“Rise and Fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger”

Readers of the blog may be interested in my new book “The Rise and Fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger: Liberalism, Boom and Bust”. With ideal timing, John Bradley’s review is in the latest edition of the Dublin Review of Books.

Table of Contents:

1 Liberalism in crisis
2 Ireland: between development and crisis
3 Capital: the triumph of finance
4 Europe: between market and diversity
5 National politics: governing fragmentation, fragmented governance
6 Crisis: the difficult politics of development and liberalism

Symposium at NUI Maynooth: “Can Social Investment Save Social Europe?”

On Thurs., 29th of May, a special seminar on Social Investment in Europe will be hosted by the Department of Sociology/ NIRSA, Political Economy and Work Cluster and the New Deals in the New Economy project. The seminar will run from 9.30 to 1.30 and will be followed by the launch of a new MA in Sociology (Work, Labour Markets and Employment) by Minister Joan Burton.

‘Social Investment’ focuses on investing in people’s skills and capacities and supporting them to participate fully in employment and social life (EU Commission). Does ‘social investment’ lead to a renewal or an erosion of the welfare state? Will ‘social investment’ support economic and social recovery?

The event will start at 9.30 with registration and coffee followed by the seminar at 10.00 in the Phoenix building on the North Campus in NUIM keynoted by Prof Anton Hemerijck, VU University Amsterdam and Prof Brian Nolan, UCD, and chaired by Prof. Seán Ó Riain.

Following a break for coffee there will be a roundtable discussion with: Rossella Ciccia (NUIM), Tom Healy (NERI) and Rory O’Donnell (NESC), chaired by Mary Murphy (NUIM).

See more at: http://www.nuim.ie/sociology/news/can-social-investment-save-social-europe

Please register for seminar by emailing newdeals@nuim.ie before May 26th, 2014

Suicides after the Crisis

The Irish Times reports on a British Medical Journal article regarding international suicide rates in 2009, compared to the expected rates based on suicides between 2000-2007.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/economic-crisis-linked-to-100-additional-suicides-in-state-by-international-study-1.1531208

The study is available here: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5239

Abstract below the fold:

Continue reading “Suicides after the Crisis”

Conference on “Understanding the Changing Worlds of Capitalism”, May 1st

Understanding the Changing Worlds of Capitalism:
New Perspectives on the Political Economy of Work, Production and Employment Regimes

A Research Conference
NIRSA/ Sociology
May 1st 2013, Renehan Hall, NUI Maynooth

Sponsored by the European Research Council and the Irish Research Council

The various forms of capitalism are in crisis, as are many of the theories that have dominated understandings of capitalism in recent decades.  This conference draws together leading international scholars to examine changing European capitalisms, with a particular focus on how the organisation of work, employment and production regimes is changing. We explore how theories must shift to account for changing capitalisms.

Speakers include Dorothee Bohle, Rossella Ciccia, Bernhard Ebbinghaus, Eoin Flaherty, Béla Greskovits, Peer Hull Kristensen, Frances McGinnity, Lars Mjoset, Mary Murphy, Seán Ó Riain, Luis Ortiz, Karen Shire, Markus Tünte.

Full programme and information here.

The conference explores a variety of theories of political economy (e.g. Polanyian, institutionalist, pragmatist); different forms of capitalism in Europe (liberal, Christian democratic, social democratic, post-socialist, Mediterranean); and various institutions shaping work (e.g. welfare regimes, industrial relations, family, transnational work and technological change).

Registration is free but places are limited.

Please register here.

Enquiries to newdeals@nuim.ie

Click here for information on how to get to NUI Maynooth Campus by road or rail

Workshop on Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective, Thursday April 25th:

Whither Industrial Policy? The Future of Public Institutions and Economic Development

3-6 pm, Thursday April 25th 2013
Institute of Bankers, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
Sponsored by NUI Maynooth (NIRSA/ Sociology) and UCD Geary Institute

Globalisation, regional economic clusters, open systems of innovation, financialisation, legal restrictions on state aid and a range of other factors appeared to have consigned industrial policy and the developmental state to history. However, as economies struggle to restore growth and seek models of sustainable prosperity, there is renewed interest in the role of public institutions in promoting industrial and regional development. Moreover, recent decades have seen significant experiments with new forms of ‘old’ institutions – ranging across the industrial development agencies of Israel and Taiwan, the state investment banks of Germany and Brazil and the diverse network of agencies promoting innovation in the US.

This workshop explores the new forms of industrial and innovation policy that have emerged in recent decades. It examines their distinctive features, limitations and potential and asks what futures there might be for a developmental role for public institutions. Further details below.

