink them a tad - as they just wish all these unemployed types (who might collectively upset the applecart) would bugger off somewhere else and leave them in peace.

    As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

  21. Paul Hunt Says:

    @JtO,

    Sorry. Didn’t spot your reponse until now. We’re in agreement on the 2010 figure - your 13.407 and my ‘almost 14%’. What the detailed CSO price indices suggest is that the tradable and more exposed sectors cut prices rapidly and significantly; the less exposed and sheltered (public, semi-state and private) sectors haven’t. The latter’s prices need to be brought down as well to complete the necessary internal devaluation. But the FODAR are damned if they’ll allow that to happen.

  22. grumpy Says:

    @Paul

    Right. Can we get back to the inelegant, practical means to rock the boat before it drifts on and on, getting progressively lower and lower in the water, and eventually disappears beneath the waves?

  23. Paul Hunt Says:

    @grumpy,

    Tut, tut. We don’t do ‘inelegant’ or ‘practical’ here. The FODAR seem to have no understanding of the seething, sullen discontent and rage bubbling beneath them. The English authorities were able to apply the ‘full force of the law’ to suppress their recent eruptions, but the discontent is infecting invincible suburbia and will prove more challenging than opportunistic, even if co-ordinated, looting. The English had an internal struggle lasting 800 years to secure full democratic governance. The masses can be docile for long periods, but then pretty boody-minded when they get riled.

    Ireland has no real history or experience of this type of internal struggle. And it’s unlikely to start in this era.

  24. Edgar Morgenroth Says:

    @Ronnie O’Toole & All - in fairness to the CSO, I believe the CSO are required by Eurostat to publish certain data including the population and migration estimates by a certain date come what may. What is disappointing is that it will take until the middle of next year to sort this out. No doubt the delay is due to resource constraints.

  25. Desmond Brennan Says:

    One changing factor which is highly relevant is globalisation and more free trade.

    From this you’d expect to see dear un/semi skilled Irish workers replaced by cheaper say Chinese working in China. Thus say we will import ever more goods and services, indeed driving out native products/providers.

    As such this will put massive pressure on blue collar workers and their analogues. And I think the unemployment rise, may include some _permanent_ such ex-workers, who the Irish economy will never again be able to cater to.

    Such people will have tough choices, and income inequality / social disparity will become an increasing feature of Irish society. I’d argue that lowering social welfare for parents , might lead to better quality of life, as low paid employment, is better than paid unemployment.

  26. Yields or Bust Says:

    @Paul Hunt

    “..The sequence is: cut the cost of living, increase disposable incomes, boost economic activity and then see what adjustments are required in taxation and welfare. And leave the alignment of pay and productivity to negotiations between owners/managers and unions/workers..”

    Help me out here: can you perhaps explain how a cut in the cost of living and an increase in disposable incomes are somehow compatible with each other?

    We all know that my invoice to you is my income, but a cost to you so how exactly is cutting my income meant to increase disposable incomes in the net?

    If what I think you’re actually trying to say is that potentially the ’super profits’ earned by the few were more equally distributed then the income disparity between various societal cohorts was improved then this may indeed be a net economic benefit by spreading the wealth as it were . This I agree with otherwise in an open market supply and demand should determine the clearing service price.

    There could obviously be a serious issue if these sheltered ’super profits’ were somehow preventing export growth due to pricing inefficiencies in the traded sector with Ireland Inc v the rest of the world - the recent evidence suggests this not to be the case with our export base doing well even by 1999/ 2000/2001 comparisons.

    So the question remains why do you believe the theory of cutting my income, say, and lowering your costs, say, would somehow give rise to an overall increase in disposable incomes in the domestic economy? Are they simply not just the opposite sides of the same argument?

    I can understand your argument in monopolistic/oligopolistic sectors but surely the percentage costs for the average household falling under such sectors is relatively small in the round.

  27. Paul Hunt Says:

    @Y or B

    Simple example from territory I’ve being banging on about for what seems like years - Oh god, it is years.

    Reduce regulatory value of electricity and gas networks to sensible values, network revenues and tariffs fall, final gas and electricity prices fall, consumer electricity and gas bills fall, for given gross household incomes disposable incomes rise.

    Don’t underestimate the impact this would have on households and small businesses. Look at the CSO’s detailed consumer price indices. See what sectors are price sticky. Think about what needs to be done.

  28. Mark Dowling Says:

    “Somewhere between 2006 and 2011 the annual estimates by the CSO did not match actuality but we do not know when.”

