Where are the pots and pans?

From Barry Cannon and Mary Murphy, this article examines an important question I’m sure many people have wondered about–given the scale of the macroeconomic downturn, especially in 2008 and 2009, why were there not more mass protests in the Irish case?

The article, published in Irish Political Studies is free for the moment. The abstract is below, and it seems the authors conclude we just didn’t have enough of a crisis to warrant mass demonstrations.

Update: Thanks to Michael Hennigan here is a slide deck of the paper (.pdf)

Since 2008, Ireland has experienced a profound multi-faceted crisis, stemming from the collapse of the financial and property sectors. Despite enduring six years of neoliberal austerity measures in response to this situation, popular protest has been muted. Using Silva’s [(2009) Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press)] framework of analysis of popular responses in Latin America to that region’s debt crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, this article seeks to investigate why this has been the case. We assess how the crisis is being framed among popular and civil society groups, and whether increased associational and collective power is developing. In doing so, we look at processes of intra-group cooperation, cross-group cooperation and framing and brokerage mechanisms. We then ask, where such processes exist, if they can lead to a comprehensive challenge to the neoliberal policies currently being implemented, as happened in much of Latin America. We conclude that the crisis has not yet reached sufficient depth or longevity to foster a more robust popular response, but propose that analysis of similar processes in Latin America can help us understand better why this is the case, not just in Ireland, but in other countries of Europe experiencing similar situations.

By Stephen Kinsella

Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick.

112 replies on “Where are the pots and pans?”

Article appears to be blocked, or else one has to register.

I suspect there are a number of reasons as to why the pots and pans were absent.

Over the last number of years, I have met people who were unfortunate to lose their jobs.

They fell into the social welfare net… and were supported. Granted one had the mortgage paid off, the other had no mortgage to start with.

But they survived. living on unemployment benefit was not great or easy… but they had something to protect them.

Perhaps the fact that the social welfare support system did work to some extent… is one of the contributing reasons as to why there was no pots and pans on the street.

Ireland is not Latin America. A new phase for the lexicon.

Perhaps people eat take aways now and do not cook at home…ergo no pots and pans.

What exactly were we supposed to be protesting about? Being forced to give foreigners their savings back? Savings that we spent on shopping weekends in New York and drafty 3000 sq ft ‘mansions’ in Leitrim? It’s not exactly ‘Cry Freedom’ is it? When you look around the world today there is a lot to be said for living in a boring old social democracy on the fringes of Western Europe where a mild dose of negative equity is the worst thing that might happen to your family.

There were plenty of brollies on show when they tried to cut back the medical cards. But, seriously, I think the reason is give by the other thread which points out that the adjustment has in fact been pro poor.

We should also remember that for all the talk of austerity Ireland has been allowed to continue to overspend to a remarkable degree thanks to bail outs etc. If we really had to live within our means then we would have seen blood in the streets.

The adjustment has been pro-rich if anything. Unfortunately, the rich control all the major media outlets and make sure that this remains hush hush.

There’s also the “ah, sure, it’s grand” mentality of the Irish, that makes them easy to walk over.

“When you look around the world today there is a lot to be said for living in a boring old social democracy on the fringes of Western Europe where a mild dose of negative equity is the worst thing that might happen to your family.”

Things must be going swimmingly in your cossetted circle, with just the trifle of negative equity to concern it. But there is another world out there in Ireland. In that world there are people who are the working poor, people who have to endure double digit rental increases from State protected BTL landlords, landlords that don’t bother to pay for the money borrowed; people on contract positions who are daily being refused mortgages by State owned banks- banks that cover their as$$ss by giving out a few mortgages to the right kind of people-their circle and their class; and not forgetting the unfortunate unemployed.
I would say that the pots and pans are contained in the recent polling data:
FG 25%, SF 24% and FF 20%. The water rates (or is it charges) will change those percentages appreciably:
Try SF 30%, FF 25%, FG 15%, as the blue rinse comes out of the FG shirts.

People were scared/embarrassed to be seen protesting, not the done thing in Ireland and it did not help that the MSM framed any protests as the loony left just mouthing off.
The only people who could have formed a political alternative to what was happening caused the mess in the first place and brought in the polices that hurt ordinary households.
FG can see in the polls that they have taken a good kicking down from 36 at the general election to 25 now with more downside still to come. People might not fill the streets but they will vent at the ballot box.

@Joseph Ryan

An interesting question is why renters never get meaningful protest organisations off the ground, at least in the UK and Ireland, despite being abused mercilessly in favour of mortgage owners. Much frustration about this has been vented on thepropertypin over the years.

Btw this has nothing with austerity (aka spending what you earn). Renters have been abused in good times and bad.

@Enda H

The word ‘neoliberal’ is shorthand for ‘I haven’t a clue what I’m on about’.

@ JF

The article, on the basis of the summary, which is all that is available, confirms your analysis.

An alternative and more plausible analysis is available in the opening chapter of the book “Fragile by Design” which is available as a PDF file from the publishers.


The chart that it contains is highly instructive and poses the really fundamental question; how did Ireland, belonging in the high-income group of countries with a banking system working broadly in line with other high-income countries and equally stable, emulate the performance of Latin American countries where the banking systems are, and remain, completely different?

The foolhardy and ill-thought out decision to adopt the euro must be part of the explanation. And also part of the answer in that it is the euro system that is effectively coming to the rescue.

The alternative policies that were allegedly implemented in LATAM have gone really well. Argentina has gone form one of the richest countries in the world to nowhere in the space of a century thanks to its adoration of the magic money tree. It also seems to oscillate from Peronism to military rule and back. Must be time for a be-medalled general in dark glasses to come back.

Latin America has an interesting contrast in countries facing the Pacific and the Atlantic but it has nothing to do with geography.

Barry Cannon has been to both Peru and Venezuela for research purposes.

Peru has very good chances to move into an advanced economy due to its solid macroeconomic fundamentals and its large quantity of natural resources, the IMF recently said.

“Peru is a very lucky country. It has a lot of natural resources, people working hard, intelligent and educated. It also has currently and a very good macroeconomic framework.”

Venezuela has lots of oil, lots of problems and public protests.

Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, which account for 98% of the combined economies of the Mercosur trade bloc, will grow an average of 0.6%, according to the IMF’s April World Economic Outlook. Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, which formed the Pacific Alliance trade group in 2011, will grow 4.2%.

Of course there are no Utopias but Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city and its industrial capital, was once the illegal drugs capital of the world – it has had a remarkable transformation.

@michael hennigan

Your list of countries with good macroeconomic performance says it all. Chile has followed a “neo-liberal” policy for some time, with Colombia, Peru and Mexico more recent adherents.

The more radical alternatives pursued by Argentina and Venezuela are a terrible indictment of Peronism and resource-driven populism.

Some Irish leftists have long fantasized about Ireland being somehow like Latin America. Surreal stuff

There are of course many factors in the Irish reaction to the crash.

1) A common conservative mindset.

2) A minority of people have been seriously impacted by big drops in income a) the unemployed from construction and SME firms b) the self-employed like myself – by 2009 according to the CSO pension coverage fell to 36% [no more recent data] c) people who had high debt exposure before the bust.

3) Taxes were hiked but from low levels while falls in interest rates benefited some.

4) Data last year showed that 2.3m people (inc dependents) or half the population were in receipt of welfare and while there were some adjustments, the budget was maintained at about €20bn from 2008. cf John FitzGerald’s recent paper.

5) Food prices peaked in mid 2008 and have been volatile since but farmers have done OK.

6) The declining trade union coverage in the private sector in recent decades and its insider status from long years of social partnership had blunted its impact for those who had no grip on the public megaphone.

David Begg, ICTU president, who had been on the board of the Central Bank for 15 years was heckled at a big public demonstration in Dublin.

7) While there was no mass movement that could channel the anger of the victims, the debate in the media was mainly between comfortable middle class folk who weren’t disposed to lead the masses “aux barricades” – plans to stand in the general election were still-born.

8) The case for vigorous alternative action: leaving the euro; issuing démarches to Frankfurt and Brussels and so on, were flawed because the missing ingredient was always missing: details on a fallback scenario.

9) The politicians had neutered themselves in the first 2 years because of the bank guarantee, which continued to undermine them when it ended.

10) With a small few exceptions most of the Oireachtas were useless during the crisis.

Both main opposition parties fought the 2011 general election on aspirational brochures.

Allied to the social support net dont forget we have a long standing policy of ‘dont complain.just emigrate’
Ireland’s angry youth are in Melbourne and Manchester. We are a profoundly small c conservative people. That’s not necessarily a bad thing


You know, Michael, you might have more credibility as a disinterested observer (rather than a rank partisan) if you could acknowledge the obvious. In point (2) above you write this:

2) A minority of people have been seriously impacted by big drops in income a) the unemployed from construction and SME firms b) the self-employed like myself – by 2009 according to the CSO pension coverage fell to 36% [no more recent data] c) people who had high debt exposure before the bust.

It really would be laughable if it weren’t so typical. Do you think you’re forgetting anyone there, Michael?

Brilliant performance of intelligent aggression by the Irish Women vs The All Blacks in the World Cup just now on TG4.

If we could only combine this performance with the Balls of a Munster Fusilier we might find an opposition!

@Irish Women’s Rugby Team

Nothing is impossible!

Among those “seriously impacted” [sic] by big drops in income during the Irish crash are, apparently, the self-employed of Malaysia. PS workers in Ireland? Not so much.

John Sheahan,
Not all the Peronists are avowed lefties. For every Fidel McGrsth of Dublin NC, I will give you a Stepen Donnelley and a Mattie McGrath.
Over a series of pints one night, one minister in the previous admin recently back from the Argentine extolled the virtues of Peron.

@Brian Woods II

‘… the adjustment has in fact been pro poor.

This is not supported on available research … look around.

The Authors conclude:

‘Irish academics have to take more seriously the challenge of
contributing to public discourse.

Irish citizens have to challenge the assumption of stoicism and
passivity that has so far characterised their response to crisis.’

Sad to relate, there is little if any evidence that either of these prescriptions will ensue. Bring on the Vaseline – The Supine Citizenry could shurely wear another 50 billion or so of odious financial system debt!


You can add many academic economists to that list. Some of them are genuinely leftist in outlook, but most of them are just attention seekers. They’d be the type to tell you that the Gooch is a two trick pony – how else are you going to get on TV otherwise?


“Irish citizens have to challenge the assumption of stoicism and
passivity that has so far characterised their response to crisis.”

Err – what in Earth does this mean? Are the authors telling Irish citizens to challenge themselves? This sounds a lot like politicians bemoaning the electorate. How about the authors climb down off their high horses and challenge their own assumptions?

We badly need to close down sociology departments or failing that teach them the English language.

“We badly need to close down sociology departments or failing that teach them the English language.”

‘We’ needed to shut down a few banks; we still do. Especially ones that siphoned off bailout money to pump up their defined benefit pension schemes.
That would have paid for a lot of sociology departments.

AIB note 38 to their accounts says it all. They managed to earn a whopping 3.5% on ‘interest-earning’ assets. Wow, that takes real genius. Of course the genius involved to continue the low interest subsidy to their friends in high places. Shut it down, cancel the tracker subsidies, and let capitalism work its magic; on behalf of the lower orders this time.

The public interest directors, Spring and Somers, don’t appear to do public.

meanwhile – on another Financial/Corporate system state take-over ….

Michael Hudson: The Fracking/World Bank/IMF/Hunter Biden Dismantling Plan for Ukraine

Posted: 04 Aug 2014 09:05 PM PDT

Richard Smith was early to take a dim view of R. Hunter Biden becoming a director of a Ukraine’s biggest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings:
This has to be a hoax, right? It’s so bizarre that you almost have to assume it’s a hoax. It sounds more like a cliched movie plot — a shady foreign oil company co-opts the vice president’s son in order to capture lucrative foreign investment contracts — than something that would actually happen in real life. But the indications as of this afternoon are that the board appointments actually happened, and that a Ukrainian energy company has retained the counsel of the vice president’s son and the Secretary of State’s close family friend and top campaign bundler.

