Friday, April 12, 2024

Israel's Carthage and Netanyahu's long record of duplicity

Evacuation warnings issued by Israel to people in Gaza ahead of attacks contained a host of significant errors, BBC analysis has revealed. Warnings contained contradictory information and sometimes misnamed districts, making them confusing to Gazans seeking safety. Experts have said such mistakes could violate Israel's obligations under international law.

Cato the Elder (234–149 BC) is said to have repeatedly uttered the line Cato the Elder (234–149 BC) is said to have repeatedly uttered the line "Carthago delenda est" / "Carthage must be destroyed" in the Roman Senate.

The city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC during the Third Punic War.

Carthaginian, 62,000 dead and 50,000 enslaved of an estimated 112,000 present in the city; Roman, 17,000 of 40,000.

What is common between Carthage, under Roman control, and Israel since its independence in 1948 is collective punishment.

The United Nations in 1980 said "It is estimated that between 15 May 1948 and the end of 1951, more than 684,000 Jewish immigrants settled in Israel on a substantial part of the land abandoned by the Palestinians.

Of the 370 Jewish settlements established between 1948 and the beginning of 1953, 350 were established on land abandoned by the Palestinians. In 1954 more than one-third of Israel’s Jewish population, plus 250,000 new Jewish immigrants, settled in whole cities that had been completely deserted by the Palestinians as a result of the military operations of 1948. Jaffa, Acre, Lydda, Ramleh and Beisan were some of them.

As to the Palestinian Arabs who had remained in Israel, restrictive measures amounting to dispossession were taken by the Custodian of Absentee Property, who was inclined to interpret the Absentee Property Law of 1950 rather too broadly."

B'Tselem, the Iseral civil rights organisation, in 2023 said that 554 homes, not related to construction, were demolished, and 784 houses were demolished in 2022.

B'Tselem said in 2021 "Israel embarked on a large-scale demolition campaign throughout the West Bank, in which it destroyed and confiscated dwellings, tents, livestock enclosures, buildings under construction, a road, and even a structure intended for burial. Twenty-two people, including 15 children, lost their homes in one day."

"Demolition for alleged military is also common."

This is common in the West Bank and East Jerestelam and this has been standard since 1967.

B'Tselem says Israel is an apartheid state.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Ireland’s dual economy: divergent performance, lowest export rate in EU

"Ireland now is one of the top 10 investors in the United States’ economy," President Biden said at the 2024 St Patrick's Celebration. In 2022 the amount was almost $300bn and $431bn for Germany. This Irish yarn is about redomiciled US firms for tax purposes, not the small number of Irish multinationals.

Irish multinationals with market cap €10bn+: CRH plc (1970) from merger Cement Ltd (1936) & Roadstone Ltd (1949) market cap €54bn; Ryanair (1985) €24bn; Kingspan (1965) €15bn; Kerry Group (1972) €14bn; Smurfit Kappa (1934) €11bn.

Micro: enterprises with less than 10 persons employed;
Small: enterprises with 10 to 49 persons employed;
Medium: enterprises with 50 to 249 persons employed;
Large: enterprises with more than 250 persons employed.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) there were 11,785 exporting enterprises in 2022 i.e. with goods exports of over €1,000 in the year. (The minimum level is farcical.);

There were just 469 large exporting enterprises (with over 250+ employees) but they accounted for 79% (almost €161bn) of all exports in 2022. These large enterprises comprised only 4% of all enterprises;

There were 11,314 SMEs exporting goods in 2022. The total value of their exports was €38.3bn or 19% of total exports. This includes 6,917 micro-enterprises, which exported €10.1bn of goods;

Micro enterprises accounted for 59% of the number of exporters, but only 5% of the value of goods exported.

The 2021 EU chart above shows that from Micro to Medium the rate of 21% (19% on the bottom of the page) exporting was the lowest in the 27-member European Union and the highest at 79% for Large companies.

Small and medium enterprises in The Netherlands and Denmark have export rates of 60 and 50%.

The average reported turnover for the 12 months up to and including September 2022 was €4.03mn. This was €792,000 for Micro companies and €4.05mn for small-sized enterprises, while medium-sized companies reported an average turnover of €9.99mn.

Gross Value Added (GVA- see below) per person employed for large Irish-owned enterprises (250+ persons employed) was €68,993 but rose to €369,918 when foreign-owned large enterprises were included.

According to the CSO, a third of employment in Foreign-owned firms in Ireland is in SMEs.

Foreign-owned firms accounted for €332.1bn - an increase of 9.0% over 2020. This represents 86.6% of total sales related to government agency's clients in 2021.