    Precisely. We know that the inflection point has been passed. JtO would presumably (based on past form) have us believe it was when Brian Cowen’s fingertips finally slipped off the ledge. My belief is that it was much earlier, with the peak therefore higher. Is it hard to believe that immigrants from the countries Ireland received large inflows from wouldn’t have been clamouring to share details of their households with the government without the higher degree of nagging afforded to census takers?

  29. Dom K. Says:

    I have always wondered how they count the emigration. For example I have left in June but how do they know that?

  30. Desmond Brennan Says:

    @My earlier comment
    I didn’t explain why this globalisation trend may be effecting emmigration.

    This is simply as _no_ Western country is likely to have a surplus of un/semi-skilled jobs that pay any way well. Thus emigration options for such people are limited, the lack of jobs in target countries is not helped by the general global economic climate.

    Indeed I’ve seen a lot of cost-cutting during the ‘crisis’ which transfers labour from Ireland (either via outsourcing, or importing at cheaper cost)

  31. Niall Dunne Says:

    @Dom K

    You mean you didn’t complete your exit interview?

    To get more accurate numbers, a biometric scan on entering / exiting the country would go a long, long way. Whether it’s an eyeball or fingerprint scan, the technology is out there (I have a three or four year old, cheap as chips laptop with fingerprint recognition for unlocking it!). No need to match it up with any other identifying information or passport numbers, simply discard the matches and use to data to look for one-sided interactions spanning a period of a month or two. (Or we could go further and use the matches to work out how many people are regularly travelling abroad for work etc.) After a month of two, it’s probably safe to assume these people are staying / not coming back. Obviously there’s a lot of holes in this, ie cross-border issues, but - properly maintained - the numbers are unlikely be out by 100k. Oh, and obviously don’t let the State anywhere near being responsible for implementing the technology.

  32. Tom Costello Says:

    Sadly biometrics are not nearly accurate enough to be used for this kind of application. The best biometrics, fingerprints or iris match are, at best, accurate to 1 in a thousand, which is about as useful as using surnames to identify people. This works in a classroom, but not at sizes larger than that.

    Full names (first, middle and surname) and date of birth would be good enough for statistical purposes. There is an issue with spelling, which would be problematical, especially for foreign names which have non-western letters, but date of birth should be sufficient to overcome errors there.

    People deliberately giving false information is a problem when they do not have id with them, but Corkmen excluded, I have seen little evidence that there is widespread identity hiding in Ireland. In other cultures there are a sizeable number of people who do not wish to be tracked by their state. In Ireland I think most people trust that the state would not know what to do with the information.

  33. Niall Dunne Says:

    Fair enough Tom, I’ll tip my hat to your superior knowledge on the subject. I’ve been scanned a few times on trips to the states, I assumed they used that information to flag people who overstay their welcome in a similar manner to what I described about. More research required on my behalf, I guess.

  34. Joseph Ryan Says:

    I wish to may a few points:

    1. CSO Population estimate revision.
    I am of the opinion that that whatever revision there will be of CSO figures, it will not affect the levels of current emigration as reported. The reason is simple.
    The April 2006-April 2011 period is divided into two very distinct and different economic experiences.
    The first 2006-July 2008 (the builders holiday)
    The second August 2008-April 2011.

    The first period was an insane period of house building activity, with thousands of foreign workers joining the worforce every month. The second was the tragic and predictable consequences of the insane economic policies.
    While unemployment has been rising slowly in early 2008, many builders shut down sites and did not return after July 2008. Thousands of foreign and Irish workers were laid off. A further break point was December 2008, when again many workers were laid off.

    Any redistribution of the revised population rise (approx 100k) is more than likely to reflect the above time frames, with a huge rise in population up to July 2008 and a large decrease from the period Aug 2008 to April 2011.

    2. Returning Emigrants:
    I am not overly surprised by the number of Irish emigrants returning based on anecdotal evidence. Many are going to Australia (especially) on a one year visa. Some cannot or do not wish to stay at the expiration of the year and return. In that sense the current emigration may not be as permanent as previous waves of emigration.
    3. However, the make up of the emigrants is important in that it is those with skills and expertise that are likely to be able to go and be confident of getting on ok.

    @Disgruntled/PR Guy/Jake Watts
    I would empathise with points you make. What we need are jobs. An immediate New Deal jobs program. Whether in Ireland or the US, the only thing will allow a consumer to spend and give him or her the confidence to do so is his own confidence that he can get or retain a job with reasonable pay.
    I have heard it said that people who experienced the great depression in the US, changed their spending habits to a lifetime of frugality. I don’t know how true it is, but frugality seems to have taken hold of Irish socity to a degree not warranted.
    Personally, I think there is nothing more offensive that a millionaire telling people how well he did to price haggle with the local painter on a small house painting job. Or how he managed to get someting at 50% of the price by importing it from China, instead of buying from the local manufacturer.

