An Independent Irish Economic Advisory Service

Marc Coleman joins the debate on how to reform the government’s economic advisory service in this short article.

47 replies on “An Independent Irish Economic Advisory Service”

Probably the best example of such a service is to be found in the Netherlands.

It is, however, far from the proposal set out in this paper, the underlying logic of which – that the economic advice that it would offer can be equated in any manner to legal advice offered by the AG’s office – is open to serious question.

What the paper reveals is an inability to think outside the box and to accept that the problem which has nearly brought the state to its knees is not the lack of good technical advice, whether supplied by PhDs in economics or not, but the unwillingness of politicians to either accept or act on it.

Until insititutional arrangements are in place to correct this, the problem will remain. The fiscal pact may finally provide the necessary impetus. The rest, regrettably, is simply re-arranging the deck chairs.

A impressively logically structured piece although I disagree with most of it – particularly with its emphasis on Propaganda.
Declaring the IMF and ECB are sovergin money creating entities and we must buckle down and all.

But what is really going down in the Bunkers of Europe ?
OECD Europe is bleeding all over the dance floor.

Having lost over 1 million B/D since Jan 2009……. but where is it going ?

Germanys only real response is to export its BMers to where its the oil is.
Lets hope the Asian Strategy works out for them.
But they are borrowing off our accounts to do it.

These guys are not playing Cricket as they know the various petty elites withen the peripheral states just want to keep their Euro wages.

This is a very dangerous moment in European History (aren’t they all)
But the very concept of Fiat is under attack – this was the Prime directive of the Eurocrats me thinks
Destroy the exchequers will and ability to print.
Once the bankers have full control of Fiat it will be all over for us.

The ESM could very well be the end of European History as all the books will be burnt.

PS – it looks like Irish oil demand will be down to 1995/96 levels this year…. after reaching 1998 levels last year.
Europes elites somehow think we are some kind of sick liquid fuel transfer union for their Chinese investments.

Its quite some way to run a continent into the ground this inflation , deflation thingy……all to keep the profitable wage arbitration thing going.

The sooner we eject from this sick market state experiment the better.

Ireland…..back to where it started 20 + years ago soon.

What a criminal waste of resourses this period was.
Everything post 79 , post 87 , post 92 , post 99 , post 2002 should be rejected.


74% of North Rhine Westphalia say NO to wearing Angela’s Corset!

53% of Irish in latest SBP poll say YES to wearing Angela’s Corset!

It follows that Angela Merkel’s Austerity Policy is more popular in Ireland than in North Rhine Westphalia!!!! The Irish must Love Austerity and paying off the debts of VichyBankers …

Is Minister Big Phil putting something in the waters?

Apropos the issue of technical advice, there was an interesting letter in last Saturday’s IT on the role of the ECJ in the context of the fiscal pact which deserves attention.

To a lay person with some knowledge of the subject, the advice in the letter is correct as far as it goes but it fails to give the necessary weight to what the treaty actually says viz. that it is only a contracting party which can take an action against another that fails to put the structural deficit rules fully into national law. The booklet of the Referendum Commission errs by omission in the same way when it states simply “the issue may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU”.

The parallels drawn with the rest of EU law in the IT letter are also not valid as the treaty, again, states in its relevant Article 8.3; “This Article constitutes a special agreement between the Contracting Parties within the meaning of Article 273 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU”. In short, it would be more correct to say that it is an inter-governmental agreement drawing on the services of the ECJ under a little (if ever?) used article dating from the Treaty of Rome.

No they are merely extremely stupid…… Ireland has never been sovereign in any real meaning of the term.
Crotty was so right about this – the various sects withen Irish culture owe their allegiances to different outfits although most owe it to the weekly euro cheque.

I have just listened to that painful Newtalk Sunday show where they mix we lived beyond our means meme (it was external capital flows that managed to get away with it all) with some “shovel ready” projects…..

It was that petty bourgeois socialist stuff that makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.
People don’t seem to understand the Bankers are closer to the socialists then the conservatives and yet they keep buying their shitty product.

