What’s The Plan? Post author By Philip Lane Post date October 13, 2011 The new issue of the estimable Dublin Review of Books carries this article by Michael O’Sullivan. Categories In Uncategorized 47 Comments on What’s The Plan? ← Quarterly Institutional Sector Accounts → Tilburg ranking of economic departments, and Economist on MBAs 47 replies on “What’s The Plan?” It looks like a fine piece of writing no doubt. I wish I had a little more time to stay and debate it’s points here. I searched around for a sentence or a paragraph in it, about education. I did find one towards and the end, and it is a good sentence. I do firmly agree with its sentiment, and the more theories I come up with, dispense with and re-invent over and over again, about the Irish economy – the one thing, that I keep coming back to, is how we educate. It is almost that simple. I’ll quote Mr. O’ Sullivan’s sentence, because it contains a lot of sense. BOH. At a broader institutional level, the design of a cross-department, multidisciplinary education programme for senior civil servants may be one way of developing necessary technocratic skills. This would arguably encourage better coordination across departments, a vital process that could also be enhanced by a “one country” office that would work to coordinate departments and state bodies on specific projects. I will try to expand on Mr. O’Sullivan’s sentences, if I may. Take a subject like energy policy in Ireland. I have read countless papers, views, comments on the subject over the past number of years. I have met many individuals working with this subject in some way or another, in some capacity or another. I have travelled to, attended and soaked up the conversation, lecturing and teaching of all kinds of voices, groups and interests in relation to the energy policy question. But most of all, in my attendance of so many different events, so many different groups involved in some way with national energy generation, or conservation policy in Ireland – the one thing, that I believe struck me most forcefully about it all – was the apparent lack of a coordinating function, which aught to be performed by a departmental branch of the permanent Irish government. The reason, this lack of a coordinating function was always so apparent to me, is perhaps, because it takes enormous effort and understanding to cross so many boundaries, and obtain the input from such a diversity of points of view. But that is really, where the leg work needs to be done. Otherwise, what we witness in the area of energy generation and conservation policy in Ireland is a whole lot of discreet, independent efforts – and huge loss of benefit from resources – and duplication of efforts from so many different angles. A huge lack of communication, from one side to the other side, of a large network of associations. If the state isn’t able or willing to position itself in the middle, and on the spot, as things happen, as things roll out – then it doesn’t happen. No one does it. It remains, a maze of different cultures, divisions, niches and sub-cultures, operating in isolation. Each sub-division could be enhanced in its effectiveness several fold, if we could learn how to assemble the whole picture together, in some way, through a state effort of sorts. I think that Mr. O’Sullivan’s sentences attempt to convey this notion. We often look to the Irish state to ‘do something’. To become, the driving force. The reality is, there is plenty of driving force, all around us. The problem is, it is pulling in twenty or fifty different directions at once, in the total absence of any coordination function being performed by anyone. The truth of the matter is, we don’t require an Irish state to become a driving force, of any kind. But we do require, the Irish state to provide some helpful coordination of resources, effort and time-line-ing, at some level in the system. That would be the biggest pay-back of all, for our taxation Euros. There is a phrase from Cybernetics, which comes to my mind. The governor, is the element, which if removed, the system goes into disarray and collapses soon after. It doesn’t have to be a very elaborate device. But it is required to be present, doing the right thing, at the right time. This is the model of how the Irish state aught to be involved in the affairs on the island of Ireland. But we haven’t learned how to do it, like that, so far. Most of the time, the Irish state enters into the fray using hob nailed boots, or not at all. BOH. Too much damage has been done to social cohesion – societies typically don’t recover from this for many decades if at all – although this globalisation process has been much less physically violent then the 2 world wars of the 20th century – its attack on what it means to have meaning is greater. We have witnessed a truely massive inflation / deflation episode with deep scars on our psycological makeup. Small things add up over time………… for example a elderly couple getting gamed by various former state utility companies to the now absurd privatisation of city rubbish collection , to silly things like scrapping the national anthem at closing time – these may seem small when looked at in isolation but when we see the post 1987 Irish market state