  35. Dom K. Says:

    You guys speak of biometrics, and the immigration don’t even stamp the passports. With the Irish passport you get in and out of the country without any record whatsoever. So they won’t even know I’ve left perhaps until the next census.

    @ Paul Hunt

    “The sequence is: cut the cost of living, increase disposable incomes, boost economic activity and then see what adjustments are required in taxation and welfare. And leave the alignment of pay and productivity to negotiations between owners/managers and unions/workers.”

    So all Taoiseach needs to do is press a few buttons. Reduce cost of living - check. Increase disposable incomes - check. Boost economic activity - check. As if these things are a simple matter of someone’s choice. How for example would you implement the first step? Price controls? Really, I am curious.

  36. Dom K. Says:

    “An immediate New Deal jobs program.”

    Mr. Obama has tried and failed. The FED can print money but it turns out they can’t print jobs. And we don’t even have the luxury of printing own currency. So how the hell are you going to find money to invest into productive jobs? What exactly is to be done to produce jobs? I am hearing about the need for ‘infrastructure investment’. Why? Where is the evidence we need more ‘infrastructure’? The economic activity has dropped off the cliff. Anyone having difficulties reaching Cork or Limerick? Transporting goods? Is the point of infrastructure investment merely to provide jobs and for that the state has to borrow more to build something we don’t need? What is the ‘New Deal’ jobs program to contain? And BTW the original ‘New Deal’ actually failed to increase the employment. You can check this fact if you don’t believe me.

  37. ObsessiveMathsFreak Says:

    I come in here to see JohnTheOptimist in complete denial now that his once beloved census figures have finally be shown to be complete rubbish after all. Hardly surprising considering the show and dance he and others made of them some months ago.

    This country is haemorrhaging people to emigration, and it’s getting worse. The inward migration figures have likely been massaged upwards by the likes of consultants, temporary contract workers, etc and the emigration figures are likely an underestimate as well.

    The only positive point about these figures–and I’m sure the government loves it–is that emigration since 2009 has taken, conservatively, between 100,000-150,000 people off the live register figures. Young people of prime working age. He we see Ireland once again as the old sow that eats her farrow.

    I finish by relating an anecdote. I have recently spoken with someone who immigrated here from the UK, and who now wants to leave. But they cannot leave because of the negative equity their house has gained, and because the Irish banks will hunt them down for the debt. The emigration figures have been kept down by the fact that Ireland has become an austerity tomb for two generations of first time buyers.

  38. Dom K. Says:

    Speaking of anecdotal evidence, five of my good mates lived in Ireland few years back and now one is in UK, two in Australia, one in Italy and one in Bahrain. And I am in Saudi Arabia. I also know a few people from my workplace already gone or about to go.

  39. Joseph Ryan Says:

    @DOM K.
    re

    “An immediate New Deal jobs program.”

    Mr. Obama has tried and failed. The FED can print money but it turns out they can’t print jobs.

    I disagree with your analysis. The FED printed money and the banks said thanks very much and left the money on their balance sheets. That is not a jobs program.
    A jobs program is putting people to work, just like FDR did back in the New Deal program.

    Broadband is ‘infrastructure’, that will be of benefit in for jobs and the economy.
    Wind energy investment is ‘infrastructure’, that will be of benefit in for jobs and the economy.
    Forestry planting is ‘infrastructure’, that will be of benefit in for jobs and the economy.
    Finishing ghost (semi- finished) estates is ‘infrastructure’, that will be of benefit in for jobs and the economy.

    It is a mistake to equate QE as applauded by the markets as being a jobs program for an economy. QE as experienced so far is merely a mechanism to shore up banks and the financial industry. It has quite predictably proven to be of little benefit to the US or to the UK economies but it has been of huge benefit to their financial industries which are but a small part of those economies.

    I refer to you to the link below showing how the US (FDIC) banks balance sheets have hoarded the benefits of QE by adding to their cash balances which have increased by almost $400 billion in a few years.
    http://www2.fdic.gov/qbp/index.asp

    Just open the balance sheet (excel) and look at the increase in cash from Q2 2009 to Q2 2011 (from 936 billion to 1320 billion).

    The reason for current worldwide problems is the same as the 1930s, the banks are deleveraging and holding the cash, to save their own necks.
    Their necks it appears are more important that the necks of millions of ordinary people. Plus la change.

  40. Dom K. Says:

    “A jobs program is putting people to work, just like FDR did back in the New Deal program.”

