Saturday, August 01, 2020

Top global 2500 R&D firms- 4 Irish include 2 banks

The 2019 edition of the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard rankings of the top 2,500 business research and development spenders in the world range from the top-ranked Alphabet — the parent company of Google — at €18.3bn to both Japanese and Chinese companies at ranks 2,499 and 2,500 with spending of €30.7m each. Ireland has 4 entries including 2 banks and another 22 mainly American firms that are technically "Irish" as they have headquarters in Ireland for tax avoidance purposes — this process is called a tax inversion. The total on the chart above should be 26 for Ireland (22 redomiciled companies and 4 Irish firms) as Dublin-based Pentair changed its headquarters to London when in 2017 it spun-out a new firm in Dublin, named nVent.

Amazon would have been in the first place had its annual report given a figure for R&D alone. Recode, the tech news service has reported that FactSet — a data service — estimated in 2018 that Amazon’s “technology and content” were its R&D expenditure, which in 2017 was at $22.6bn, 41% more than in 2016; $28.8bn in 2018, up 27.6% on 2017, and $37.3bn in 2019, up 24.6% on 2018.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Entrepreneurship falls as reliance on high growth firms rises

European startups survival rate

Jan Hoekman, a Data Scientist, estimated the survival rates of European startup firms: After the first year 58% of startups are left, second 41%, 5th 22%, 10th 12.5%.
In Britain, fewer than 4% of startups have 10 or more employees after their first decade.

Reliable data from the United States show a secular decline in employer business startups in the last 40 years. However, the ratio of the small number of mainly young, High Growth Firms (HGF), including high tech, that account for significant job creation, began to fall after 2000 in both the US and other advanced countries.

Friday, July 17, 2020

The economic rise of the Western World

BC/AD (Before Christ/Anno Domini or 'Year of Our Lord') was adopted 500 years after the beginning of the millennium. The use of BCE/CE (Before the Common or Current Era/Common or Current Era) was first used in German in the 17th century and in English in the 18th. The latter designations have become more common in recent decades, not because of political correctness but in a global context, religious neutrality is appropriate.

The economic rise of the Western World dates from the 11th century CE. It was a slow, but persistent, process of advancement in science, education, printing and shipping technology. It also had its negatives including slavery and genocide of indigenous populations. However, it's striking that despite colonial plunder some of the European countries with a Mediterranean coastline, in particular Spain, had poor economic outcomes for much of the last millennium.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Ireland still struggling with Leprechaun economics

In 2016 when Ireland reported that gross domestic product (GDP) had grown by 26% in 2015 Paul Krugman, the New York Times economics columnist, called the claim Leprechaun economics.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Slavery and myth of American exceptionalism

In 1501-1867 an estimated 12.5m Africans were forced to travel to the Americas

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), 'Merchant of Venice'

The term American exceptionalism dates from an article in the Communist Party USA's 'Daily Worker' newspaper in January 1929. The newspaper reported that Communist International was acutely aware of "American exceptionalism" and this affected "the whole tactical line of the CI as applied to America." In May 1929, Jay Lovestone (1897-1990) [born Jacob Liebstein in modern-day Belarus], the US communist chief, visited Moscow to explain to Stalin why the American proletariat was not yet ready for revolution. The "man of steel" had no time for Marxist exceptionalism and Lovestone was ousted from his position.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Irish material standard of living per capita below EU-27 average in 2019

Ireland Actual consumption per capita

A proxy for per capita Irish material standard of living based on household consumption of public and private goods and services, released by Eurostat on Thursday, shows that in 2019 Ireland again trailed Italy and was 3% below the EU-27 average.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

China, US and EU top global economies and share similar size

Global GDP

China, the US and the EU are the top global economies and despite the exit of the UK from the European Union, the bloc is similar in economic size to the other two giants.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Covid-19: Irish Times cites J P Morgan research rejected by senior executive

Covid_19 benefit of lockdowns

On June 2,
Reuters reported for a second week that Covid-19 infections had risen in the United States, "Several southern US states reported sharp increases in Covid-19 infections, with Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia all seeing new cases rise 35% or more in the week ended May 31 compared with the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis."

Nationally, US infections had fallen for a fifth straight week.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Albert Camus' La Peste / The Plague and enduring pandemics

Albert Camus (1913-1960), the French Algerian philosopher, writer, journalist and playwright, had his book La Peste / The Plague published in 1947 (French version). It is set in Oran, a Mediterranean port city in northwest Algeria.

