Monday, March 30, 2020

Asia Covid-19: Lessons learned from past epidemics and high income helps

Kuala Lumpur: Coronavirus data for March 30th show that Japan (including the Diamond Princess cruise ship) with a population of 127m is just behind Ireland (population 5m) with 2,578 infections and 64 deaths; South Korea with a population of 52m has 9,661 and 158 deaths; Taiwan with a population of 23m has 298 and 3 deaths; Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China) with a population of 7.4m has 642 and 4 deaths; Singapore with a population of 5.7m has 844 and 3 deaths.

The health per capita spending as shown in the chart above (Taiwan's spending is $2,700) highlights how low the level is in several Asian countries.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Socialism for the rich: America's $532bn bailout of big companies

The top executives of most of America's biggest corporations are adept at dodging taxes, overpaying themselves, and buying back shares that they are invested in themselves rather than building rainy day funds. The Federal government and Federal Reserve are the backstops in the mythical land of free markets while the genesis of commercial pharmaceutical and tech innovations are often in public laboratories or institutions.

Fortune magazine noted last August that more than half of all share buybacks were funded by debt.

According to a January 2020 article in the Harvard Business Review, "in 2018, only 43% of companies in the S&P 500 Index recorded any R&D expenses, with just 38 companies accounting for 75% of the R&D spending of all 500 companies....The 465 companies in the S&P 500 Index in January 2019 that were publicly listed in 2009-2018 spent $4.3tn on buybacks, equal to 52% of net income, and another $3.3tn on dividends — an additional 39% of net income. In 2018 alone, even with after-tax profits at record levels because of the Republican tax cuts, buybacks by S&P 500 companies reached an astounding 68% of net income, with dividends absorbing another 41%."

Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus - COVID-19: China "Sick Man" of Asia? US of Developed World?  

Get latest data Coronavirus Tracking Data from Johns Hopkins University

Data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus database on March 16, 2020, show a fatality rate of 3.86%. However, this is not a reliable metric as the denominator is influenced by a recent spike in numbers while the numbers of people with the virus, not confirmed or showing no symptoms, are unknown.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Irish land racket and Dublin housing crisis

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the Land Development Agency lodged planning application for 597 new homes at Shanganagh, Co Dublin, in Jan 2020.

The price of land is a key driver of housing prices and there has been a debate in Ireland and Great Britain for more than a century on the injustice of landowners near urban centres making huge gains at the cost of other country residents, without lifting a finger. Dermot Desmond, the prominent Irish businessman, raised this issue in an interesting opinion article in the Irish Times this month.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Zombie unicorns and struggling tech startups in Ireland and Singapore

This year's FT 1000 ranking of European companies that achieved the highest compound annual growth rate in revenue between 2015 and 2018, released in March, has 259 entrants comprising 189 technology firms together with fintech and e-commerce.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Nordic countries lead social mobility- Ireland and Korea among rich laggards

Kim family characters in 'Parasite' searching for Wi-FI signals from dingy flat in Seoul

'Parasite' the Best Picture winner at the 92nd Academy Awards this month, has shone a bright light on the grim social divisions and poor social mobility in South Korea.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Irish employer entrepreneurship remains on respirator

OECD: Business economy excluding holding companies

In 2017 Ireland had the second-lowest rate of employer firm births among the mainly rich country members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Irish economic growth data remain unreliable

Trump likely doesn't know about the growing US drugs trade deficit with Ireland! 

Following the report in 2016 that Ireland's GDP (gross domestic product) had jumped 26% in 2015, a Modified Gross National Income (GNI*) was produced that eliminated distortions caused by  1) redomiciled companies: mainly American firms that became Irish for tax purposes 2) depreciation of foreign-owned intellectual property (IP) and 3) depreciation of aviation leasing assets.

Monday, February 10, 2020

A radical Irish government would have to hike taxes

OECD data — ignore Luxembourg in this chart as over 40% of its labour force live beyond its borders — click image for bigger scale 

The prospect of the first leftist government in Ireland since 1922 is exciting for supporters of Sinn Féin after its surge in support in the Irish general election that was held at the weekend. However, to be radical in the key areas of both housing and health, it would have to raise taxes more than it has provided for in its election manifesto.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Irish Housing Facts: Portugal has highest dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants

There are almost as many people renting in Ireland (24.9% with 14.3% subsidised) as those who have home mortgages (26%) — while 45.5% of owner-occupiers have no loans on their properties according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 3.6% are unknown.   

