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.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Low interest rates, globalization, technological change and ageing

“May you live in interesting times," is claimed* by non-Chinese to be a Chinese blessing or curse and we are today living through not only interesting times in economics and finance but unique ones in the history of commerce.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Ireland's missing exporters

Naïve commentary on exporting and opening new overseas markets is not uncommon. International expansion often ends in failure — research published in 2017 by Banco de España (Bank of Spain) on service firm exporters in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain found that French export starters had the lowest survival rate with 31% of firms staying in the market after the first year. Spain was at 36% and 57% of new exporters had survived in Germany.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Industrial Revolution in Ireland: Fortune and Misfortune

The ruins of a large 5-storey factory building in open countryside in the townland of Knocknagarrane 4 kilometres south-west of the West Cork town of Bandon (visible from the road linking the villages of Old Chapel and Timoleague), is a symbol of the heroic failure to bring the British Industrial Revolution to the area. However, the entrepreneuring family that built the factory would still have a local economic impact for 100 years more.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A 'winter of discontent' and Brexit

The ship of fools (from a 1549 German woodcut) is an allegory, originating from Book VI of Plato's Republic — written in 360 BCE (Before Common Era) — about a ship with a dysfunctional crew (Wikipedia): "Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering––every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary."

Brexiters dismiss warnings that a 'No Deal' departure from the European Union on October 31, 2019, will trigger chaos at ports with risks of food and medicine shortages coupled with massive disruptions to international supply chains.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Fintan O'Toole Brexit and Irish direct democracy

Fintan O’Toole, the chief political and arts commentator of the Irish Times newspaper, has made a stunning leap from November 2010 when he called the economic bailout of Ireland by the European Union-International Monetary Fund, “the longest ransom note in history,” to a torrent of scathing  commentaries since mid-2016 on the Brexit decision by Britain to leave the EU.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Brexit & Global Britain: UK's top global trade surplus in 2018 with Ireland?

In 2018 46% of UK goods and services exports went to the EU while 2% went to Africa. According to the Financial Times in 2018, Chinese goods exports to Africa were eight times larger than those of the UK and even bigger than the top three exporters — Germany, France and the US — combined.

Brexiters with an ambition to make Britain an exporting superpower may be surprised that the UK’s official second biggest global trade surplus in 2018 was with Ireland. The United States was in first place but it’s possible that Ireland should have the top rank as the US claims 2018 goods and services surpluses with the UK!