They may be some sort of plan to buy our votes again – somebody better tell them we are not only cheap but are stupid.
No need to bother.

We are merely Latvians with a sense of Humour.
But the Joke is on us.

This isn’t a very good paper.
The simple way of doing things is – you make people accountable.
If they mess up they suffer. It’s that simple.

@ Eureka

‘The simple way of doing things is – you make people accountable.’


Fantastic , A classic Time Mag Piss take.

The socialists will try to build “shovel ready” projects which will get us into even more debt to the banks – despite the fact the trains & Buses are empty because most people have no tokens in their pocket given the exponential nature of sov debt.

They will do everything possible to prevent base money in the hands of the people….. I can hear them now – “just give them more credit again for Christ sake”

Non interest bearing Treasury paper is what is needed.
Once this is introduced you will then see where the credit waste truely is and thus invest in the right projects.
The passenger evidence from the UK rail stats points to where investment should flow.

The money must flow , for this to happen the bank credit must deleverage in a positive base money envoirment.

Its all about the RATIO of bank credit to money.
The Euro babes response to deleveraging is to take credit tokens off the people to pay exponential sov debt rather then produce interest free tokens.

Interesting IEA energy report from April.

In it it states UK oil demand has reached 1.4MBD – this has not been seen since the mid 1960s !!!!!

Also the Jap Nuke situation is looked at from a energy perspective.
With a increase of 56% on LNG use for electricity generation (43% of total)
increase of 27% in direct crude burning (7% of total in Y2011)
increase of 20% in refined fuel (7% of total in Y2011)

Oh yes China has passed the 10 MBD mark…… although growth increases are now slowing.

The advice that is listened to comes in the form of “campaign contributions”. Anything else is a smoke screen.

In the from page of the paper this morning – Coveney and the lads are attacking Ganley quite rightly for saying this is about bank debt , which its not.

This is about giving up our last tiny bits of money soverginity , Coveney , Bruton and that the rest of the neo -liberal crew want to give up the remaining bits of our money sovereignty….. its that simple.
To peserve their precious Euro wages and do whatever higher thingy they have been called to do by their various lodges or whatever.
They are in many respects automans.

Its quite clear that both the average Chinaman and European is a conduit for capital rather then a citizen or even a subject.
In many ways we are worse then a slave or a subject – we are a conduit and therefore hold no value.
This is because most of the money supply in the world is bank credit which needs to earn a return via arbritrage rather then core wealth creation.
This leads to these absurd global supply chains we see today – where even China (a coal superpower) must import coal to build machines that can be built in Europe for less input costs.
But the slave masters cannot get a margin on this so we must remain a conduit…..go figure.

Unless this is challenged via a rejection of the market state in the various former nation states of the world this situation / dynamic will not change.


“The simple way of doing things is – you make people accountable.”

What? If you don’t ‘do your job’ you don’t have a job? Surely not? Not here in Ireland.

I’m not sure if that even applies to the private sector any more given the number of people I meet who frequently amaze me that they have reached the position they hold.

I was in a meeting with a McKinsey consultant not long ago, talking to the Marketing and Sales directors of a private sector company here and after they left, he made some strange frustrated-sounding noises and then said to me, “It isn’t just me is it? These people are really, really stupid aren’t they?”

“Welcome to Ireland,” I said. “Dead men’s shoes and serving your time before you get that senior position… and only then if you went to Blackrock/Clongowes/etc. have scratched the right backs and belong to the right golf club.”

I dread to think what it must be like in the public sector here.

I see the Spanish government are talking about imposing severe spending cuts on Asturias. Franco’s wife came from Oviedo and used to pile into shops there when she was visiting, demanding expensive ‘gifts’ be given to her. They don’t take too kindly to interference from central government up there. It’s probably why Franco got the Germans to try out their Stuka bombers up there.

Eurozone industrial output fell 0.3pc month-on-month and 2.2pc year-on-year in March.

Not good.


“This isn’t a very good paper.
The simple way of doing things is – you make people accountable.
If they mess up they suffer. It’s that simple.”

Would that accountability include bi-directionality?