    The only problem is, FDR didn’t put people back to work. The New Deal did not result in a noticeable dent in unemployment. The hours worked per adult were less during New Deal policies than even in 1930-1932.

  41. disgruntled observer Says:

    @ Dom K

    “FDR didn’t put people back to work. The New Deal did not result in a noticeable dent in unemployment.”

    Sources please.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Depression_statistics

    If you look at the tables you see a fall off in unemployment with the implementation of the New Deal. There’s a disparity between measurements with the Work Program being included in one count so that UE dropped from 20.6% to 9.1% between 1933 and 1937. The other count which excluded the work program, still saw unemployment fall from 24.9% to 14.3% over the same period. Now there was a jump in unemployment into 1938, with UE rising from 9.1% to 12.5% in the former index, and 14.3% to 19% in the latter. These are easily accounted for by cutbacks in the budgets due to what was discovered to be eroneous debt concerns (interestingly the same thing happened in Japan in the 1990’s). But basically, once the cut backs were reversed unemployment fell again.

  42. Bond. Eoin Bond... Says:

    @ JtO

    Ah, you and your handling of stats, it’s like seeing Stephen Ferris crunch an Aussie into the turf, a thing of beauty…

  43. Paul Hunt Says:

    @Dom K,

    Very brief answer to your query at 6:05pm yesterday.

    @Mr. Bond,

    It was indeed an exhilerating experience watching Ireland pummel the current Tri-Nations champions. It just goes to show what we as a nation are capable of. Fronting up with discipline, technique and passion. There’s no place to hide on a rugby pitch. What a contrast with the management of public affairs. Everyone prefers to stay under cover and when they have to break it all they do is spout bullshit.

    I’m not claiming any monopoly on wisdom but I’ve had people contact me saying they agree with much of what I say, but can’t say it publicly. No wonder so many stupid policy and regulatory decisions were made - and are being made - when those who could influence them for the good are afraid to speak out.

    It’s a well-rewarded, comfortable reign of terror.

  44. Michael Hennigan - Finfacts Says:

    @ Desmond Brennan

    I guess that it’s not surprising that globalisation gets little attention in Ireland, given the obvious lack of interest in iconoclasm at home.

    Gilmore this week (or was it last week?) gave his imprimatur to the Croke Park ‘process’ but as to what is going on, do not waste time checking the last report.

    Juice will continue to be provided to the respirator but the route to perdition should be obvious.

    Japan and Italy with their dysfunctional political systems and rising temp population show what may be ahead. It’s called ‘dualism’ by economists with a knack for the anodyne, but a country and western fan might sing, ‘She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft.’

    Italy isn’t ageing only because of immigration but it’s not only in politics where the elderly call the shots.

    Few of today’s big Japanese companies were born in the past 40 years; 20,000 existing companies date from the nineteenth century or prior.

    Italy has some impressive examples of entrepreneurship and FIAT has been revived in recent times but it is not that different to Japan where with the prominence of family businesses, outsiders are often not welcome.

    Italian graduates with ambition emigrate.

    As in Japan, the golden oldies retain their grip on power; last April, the 76-year old chairman of Generali, Italy’s biggest insurer, was forced out! His predecessor had retired at 85.

    In Japan even the retired bureaucrats retain a lot of clout. In Ireland, in the past year, a civil servant who had retired in 2002 was brought back to run Science Foundation Ireland.

    Perish the thought that the old codgers would tap someone who actually had the experience of running a startup without the security of a university job.

    “We’re the Young Europeans” had more authenticity in 1984.

  45. Dom K. Says:

    Sources please.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123353276749137485.html

  46. Joseph Ryan Says:

    @DOM K

    The only problem is, FDR didn’t put people back to work. The New Deal did not result in a noticeable dent in unemployment. The hours worked per adult were less during New Deal policies than even in 1930-1932.

    I looked at the wsj source that you quoted in support of above.

    It is a very disingeneous article and in fact does not support your statement at all i.e that there was no noticeable dent in unemployment.

    Unemployment fell from approx 20% in 1933 to approx 10% in 1936, using the Darby scale. These were New Deal policies right or wrong.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Depression_statistics

    The paper you quote, published by the wsj, makes a very subtle distinction in its analysis in order to arrive at its conclusion.

    The major premise in the paper is that ‘working hours’ did not increase during the New Deal period.That is far different conclusion from saying that employment did not increase, or that unemployment did not reduce. There are a few points that should be made about this ’subtle distinction’ used.

    1. Unemployment did reduce during the New Deal area.
    2. The fact that overall working hours may not have increased while achieving lower unemployment is testimony to the success of ‘burden sharing’ . We could do with some of that in Ireland. It does not make sense from an economic viewpoint to have people working huge numbers of hours while other have no work. In fact the EU have been trying to restrict hours to a maximum of 48 hours per week in order to achieve a similar effect in Europe.