Michael Hudson reports in a Real News Network interview that the commercial and geopolitical logic behind the Biden role, and the bigger US and World Bank/IMF program, is to push fracking onto a decidedly unreceptive population in eastern Ukraine.

Frack the East [and …] So the intention is to make the Western Ukraine look something like Ireland in the 19th century, when the British landlords owned much of the Irish land, put sheep on it, getting rid of the people on the land. And even in the midst of the Irish potato famine, Ireland was still exporting grain to England, because the grain lands were owned by the British landlords. In this case, for the Ukraine what you’re going to have is foreign ownership of Ukrainian agriculture exporting food that Ukrainians aren’t able to buy because of the dismantling of the Ukrainian economy that you’re seeing today as they’re fighting the war there.



Ireland-Ukraine – a potentially informative case comparison on geo-socio-economic-political annexations. Ireland without a shot being fired – impressive!

So u want to raise interest rates on thousand of hard pressed families who have trackers.


Ahh, those ‘thousands of hard pressed families’ make a fine buffer for the majority of people on trackers, many of whom are very well off indeed. To paraphrase the button-pusher in the Godfather 2, the Irish property cartel has a lot of ‘buffers’.

Yes, remove the tracker subsidy, that goes to all property owners- or at least remove the tracker subsidy to landlords. Why am I subsidising multi- millionaire landlord property owner that will not even pay their loans back, despite increasing rent, and is tying up capital that cannot be loaned out to non-rent seekers.

AIB average interest earned on 55 billion of Irish assets 3.4%. Who is borrowing at 3.4%??? An increase of 1% is 5.5 billion, an average interest rate of 4.4%. Hardly usury. Ask anybody applying for a new mortgage today. €5.5 billion more.

Karl Deeter did a good piece on the Irish property system in the Ir Times recently. Conclusion (mine): Its a stitch-up from start to finish, for the benefit of existing property holders and rent seekers.


No pots an’ pans; the dog who didhttp://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/03/flight-17-shoot-down-scenario-shifts/n’t bark!

Those braindead lefties, still peddling the idea that Ireland is having its face rubbed in the ground by the evil Merkel and the savage austerity her minions are allegedly imposing on its tormented and demoralised population. really ought to study the latest economic figures. For their benefit, here they are:


+4.1 per cent y-o-y in Q1 2014


+32.3 per cent y-o-y in May 2014


+12.3 per cent y-o-y in Q2 2014


+7.4 per cent y-o-y in June 2014


+6.5 per cent y-o-y in H1 2014


+61.0 per cent y-o-y in July 2014


-37,000 y-o-y in July 2014


-58.3 per cent y-o-y in Q2 2014


+6.0 per cent y-o-y in June 2014


+15.0 per cent y-o-y in H1 2014


+6.4 per cent y-o-y in Jan-Jul 2014 (2.5 per cent above profile)


55.4 in July 2014 (highest in Eurozone – Eurozone average 51.8)


61.3 in July 2014 (highest in Eurozone – Eurozone average 54.2)


59.9 in June 2014

In addition:

last week announced: banks making huge profits

yesterday announced: KBC report shows hiring back to 2007 levels

today announced: ESRI report shows a building blitz of new houses is needed in the next seven years – a few years ago some economists were claiming Ireland wouldn’t need to build any houses for 20 years and that tens of thousands of existing houses would need to be knocked down, such was the surplus – now they’re saying we need a building blitz – you couldn’t make it up

Putting all these figures together, they spell BOOM!

I propose that Ireland’s latest boom be called the ‘Merkel Boom’.

Follow sound economic policies as enunciated by Frau Merkel (keep inflation low, maintain a balance-of-payments surplus, reduce government spending to a reasonable level, reduce the budget deficit until eliminated etc etc), and you eventually reap the reward. This is now happening in Ireland. Bigtime!

What these figures show is: Frankfurt’s way is much better than Labour’s way.

What I find surprising is that forecasts for Ireland’s economic growth in 2014 are still in the range 2.0-2.5 per cent. The Central Bank last week forecast 2.5 per cent. It is obvious to anyone studying the figures up to July 2014 that growth in 2014 will be far far higher than this (assuming August 2014 doesn’t do a repeat of August 1914 and see world war break out).

My guess is that Ireland is being ‘leaned on’ by the London government to play down its economic resurgence until after Scotland votes in its freedom referendum on Sep 18. With England holding just a narrow lead in that referendum, the last thing the London government wants is the media full of stories about Ireland’s economic resurgence. I predict that after Sep 18 we will find forecasts for Ireland’s economic growth in 2014 being revised up dramatically (especially if England wins the referendum and no longer has to worry about any ‘Ireland-effect’ on the Scottish electorate).

Yes, “braindead lefties” as opposed to the intellectually vital Iona Institute…

The question is why were the people not on the streets protesting in vast numbers as expected. I was told the reason in 2008 and I think it stuck with me as being about right at the time and has proven to have been quite prophetic in the interim. The gentleman told me that your gonna see a lot of very pissed off people in Europe when the wheels come off, but you won’t see it in Ireland. Why so ? I asked. ‘Embarrassment’ he said.

The vast majority of Irish people realise that deep down they knew themseleves or importantly they knew a close friend or relative that had done well over the previous 10 years which had led people to believe that the prevailing economic upward curve could be maintained. Too many people got sucked in and when it all went tits up too many were ashamed to put their had up and say I too sinned, I borrowed too much money and the dud banks that allowed this to happen should have known better but they too began to believe they were masters of the universe etc etc.

So the answer is actually quite simple – a gravy train shared by the many means the real losers got crowded out and their voices went unheard.


Overplaying any particular policy can be detrimental. In Germany’s case, insistence on a balanced budget may prove to be the wrong policy in current EA circumstances. No danger of that happening here! Just another case of letting the good times roll again. The wheels may come off just that bit earlier.


I agree with your view about economists indulging in prediction; often based on on an intellectual edifice built by others that they happen to agree with and usually unsupported by any empirical data. The paper under discussion on this thread is a good example.

The other aspect of legacy of the troika is the sea change it has brought about – seemingly unnoticed – in the matter of paying one’s taxes.