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if accountability could be both upwards as well as downwards?

Look at the culture in Ireland. During the bubble no one was accountable for anything, least of all ministers. Review groups, experts, reports, international practices, anything and everything is cited as a responsibility dilutant.

Taxpayers, ratepayers, the broad business community still haven’t been provided with a rundown on ‘accountability’ for the disastrous bank guarantee.

Just today I read on the web that retied public servants are being rehired because of one of the most stupid redundancy packages put in place. Many pubic servants were hovering around the cake during the bubble years but who among them is accountable for decisions?

Who is ever held accountable in ireland for policy failures???

This is an intersting and useful document – and Marc Coleman deserves great credit for putting in this effort. It is, unfortunately, far too rare in Ireland and we are the poorer as a result. But is there any chance that people here might pay it at least a little bit of the attention it deserves? Is there any chance our esteemed contributors will offer a view?

I know I’ll probably be accused of going off (again) into orbit with one of my usual obsessions, but I remain convinced that, irrespective of the quality of economic advice being provided, governing politicians, their advisers and the key parts of the civil service engaging with them – all captured to some extent or other by the various narrow sectional economic interests – will charge ahead regardless and will be constrained only by what they reckon the electorate will not stomach – or by what they expect they will not be able to conceal from the electorate.

But the power and resources they have to spin whatever they desire – or whatever the special interests desire – and to conceal the real intent and impact of specific policy proposals from effective public scrutiny diminishes the effectiveness of this constraint.

Marc Coleman’s assessment of what is required in an effective economic advisory unit makes a lot of sense. And his assessment of the performance of, and the interactions between, the existing bodies is quite good – even if he pulls (or feels compelled to pull – oh, th threat of libel action) some punches. But where, imo, it falls down is in terms of seeking to introduce some effective adversarial disputation, based on facts evidence and analysis, in to the process. This quite simply will not be possible.

And I know the usual, disingenuously self-serving, cry will go up that, in a time of economic stringency, it can’t be afforded. But the requirement is to have not one, but two economic advisory units – one for the government and one for the Oireachtas. This is the only way of ensuring that government policy proposals are subject to effective scrutiny and contest. It is the only way that the imprint of the greasy fingers of the various special interests on public policy proposals will be revealed.

To work effectively democracy requires considerable (temporarily) redundant resources that have the capability to govern – an opposition (in effect a ‘government-in-waiting’). Even if they might grumble about the levels of remuneration, citizens are generally happy to pay for this redundancy because they see it as their utlimate safeguard against tyranny. It might need some concerted effort, but I see no reason why they could not be persuaded that the Oireachtas – and not just opposition factions – needs considerable additional resources and, in particular, its own economic advisory unit.

This would serve two purposes. More importantly, it would provide the Oireachtas with a resource to scrutinise government policy proposals – and the self-serving, woolly-thinking and special pleading presented by the various special interests to Oireachtas Cttees. But almost equally importantly it would provide opposition factions desiring the means to develop their capability as a ‘government-in waiting’ and to base their policy policy proposals on solid evidence and analysis. Curently the opposition factions develop policy proposals on a shoe-string in the backroom. This is not intended to be a slur on the capability of those who put in a huge effort. (FG, in particular, put in huge effort while in opposition – and it is reflected in the current Programme for Government.)

But the inadequacy of the resources available inevitably generates inanities and imbecilities when these proposals go through the politcial grinder – and these inanities and imbecilities are clearly evident in current government policies and in the serious deficiencies in these policies.

So we need not one, but two, economic advisory units.

Marc Coleman deserves credit for putting a lot of thought and effort into this important issue. His proposals have a lot of merit. Unlike most of the above comments which are idiotic or irrelevant.

Thank you, Kevin. I feel sooo much better now that you have pronounced ‘ex cathedra’.

I agree my comments are idiotic and that Coleman’s piece is thoughtfully & rationally constructed.
But without monetary soverginity I am afraid its a waste of time.

The company once paid our wages in company tokens to be spent in the company store.
Now they don’t even provide us with the tokens….its a sort of Dustbin economy where the scraps from the big meal upstairs is all there is.