    3. One wonders where the source data for hours worked comes from at this distant point, given that the basic employed/unemployed numbers are difficult to get. One can only imagiine how fruit farmers in California recorded the working hours of fruit pickers in the 1930s.

    In short I have no confidence whatever in the premise put forward by the authors of the wsj article. It contradicts known facts on unemployment with a ‘working hours’ data that is difficult to verify at this distance but would appear to suit the desired conclusion of the article..

  47. disgruntled observer Says:

    @ Dom K,

    I have say, seeing a link to the Wall Street Journal raised a smile.

    I don’t get these people. They argue in circles.

    Take these two statements:

    “Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32.”

    AND

    “The economic fundamentals that drive all expansions were very favorable during the New Deal. Productivity grew very rapidly after 1933, the price level was stable, real interest rates were low, and liquidity was plentiful.”

    So minimum wages and maximum work week laws were introduced, the hours worked fell and productivity grew. AND? Is increased productivity on the back of less work not the goal? Aren’t they instead arguing the New Deal was a success?

    Look, even if these guys had a point, they still wouldn’t prove your point.
    People were demonstratively put back to work. Just look at the graph below. There was even as good an experiment as you can get undertaken in 1937 to 38, when they cut back fiscally and tightened monetarily, and everything deteriorated until they changed course.

    Mind you, full employment didn’t really happen until the massive public works of WWII, but that only serves to strengthen the argument that stimulus worked. Actually, one of the things the Keynesians got wrong was they thought that the US would return to a depression once the war time production was scaled back, but massive pent up demand had developed during that period, which ironically, despite their fears proved the theory correct. Essentially, the economy rebalanced.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Employment_Graph_-_1920_to_1940.svg

  48. paul quigley Says:

    @ Paul Hunt

    ‘It’s a well-rewarded, comfortable reign of terror’

    +1 Huxley’s Brave New World. Soft coercion.

  49. Dom K. Says:

    Of course, if you dismiss the data you don’t like you can maintain your position in any debate. Your claim that this is some kind of success because lower hours meant ‘burden sharing’ whatever that means, you should substantiate that with some productivity figures. And if you don’t trust the WSJ numbers or don’t like the methodology you have here numbers based on much more credible census figures which show what a glaring success FDR’s policies were.

    http://author.heritage.org/Press/ALAChart/alachart-detail.cfm?customel_datapageid_244663=291492

    That aside, I think you are missing the point of employment. If your goal is to have people to work then fine, FDR got people to work. Whether they were productive and whether they worked the amount of hours is a different matter. The jobs are supposed to produce stuff because what good is a job without stuff? If you don’t like the hours worked, the WSJ article makes clear references to per capita consumption and non residential investment which remained far below the trendlines for the full duration of New Deal. That is hardly surprising because for example the sources you quote count the unemployed artists which participated in WPA projects as ‘employed’ also the writers and musicians. Like that you can have 100% employment like in North Korea but what is actually achieved is a different matter. It is well documented today that FDR’s policies prolonged and deepened the crisis and only relics of a foregone era still defend such nonsense.

  50. Joseph Ryan Says:

    @Dom K

    It is not only the data but the source of the data that would not interest me.
    We will have to agree to differ.
    I am watching the GAA ‘Up for the match, Kerry Vs Dublin tomorrow.
    And supporting the underdog, as always.
    I wish you well.

  51. Dom K. Says:

    disgruntled observer,

    That is a nice graph mate. Pity it has no source to validate the numbers. Even the Wiki numbers given by Joseph Ryan (with ridiculous disparity between sources depending whether you count artists and musicians on some silly programme or indeed anyone who received three meals a day from the state as ‘employed’) have some references.

    And the argument that WW2 produced full employment proves that FDRs ’stimulus’ was a success - wow! I think you should look at this from another perspective, you could say that WW2 and death saved FDR from the ultimate embarrassment. After having fiddled with various programmes for a bout a decade, he did not manage to push unemployment below 20%. Real success. We need a stimulus like that!

  52. Dom K. Says:

    Joseph,

    Agreed. All the best. I am going for a swim, it’s been a long day in the office.

  53. disgruntled observer Says:

    “Of course, if you dismiss the data you don’t like you can maintain your position in any debate.”

    I didn’t dismiss any data. I just don’t understand their beef. Also a touch of pot meet kettle there don’t you think?

    “Your claim that this is some kind of success because lower hours meant ‘burden sharing’ whatever that means, you should substantiate that with some productivity figures.”