The realisation that there is only one pot of money – their taxes – seems to be finally getting through to the electorate. This should – hopefully – lead to a more evidence-based, and nationwide, approach to spending. Pots and pans are of no assistance in this regard.

@ JtO

Did you see that the separatists got hammered in the big TV debate and bookies now rate their chances of winning as less than that of throwing a six in one roll of the dice.

When one considers our own struggle for separatism it is amazing to see our neighbour’s debate turning on the aspect of currency. Salmond pathetically claimed the pound was as much Scotland’s as England’s. Sorry, but the finance spokespersons of the three main parties at Westminster do not agree.

Consider the irony. If the UK had joined the Euro, the separatists would now have an ace card – they would pull out of the euro and establish the Scottish Pound – a sure winner with any electorate.

It is possible that the Irish are “supine” “sheeple” who are too cowardly to protest against austerity. It’s also possible that this is just a fantasy of the disappointed left.

The reason the Irish have not protested is obvious: most people AGREE with the broad thrust of policy since the crash. Don’t be fooled by those who phone up radio shows to complain about this or that benefit cut or tax hike. If you asked the same people whether they think others should accept cuts or pay more taxes, the answer is YES.

@ Ernie Ball

You’re right: possibly most of the population would consider themselves victims including some of the insiders.

An individual with a fake name appears to question my bona fides 😆

Why do you always bring up the irrelevant fact that I live outside Ireland?

It appears to be part of the negative labelling that can be found in societies.

If I was David Cameron, I would send Nigel Farage to Scotland to campaign for the Union. I would also send Normans Lamont and Tebitt plus anybody still called Thatcher north of the border. If the Scots go and take their welfare methadone with them then you will have permanent tory govt south of the border.

‘The realisation that there is only one pot of money – their taxes – seems to be finally getting through to the electorate. This should – hopefully – lead to a more evidence-based, and nationwide, approach to spending. Pots and pans are of no assistance in this regard’

Contraction in government spending is, as you say, the only show in Eurotown. It is deflationary, however, and leads to long term economic weakness. The UK can print of course, to keep up a lovely façade, but there have been many runs on sterling over the centuries.

Given the ECB and the Six Pack, the question is where the engine of economic growth in Ireland is going to come from.

Tidying up distributional issues won’t suffice as long as credit supply continues to shrink. I wonder how many of those frequent Shannon flyers are emigrants going back and forth to Melbourne and Dubai.

What will our corporate law firms do after the ‘great ride’ is brought to a halt.



I bring up the fact that you live in Malaysia to point out the absurdity of your claim to victimhood: we’re supposed to worry about the effect of the Irish crisis on the incomes of the self-employed worldwide who may or may not pay any tax here, but the effect on 25% of the Irish workforce here in Ireland who have endured an unprecedented series of pay cuts and workload increases don’t even rate a mention. Hardly sounds like special pleading at all, does it?

As for the upset caused by my pseudonymity: that’s just another manifestation of Irish clannishness. You want to be able to judge your interlocutor before and without actually reading him: where’s he from?, who are his parents?, where is he on the economic ladder? You’ll forgive me for not indulging those tendencies.

Rest assured, I know nothing about you other than your name and the ideological claptrap (masquerading as “facts”) you put forth under it. So you’re really at no disadvantage here.

@ JtO: ” …GDP: +4.1 per cent y-o-y in Q1 2014″

Eh! John. You sure about this Rate-of-Growth, ie: dY/dt = 4.1? Seems a tad elevated. Or are you confusing things, and the 4.1 is actually the Rate-of-Growth of debt?

@ pq: “Given the ECB and the Six Pack, the question is where the engine of economic growth in Ireland is going to come from.”

I think we know what the ‘engine’ is – its the ‘fuel’ that seems to be the problem. If you migrate from liquid to gas – then you need x4 times as much (or near enough). Just look what has happened to Japan – after 25 years of financial gas! Is this where we are headed also?

@ JohnTheOptimist

The CSO today reported that its monthly services index that has a much bigger panel than the PMI one, rose 1.1% in the past 12 months. It is up 10% since 2010.


The PMI surveys indicate trends but they are not a good guise to growth levels.

@ Ernie Ball

I’d prefer not to engage with your apparent angry/nasty type which here appears to trigger vitriol towards anyone who does not meet your ideological test.

I don’t know what point you’re making on emigrants nor do I care.

The 100,000+ net Irish national emigrants since 2009 are not all tax exiles (95,000 from May 2009-April 2013 according to the CSO).

Spare the Alf Garnett response as I’m not going to waste my time on this again.

Oh, for heaven’s sake, now you’re just being obtuse. I didn’t say or imply they were tax exiles. But an Irish self-employed person working abroad is almost never liable for Irish tax.

The point I’m making is that you include yourself (in Malaysia) among the three classes of people comprising the “minority” in Ireland who have been “seriously impacted by big drops in income” since the crisis began but failed to mention the most obvious class of people in that minority: public-sector workers. So we’re supposed to believe that the burden for the crisis is being borne by the unemployed, the self-employed (including all Irish self-employed working abroad), and those with high levels of debt. This is just another version of the Sindo narrative that the private sector are always and everywhere the victims and they are the victims of the public sector.

A propos of nothing: I’m sure these are all being bought by those fat cats in the public sector. I know that I can hardly get a space for my Megane in the UCD car park, choked as it is with the Bentleys and Maseratis owned by staff members.

Hi Ernie,

Glad to see you are taking my advice. Persevere with reading that Indo. The results will not be instant but soon your mind will be opened to the point where you recognise that fairness in society does not equate to everyone driving a Renault Megane.

Of course you’re right: fairness equates [sic] to passing EMERGENCY LEGISLATION (twice) to cut PS pay while leaving the wealthy virtually untouched so they can buy more Bentleys.

Did I forget to mention that said Megane is 15 years old?


Debt/GDP is not 140%


If I recall correctly the Gini coefficient hardly budged since 2007

Facts …so inconvenient

Stil keep going with the pro Putin stuff, so entertaining.

@ Ernie Ball

Slagging aside, those high end car sales are an eye opener for sure. These are not being bought by any employee either in the pubic or private sector. A lot of entrepreneurial and inherited wealth still around.