You can’t run a national economy like that.

The reason why they are not giving us tokens anymore is because we are not a national economy – we merely serve as a conduit for capital flows.

It follows there is little point to “national planning” in this envoirment unless this 30 /40 year experiment is reversed.

Many of the commentators here seem to me like the typical 1980s /1990s Late Late show audience….. they wonder why Politics has become less relevant to them and why politicians have no real power these days.

Mr Sutherland comes on to do his talk with Perhaps Bono to give him some sort of cultural backing and we all decide things are not so bad…… we move on into the 1990s and 2000s and experience the nightmare and yet wonder why ?

Listen closely to this interview – the audience just don’t get it.
They think the money is somehow a Physical good , to be given to Africa are something.
A Scottish audience would have got it.

We are simply not very bright it seems.

“We wanted the money but wanted to burn it more”

The economic policy lessons of the crisis have been well recited and will not be dealt with here. The focus of this paper is to ask the question “To what extent did economic policy making institutions fulfil their mandate in warning government of the crisis to come and in recommending remedial action?”

Coleman’s critical observations on NESC raise serious questions about the value of that organization. Does it do valuable work?

Interesting article. Not sure about the computer metaphors but a good start to getting a handle on plugging policy failures in future.

This is a useful template but an EAS would more likely have impact reporting to the Dáil similar to the Congressional Budget Office in the US, which could also have a role in assisting opposition parties?

I agree with DOCM that the problems of public policy are not ones that can be solved by holders of PhDs, no matter how brilliant.

For a start, a body like this if located within the existing bureaucracy, would have to be headed by an outsider (ex-Ireland) who has a track record on providing public reality checks on official spin and ministerial bullshit coupled with a personality that is impervious to being hated by managers in the bureaucracy.

In short, this type of individual would never be appointed by Irish ministers.

The problem we have is not that we don’t know where we are but what can be done to get to a better place.

Unless there are other significant reforms, another group producing reports, can have little impact.

Ministerial spin and Oireachtas members across the spectrum never risking telling voters unpalatable truths and showing no interest in issues with long-term implications for the country is what currently exits.

Additional research facilities and an individual parliamentary assistant, has had no discernable impact.

Radical reform of the clientist dominant system is not on the agenda or likely.

The key question about an additional body, is could it make a difference?
If it would be just another body that accepts the official statistics, which show that Ireland has miracle workers, then it would be of little use in analysing the challenges in the decade ahead.

Spin is pervasive in the Irish system and is particularly evident in enterprise policy where enterprise agency heads seldom if ever in public say anything of substance.

It’s quite a bizarre situation where a minister can get away with publicly attributing a rise in exports to ‘Irish entrepreneurs’ when for example in 2011, most of the rise of €5bn in services exports resulted from accounting measures by 3 US companies to evade tax by booking foreign revenues unrelated to its Irish operations, as Irish sales.

Does this matter? Surely yes, when jobs in the exporting sectors are below 1999 levels?

Does anyone wonder why the Government is trying to attract American venture capital companies to Ireland , which as a group have had a poor 20-year record, with offers of NPRF funds?

Forfás illustrates how impotent a policy advisory body can be if it is guided by what suits the political leadership.

The agency produces a lot of material on science inputs but strangely nothing of much use on outputs – – why frighten the horses?

Google UK is Google’s biggest overseas market and in 2010 generated about £2.15bn ($2.9bn) in revenues – – Google Inc. said the market accounted for 10% of group sales.

2010 accounts for Google UK Ltd., filed at the UK’s Companies House, showed it made a pre-tax loss of £22m on turnover of £240m. The sterling turnover at Google Ireland was £7.9bn – – the Irish based workers are clearly more productive?.

Google UK had almost 1,000 employees in 2010 compared with 1,500 at Google Ireland.

It’s interesting – and very telling – that it takes about two hours to get 25 comments on a post such as the latest on a possible Grexit over which Ireland has almost zero influence and more than 5 hours to get a similar number of comments on this post (many of of which probably don’t even belong here) which deals with a matter that is totally in Ireland’s discretion – and would have significant benefits if addressed properly.