    First of all, it was the articles authors who mentioned productivity grew throughout the New Deal. Second, as Martin Wolf has pointed out, in the UK, as in Germany with it’s Kurzarbeit program, the effect of the shock in 2008 on employment was cushioned by a dramatic FALL in productivity due to work sharing and reduced hours. What happened in the New Deal was that maximum work hour laws were introduced in certain sectors, and yet as the authors you cite say, productivity improved.

    “And if you don’t trust the WSJ numbers or don’t like the methodology you have here numbers based on much more credible census figures which show what a glaring success FDR’s policies were.”

    Your first source was much better. In the one you’ve provided now, they have directly below the chart, “Tax Cuts for Investors, Not Massive Spending, Creates Jobs.” But it still proves my point. In 1933, when the first New Deal began, according to the chart provided, unemployment was over 35%. Four years later in 1937, it was touching 21%. It rises again in 1938 to about 28%, which is exactly as I outlined above (but with different figures - same trajectory though).

    “If your goal is to have people to work then fine, FDR got people to work.”

    Thank you. At last.

    “Whether they were productive and whether they worked the amount of hours is a different matter.”

    But the authors you first cited said productivity grew. And to be honest, what have hours got to do with anything? You can work too much, but if you can afford to, you can’t work too little. Look at the French.

    “The jobs are supposed to produce stuff because what good is a job without stuff?”

    Hoover dam, intercontinental highway system, the Chicago waterfront. Not iPhones now, but they were working up to that.

    “per capita consumption and non residential investment which remained far below the trendlines for the full duration of New Deal.”

    Are you surprised? Is anyone? From 1929 to 1933, 11,000 banks out of 23,000 went out of business. This was before Roosevelt, before the FDIC. This was a very real loss of savings. Read about the dustbowl. They had 2 million internally displaced, roaming about the country. As your latest link shows unemployment was over 35%. Look at what’s happening here for comparison. Is our per capita consumption and non-residential investment at trend?

    “That is hardly surprising because for example the sources you quote count the unemployed artists which participated in WPA projects as ‘employed’ also the writers and musicians.”

    In fairness, I gave you two sets of figures above. One with WPA projects included, and one without. Did you read it? About writers and artists, I’ll leave Gavin Kostick, if he’s about to explain the economic value of the arts. A pretty ignorant statement all in all.

    “Like that you can have 100% employment like in North Korea but what is actually achieved is a different matter.”

    Seriously, North Korea? Reminds me of the other guy who called us a pariah state.

    “It is well documented today that FDR’s policies prolonged and deepened the crisis and only relics of a foregone era still defend such nonsense.”

    Well documented by whom? The freshwater teabaggers from Chicago and their WSJ buddies. Look up the new deal in Wikipedia, you’ll find this here:

    “In a survey of economic historians conducted by Robert Whaples, Professor of Economics at Wake Forest University, Whaples sent out anonymous questionnaires to members of the Economic History Association. Members were asked to either disagree, agree, or agree with provisos with the statement that read: “Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression.” While only 6% of economic historians who worked in the history department of their universities agreed with the statement, 27% of those that work in the economics department agreed. Almost an identical percent of the two groups (21% and 22%) agreed with the statement “with provisos” (a conditional stipulation), while 74% of those who worked in the history department, and 51% in the economic department disagreed with the statement outright.”

    As for relics. I’m 35 years old. I’m a member of no organisations. I work in the private sector. What I do is read and inform myself. Something you should try sometime.

  54. Dom K. Says:

    “Your first source was much better. In the one you’ve provided now, they have directly below the chart, “Tax Cuts for Investors, Not Massive Spending, Creates Jobs.””

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

    Discuss the argument, not the sidelines. The figures are from the widely accepted census.

    ““Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression.” While only 6% of economic historians who worked in the history department of their universities agreed with the statement, 27% of those that work in the economics department agreed.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

    “But it still proves my point. In 1933, when the first New Deal began, according to the chart provided, unemployment was over 35%. Four years later in 1937, it was touching 21%. It rises again in 1938 to about 28%, which is exactly as I outlined above (but with different figures - same trajectory though). ”

    I am afraid it does nothing for your point. The great depression was notable for being the slowest recovery in the history of the US. What began a crisis caused by credit contraction (which of course was preceded by a bubble) was initially slowed down by reversal of this contraction. After that it was FDR’s fiddling until the WW2 bailed him out of his misery. The US actually took the longest time of all developed nations to get out of the 1929 crisis. According to the census the employment never dipped below 20% during FDR years. Calling that a success in reducing unemployment is ridiculous.