@ Paul Quigley

I do not see the point of broad brush speculation. History is full of examples of why it does not work. (“It will be over by Christmas”).

The firms listed are on to a sure thing as the interests in the US that see the advantages are in control. Eisenhower warned about this development decades ago, if my memory serves me right.


As for the Gini, I don’t recall any substantive comment by your good self on the previous thread [re Johnny Fitz and ‘statistical exhuberance’]

David Madden put it well: ‘Probably the most remarkable feature of inequality in Ireland (as measured by the Gini coefficient on equivalised disposable income) is its stability. It ranges between about 0.31 and 0.32 for practically all years in the 1994-2012 period (falling below 0.3 in 2009). Given that there is some sampling variation in measuring the Gini, my guess is that it would be difficult to reject the null hypothesis that it is unchanged from year to year (apart from occasional year on year changes such as 2008-2009).’

I think it may go back to late 60s/early 70s …… Based on Breen, Hannan, Rothmann & Whelan …. It’s the Irish class structure stupid ….

In the interim I go with Breen, Callan, Nolan, Madden et al ……. and the Blind Biddy Intelligence Unit ….


@ David,

the anderwelt piece is not as clear as many might have the impression.

The interesting part is, that Alfred Nassim from Australia keeps posting it, at the FT, and, as far as I see, the FT keeps censoring it every single time.

What adds to this interesting picture is, that the FT censorship has now developed into an at least 4 stage process:

a) brutal personal insults, by serial insulters not banned (not the one hit an run)
b) near immediate removal, noted in the comments as “removed”
c) 2nd stage screening, removal of inconvenient facts / links after a few (3 – 6) hours
d) final clean up after a day or closing a discussion


Russia has released its satellite images; the US has not – and it has had a satellite pitched over East Ukraine for a while …..

Over 1000 dead and 750,000 have fled into Russia ….


Back to the thread:

‘What then of popular power, as in organized civil society, apart from trade unions? Murphy (2011) and Kirby (2010) explore various cultural, historical and institutional explanations for the nature of Irish civil society response to the crisis. Adshead and Tonge (2009: 142) identify Ireland’s peripheral location and a conservative, peasant, land owning and rural culture as key factors influencing the political culture of Irish civil society. They stress how, in response to colonialism, Ireland developed a ‘religious-ethnic conceptualization of nation’ which reinforced a political culture associated not with citizenship but with authoritarianism, conformism and loyalty (Adshead & Tonge, 2009: 147). Mair (1992) draws attention to the lack of ideological or class divide in the historical evolution of Irish political parties and describes citizens as passive and stagnant (Mair, 2010).

@Cannon & Murphy

Useful. Peter Mair more or less sums it up.


I was simply making the point that good housekeeping will not suffice in the Euro periphery, and certainly not in Ireland. We do not have a meaningful economic development strategy.

@ DOCM, David,

watching this week that the CIA finally admitted to invade the Computers of the US Congress Comitee to have oversight of the US stealth organisations, to not only look at evidence, but to destroy it.

And to see the lukewarm response in US media on this assault on rule of law.

That now fully justifies the way of action of Snowdon, and it seems that now more whistleblowers are coming forward.

Now we have very hard evidence for Eisenhowers warnings.

I note the Irish Times has now taken to selective and misleading red-top like headlines regarding house price increases. I doubt that the ESRI itself who produced the report (based on prices to the end of 2013 only) would agree with the headline.
Many other people might not concur with the ESRI’s conclusions.
The IT meanwhile just wants to blow the bubble again. I wonder why?


@Joseph Ryan

Actually, it’s the old two-step in today’s Irish Times: misleading headline claim about house prices accompanied by misleading claims about public-sector sick leave and its “costs.” Of course Howlin and the rest will have no problem giving away a similar amount in tax cuts in October. But that’s not a “cost” and not scandalous, now, is it?

From today’s ESRI quarterly commentary, it looks like ESRI are moving in my direction. However, they still have some way to go before they catch up with my forecasts. But, give them time and they will, especially after Sep 18.

What is clear from the ESRI report is that Ireland’s housing correction massively overshot. I agree that in 2007 some correction was necessary. But, it massively overshot both in terms of price fall and fall in building of new houses. I said this repeatedly on this site in 2009/10. There is now a mad scramble to retrieve back some of these falls.

Those economists who failed to predict the top of the housing cycle in 2007 are now being pilloried and deemed unfit to serve. Same should apply to those economists who failed to predict the bottom of the housing cycle in 2013. One prominent economists who blogs and has a column in a Sunday newspaper predicted in June 2013 that house prices would fall another 80 per cent from their then levels.


I agree that there needs to be an evidence-based approached to government spending. One thing preventing this is continuing media scare stories about the effects of cutting government spending. Always greatly exaggerated. For example, it is always being claimed that the suicide rate has soared because of government cutbacks. No, it hasn’t’. It has at worst stayed flat, and at best fallen, since the mid 2000s (which is not to say I am opposed to shifting some expenditure from other areas into this area).

@Brian Woods II

Didn’t see the debate. Supposed to be a UNITED Kingdom, but only shown in Scotland. I don’t agree that the chances of a ‘Yes’ win are as poor as bookies make out. I agree that England is currently winning. But, its analogous to England leading 16-7 at Murrayfield with 30 mins left, Scotland having just converted a try, and the crowd roaring. Far from over. Polls show a slight shift to ‘Yes’ after the debate. As I didn’t see it, I can’t confirm, but some tweeters say Traitor Darling described Ireland as ‘bust’ and ‘still in recession’ during the debate. Some one should point out to this clown that Ireland is growing faster than the UK (as it has done 3 out of every 4 years since mid 1960s), and its borrowing costs are lower than the UK. A pity Alex Salmond didn’t point this out.


As the foremost progaganda organ for the Union, the Daily Telegraph will undoubtedly try to keep a ‘crisis’ atmosphere bubbling until Sep 18. What better way to keep Scotland tied to Mother England than to generate a ‘crisis’ atmosphere in which to go it alone would be considered too risky. Lets hope the ‘crisis’ they need is just economic. If the polls in Scotland were to tighten or even show ‘yes’ ahead before Sep 18, I think the ‘crisis’ generated would be more than economic. I seem to recall the lovely Princess Diana met a sudden and unexpected end a fortnight before Scotland’s devolution referendum in 1997. Were the polls to show ‘Yes’ ahead this time around , my guess is that Prince Philip would be called on to perform one last service to the ‘nation’. After all, he is 94 and has had a good innings. A week of patriotic mourning and a State funeral the weekend before the referendum would certainly boost the ‘no’ vote.