Weclome to Ireland, the country that wants everyone else to solve its problems – and to solve them NOW, while doing as little as is humanly possible to solve them itself.

@paul hunt

Agreed. Similar pattern on a ‘jobs initiative’ thread a few months back. It is badger behaviour again.

One would hope that a body such as NESC would address Coleman’s points, which seem very fair and moderate to me a lay resder,and offer some explanations.

I doubt if any minister will trouble them to oblige.

@The Alchemist,

You’re right. I have had a little bit of a ‘Eureka’ moment – no, not him (or her). I’ve being perusing the posts since the start of this year and the pattern of comments. Not surprisingly, given the specialisms of our principal contributors, the posts with direct contributor input and some engagement major on macro and fiscal matters. There are a few that dig below the macro, but they are few and far between – and are probably the exceptions that prove the rule. Mostly we have ‘public notices’ of national or international publications, announcements or events.

All very useful, I’m sure, but the comments seem to be clustered into various categories of unpersuadability and genuine engagement is in terminal decline. And most of these comments seem to focus on the perceived or actual iniquities of various parties – with a focus on external parties.

Following its initial flourishing, this blog seems to be succumbing to the pervasive and overwhelming closing of the Irish mind. It emerged from the initiative of a handful of the more enlightened denizens of Official Ireland, but Official Ireland merely tolerated it and occasionally toyed with it. Any light being shed on how it functions is an anathema to
Official Ireland – as it is to elites anywhere. It is quite remarkable that this blog flourished for so long. But it is going nowhere now.

Ah well, it was fun for a while.

For myself I just ignored this post, I know Philip Lane is just trying to present various views on the economy, which we all appreciate, but I know Coleman only a right wing hack journalist and radio talk show host and he says such stupid, stupid things…..

Far from being discredited, Hayek is our inspiration now. It was he who showed how state intervention — the US Fed and Bank of England setting ultra-low interest rates in the Twenties — contributed to the Great Depression, and how, far from causing recovery, Keynesian economics resulted in the US economy sliding back into recession in the late Thirties

The prosecution rests it case.

Thanks to The Cedar Lounge for the pointer.

Thanks for comments – positive and negative. I’ve dished it out to some in academia so it’s only fair that I get flack as well. Certainly I take on board point that although I did warn about dometic overheating since 2005 I didn’t – on balance – think the global economy would face crisis as well. But that’s another debate entirely

@ Shay Begorrah
Marc Coleman is hereby sentenced to 5 year study of the great depression and roosevelts new deal!

@Marc Coleman,

Thank you for joining the discussion and many thanks for the effort you have put in preparing this document. I don’t think you got any academic flak. Of the handful of comments that actually addressed your paper most were from the usual suspects here. Our academics don’t do flak. In fact I’m not sure what most of our ‘public intellectuals’ do apart from furthering their careers.

I’m don’t know if you have taken steps, or intend to take steps, to seek to ensure that your paper receives some consideration by the ‘powers-that-be’. If you don’t it’s likely to wither on the vine. Even if you do it’s still likely to suffer the same fate, but, at least, you’ll have given it a shot.

@V Barrett

Marc Coleman is hereby sentenced to 5 year study of the great depression and roosevelts new deal!

I simply do not get it.

Everything I have read suggests that the idea that the great depression was the result of excessive market intervention by the government is now a truly fringe position – strictly for the von Mises. Even Friedman’s weaker position that it could have been prevented just by monetary expansion seems to have taken a mortal blow in light of recent events. Anyway it is not directly related to the thread, so I’ll stop.

Mark Coleman has admitted that he got it wrong about the bubble, which puts him one up on the rest of our political class and most of our economists (there was no way they coudda known!). The only economist I can recall acknowledging that he got it wrong in Ireland was Brian Lucey.

There will be no escape from the current crisis without the establishment facing up to the fact that they were wrong about many things (not just EMU) and that changed analytical frameworks are needed.