in totality – it is a appalling betrayal. Whatever illusion of a contract that was present in the past – it has been broken. Talk of a new republic is absurd – republicanism was started by the banks to break the old landed class. Now the banks have no need for the tradional state they can defect at will – just like how they played one state off against another to gain profit, now they can destroy a state from withen without the cost of direct military action. As for the rural class – well they should have remained agrarian if they wanted a element of independence – now their lifestyle input cost are so great they have become a huge burden on the new rising market state. A Jackson or a Davitt will not save them now as they cannot be saved. They will be removed from the land not unlike the Scottish clearances – they have become surplus to requirements now – but it will be much easier this time as they have given up their inherent redundancies in return for a cheque in the post. – I suspect not a shot will be fired this time,they will quietly move to the new plantation & watch telly. A contract is not present , the state does not exist , we share no common bond – its every man for himself. Can we have a thread on Enda’s announcement, after consultation with proconsul Barosso, that we have always been at war with East Asia? I thought I could hear a rousing chorus of “We’ll keep the white flag flying here.” from the government buildings when I passed today. Dork wrote, A contract is not present , the state does not exist , we share no common bond – its every man for himself. Every breakfast roll man for himself? BOH. http://designcomment.blogspot.com/2011/10/breakfast-roll.html @Brian This is nothing like the 80s – there was a robustness & cohesion that existed that is not present today – despite all its flaws pre 1987 we were not exposed to the opiate of extreme leverage. Remember the “reform” of 87 was a IMF program with Irish FF & FG faces & lipstick Ireland had corrupt lazy banks back then but they had archaic lending practises. The fiscal debt crisis of the 80s were a illusion – even Morgan Kelly referred to it , our banks back then were not set up to tap into the wealth of Arabia ,thats all. So fiscal debt was reduced dramatically relative to credit – this is very destabilizing to both banks long term & the wider society. Wide boys can game the system during the initial inflation phase & also during the deflationary phase – honest people get slaughtered. Justified Cynicism in all things destroys the fabric and foundation of our society. We sold our soul for asset appreciation……………. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jspBeVa0sTs Now collective mass schizophrenia is just around the corner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-WnY_ZmT9E Full breakdown crisis follows. @ BOH ” a cross-department, multidisciplinary education programme for senior civil servants”! This assumes that a common task of some kind can be identified for the “senior civil servants” in question. This might have been true in the era of Sir Humphrey and the famed UK “generalist” but is no longer the case given the intrusion of government into almost all areas of modern life. It is time to stop the charade and examine job assignments in terms of the requirements of the particular job and, in the process, to break down the often totally artificial barriers which exist between the public and private sectors. All really successful economies have succeeded in doing this. @DOCM Its the intrusion of corporatism – the state is a nessary fiction now , just bread & presidential circuses. Grassroots politics is dead because politics has no function in a market state. @ Dork Hats off to you for vision, historical sense, and cultural breadth, but I’ll put me money on Bourdieu: ‘All that is said here applies first and foremost to the State, which, like all the historical gains linked to the relatively autonomous history of the scholastic fields, is marked by a profound ambiguity. It can be described and treated simultaneously as a relay, no doubt a relatively autonomous one, of economic and political powers which have little interest in universal interests, and as a neutral body, because it conserves within its very structure, the trace of previous struggles, the gains of which it records and guarantees, it is capable of acting as kind of umpire, no doubt always somewhat biased, but ultimately less unfavourable to the interests of the dominated, and to what can be called justice, than what is exalted, under the false colours of liberty and liberalism, by the advocates of ‘laissez faire’, in other words, the brutal and tyrannical exercise of economic force.’ Pierre Bourdieu: Pascalian Meditations: Polity Press 2000. @Paul Indeed but I see the modern nation state as a construct of the banks – post cabinet wars. But I fear the real powers behind the curtain have a core objective – the destruction of their Monster , their creation. This is leading to a dramatic flux – which will lead to a huge breakdown crisis. The Euro is the Bomb – its a rejection of a 400+ year history that now goes very deep. You cannot reverse something so deep in European history without dramatic consequences. When I see the Maoist Cardinal Barossou and the dour cryptic non national Von Rompuy looking for their chance at creating a new Holy Roman Empire I cringe in terror – their ambition will set forces in motion that I think they do not understand. DOCM writes, This assumes that a common task of some kind can be identified for the “senior civil servants” in question. A common task, which needs to be done, already exists. It exists in the area of enterprise and employment creation. What happened over the course of the last few decades in Ireland, is that we became extremely educated as a population. But unfortunately, we have no experience in Ireland of managing such a resource, because in the times that minister Michael Noonan and others were at school, hardly anyone got a high level education. A basic education is what was available. What we have in Ireland in the 2010s, are armies of educated people, and no body in the country looking at how the same, can be utilised as a resource. The multi-national companies from abroad can come into Ireland, and visualise the situation they are presented with. They are able to assess much more quickly, than our own state boards and departments, the human resources that are available and how to organise them efficiently. You look at our higher level education system. There are 17 institutes of technology, dotted around the place in addition to the national university institutions. And who knows how many smaller colleges and centres of higher level training dotted around in between the above. You look at the think tanks, the focus groups, the professional bodies, all doing their own thing. All trying to crack open the same types of problems, from their own angle. But there is no wide angle lense available. There is no one tasked at the moment, with the basic job of understanding how ‘A’ relates to ‘J’, and then relates to ‘W’. This is the outcome, of a situation, where the Irish state, newly born – is able to generate the resource of the educated population – but then, does not know or understand how to organise it. Look at what we do with the medical professionals we train for instance. I recall listening to historian Tom Garvin’s description of Sean Lemass, and his earlies policy initiatives to manage industrialisation better in Ireland. The historian, Garvin, offered the example of a shoe making factory in Dundalk. There was a similar one situated somewhere in Cork. Both factories had been producing and working away independently for decades. But one was not even aware of the other. These were some of the early findings made in the department of Enterprise under Lemass, when they began to look at the question of how to organise the industrial capacity in Ireland. In the 2010’s, we are in a very similar position with regards to knowledge and innovation. During the year 2009, I was briefly involved for that 12 month period in at least a dozen bodies, and various events which happened and sought to enable enterprise to happen, in the energy conservation and generation market sector. I can tell you one thing. It took me only 12 months of burning through my own shoe leather, and funding most of the fieldwork research myself, to gain a comprehensive overview of the different groupings and sub-currents in this innovation sector in Ireland. I recall, having a conversation with someone from Enterprise Ireland, or one of those state bodies about the lack of coordination efforts. I know, that I did not bump into any state employed persons in my travels during 2009. That was, at a time when Ireland found itself in one of its worst economic nightmares of all time. But the impression, I got from the state body, was that they didn’t appreciate my invading their territory. It was their job, to gain this magical overview of things. It was their job to come up with the comprehensive strategy document. It wasn’t my place to point out some of the interesting opportunities and connections which aught to be made. It was strange. If I had had the resources, I could have made connections even further afield, with work going on in other countries, involved in the same sector. In fact, many folk did travel here to Ireland, and those people I did meet here in Ireland. They kept asking me, where was the coordination and public representation at many of the events and meetings? How did all of the activity happening in such small discreet groups in Ireland feed into something larger? The problem was, it didn’t. The problem isn’t getting better either. It is getting much worse. One often wonders how venture capitalists make their margin. How do they spot opportunities? How come they have a monopoly on luck, when it comes to seeing the future? The Steven Jobs or whoever it is. The answer is very simple. It would be difficult for venture capitalists not to succeed. Because so few other people have their eye on the ball, and can see how it is happening. No one else, will burn the required amount of shoe leather. The energy that we threw into property development in Ireland, and such was the focus from the financial industry. It is a pity, there isn’t a small bit of the same given to enterprise. Ireland would be in a quite different league then. We all talk about multi-nationals investing in Ireland. The