Unfair to blame Scotland or N. Ireland for dependence on public spending while ruled by England. Its a symptom of economic underdevelopment as part of the Union. If R. Ireland had followed John Bruton’s advice and stayed in the Union, it would now be in the same situation. Fortunately, it broke free and so has a much more enterprise-based and less public-spending-based economy than either Scotland or N. Ireland.


If Cameron is so anxious for Scotland to leave, he can confirm media stories that there has been a massive oil find off Scotland’s coast, but that details of its extent is being kept back until after Sep 18.


The Bruton and O’Cuiv spat is complete B/S. We do not know what would have happened if HR would have been enacted and if the Rising had not taken place. History would have taken a different course. No civil war for starters and DEV would have retired as a maths teacher in Blackrock College. Similary, we don’t know what would have happened if PP had suceeded in 1916. Perhaps Prince Joachim would have accepted his offer of High King and we would all be speaking German.

II gather the NS oil find you refer to is below the line so in English waters and it is gas as well.

@ Paul Quigley

I am afraid I cannot agree with you on that point. Had we had good housekeeping, we would not be in the mess we are in and there is no alternative to it either now or in the future.

The question is will we get away without it again, at least for a time. I think that the answer is probably yes because the circumstances of the EA are such that we will not be the odd man out in continuing with lax fiscal and expenditure policies.

cf. “Fragile by Design” link repeated for ease of reference.


There is no mystery to the process which is, as the authors point out, driven by the logic of politics not that of the market. Hiding in full view is the speciality of all those involved.

@ JtO

England 13/7 up in rugby against Scotland with only 30 mins to go! The situation for the separatists is hardly that hopeless. Cheer up!

BTW Those oil reserves belong to the people of Shetland and they have expressed themselves firmly against separatism.


Might a partitionist movement emerge concetrated in the presbyterian, gaelic speaking north of Scotland plus the islands?


“Had we had good housekeeping, we would not be in the mess we are in and there is no alternative to it either now or in the future.”

Hopefully the days of the “fat chimp running the zoo” are over, now that we have to submit pre budget drafts to Brussels / Berlin.

But political populism is still a very real threat to the Irish economy, there is in IMO a very real possibility of investors running for the door in 2017.

@ JtO: John, your opinions about the Irish residential property market do not stand up to serious scrutiny and analysis. Folk can only arrange the purchase a home, with a self-amortizing mortgage, if they have the appropriate ‘secure and steady’ incomes*. Do they? The answers to this are resounding NOes!

Tom Parlon allowed as how the ‘average’ home (I opine that Mr P is a tad challenged in his math dept!) would ‘cost’ 250,000 euro – give or take. That pre-supposes median incomes in the 100,000 euro range! Or are we reprising 90% – 110% mortgages? Two salaries? And at what interest rates?

There was a time – not so long ago, when residential mortgage defaults were less than 1% of the loan book, and Neg Eq was virtually unknown. So why are defaulting mortgages now at 20% or so, and Neg Eq as common as muck? Stupidity and greed of the purchasers? Or the financial incompetence and political cowardice of the lenders – and their regulators?

From 1995 – 2007 Irish residential properties, in parts of Dublin, increased by 350%. That’s an heroic Rate-of-Growth (annual, compounding %) in any language. So what were the parallel Rates-of-Growth of the median incomes? 100%? Bit of a divergence there. So, might the recent ‘ negative corrections’ in median incomes be 27% overdone?

As I opined. Some folk are a tad short in their math departments.

* I suggest you, together with a few others, might like to refresh your acquaintances with the Golden Rules of Mortgages (for the purchase of a home).

In this season of World War I memorialising and the associated what-ifs, there is a what-if about the Irish crisis that may explain the absence of pots and pans: what if an alternative government had won the 2007 election? Although the damage was mostly done by that point, the lapse in time before the full scale of the crisis became apparent would have allowed an opposition FF to blame the government and oppose exactly the measures they ended up imposing themselves. It’s not inconceivable that a Continuity Social Partnership would have emerged, i.e. an opposition + trades unions alliance to bring down the government through demonstrations and public pressure on such a government’s weak links.


Given the ideology he espouses, Bruton cannot acknowledge either that the Rising was a genuine strike against imperialism, whereas the Great War was a clash between rival robber gangs, with the proles as expendable fodder. [Eamonn McCann]

I hear that you are all on Ballygowan in Kingstown these days!


Best with Alba!


‘There is no mystery to the process which is, as the authors point out, driven by the logic of politics not that of the market. Hiding in full view is the speciality of all those involved’

That book is doubtless accurate, but the record shows that the necessary reforms were not made. Most of Dodd Frank is diversion from what was undone. The music is still playing.

The logic of politics as practised today is. by and large, the ‘logic’ parties who have been captured by various vested interests, including and especially financial speculators wearing the guise of respected and responsible bankers.

Prudence and ‘book balancing’ and ‘the market’ are notions for the little people, and are understood as such by the big public and private players. The reality of statecraft is much more Darwinian, and at times, Machiavellian than you suggest.

I would be more in your camp on this issue. Although, I wonder how anti imperialist PP really was given that he offered the High King ship to some German dude.
Some imperialists are nicer than others….just. If the only option is being run by one, make it a Brit rather than a German or a Russian or even a Belgian.
Imperialism has worn off in the UK,but has evolved in Germany and remains immutable in Czarist Vlad Russia.

@ PQ

We appear to be at cross purposes. I am not saying that any real reform has taken place. Neither do the authors of the book in question (a fact which is implicit in the title). There is a mutually supportive mismanagement of the system by all the players, government included. The point is that the major failure to act is that of governments, both in relation to financial regulation and control of public expenditure (i.e. good housekeeping).

The brake is applied by the private sector players when the risk of losing money becomes too great. It is then that the little people really get hurt.