  55. hoganmahew Says:

    @Joseph Ryan
    “It does not make sense from an economic viewpoint to have people working huge numbers of hours while other have no work.”
    While that may have been true during the 1930s, surely you’re not telling me that we shoud employ navvies as junior doctors?

    (I don’t disagree with the rest of your points, in particular about what did actually happen in the 1930s, but the above is nonsense. The idea that specialisation, experience, and specific job skills honed for export (like mine, for example) are amenable to easy redistribution is just rubbish).

  56. Dom K. Says:

    @ hoganmahew

    I am sure you will find that the ratio of highly specialised jobs to those which are not (and therefore can presumably be subjected to easy redistribution) was not much different in 30’s than it is today. Putting that aside (and even that is rubbish because you can’t take a burger flipper and turn him into a car mechanic even though neither of these jobs is highly specialised and honed for export) the notion that there is a limited amount of work that can be redistributed also goes against the opening premise made in support of New Deal. To take one full time job and turn it into two half-time jobs will certainly help the unemployment figures (in the same way as counting unemployed artists on govt programmes as ‘employed’ will help) but it will not address the problem of unemployment in a meaningful way.

  57. disgruntled observer Says:

    @ Dom K,

    I can see you have no intention of actually dealing with the facts of the Great Depression. First of all, the US, absent Germany, suffered a monstrous contraction. As I noted above 11,000 out of 23,000 banks closed. Millions of savers were wiped out. Millions of people were left destitute. Unemployment jumped from 3% in 1929 to 25% in 1933 or 37% of all non-farm workers (and i take Joseph Ryan’s comments on board about the difficulty of measuring these stats). The reason it affected the US so severely was because it was a trade surplus/creditor nation that tried to maintain the gold standard and so was unable to provide monetary/fiscal stimulus. Britain in contrast went into autarky and created preferential trade agreements with it’s colonies. It also came off the gold standard much earlier. It effectively insulated itself from the depression, and suffered a much smaller 5% fall in GDP, (if my memory serves me). You completely, and to be honest, wilfully misunderstand the nature of the shock to the US system. You should read about the Populist movement. About the growth of the Communist Party in the US. Judges actually started ignoring the law when dealing with foreclosure cases. Democracy was seriously under threat. The New Deal was quite frankly the least they could have done.

    To be honest, as Joseph said above, we’ll have to agree to disagree. For my part, I’ll leave it at that. Good night.

  58. Michael Hennigan - Finfacts Says:

    The response to the Eurozone debt crisis resembles the evolution of the New Deal.

    Marriner Eccles, the Fed chairman, in his memoirs recounted a meeting that he and other policymakers had with FDR in Nov 1937. It appeared that the president accepted that the recent dip in economic activity had been caused by a cut in public spending.

    To Eccles’ astonishment, that same evening, the Treasury secretary with FDR’s apparent blessings, called for a balanced budget.

    The achievement of the New Deal was the economic security architecture that was put in place for workers, consumers, capitalists, bank depositors and farmers.

    It changed the attitude to the role of government and together with Bretton Woods, the GI Bill and the Marshall Plan, helped to usher in a remarkable quarter century of US growth and stability (there were 2 recessions in that period but short-lived).

  59. Paul Hunt Says:

    @Michael H,

    You’ve presented the key points succinctly. It formed the basis for the Keynesian consensus that informed policy and supported the steady expansion of prosperity in the developed economies in the post-war era. To the point that even RM Nixon was forced to concede that “We are all Keynesians now”.

    Unfortunately it was also based on financial repression, it took little account of the long run and hardly any of the depreciation of long-lived physical assets and the depletion of natural resources which should have been reflected in national accounts - and thereby informed policy. Even worse, Keynes largely ignored the impact of the composition of government spending and naively and optimistically assumed that governments would apply their fiscal fine tuning in a counter-cyclical manner, that a surge of the animal spirits would be matched by reduced government spending and that a dampening of the animal spirits would be matched by increased government spending.

    Governments everywhere seeking re-election - and opposition factions seeking to oust them - offered jam today with little thought of tomorrow. (Ireland came a bit late to the fray when the overhang of the US spend on Vietnam and OPEC’s actions had already created the economic and intellectual seed-bed for the inevitable reaction from the right. Remember 1977. No rates on houses; no tax on cars. The 2002 and 2007 elections shared many features with this episode of economic policy lunacy.)

    But, despite the huge surge and subsequent diintegration of their reaction to Keynesianism and all that it stood for - good and bad, the Neocons’ hegemony remains largely intact. The global elite - George W Bush’s “the haves and have-mores” - carry on untroubled while the vast majority of citizens in the older developed economies are forced to batten down the hatches or are simply left clinging to the wreckage.