very least important part of what they do is invest. Very often, all they do is coordinate efforts and resources in ways we never learned to do for ourselves. We don’t even give it an honest try. BOH. A wide ranging dissertatio, but this bit is fairly concrete: ‘The starting point must be to re-establish the credibility of existing institutions by ruthlessly prosecuting the negligence and incompetence that has corrupted the financial sector and its governance. That this has not already happened indicates that politicians do not fully grasp the extent of system failure in Ireland and suggests that institutions in other areas (for example the food sector, health and transport) are similarly flawed. Without an awareness of the seriousness of the accountability problem Ireland will not redevelop as a nation’ Amen. The first task is to clean the place up a bit. It doesn’t need to be ruthless, just a patient, persistent facing down of BS and double standards in each and any available forum. @ All, It is funny. I attended a public discussion at Dublin Innovation Week, in 2009, where a discussion took place on the idea of Ireland having international centres of excellence for medical care. Where patients from all around the world would choose Ireland as a location to come to. It is funny, that a couple of years later, the media publicity would not be about customers for medical care coming here. Very much the opposite. The very medical staff that we have trained here, being exported live. BOH. @ BOH My point exactly. Soldier on if you can, in the school of hard knocks, which is also the school of national development. Formal education is a burden as well as an asset. What happened after the Latin monetory unit broke down I wonder ? I am very disturbed by Joe Durkans economic views on the Vincent Browne show – he seems like a nice well meaning man but…………. Yet he seems to be using the experience of the 1970s / 80s as a template for modern prescriptions. VERY VERY DANGEROUS. There was no lack of money problem in the 70s – we have a completly different monetory ecosystem now. We have a dangerous lack of money and a previous flood of credit on the books Remember our sov money is chiefly externally held now – even when it was external before it was in the Sterling area which was closely linked to our domestic economy. Theres a lack of understanding I fear , I hope ………… Credit money deposits is bleeding to pay external sovergin debt – no amount of tax increases or cuts will solve this lack of money problem. Exponential interest will continue to extract the money supply , the credit is useless – its the friggin money we need. Something similar happened in Ireland during the 19th century – absentee landlords got their rent collected by agents and spent it in London. Draining the countries money supply. We cannot be expected to export everything abroad – besides when our capital is gone we will only be able to pick limpets off the seashore. Old men who know best………………………………… Lorenzo Bini Smaghi -lite from the article It is not hard to see how Irish people’s previously positive view of the EU could change6. But the apparently widespread notion that our vast national debt exists because of a desire by the EU to protect French and German banks is a delusion. Ireland, its banks, property oligarchs and policy-makers are culpable of creating an asset price bubble that rivalled the Japanese property boom of the 1980s and the Mississippi Scheme and South Sea bubbles of 1720. Our remedy in the aftermath of this bubble was to ensnare the state in the debt of Irish banks and then to wander aimlessly into the arms of the EU bailout package. Complacency, greed and bad policy-making are the root causes of our plight and that needs to be faced up to. So why did we pay the bondholders? Remind me again. Yes, we became delusional and thought they needed the money more than down at heel Irish citizens. I thought it was a fine essay. Sadly, I don’t see the thoughtful strategic mind being attracted to politics. Intelligent people usually steer clear of gob5hites. @The Dork of Cork “Too much damage has been done to social cohesion – societies typically don’t recover from this for many decades if at all ….. A contract is not present , the state does not exist , we share no common bond – its every man for himself.” Your words have the depressing ring of truth about them. Not something most people want to confront… sadly. @Dork: Your forcast for those rural folk. Machinery works fine when it is sound, well maintained (agri stuff gets very hard wear) – and – you have fuel (cheap and also not very dear, and inexpensive like!) to propel it. I would put money on lots of folk (perhaps in a decade or so) moving – or being pressed, back into the rural parts. City folk need their grub. Though how they will cook it is another matter. It surely won’t come as a a pre-cooked, chilled, “Dinner-for-2”, in a M+S blister pack! We are not going anywhere with any sort of political re-structuring until there are semi-permanent encampments on Kildare St, Merrion Square, and all cities, towns and villiages in this state – the inhabitants of these settlements banging their pots and pans and creating a ferocious racket, day in, day out. The Sheeple