We have to prepare for the worst

Colm is in good form in the Independent today. I had exactly the same response to the BBC programme on Brexit as he did.

There are at least three reasons why I think an “off the cliff” Brexit is the most likely outcome.

First, and most importantly, an “off the cliff” Brexit is what the hard Brexiteers want: a break with the EU that is as clean and as unambiguous as possible. And they are currently driving the show. Arguments about economic interest have no impact on this group: for them, it is all about sovereignty, as they see it.

Second, the key Brexit ministers are clearly not on top of their brief. They assure us that jumping off the cliff will be fine, and then it emerges that they haven’t studied what its consequences would be: it is surreal stuff. Check out this clip of Brexit minister Davis, if you haven’t already, and remember: this is the man tasked with negotiating Brexit.

Third, while UK civil servants are very competent, there are only so many of them. If all off the shelf transitional arrangements are ruled out on theological grounds (having to do for example with the ECJ) then it is hard to see how bespoke arrangements can be sorted out within two years, even if ministers understand what needs to be done, and even if they want to do it.

Hopefully I will be proved wrong, but we have to assume the worst and prepare for it. That means not putting all our intellectual, political and administrative energy into fighting amongst ourselves as to what the best deal should be: there may not be one at all, simply because the UK doesn’t want one or isn’t capable of delivering it. It means thinking about the people who will be hurt — people working in small businesses exporting to the UK, primarily, but also people living in border regions — and about how the State and the EU can help them to adjust.* It means targeting every British food processing firm that may find itself at a competitive disadvantage in the EU post-2019 and seeing if they can be induced to invest in Ireland (outside Dublin, which is where we will need the jobs). It means becoming more granular: listening more to the industries involved, and solving specific problems one at a time. It means the rest of us abandoning the “I’m alright Jack” mentality that often pervades Irish discourse, and all of us realising that we really are in this together.

*And, even though I guess it is special pleading, spare a thought for cross-border workers. The pre-1973 CTA won’t be enough, I imagine, to replicate current arrangement.

 

Update: Wolfgang Münzhau takes the polar opposite view, here. Hopefully he is correct!

 

 

 

Miriam Hederman O’Brien Research Prize 2017

The Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize is awarded by the Foundation for Fiscal Studies (http://www.fiscal.ie). The prize was launched in 2013 and you now have an opportunity to nominate candidates for the 2017 prize.

The purpose of the prize is to recognise outstanding contributors to matters relating to fiscal, economic and social policy. The winner will be awarded a prize of €1,000 together with a commemorative Gold Medal.

Nominations are invited for work completed during 2016 that has added to the public knowledge or understanding in areas such as taxation, public expenditure and other related fiscal policy topics.

Details of the prize, entry criteria and submission details are contained here. You can nominate your own work or work by others.

The closing date for nominations is 30 April 2017.

Europe’s Changing Workplaces – Research Conference, April 3rd; Maynooth University

This conference may be of interest:

Europe’s Changing Workplaces

April 3rd 2017
National University of Ireland Maynooth

New Deals in the New Economy Project
Political Economy and Work Research Cluster
MUSSI and the Department of Sociology

Behind the deep economic troubles and political turmoil of the current era is a profound uncertainty about working life and employment – while some experience precarity and marginalisation, others work for significant rewards but at the cost of intense and intrusive work commitments. For almost all, ‘flexibility’ is an everyday reality at work – although flexibility can take many forms, for better and for worse.

  • What are the patterns of work in Europe today?
  • Where is work changing, and how?
  • Are there the seeds of a new ‘European model’ of work and employment?
  • What are its contradictions, challenges, conditions and prospects?

Admission is free but Registration is required. To view detailed programme and to register please go to:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/europes-changing-workplaces-an-international-research-conference-tickets-32197387252

Speakers include:

Continue reading “Europe’s Changing Workplaces – Research Conference, April 3rd; Maynooth University”

First Annual Longfield Lecture in Economics at UCC

Cork University Business School and the Department of Economics

 are pleased to invite you to the

First Annual Longfield Lecture in Economics:

Philippe Legrain, Senior Research Fellow, London School of Economics

 “Immigrants: Your country needs them”

Wednesday 22nd March 2017 at 5pm

Venue: Boole 3, UCC

All are welcome

Author’s Bio: Philippe Legrain is Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. He was formerly special adviser to the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, independent economic adviser to the President of the European Commission, and head of the team that provided him with strategic policy advice. He is the author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right, Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, and Open World: The Truth about Globalisation. He is a frequent media commentator and contributor. You can get more information about Philippe at http://www.philippelegrain.com/

 The Longfield Lectures: The purpose of the annual lecture series is to invite eminent speakers to address contemporary economic issues for a general audience, to contribute positively to public discourse. This is an important mission for us as an institution and as academics, and all the more with current global and local challenges. The lecture is open to all. It is organised in association with the Economics Society.

The lecture series is named after one of Cork’s foremost economist, Samuel Mountiford Longfield (1802 -1884), who was born in Desert Serges, near Enniskeane, in West Cork. He was appointed the first Whately Professor of Political Economy at Trinity College Dublin in 1832. According to his entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica he “rivalled [David] Ricardo’s influence, especially Ricardo’s notion that value is determined by the labour required to provide a good or service”. Joseph Schumpeter claimed that Longfield provided “a reasonably complete and reasonably correct theory of distribution based upon the marginal productivity principle, not only the marginal cost principle”, which means Longfield was an early forerunner of marginalism. 

In addition, Longfield challenged the Malthusian idea that wages would remain stuck at a subsistence level and, optimistic about future economic growth, he presciently argued that innovation in agriculture would offset the effects of increased population. Longfield was actively engaged in policy advice and argued for the introduction of a Poor Law in Ireland that would be based along the lines of the 1834 English Poor Law. 

We are very happy to highlight the contribution of this Cork-born economist and celebrate his achievements in his native place. 

More information on Longfield is available at http://www.mruniversity.com/courses/great-economists-classical-economics-and-its-forerunners/mountifort-longfield,https://www.tcd.ie/Secretary/FellowsScholars/discourses/discourses/1982_A.A.%20Tait%20on%20M.%20Longfield.pdf,https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mountifort-Longfield, and https://www.jstor.org/stable/40607755?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.