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.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Ireland has no post-Brexit economic plan

Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, gives Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, a Thank You card from Ireland for the latter's support since the Brexit vote in June 2016, Brussels, February 6, 2019.

Ireland has no post-Brexit economic plan despite an Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimate last March that in an agreed deal scenario up to 45,000 fewer jobs would be created in a decade.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Economic possibilities for our grandchildren with credit to Keynes

This article focuses on 100-year predictions made in 1930 by John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), the British Depression-era economist, while challenges such as climate change, housing, automation and ageing are set to dominate the coming 100 years.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Change in the Irish media scene in 2019

RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster, is “flat broke” according to one of its radio presenters last August; the Irish Times owns the two Irish-owned daily broadsheet newspapers while Mediahuis, the new Belgian owner of the Independent titles after successive control by two business entrepreneurs since 1973, will likely give a welcome greater European orientation to news at a time when the number of the Irish that leaned towards Euroscepticism has plunged, thanks to Brexit.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

US foreign affiliates sell most output outside the United States

The majority-owned foreign affiliates of American multinational enterprises sell most of their output outside the United States according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Somebody should dare tell President Trump that the US may have a trade surplus with China!.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Irish property "Ponzi scheme" vs. Brexit delusion

In April 2019 the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is the agency that manages the assets and liabilities of the Government of Ireland, published a paper,  'Characterising the Financial Cycle in Ireland,' by Rossa White, chief economist of the NTMA, and Lisa Sheenan of Queen’s University Belfast, in which they characterise the Irish property bubble period of 2001-2008, "a Ponzi scheme...with ruinous cost."

Monday, September 23, 2019

Climate Change: Indonesia and burning carbon-rich peatlands

Heavy smoke hangs over the Indonesian islands of Bangka and Belitung as well as Kalimantan (73% of the island of Borneo, excluding East Malaysia and Brunei). This thick smoke comes from the peat fires that have engulfed these peatlands. On September 11, 2019, NASA/NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite using the VIIRS instrument  (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) captured this dramatic photo of the smoke rising from these islands in Indonesia.

In August 1883 the eruption of the Krakatoa (Indonesian Krakatau) volcano on Rakata Island between Java and Sumatra, in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), was one of the most powerful in recorded history. Explosions were heard 2,200 miles (3,500 km) away in Australia as ash and rock was blasted to a height of 50 miles (80 km) in the atmosphere.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

War and Peace: Tolstoy's rejection of 'Great Man' leadership myth

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), left, and Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) in Gaspra, Crimea, May 1901. At a previous meeting, Tolstoy commented, “You know, I hate your plays. Shakespeare was a bad writer, and I consider your plays even worse than his.'"

Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikoláyevich Graf (Count) Tolstóy, in Russian,) one of the world’s greatest novelists, is the author of the novel 'War and Peace,' which was written in 1865–1869. It is set in the period from 1805 to 1820 and describes the war between Russia and France through 1812. The book also contains an analysis of leadership that has resonance today, and Tolstoy rejects the notion that great men were instrumental in achieving success or failure in history.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Crazy economics have fuelled Hong Kong's protests

Last year a couple sold a parking space in Kowloon (in North Hong Kong on a mainland peninsula across from Hong Kong island's Victoria Harbour) for HK$6m (US$765,000). In 2017 the Straits Times of Singapore reported that a 4,242 sqft (394 sqm2) apartment had sold for HK$560m (US$71m).

This year, Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, ranked 32nd out of 35 global cities with an average property price of RM494,266 (US$119,738), according to Global Living report by US real estate firm CBRE.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

The popes of French wine

Grape cultivation or viticulture is almost as old as civilisation and the Phoenicians of the East Mediterranean carried the grape into France about 600 BCE. This year an archaeologist at the University Of York, UK, disclosed in a paper where he is the lead author, that grapes from the Jura region in Eastern France, near the border with Switzerland, which are used to produce Savagnin blanc (a white wine not to be confused with Sauvignon blanc), are the exact same grape, down to the genetic level, which have been grown there for at least 900 years.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ireland's transactional membership of the European Union

The Treaty of Accession 1972 was the international agreement which provided for the accession of Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom to the European Communities. Norway did not ratify the treaty after it was rejected in a referendum held in September 1972.
Here Jack Lynch, taoiseach/ prime minister, signs for Ireland. Ireland was the poorest country in Western Europe in 1972 with a GDP per capita at 50% of new EEC member Denmark, which was the richest. The 3 new members formally joined on January 1, 1973.
When Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the Iron Curtain hemmed in millions in the vast prison that was the Soviet Union and its satellite states while military juntas ruled Spain, Portugal and Greece. By any measure, the enlargement to 28 countries and the development of the European Union from the wasteland in the aftermath of World War II, has been a remarkable success of gigantic proportions. Ireland has benefited enormously and compromise is the essence of such a huge project.

Since the UK Brexit vote in June 2016 support in Ireland for European Union membership as reflected in opinion polls has risen to highs of over 90%. However, there has always been a significant transactional aspect to membership including the cute hoorism that has been a perennial factor in domestic politics.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Irish prices 27% above EU average, adjusted disposable income below

In 2018 Ireland had the second-highest prices of consumer goods and services in the European Union.  Denmark was on top at 38% above the average. It appears Luxembourg was level with Ireland but about 40% of the duchy's workforce live beyond its borders. Germany was just 4% ahead while Britain was at 17%. The Irish difference with Spain was 34%.

Ireland was the only EU member country to have experienced a fall in consumer prices in 2008-2012 and it's level was 18% above the EU average in 2013.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Irish and Euro Area debt as recession fears rise

Debt data above are in respect of 2017 and 2007 for the European Union's 27 member countries (ex-UK) taken from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Global Debt Database as both public and private debt data are available.