Good to have you here Marc. I’ve been wondering, whats going on at the Sindo recently?
From the outside it looks like the staff are experiencing a collective mental breakdown. Is it sinking in that the strawman has been outboxing you for the last decade?
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at an editorial meeting. I’d say its about as coherent as the first AA meeting at a halfway house for unrepentant glue addicts
Eoghan Harris ended the Cold War Don’t you know!
I think Paul Hunts hostility to Irish academics can be extended to our journalist class. (Now theres a protected class – its pretty much a gauranteed job for life)
Glorified “barroom ranters’ to borrow Michael Hennigans term. Useless doesnt even begin to do justice
Anyway pass on my love.

@Shay B

An Irish tabloid’s opinions on anything bar Johnny Ronan’s new haircut should be of no concern to any sentient human being

The omens are not good. The last government denied everything, “it wasnt us , Lehmans were to blame. The new lot have not exactly set the place on fire with effective radical reform. Its back to the future with cuts here and a new stealth tax there, but no overall plan or vision as to how we might ensure that, simply ensuring that the crisis does not happen again,(and thats some challenge) is not enough.Inmho we need to build a society with a sustainable economy which will benefit all of society.
Sure this needs sound fiscal policy that is informed by objective scrutiny and analysis. Ultimately however policy direction is decided by politicians. Anything that contributes to a more open and transparent process and requires politicians to be accountable for their decisions in real time, not just at the ballot box once every five years is to be welcomed

Our politicians do not do – ‘take advice’ except from their political handlers. And even then they may baulk. So, no Advisory Service is necessary. Maybe for the optics, but otherwise it would be a dispiriting exercise.

Our politicians are completely sold (for the moment anyway) on handing out other people’s money, begged, borrowed (usually) or looted by regressive taxation. They have (or appear so) no appreciation that their borrowed money is someone else’s to-morrow’s income. No economist will penetrate that mindset.

I do not know whether economists are rational or irrational, but politicians are both simultaneously, so the best approach is just to ask them what they need – and provide it. No education is necessary. Just visit this site on a daily basis.

@ Marc Coleman

John McHale noted recently some thought that comments on this blog are no longer read by anybody (which he hoped was not true). Like any lightly moderated blog, a lot of useless contributions are unavoidable. (I admit immediately that mine may be in that category in the view of many).

Contributions from academia – with some very honourable exceptions – are few and far between but I suspect that the blog attracts a lot of academic “lurkers”.

Your paper is a valuable contribution but I am compelled to repeat the view that it fails to come to terms with the radical nature of the crisis and the need for really radical measures to deal with it. This requires a complete overhaul, not the production of a stale “strategy statement” required by an outdated piece of legislation – the Public Services Management Act 1997 – by the lead department in the State which has, effectively, gone down the plughole.

The blog almost certainly also attracts many readers paid from the public purse who are plagued every working day by the requirements of some management theory or other (whatever is in vogue). Those insisting on such activity are whistling past the graveyard, to mix my metaphors even further, while waiting for the inevitable budgetary ax to drop.

In my view, no pressure for change will come from any other source. The inadeqaute nature of the design of the ax used to date (otherwise known as the Croke Park Agreement) will, it is to be hoped, become the stimulus for the honest, no holds barred, type of intellectual appraisal and analysis that is required.

It may happen! As a country, we have never been here before.

There are fundamental problems with this. Advisory boards serve to dilute accountability. A person makes a decision – they live by the consequences.
If we could learn I one thing in this country it should be this :
Being right is much more important than being liked

The Berlin Press on Dr Merkel’s hammering and a massive 74% NO vote in North Rhine Westphalia …

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been weakened by the humiliating election defeat of her conservatives in the large state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday. German media commentators say she will face a harder time securing backing for her austerity policy at home, at a time when resistance to it is building across Europe.

Not to worry Angela – The Irish, apparently, still love your austerity and are delighted to wear those Fiscal Corkets (all the rage here at the mo) to vote YES YES OH YES, and to keep paying the bills of all your bank bondholders for a generation or so … or maybe two generations …

Personally, I’m voting NO. Blind Biddy is campaigning for Ms Kraft for the Chancellorship … European Citizenry First and Feck the Financial matrixsQuidesque system as Fader Jack ‘ould put it!