coralling the wolves. Our current political parties (aka: self-selected, Mafia-style elites) are manned by persons who are basically incapable of change that will benefit the citizen. They do not wish it. And will resist it. If it is forced upon them, they may pass legislation to deprive their citizens of easy ways to organize and protest. In fact, I consider contemporary politicians (and their faceless backers) quite capable of suborning the parlimentary election process itself – they just need a plausible ‘justification’ for doing so. “We know what is best for you.” sort of drivel. Brian Snr. “an intellectual gadfly”… On a horse’s ass perhaps, ideas above our station… What part of common market does this man not understand, we are destined to become a sleepy backwater of a Federal Europe and that is a fate devoutly to be wished for if only to get me away from the 4/8 of the voting electorate determined to Fine Fail all the way home… Default; Bazookas; Restructure; Bazookas; Bankruptcy; Bankruptcy; Default; Restructure; More Bazookas; Banks; Banks; Banks … The Upper_Echelon Fiddler Fraternity is incapable of reforming itself; why should it?_It is doing rather nicely. It hasn’ t gone away – as we all now very well know. – a well known known so to speak. There is no plan. The only imperative is to maintain the status quo; all in its power will be marshalled to this end, regardless of the human, social, and psychological costs to the servile citizen_serfs. This is not a republic; it is a kleptocracy. If we want a republic, we may have to fight for it – and those standing in its way are not JohnnyForeigners, but those of our own – the upper-echelon fiddler fraternity. @Carlo Spiceyweiner Have you met Blind Biddy yet? Off-topic Seems to be now consistent French line that states should not have to recap their own banks and that this should preferably be done ‘on an international level’ ‘as a reflection of European solidarity’. Is Ireland going to join in on the basis that once established this should of course be retrospective, do what it is told and shut up, not bother because the French position has too little support, or what? You would assume there should be some strategy discussions at least about this. Odd that there is so little public discussion. Actually, given the essay’s point about lack of expertise in the civil service, I suppose we have to entertain the idea that maybe none of the above will occur to officials until after they have been sent on a taxpayer funded training course. @grumpy Just to cheer you up … Finance Minister Michael Noonan is pushing Europe to allow a restructuring of the €30bn “IOU” or promissory note that was created by the State to bail out Anglo and Irish Nationwide. The terms of the IOU mean the State must pay the banks about €3bn until 2023, and lower amounts until 2031. The total bill comes to €47.4bn because the State must pay interest at a rate of 5.8pc on the IOUs outstanding. http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/anglo-bailout-restructure-savings-face-new-limit-2906316.html?from=dailynews @ Wee Daniel… A plutocratic kleptocracy to be precise and hard to believe, but turkeys are going to vote for Christmas again with the Fianna Fail man wearing lipstick SG once more… Re: Blind Biddy, I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure but then there’s much I like to forget and is lost in the dense mists of time… Much like a Department of Finance official… @David Od France – Germany 10 yr spread hit a new high today. Highly relevant. @Brian Woods Snr I agree if it gets really really bad very very quickly you are better off in a West Cork Hobbit hole – but if it is a structured destruction as it has been for 20+ years now – people will be forced out of the country – and not into our market towns which are in a very bad shape but propelled towards Dublin, Cork & abroad. This will not end well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YXWl6i2GBg @Grumpy I see Italy out to 5.86% this morning. JCT better get out the checkbook quickly. @Ceterisparibus On the subject of Italy and plans…. does Italy have one (a plan) if Silvio goes down in the confidence vote? I’m not sure which way that 5.86% would go – whether he stays or goes. Better the devil you know versus the possibility of a swing to the left in Italy if elections are called? I wonder, if he goes, whether the current piggies at the trough in Italy will find a centre/right big enough to prevent elections and form what I believe is called a ‘technical’ (or is it ‘technocrat’) government? There are a lot of vested interests in the current body of elected politicians over there (same the world over I guess). @grumpy ceteris … who we got ready to restructure 50,60 or 70 billion when sh1t really hits the tango? Be wise to keep An Taoiseach out of it …. bad hair day yesterday – but like the judges today. @PRGuy Italy. A Plan? Sounds like a great idea. Think the Northern League want to secede … @carlo plutocratic kleptocracy – quite! There are no officials in the dept of finance anymore – since the dawn of the age of the troika there are only provisional licenses available @all The most concerning bit of news today on the domestic front is the figures for ECB and ICB borrowing of 153billion at end of September. Seems we are making no progress on this problem despite the truckloads of money pumped into the banks. This fact demonstrates the absurdity of the recovery hype. @Ceterisparibus Its the nature of the Euro banking system – the present flawed structure prevents recycling of surpluses back into the real economy. The euromasters camped in Dublin are only looking at the consumption leaks ,meanwhile the entire human & fixed capital system is depreciating before their eyes. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_and_flow The token money is getting stuck in the cogs of the banking system preventing real commerce & capital appreciation from occuring. Even if we lived in a corrupt but functional currency union system the ECB would give us Real Euros on condition we buy French & German products such as Alstom Trams. It seems we have a corrupt non functional system now….which is far worse. There is a huge Vacuum for investment in this economy that would reduce our input costs – something is very broken in the system me thinks. Investment is unfortunetly seen as always bad now given the non productive nature of investment post Maastricht. But there is projects out there screaming for investment. http://www.geograph.ie/photo/76745 Maybe they are afraid we will give our surplus to useless domestic companies again – but if they are in charge now , whats stopping them spending Euros to enrich their home countries and make us more efficient so that they can save their banking capital investments ? An excellent piece which requires,on my part anyway, re-reading and thought. I got the ‘strategic blackhole bit’, I got the ‘accountability blackhole bit’ – I may have missed the ‘failure to implement blackhole bit’.(And that is colossal right across our Institutions and state pillars and of course in private sector managed companies – to a slightly lesser degree) I wonder will this be required reading for our ‘leaders’ – senior government ministers and their senior administrative and advisory colleagues? Pigs might fly! RTe TV – Joe Lee and Cathal MacCoille – ‘one to one’ – late last Monday night – good stuff also! @Brian Woods Snr – 9.20a.m post Just read it – +2! Maybe I have been naive. The decent into darkness begins. http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/…/foreign-riot-police-now-operating-in-greece... What’s the Plan? Below is one plan. Given the bit of that ‘plan’ I have quoted, the question becomes ‘What is Ireland’s plan – given the apparent Plan? “The bank-aid model under discussion is to set up a European-level backstop capitalized by the EFSF rescue fund, the people said. It would have the power to take direct equity stakes in banks and provide guarantees on bank liabilities. Such ideas are controversial in Germany, Europe’s dominant economy, which so far has called for bank recapitalization on a country-by-country basis. Officials are considering seven ways of getting more firepower out of the temporary rescue fund. The options break down into two broad categories: enabling it to borrow from the European Central Bank or using it to provide bond insurance. ” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-14/eu-said-to-consider-one-time-50-greek-writedown-bank-backstop.html I guess Michael O’Sullivan is wasting his sweetness in the desert air as the forces of conservatism/comfortable defenders of the status quo, likely dismiss him as another embittered distant expat. What better illustration of the world of the bogman and paddywhackery syndrome can we have than the current presidential election campaign? Áras an Uachtaráin is proscribed as a bottomless repository for inanities but these 7 candidates already resemble a gallery at Madame Tussauds but nevertheless they are representative of the population. Given the state of chassis, has any of them said anything of consequence that would lift the spirits of a beaten people? We have one on the public payroll but who was also on disability benefit for 16 years; another on the public payroll as long and his wife has also been put on the public payroll; a charity worker who has managed to pick up many handy earners as a ‘safe pair of hands’ and dare even question a conflict of interest on the award of a PR contract; another, a citizen of the US who is surprised that the media should poke their noses into such irrelevant things; a reformed terrorist leader who began the campaign by terming critics ‘West Brits’; another who has been a Fianna Fáil insider — on the public payroll as an adviser to a FF minister, campaign manger and property services entrepreneur during the bubble — but eager to airbrush these inconvenient facts. That leaves Michael D. Higgins who once used to have a lot to say but is now boning up on the toolkit of inanities. It’s true that we’re more into fairytales than strategy. Eoin O’Driscoll, an industrialist, who is chairman Forfás and headed the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), which reported in 2004, told a conference in 2005, that most of the products we manufacture, are designed elsewhere and the bulk of our exports, are marketed/sold by organisations outside Ireland. It’s a disappointment that Richard Bruton prefers spin; it would be a shock if there was an unvarnished assessment of the challenges but that could temper the international plaudits for our export performance. @Micheal When conflicts end – money must almost always be cleaned officially like. Maybe somebody on that illustrious tag team has some deep experience of dealing with a nearby CB maybe not – just saying like……….