Monday, February 03, 2020

Ireland is already a socialist state!

With the exception of Spain and Sweden, which have ruling socialist parties with minority governments, Europe hasn't been a very welcoming place for left of centre parties in the past decade.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Confederacy of dunces: Worst Irish governments since 1922

Michael McDowell, a founder of the Progressive Democrats (PD) in 1985, affixes a poster to a pole in Ranelagh, South Dublin, during the 2002 general election campaign. The message on the poster was that the PDs were needed to ensure good governance. However, the PDs had already made a Faustian bargain with Fianna Fáil and they had gone along with the delusion that tax cuts would create a permanent prosperity while ignoring the risks of the property bubble. They also had to turn a blind eye to Bertie Ahern's dodgy personal finances and the bizarre explanations for funds in his personal bank accounts. In the 2007 general election, the PDs lost 7 of its 8 Dáil Éireann seats including McDowell's.

With just two years to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Free State which became the Republic of Ireland in 1949, by next week Ireland will have held 31 general elections beginning on June 16, 1922 — 12 days after the first general election, the shameful Civil War would begin.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

State of Irish high tech and biotech 2020

The state is not easy to discern because of the dearth of data, delusion and distortion.

For the third time in 14 years, an Irish government has published another plan to turn Ireland into a "world-class" knowledge economy, despite falsely claiming that the economy is among the most innovative in the world.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The shameful stain of an Irish Civil War

Dublin Castle, the seat of Norman/English and later British rule from 1204-1922 was handed over to the Irish on January 16, 1922 by Lord FitzAlan-Howard, the last Viceroy of Ireland. Michael Collins, the 31-year old chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State, is pictured 'bouncing’ out through the Chief Secretary’s door after the handover. Collins is preceded by Kevin O'Higgins, who had been appointed Minister for Economic Affairs in the previous week. The new government issued a statement which said, ‘"The Members of the Provisional Government received the surrender of Dublin Castle at 1.45 pm today. It is now in the hands of the Irish nation." A unit of the Royal Corps of Engineers remained at the castle until August 1922. (Image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland)

The controversy this month about a proposed official commemoration for members of the British era Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) police forces who lost their lives in the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921, is a foretaste of the upcoming centenary commemorations of the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 and the shameful Civil War that it triggered.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Entrepreneurship in rich countries declining; Innovation also sliding

In January 2004 Mark Burnett, a British-born producer of reality TV programmes in the United States and Britain, launched a new series that tapped into America's celebration of an era that many saw as an Age of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Burnett teamed up with a New York serial bankrupt who was notorious for defrauding suppliers and who was on the blacklists of Wall Street banks.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Corporate tax rate for biggest US firms below 11%- Silicon Six avoid $100bn+ in taxes

The biggest Amerian corporations had an average effective tax rate of 11.3% in 2018 — the taxes companies actually paid in 2019 as a percentage of 2018 profits — according to a study of 379 Fortune 500 companies, from the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy (ITEP) that was published in Washington DC before Christmas. If all the Fortune 500 firms were included the rate would likely be below 11%.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Experts' predictions and dart-throwing chimpanzees

Niall Ferguson, the American-based British television historian, in The Sunday Times of December 8th feared a hung British parliament "despite the opinion polls," as the Labour Party had a stronger social media presence.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ireland's social, economic and business deficits in 2020

NASA astronaut Terry Virts captured this Earth observation of Ireland, United Kingdom and Scandinavia on a moonlit night under an amazing and ever-changing aurora, on Feb. 6, 2015. Terry is a flight engineer on the International Space Station with Expedition 42. Image Credit: NASA

Ireland is a high-cost economy but unlike Denmark, which is a global innovation leader with a high ratio of exporters, a high-level of entrepreneurship and high employer startup activity, indicators suggest Ireland is below average in several areas among the 25 rich countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) area.

Following 2015, the year of Leprechaun Economics, when Ireland's GDP (gross domestic product) jumped 26%, a Modified Gross National Income was produced by stripping out 3 big multinational tax distortions from the National Accounts. However, there remain distortions from massive tax avoidance, and in particular in international indicators.