@shay begorrah
…I am in agreement with you on this and thus suggest Coleman be forced to read a little more on the subject.

Stiglitz had an excellent article entitled “Book of Jobs” in the January edition of Vanity Fair that i would highly recommend. The paralells with the central focus on Europeans banking crisis as opposed to the real economy (stupid!) is uncanny:

“It is important to grasp this simple truth: it was government spending—a Keynesian stimulus, not any correction of monetary policy or any revival of the banking system—that brought about recovery. The long-run prospects for the economy would, of course, have been even better if more of the money had been spent on investments in education, technology, and infrastructure rather than munitions, but even so, the strong public spending more than offset the weaknesses in private spending”…..

No disrespect to MC but i’m more inclined to go with Stiglitz on this one…

@Marc Coleman,

You should be well pleased. Your message must have hit a nerve in some quarters given the strenuous efforts being made to shoot the messenger – a reaction that is almost universal but which many Irish people have turned in to an art form.

I can’t understand what’s so objectionable in it; my only (limited) criticism is that it doesn’t go far enough.


thats a pretty self serving and narrow analysis of peoples respoCnses. For my own part, I believe M to be wrong – I have substantiated that viewpoint in a non-vitirolic way by merely referencing the thoughts of Stiglitz. MC is not the messenger btw, he is the author and instigator in delivering his own viewpoint which he is perfectly entitled to do and i would encourage it. However, there is nothing helpful in your summing up the views that that do not subscribe to this particular point of view in the manner above. Notwithstanding your contention that people have had to go to strenous lenghts to highlight their objection of MCs viewpoints – i would suggest, finding well reasoned and respected views to the contrary was not very difficult to come across at all.


I’m trying to keep a focus on the substance of what Marc Coleman has advanced on an Economic Advisory Unit. More specifically, the focus is on ‘how’, and not ‘what’, economic advice is generated and communicated. Whatever views he might have expressed in the past on the ‘what’ are totally irrelevant.


Speaking for myself, my hostility is towards Marc and the newspaper he represents on a personal level, rather than his proposal, which is above my paygrade (but I’m willing to accept its an impressive piece of work if more qualified people than me say so). You have insinuated Irish academics wont deal with these topics because they’re careerists, surely I can offer the opinion that Marc Coleman and those he works for are destructive hacks, and have largely been wrong on everything the past decade?
And yes, as V Barrett and Shay B said, if Marc thinks he can rewrite the reasons for the Great Depression from an Irish tabloid, then I’m going to be sceptical of everything else he has to say.
On the larger point, I’ve been interested to read your opinions on Irish political reform but I’m beginning to question the importance you put on it. Most developed countries political systems have been captured by sectional interests and are finding it impossible to implement meaningful reforms, wouldnt that signal that the problem is bigger than us, and are the result of the global economic system we live under, rather than domestic inefficiencies? Doesnt the failure to solve the Euro crisis, at EU level, also hint at this?


I must admit I find it annoying when the perception of the intellectual toxicity of someone prevents people engaging constructively with something useful that person has produced. But, I suppose, such is life.

On the broader point, which is taking us off-topic, I agree that the problem is widespread, but I would contend that it is more severe in Ireland. In addition, it is for voters and politicians in each polity to find a way through the current mess. Just because everyone has a problem doesn’t mean that one should not try to solve the problem on one’s own patch.

Too much ad hominem retorts. Ruins the reading of comments and the blog.

Where are the mods?

I particularly like the “cockpit” scenario. This was highly valued and embraced by large corporations in the mid eighties. The CEO with his finger on the pulse in real time.

In Ireland the “cockpit” would be where the “campaign contributions” in the form of brown paper envelopes accompanied by “advice” would finish up.

Ireland’s problems are deeply entrenched in the culture and it would take a 20% downturn with 25% unemployment before any thought would be given to root and branch reform. Until then Sheila darlin twill be business as usual.

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