Continue reading “Workshop on Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective, Thursday April 25th:”

Financialisation

The most recent issue of the Economic and Social Review has a symposium on the politics of financialisation, including papers on the US, a comparative analysis of financialisation and inequality in the OECD and my own paper on”The Crisis of Financialisation in Ireland”

The table of contents, with links to papers, is here: http://www.esr.ie/vol%2043_4/ESRTOC43_4.htm

The abstract of the Ireland paper is below: Continue reading “Financialisation”

“Liberalism in Crisis” Symposium

The Department of Sociology and the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis at NUI Maynooth are holding a symposium on May 6th on “Liberalism in Crisis: US, UK and Ireland”. The conference is free but we are asking that people register before Wednesday April 30th.

Registration form and details at:

http://sociology.nuim.ie/LiberalismInCrisis.shtml

Further details of the event below the fold

Continue reading ““Liberalism in Crisis” Symposium”

‘Ireland after NAMA’ – New Blog

There is a new and interesting blog written mainly, but not exclusively, by geographers at http://irelandafternama.wordpress.com/

For a start, people may want to take a look at this map of vacant properties developed after 2006 – the national vacancy rate in 2006 was 15% but this updates the pattern with data on vacancies in properties developed after 2006, with some small areas going above 50%.

Class and Employment Decline

It is worth taking a closer look at the Quarterly National Household Survey results from last week. The difference between the public and private sectors has attracted some comment but there is much more going on here. In particular, the major trend that stands out is the disastrous collapse in working class employment with growing differences between the position of those with third level education and those without. The need for serious commitments in enterprise and employment policy, education and training policy, and housing/ mortgage support is clear.

Continue reading “Class and Employment Decline”

Royalties and Licences – a data question

I’m interested in making sense of the massive gap between exports and imports of royalties and licences.

How do we interpret the high level of imports? Most of which are bought, according to the annual services inquiry, by the computer services industry (74% in 2006) with the rest split largely between R&D companies and wholesale trade companies (c. 10% each)

1. Are the royalties and licences being bought as inputs into production/ innovation? In which case it reflects a continuing dependence on international intellectual property and an ongoing weakness in innovation (particularly given the low level of exports of royalties etc)

2. Are they being bought as a way of repatriating profits?  In which case, it may either point to high levels of transfer pricing in the sectors that are importing these royalties and licences, or may reflect improved performance of their international operations by indigenous companies that are then re-patriating profits. if we had data on purchases by sector and nationality of firm we could get some insight into this question, but I haven’t seen that anywhere.

The data do not seem to be publicly available in order to figure out which of the above is at work, and to what degree.

Any tips on additional data or evidence – or interpretations – welcome.


Banking Reform

Once we have banks that have been re-capitalised and apparently stable once more, where does our financial system go? In negative terms, how can we be assured that the financial system will not generate crises on the kind of scale that we are currently living through? In positive terms, how can we increase the chances that finance flows toward productive rather than speculative uses?

These critical questions are largely sidelined in the current debates on nationalization, which have focused largely on the (urgent and very important) questions of how to restore the stability of the banking system and who will end up stuck with the bill. But, even if this is achieved at the least possible cost to the taxpayer (and therefore with the least possible constraint on public investment into the future), this still leaves the questions of stability and productive investment. There is little reason to suppose that an unreconstructed banking system will deliver this on its own – the banking system provided neither stability nor productive investment before this crisis. Reform of banks themselves will be essential, although this has largely disappeared off the agenda in recent months.

There are five areas through which we can influence how banking practices are shaped by the wider system of financial governance (some of these are usefully reviewed in Stiglitz and Uy’s account of the ‘East Asian Miracle’). In each area, the system has left a great deal to be desired and requires reform.

Continue reading “Banking Reform”

Stimulus for Development


Commentators across the spectrum have worried that the April budget will tax and cut so much money out of the economy that we will face serious deflation. There has been a shift in emphasis from the over-riding importance of minimizing the budget deficit to recognizing the need to minimize the deflationary effects of fiscal measures. We are seeing an increasing number of proposals in that regard.

This is not unrelated to a second major political shift – the re-opening of partnership discussions and the potential for working through more complex and multi-layered ways out of this crisis. I can’t see any other institutions that can put together a combination of measures to promote a growth strategy that would accompany fiscal measures.

Without that growth strategy, the fiscal measures will not achieve their desired goal. We will simply end up chasing our tails, raising tax rates on a declining tax base and promoting deflation by combining tax increases, employment reductions, spending and wages cuts in a single year. Immediate measures to restore a degree of fiscal stability and reduce the budget deficit are necessary – but require a strong countervailing growth policy to restore the economy, and even to maintain those narrow fiscal goals. Continue reading “Stimulus for Development”