Sales for Irish-owned firms increased by 13.1% between 2020 and 2021, amounting to €51.4bn or 13.4% of total sales.

(See below that other Foreign-owned firms import and sell in the Irish market.)

Friday, March 15, 2024

FT 1000 in 2024 tracks Europe’s fastest-growing companies

Raylyst Solar, a Prague-based solar panel distributor, heads the eighth annual FT 1000 ranking with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (%) of 824.4%. The company says "We are a leading distributor of photovoltaic products for the European region. We provide the highest quality solar panels falling into the Bloomberg Tier 1 category, as well as inverters and battery systems from verified manufacturers in the market."

Adagio of France, primarily sells to the digital advertising industry. It was founded in 2012 and is ranked second with a CAGR of 582.6%, followed by an Italian digital ad agency. Bidberry has 424.4% growth.

The FT 1000 ranking produced by the German statistics firm, Statista, highlights the European companies that have grown fastest.

They rank from the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR), in revenue from 2019 to 2022. This year, a minimum average growth rate of 36.9% is required for participation.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Ireland's GDP per capita in 2023 at €30,000 - Denmark at €69,000

ECB: (European Central Bank): Intangible assets of multinational enterprises in Ireland and their impact on euro area GDP

The 20-country Euro Area has a population of about 348,000,000 and the EU is at 448,000,000.

The Irish population in December 2023 is estimated to have been 5,330,000.

Denmark in 2023 had a euro income per capita of €69,100. It is the most prosperous country in Europe (absen shenanigans) with a population close to 6mn.

A phantom Contract Manufacturing /Goods for processing was to be among MNC (multinational) deductions made in 2017. It was to be deleted from the headline GDP to produce a Modified General National Income (GNI*).

However, it got worse every year between 2017-2023 (see the chart above).

Irish Government may have nixed a key remedy for 'Leprechaun economics'

GDP (Gross domestic product) was falsely boosted in 2022 by €143bn and €115bn in 2023.

I deducted €115bn from the GNI* and the Irish income per capita was about €30,000 in 2023.

The notion that Ireland is among the richest in the world, would earn a Piseóg (an Irish curse) from many Irish people.

Denmark ranked 9th among the 132 economies featured in the Global Innovation Index 2023. Ireland has a small innovation base.

In 2023 Denmark's flagship drug firm Novo Nordisk, became Europe's most valuable company. In early March 2024, Novo Nordisk was the 12th most valuable company in the world, with a market cap of $604bn.

Competition for obesity drugs will bring down current high valuations enjoyed by Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. However, Denmark has been a pioneer in developing commercial wind power since the 1970s and Denmark is the world's fifth-largest maritime shipping nation.

It's 39 years since the birth of a significant multinational in Ireland: Ryanair the largest airline in Europe both in terms of fleet size (527 aircraft) and routes served (1,831).


Ireland once had a significant pharmaceutical company, at the turn of the century. It was founded by an American in 1969 and in the late 1990s, its value on the Irish Stock Exchange reached over €20bn. In 2001 Élan Corporation was the world's 20th-largest drug company.

In January 1984, Élan became the first Irish company to secure a public listing in America, floating on the NASDAQ. In 1990 Élan became the first Irish company to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 2002 a corrupt plan by executives was revealed. They had agreed on complex joint-venture agreements with 55 companies. By keeping the company’s stake in each of these vehicles below 20%, Élan was able to keep their poor results off the corporation’s income statements. There were problems with products and by 2013 several units had been sold and the company was acquired by an American firm. The price was €6.5bn.

Global Finance magazine has the 10 richest countries in the world in 2024 with Luxembourg, Ireland, and Singapore in the lead. Switzerland has a 6th ranking and Norway is at 9th. The United States is 10th.

Denmark with a population of 5,911,000 has an 11th position at $75,000 or €69,100.

GDP-PPP (Purchasing power parity) per capita ($): Luxembourg $143,304; Ireland $137,638 and Singapore is at $133,108.

Both Ireland and Luxembourg are anomalies.

About 75% of Luxembourg's workforce comprises immigrant workers or cross-border commuters. The share of cross-border workers has increased from 3% in 1961 to 47% in 2023; nearly one in two cross-border workers comes from France.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

China world leader in 37 of 44 critical technologies, EU missing

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) was formed in 2001 and the Critical Technology Tracker was launched on 1st March 2023. It identified China as having stolen a march on its competitors.

ASPI said that China's global lead extends to 37 of the 44 technologies tracked, with the country excelling in defence and space-related technologies. The United States had 7 positions.