Oran as a port city has a history of plague outbreaks with the last incidence of bubonic plague (see below) in 2003.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Dutch food innovation lessons for Ireland


On December 6, 2019, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (left) opened Unilever’s new global Foods Innovation Centre on the campus of Wageningen University, the leading global agri-food research hub. Unilever invested €85m in the new centre, named ‘Hive’ for its location amidst leading academic research centres, startups and external partners. From Hive, Unilever said it would lead its global foods innovation programs for brands like Knorr, Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher and Calvė. Areas of research include: plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious foods. The consumer goods giant said the energy-neutral Foods Innovation Centre, was rated “Outstanding” by the Dutch BREEAM assessment body for environmental performance, putting it among the most sustainable multifunctional buildings in the world.

Rising global population coupled with climate change, present enormous challenges. According to a 2019 United Nations report, since the pre-industrial period (1850-1900), the land surface air temperature has risen nearly twice as much as the global average temperature.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Germany benefits from Euro but would also have thrived with D-Mark

Germany benefits from the euro in common with other member countries and it would pay a hefty price if the Euro System collapsed.

In 2012 the German finance ministry carried out a breakup analysis according to the Der Spiegel magazine and found that the breakup costs and the re-introduction of the D-Mark would lead to an up to 10% fall in GDP in the first year. Unemployment would rise again to its record high of over 5m in 2005.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Argentina's grim record of economic failures and debt defaults

In February 2020, Pope Francis, a native of Argentina, gave strong support to debt renegotiation at a Vatican seminar on debt owed by poor countries. Pope Francis greets Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, as Martín Guzmán, the Argentinian economy minister, looks on. Ms Georgieva will likely be more forgiving by extending the payment time periods on IMF debt, than the Gnomes of Zürich and elsewhere!

"Argentina has suffered a long history of booms, busts and failed economic reform. The nation has defaulted on its debt eight times, suffered hyperinflation twice, and gone through multiple balance of payments crises as well as 20 IMF-supported economic programmes in 60 years."

Friday, May 01, 2020

Pandemics: Forgotten vaccine hero saved millions of lives

Dr Anthony Fauci (born 1940), the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, enters the Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 13, 2020, as a member of White House Coronavirus Task Force. In April 2005, Dr Fauci paid tribute to Dr Maurice Hilleman (1919-2005) after the latter's death.
"Maurice literally changed the world with his extraordinary contributions in numerous disciplines: virology, epidemiology, immunology, cancer research, and, especially, vaccine research and development.
Maurice was perhaps the single most influential public health figure of the 20th century, if one considers the millions of lives saved and the countless people who were spared suffering because of his work. Over the course of his career, Maurice and his colleagues developed more than 40 vaccines. Of the 14 vaccines currently recommended in the United States, Maurice developed eight."

On the morning of April 17, 1957, microbiologist Maurice Hilleman was in his office at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in Maryland, north of Washington DC, when he saw amidst other foreign news a short report from Hong Kong on Page 3 of his copy of The New York Times.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Grim Irish economic challenges from Covid-19 pandemic

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA shared this nighttime image of Dublin on March 17, 2017, writing, "Happy #StPatricksDay - Spectacular #Dublin, Ireland captured by @thom_astro from @Space_Station. Enjoy the #StPatricksFest Parade down there!" Image Credit: ESA/NASA

Paschal Donohoe, finance minister, yesterday revealed the scale of the economic devastation in Ireland wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Half of ventilators in world's acute hospitals made in Ireland?

Racks of ventilators at Hamilton AG's factory in Switzerland

World medical ventilator demand during the Covid-19 emergency is about 10 times what's available and there's a scramble by countries to get supplies but sophisticated machines require 650 to 700 components and manufacturers around the world, including in China, are struggling to get supplies from about 100 companies, mainly in Asia.

Friday, April 10, 2020

An Organised Hypocrisy: Dutch relent in Covid-19 Eurozone funding

Christine Lagarde, ECB president, signs a Euro note.

Eurogroup finance ministers agreed on Thursday April 9th to present an emergency rescue package in response to the coronavirus crisis, to the heads of government of the 19-country Eurozone for approval. However long-term funding for economic recovery has not been agreed.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Italy's coronavirus battle amidst 50-years long economic crisis

Italy has a history of high debt but it had an economic miracle in the period 1950-1970 with an average annual growth rate level with West Germany's. It ended with a national labour strike and in 1971 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted that "The index of production showed no increase whatsoever in the course of 1970." The succeeding 50 years have been characterised by double-digit inflation and interest rates, persistent budget deficits and low growth both before and after the launch of the Euro.

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.