@ PQ

Coincidentally, this piece by Chris Johns in the IT.


cf. this extract

“With the notable exception of the health budget, Government spending seems to be under control. But we need to remind ourselves that much of the cuts in spending have fallen on the capital side of the equation. And this year we are underspending, again, on our infrastructure. The failure to distinguish between the current and capital sides of the budget is an infantile aspect of the way we do austerity.”

“Infantile” is the word as is the reference to “we”. The economics profession IMHO carries a particular responsibility in this regard.

What would you people do without the word “reform”? Such a lovely, agnostic sort of word that anyone can invest, Humpty Dumpty style, with whatever meaning they like. Who, other than some deluded Pangloss, could be opposed to reform?

But if you call it what it is–the introduction of uncontrollable market forces into every area of human endeavour–then suddenly it not only doesn’t go without saying but is, for a great many domains, a really stupid idea.

One irony (but certainly not the only one) is that those calling loudest for “reform” are also those who pride themselves on their “refinement,” the idea that their taste and powers of discernment are a cut above those of the rabble who make up the market. We find this frequently among education policy-makers who insist that third-level students are demanding “marketable skills” and that the entire university should be remade to deliver only this. But not every university, mind. They still send their kids to Harvard or Swarthmore or Oxbridge so they can get a traditional liberal arts education.

@ JtO

” One prominent economists who blogs and has a column in a Sunday newspaper predicted in June 2013 that house prices would fall another 80 per cent from their then levels…”

You might be so good as to provide a link to the aforementioned article or blog as I can’t recollect reading it.


I agree about reform, but the same could be said of ‘market forces’ (boo!), ‘liberal arts’ (yay!) phrases that have lost whatever meaning they ever had originally and are now just used mindlessly. Neoliberal and fascist are great examples of this on the left.

There’s not much can be done about though is there? Who has the time to read original sources to understand the originally intended meaning of currently trendy jargon? University Professors I guess – maybe they should do a better job of communicating nuance to the general public rather than joining in with the banter (Thomas Piketty, for all the flaws in his thesis, is a good example of how this should be done)? I think Richard Tol did a nice job demonstrating that the academic economists in Ireland who shout the loudest are those who have the weakest academic records.

If you think “market forces” and “liberal arts” are meaningless, it’s a wonder you find anything meaningful. I’m beginning to suspect you don’t.

As for the theory of (theoretical) meaning that underlies your semantic scepticism (great thinkers originate terms and thereby stipulate their meaning for all time), suffice it to say that as semantic theories go, it’s quite weak.

I’d proudly brandish the “weakness” of my record in the face of Richard Tol’s idiotic metrics (idiotic, in part, because they allow for glib value judgments without those issuing them having to read so much as a sentence of the work in question).


I said that the use of those terms was often meaningless in modern discourse, the same argument you had made about ‘reform’. Of course I do not believe the terms themselves are meaningless, any more than you believe that the word ‘reform’ is meaningless. I thought we were discussing usage?

I also did not say that meaning was set in stone for all time, but I do believe that certain terms should only be used in an academic context with a firm understanding of their lineage. The terms ‘id’ ‘ego’ and ‘superego’ are good examples of this. ‘Narcissism’ is another – it’s now used to describe everything apart from the ingredients of a chocolate cake as far as I can tell.

Richard Tol’s main metric of choice was the H-index IIRC. This is a measure of how much your work has been cited by other academics. Presumably when you write you are hoping that other people will read your work and discuss it?

Johnny F
“I think Richard Tol did a nice job demonstrating that the academic economists in Ireland who shout the loudest are those who have the weakest academic records.”
Can you link to that?
John the Whatever
80% link please as others have asked

Mods – could we have linkages to statements or else a holding of same?

Johnny F
Thanks. However, McWilliams is not and never has been an academic. Lyons was a first year PhD student then. Gurdgiev is not an academic either – he is an adjunct at a few places.


Imperialism – it hasn’t gone away you know: most dangerous imperialist actors at the mo are the agressive loose cannon neocons within the state department; mother russia’s responses recently have been necessarily ‘reactive’ and reasonably pragmatic.

Second most dangerous set of imperialist actors are well represented down the road at the IFSC.


while it was interesting the screen the german press for who reproduced the nonsense of the russian soldier picture geodata in the Ukraine,

to see the hate mongering and censorship (even links to German Gov TV : – ) going on at the FT

this is also of interest, the conservative FAZ describing the Ukrainian troops as clearly faschist, plain and simple:


Remember, when people here picked on me for using the words “Fatherland” and “Mother Russia”? It sharpens the mind of people to think about, what price they are willing to pay for what.

Who is willing to go to a full scale war with Russia about whether the Kiev regime regains control over the Donbass.

Or do we find the idea of an armistice and then elections under OSCE control (that includes Russia) more attractive?

The sanctions make it now clear to many, that the price is not just paid by Germany and Russia.

That might give them some incentive, to standup to the Anglo American war war mongerers, who would not die in such a conflict.


what would give you the idea that Germany would be isolated?

“BBC: Germany is the most popular country in the World”

Pew Research: Germany the most trustworthy

We have open borders with all our neighbors, most of whom share a common currency and values with us

The vote on Cyprus was 21/1/1

Cameron lost his dishonest campaign against Junckers 26/2/0

Who is isolated? Looks to me that the little Englanders are the odd man out

What non-English news do you read? With what frequency?


Real Ostpolitik and deescalation are nothing new for us.

With Australian Abbott trying to march up Australian soldiers at the crash site, and Canadian Harper sending “non-lethal” weapons for the faschist asov batallion, NATO Rasmussen making promises he has non mandate for, we have to firmly remind those folks, that the Ukraine is not NATO and will not be, and if they get killed there, its is their national business only, and not mine.

These people are clearly trying to provoke incidents.

Germany has to make up its own mind on which side it is on. Is it with Western Democraacy or against tyranny. Usually Germany takes the latter side.

I read Le Monde. The Age. Also the Western People, Kerryman and Metro Herald 🙂

Ich nicht the german spraken or readen alas.