Friday, December 06, 2019

James Joyce on migration and Europe

According to Trieste's Museo Joyciano, "When Joyce and Nora (Barnacle) arrived in Trieste on October 20, 1904, he left Nora in the gardens outside the train station to find an accommodation for the night. Once in Piazza Grande (today Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia) he was caught up in a brawl with drunken English sailors in a bar and was arrested by the police. He was released a few hours later thanks to the English consul and he finally rejoined Nora in the square outside the station."

In April 1907 James Joyce, the Irish writer, gave a lecture on Ireland in Trieste, the North Adriatic port city. The lecture was titled 'Irlanda, Isola dei Santi e dei Savi' and in English, 'Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages.' 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Jameson Irish whiskey among top global brands; UK is biggest exporter

This is Statista's ranking of the Top 15 global whiskey brands in 2018 based on sales volume (in million 9 litre cases): The top 4 are Indian and Pernod Ricard, the owner of Irish Distillers, owns Imperial Blue and Royal Stag. Johnnie Walker is the leading Scotch whiskey at 5th rank, owned by the Diageo, the British drinks group. Jack Daniels of the US is in 6th place; Original Choice is Indian and in 7th place; Jim Beam of the US has an 8th rank; Haywards Fine is another Indian whiskey at 9th rank; Jameson is in 10th place; followed by Ballintine's a Scotch owned by Pernod Ricard; Crown Royal of Canada owned by Diageo has a 12th rank; the last 3 brands are also Indian.

The Irish whiskey industry has made a remarkable comeback at international level since Pernod Ricard of France acquired Irish Distillers in 1988. Jameson Irish Whiskey sales have quintupled since then and today the brand is among the top global whiskey brands but the early 19th century glory days of Ireland as the leading whiskey producer are not back. The United Kingdom is by far the world's biggest whisky (the spelling used by Scotch distillers) exporter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ireland's record trade surplus of €107 billion in 2018 — an illusion?

The blue line includes phantom Irish exports such as exports of iPhones to China!

In 2017 Ireland supposedly exported €17bn worth of Apple iPhones/ materials to China even though there were no shipments! Ireland has no history of direct development of the iPhone, or supplying any related material to China. Last year IMF staff estimated in respect of Ireland, "that the contribution in value-added terms of iPhone exports...account(ed) for one-fourth of the country’s economic expansion in 2017." 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

US FDI into Ireland and Irish investment in America — facts and myths

Impressive data on inward and outward FDI from Ireland and to Ireland, from the United States Department of Commerce — in the real world it's bullshit! 

Confusion abounds about United States foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland and "Irish" FDI in the US — the latter is dominated by American firms. Ireland's inward FDI excites politicians, senior civil servants, public enterprise agencies, professional vested interests coining from it, and gullible journalists, as Ireland appears to be among the leading recipients of US FDI in the world while Ireland is also among the top 10 countries for investment in America!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

American political and business corruption predated Trump presidency

"Critics say that America is a lie because its reality falls so far short of its ideals. They are wrong. America is not a lie; it is a disappointment. But it can be a disappointment only because it is also a hope," are the concluding lines of the 1981 book, 'American Politics - The Promise of Disharmony' written by Samuel P. Huntington (1927-2008), a Harvard political scientist.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Humanity's birthplace may be in Botswana or in several African locations

Researcher Vanessa Hayes with the Ju/’hoansi people in what is claimed to be the ancestral homeland of humanity. Chris Bennett/Evolving Picture

Makgadikgadi in Northern Botswana is one of the largest salt flats in the world and is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi. Two hundred thousand years ago Makgadikgadi was Africa's biggest lake and it was surrounded by wetlands. Scientists from Australia's Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney in October published the results of DNA sequencing cross-referenced with other information, including geological and climate data. The scientists say that the area was completely surrounded by a very uninhabitable region, "which led to our hunter-gatherer ancestors staying put for some 70,000 years." The researchers claim that the area is the cradle of humanity.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Real US 2019 weekly pay for production/ non-supervisory staff 9% below 1972 level

Inflation-adjusted average weekly pay this year for production and nonsupervisory staff in the United States is 9% below the 1972 level, using 2019 dollars as per the chart above.