    Any possibility of a great popular awakening is remote while the left and centre-right form a tacit, unholy alliance to protect their own preferred ‘insiders’.

  60. hoganmahew Says:

    @Dom K.
    “To take one full time job and turn it into two half-time jobs will certainly help the unemployment figures (in the same way as counting unemployed artists on govt programmes as ‘employed’ will help) but it will not address the problem of unemployment in a meaningful way.”
    I agree with you, but that is not what happened in the New Deal. While some of the public works were work relief, others left lasting infrastructure - highways, dams, national parks, irrigation and flood relief schemes. Many of those projects were work that would never have been contemplated by private enterprise (because the payback time on them was so long), others have a social payback rather than an economic one (the national parks, for example).

    That these schemes reduced unemployment is not in doubt in historical circles - those who have studied the period believe the New Deal made a large difference for the time it operated. One of the problems in assessing the period is that there were a number of movements in train - increasing mechanisation, increasing efficiency, mass urbanisation were huge changes to the rural landscape at a time when market prices had collapsed, leading to a huge fall in work opportunities for the rural worker.

    As you say about labour substitution now, so it was in the 1930s - the direct movement of rural labour to urban labour in the new industries was not something that could be achieved in a short space of time. So left with a large pool of starving unskilled labour, what are you going to do?

  61. PR Guy Says:

    The alternatives are?

    1. Just accept and write off the jobless, relying on ‘big society’ to deal with the fallout?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jobcentres-to-send-poor-and-hungry-to-charity-food-banks-2356578.html

    2. Start a large war and eliminate them (as we have seen in the past)?

    3. Do something about it (probably ‘too hard’ and would require not doing austerity i.e. spending some money)?

    Where does that, or this thread, leave us?

  62. Joseph Ryan Says:

    @Hogan

    While that may have been true during the 1930s, surely you’re not telling me that we shoud employ navvies as junior doctors?

    No. Surely not. Prison officers, guards, ESB workers (some in Poolbeg earning €140 pa apparantly), and indeed the trusty roadsweeper with Limerick Corporation who anecdotally does very well on weekend overtime but doing a job many people would distain.

    However, if a certain hospital administrator had been handed a pick and shovel back in the 1970s, this conversation would probably be irrelevant to the circumstances of Ireland today..

    And without being patronising, your skills honed as they may be for export, would undoubtably be a loss to this country.

  63. hoganmahew Says:

    @Joseph Ryan
    My skills would be no loss, the income they generate might be.

    The problem, though, is that there just aren’t that many unskilled jobs around. The building bubble provided high rates of pay to unskilled labourers with a high propensity to spend which resulted in many knock-on jobs. Now the burst have come, the jobs have gone, the money they circulated has gone (so other jobs have gone) and they are reliant on the state. I don’t see that it is feasible or fair to gift them parts of other people’s jobs.

  64. Dom K. Says:

    hoganmahew,

    “I agree with you, but that is not what happened in the New Deal. ”

    So how is it then that the number of hours worked per adult fell and the employment went up (to an extent at least)?

  65. The Alchemist Says:

    @Michael H, Paul Hunt

    Slightly off the topic but it strikes me that consumers are relying on the supermarkets for some aspects of a gustatory Keynesian input. Discounts on this, that and the other - many imposed on and silently borne by producers. At present in the supermarkets the price of minced beef has become a key competition point - the sales of more expensive cuts have shrunk. For reasons that baffle me, unemployment and its real 3-dimensional impact on people and families is pretty much off the front and middle and end pages of the newspapers in Ireland. Walk around any supermarket during the week and peek into trolleys. It is revealing.

  66. hoganmahew Says:

    @Dom K
    “So how is it then that the number of hours worked per adult fell and the employment went up (to an extent at least)?”
    You’d want to be a little careful of averages; particularly when there are large-scale part-time state programs involved.

    In addition, the move to mechanisation and the consequences of deflation reduced the requirement for hours even where the jobs remained.

    Remember also that hours worked had by that time been falling since the late nineteenth century.

  67. Dom K. Says:

    “You’d want to be a little careful of averages; particularly when there are large-scale part-time state programs involved.”

    Ah yes of course, but that somehow does not apply to unemployment figures.

    “In addition, the move to mechanisation and the consequences of deflation reduced the requirement for hours even where the jobs remained.

    Remember also that hours worked had by that time been falling since the late nineteenth century.”

    Right. And all that happened in a space of few years in the middle of the crisis. Come on.

    But it is true, deflation reduced the requirement for hours and that is exactly the point. The extent to which FDR measures helped overall is dubious especially taking into account that virtually every other country recovered much faster.

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