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pykD8UkUABQ @Grumpy Reading that article from Bloomberg it strikes me that the proposed new bailout is doomed to be a failure and that those involved recognize this. If we are to have a once and for all resolution to the crisis, why would they need to continue sovereign bond buying?????? “European officials are considering writedowns of as much as 50 percent on Greek bonds, a backstop for banks and continued central bank bond purchases as key planks in a revamped strategy to combat the debt crisis, people familiar with the discussions said. The Greek bond losses may be accompanied by a pledge to rule out debt restructurings in other countries that received bailouts, such as Portugal, to persuade investors that Europe has mastered the crisis, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations will run for another week.” @ vinny: Just back from the ‘day job’. Thanks a bunch! I do not like to recommending reading to folks: it can come across as condescending. Try (if you have the time and patience) “Interrogating Irish Policies” William Kingston, Dublin University Press. 15 – 20 min essays. Its one scary monograph. Cheers. Brian Snr. One pundit (Sean Egan) according to Bloomberg just now predicting 90-95% Greek haircut. Wow. That sore…also banks are reported to be refusing to go beyond 21%. I wonder will Angela twist Ackerman’s arm over the weekend!!! DOCM writes, It is time to stop the charade and examine job assignments in terms of the requirements of the particular job and, in the process, to break down the often totally artificial barriers which exist between the public and private sectors. All really successful economies have succeeded in doing this. I would probably disagree with your sentiment. From my brief interviews with some in the management consulting field lately, the pattern that seems to emerge, is one of skilled workers in a certain area finding themselves totally redundant, as the world evolves, takes new directions and leaves huge numbers of otherwise excellent people, behind. It is not unique to Ireland. The problem appears to be as severe, or even worse, in other developed countries. I penned a response to another comment thread at the Irish Economy blog this evening, and created a blog entry of it, for your consideration. It isn’t complete. There are some things I wish to add. But it contains an important point I hope, which will suffice for today. Regards, BOH. http://designcomment.blogspot.com/2011/10/ladder.html @Brian Its the free floating currency pair system – it makes long term planning impossible. Its got little to do with new innovation – its banks gaming & extracting whatever surplus is available & moving on Leaving formerly productive people in a quandary. Banks have made money in 2 ways historically. Imagine a Bank in 17th century Holland – it can make money by investing in Dykes & windmills or funding foregin wars and redirecting the surplus back to the home country. Its normally easier to game the system then build real capital – until the enemy is at the gates of course or maybe the sea decides to make a surprise appearance. @Ceterisparibus “also banks are reported to be refusing to go beyond 21%.” The co-ordinated PR response from banks (and other bondholders) on all things to do with recap and haircuts I mentioned last weekend has already started – and will escalate (seriously, I – and many others – have been working like a dog for the past two weeks). My suggestion is that Merkel and Sarko are currently swimming out of their depth and some of the ‘sharks in suits’ are circling them. What I heard was along the lines of more likely a 40% haircut with a ‘promise’ of no more restructuring for other countries (i.e. Ireland, Portugal). People in the EU are still pretending there’s no problems elsewhere. “I see no ships”, “what fu**ing indians?”, “there aren’t any icebergs in this part of the Atlantic”, etc. What do doctors call it? In denial? @The Dork of Cork “Maybe I have been naive” I posted a similar link in another thread just now – didn’t see you had posted this one. I am going to call a friend in Greece after the rugby/breakfast and see if I can get it confirmed. I am not sure (i.e. don’t know one way or the other) about the reliability of this claim. If it is true, it is a very worrying development. I also see the US sent 100 special forces into central Africa this week to hunt down someone in the Lord’s Resistance Army (or whatever they’re called). War by proxy/economics is one thing but boots on the ground is another matter. The Greeks will go ape if this is true. @PR Well this stuff is inevitable if they get a central Treasury – they introduce credit opium into the medium , let it simmer for 20 years and then blame national democracy. This guys are bad bastards – but they think very long term I am afraid. Comments are closed.