I hope you don’t see us being “against tyranny” as a problem for us also being a “Western Democraacy” : – )

And that I am clearly pro-NATO and to keep it, does not mean that we will join any American wars, they have a habit to starting on false evidence.

“the West” was a definition with relatively precise meaning from 1947 – 1992.
In was NATO and other american military treaties. But even then Ireland, Sweden did not join, since when would you put Spain into this bucket.

With one million troops lined up at the border in Germany, it had an extremely precise meaning for me, and I dont want to go back to those times, even with a new frontline now a 1000 km away from us.

The world has already become mor multipolar, and the US will learn that they will not be the sole superpower.

Hi francis, … “With one million troops lined up at the border in Germany, it had an extremely precise meaning for me, and I dont want to go back to those times, even with a new frontline now a 1000 km away from us.”

That ‘new frontline’ is now 1000 km closer to Russia. And has an extremely precise meaning for the people and politicians of Russia. My guess is that the Russians will not say very much – but will, without any prior warning, act quickly and decisively. Eastern Ukraine has a long association with Russia, and Russians (and many of the locals) regard the area as part of Mother Russia.

And one would have to ask why in God’s name the US, the UK, France and Germany are so keen to interfere with the political status-quo in Russia – they have been at it, on-and-off since 1917. And each time they tried they were thrown out. So what is it they are after? I have a good idea what, but I doubt they will succeed. It would be better if Europe (EU) just ‘backed off’ on this one. Better to get 50% of something rather than 100% of nothing.

Still millimetering my way through Ó Riain. Wonder what some of the eager-beaver commentators around here would make of Chapt 5? Uncomfortable reading.

The west allowed Germany to do that in 1933-38 and looked what happened.
If Putin takes more of the UKraine, he ends up on the border of Poland by (insert date).
There are numerous ways of derailing him short of shooting.

Throughout the Ukraine crisis, the U.S. State Department and mainstream media have downplayed the role of neo-Nazis in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, an inconvenient truth that is surfacing again as right-wing storm troopers fly neo-Nazi banners as they attack in the east, Robert Parry reports.

Only occasionally is the word “neo-Nazi” mentioned and usually in the context of dismissing this inconvenient truth as “Russian propaganda.” Yet the reality has been that neo-Nazis played a key role in the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February as well as in the subsequent coup regime holding power in Kiev and now in the eastern offensive.

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs:

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.

“In pressing their advance, the fighters took their orders from a local army commander, rather than from Kiev. In the video of the attack, no restraint was evident. Gesturing toward a suspected pro-Russian position, one soldier screamed, ‘The bastards are right there!’ Then he opened fire.”

In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests last February have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.


Blind Biddy is on the way home; the thought of Kharkov falling under fascist control [after her great aunt Katharina led her tank into the city to signal the end of the Battle of Kursk in WWII] is simply unthinkable!

Tull, yes indeed they did, though it did not exactly work out as they may have hoped. Roosevelt was too doddery. Trueman was merely the tag-man. Now if Patten had been in charge!!

Its not Poland Tull, its the lands to the east of the Dnieper River, which runs north-to-south through Ukraine. Debouches into Black Sea. Look it up on Google Maps. Very convenient border that river and its extensive wetlands.

And for what its worth: the Russians play chess. Its a no-brainer for the Russians. How goddam delusional can the ‘best-and-brightest’ politicians in the US, UK and EU get? A lot, it seems. A lot.

Brian Woods Snr,

I intented to write “both sides of the border”. In my place you had military barracks at least every 10 km, and at least once a year we had larger scale panzer exercises running. We Germans understand the legitimate Russian need for distance between our forces and St.Petersburg, Moscow very well.

When I look at the Ukraine, I also have this feeling that the offer the EU made, was not particularly generous, because this will be another 55 Mio poor problems, and all the dreams of convergence did not play out as expected in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, with minimum wages of 1 Euro, Hungary with this, lets say, very unusual Orban having a 2/3 Majority.
We dont need more of this.

The only “value” is this inching ever closer to poke the Russian Bear, and the very most people here do NOT want this, but the US Nulands.

I am through Ó Riain, and would be interested in some more discussion, should we continue it in his original post, or …. ?

francis, many thanks for that considered reply. Middle-Europe is not exactly a ‘mess’ – yet, but what sort of societies do their people want? Christian Democratic? Social Democratic? US, UK and IRL Liberal? Which of course brings us nicely to Ó Riain. [I have to read, and re-read much of what he writes, as his arguments and explanations are very tightly stated, and he uses some unusual, and unfamiliar terminology.] I still have 60 odd pages to go.

He may or may not have spotted the exact causes of our “No pots and pans” situation, but there are tantalizing hints in his descriptions and explanations of the different natures of the various political, social and economic coalitions and ‘fragmentations’ that have arisen, developed and ‘settled’ since 1990. Seems things may be somewhat more complex than some commentators on this site may have us believe. I wonder has Ernie Ball read it? DOCM? And I would like to get Michael Hennigan’s reaction to the ‘changes’ in the different sectors of employments. Some others, O’Donnell, Quigley, Tull and Ryan might like to take a few shots at the political side of things. Lots of targets there.

As I mentioned in another post above, I found the book quite disturbing in that it confirmed some suspicions I was nursing about the Irish Political Economy. I am left wondering whether or not our politicians are actually capable of managing this enduring financial (and social and economic) crisis. Not looking good. They have made themselves complete hostages to the voters – and the non-voters alike. Its not that the voters are blameless either. Its not a simple “either/or” situation. Its an “us”. It will be a very tricky political enterprise to pare back and remove many of the socially divisive and economically unjustifiable institutionalized endowments that many of us now ‘enjoy’. And what would replace them? Or much more to the point, how, given the institutions we have, can radical replacements be planned and implemented? Interesting times ahead.

Ó Riain may not be Picketty – but he sure comes close, in the Irish context.

ps: Its not a book that can be read in isolation. It has dimensions and contexts. You need to know and understand these also.

Brian, all,

how about we set a target of lets say 10 days from now, that would be August 22nd to restart the discussion at Ó Riain post.

I also have a few things to say to it, where I am also very interested in the opinion of Irish people.

One thing is for example that to the end of the book this differentiating between social / christian democratic loked more and more like artifical overstretching.

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