The think-tank said "Notably, China's strides in nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles, reportedly took US intelligence by surprise in August 2021. ASPI's Critical Technology Tracker shows that, for some technologies, all of the world's top 10 leading research institutions are based in China, collectively generating nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country, most often the US."

The dataset revealed a large gap between China and the US, "as the leading two countries, and everyone else. The data then indicates a small, second-tier group of countries led by India and the UK: other countries that regularly appear in this group — in many technological fields — include South Korea, Germany, Australia, Italy, and less often, Japan."

Australia was in the top five for nine technologies; Italy (seven technologies), Iran (six), Japan (four) and Canada (four).

Russia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, France, Malaysia and the Netherlands were in the top five for one or two technologies. Several other countries, including Spain and Turkey, make the top 10 countries but were outside the top five.

ASPI noted, "One surprising finding of the report is that Iran has surpassed countries like Japan, Canada, France and Russia to secure its place in the top five in six critical technologies."

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Value of Amsterdam house doubled in over 350 years - What happened next?

In 1625 Pieter Fransz, a carpenter, built a house on the outskirts of Amsterdam, by the new Herengracht (Gentleman's Canal). A picture of the house can be seen above (at the left) and below.

The Eighty Years' War, (1568–1648), was initially a fight for the Netherlands' independence from Spain, which led to the separation of the northern and southern Netherlands, and the formation of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (the Dutch Republic).

The Dutch Republic was a confederation from 1579 to 1795 and in the 1600s its population was the richest in the world on a per capita basis.

The Southern Netherlands also called the Catholic Netherlands, were part of the Low Countries. They were controlled by Spain (1556–1714), Austria (1714–94) and added into France (1794–1815). This area was most of modern Belgium [at the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, Belgium (The Southern Netherlands) and the Northern Netherlands (Holland) were united to form one state (Belgium became independent in 1831)].

First Modern Economy: Myths on tulips & most valuable firm in history

Piet Eichholtz (1962), professor of Real Estate and Finance at Maastricht University, in 1997 published 'A Long-Run House Price Index: The Herengracht Index, 1628-1973.'

Prof Eichholtz had transactional details for 487 houses on the Herengracht and from 1632 to 1634 house prices fell almost 50%.

In 1636 alone 17,000 people or 14% of the Amsterdam population died during a plague.

700 years of Amsterdam was celebrated in 1975. The book 'Vier eeuwen Herengracht'(1975 'Four Centuries Herengracht') chronicled all the families that had lived on the Herengracht.

The average real price increase after World War II was about 3.2% per annum. Nevertheless, the real value of the index in 1973 was only twice as high as it was in 1628.

Prof Anne Goldgar, the author of 'Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age' (2007) wrote that the crash in 1637 was probably caused by unsustainability, and fears of oversupply. But the effect wasn't nearly as bad as the story suggests.

"I looked to try and find anybody that was made bankrupt because this is the myth of course that people were drowning themselves in canals because they were made bankrupt," she says. "Actually I couldn't find anybody that was bankrupt because of Tulip Mania."

Lodewijk Petram, author of ‘The World’s First Stock Exchange’ (2014) says “There were some 285 people actively involved in bulb trading in Haarlem, with an estimated sixty traders in Amsterdam.”

The Dutch economy primarily flourished due to its efficient textile, shipbuilding, and agricultural industries; also its development of an advanced financial system; and its establishment of monopolies on international trade such as in spices, sugar, and slaves were important. Migration to The Netherlands also helped.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Elections galore in 2024 - Ireland among reluctant voters

The Pew Research Center published in late 2022 the most recent nationwide election results for 50 countries, mostly with highly developed economies and solid democratic traditions. The Center said the clear turnout champion was Uruguay: In the second, decisive round of that nation’s 2019 presidential election, 94.9% of the estimated voting-age population and 90.1% of registered voters cast ballots.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) based in Stockholm, has a database of the Voting Age Population (VAP), as well as the number of Registered Voters (REG) as indicators of political participation. The VAP figure includes an estimated number of all those citizens over the legal voting age, while the registration rate comprises the actual number of people on the voters’ roll.

Ireland's VAP Turnout rate was only 56.65% in the general election of 2020; 58.04% in 2016 and 63.78% in 2011.

The Irish general election in February 2011 was crucial as it came months following the economic rescue following the busting of the property bubble.

In November 2010, the Irish government sought help from the IMF and the European Union, which together provided loans totalling €67.5bn — equal to 40%t of Ireland's then economy. The rescue involved the International Monetary Fund (IMF); European Central Bank (ECB), and also the British government, which gave a loan to Ireland.

In February 2011 36% of the 18 age-plus population did not vote.

The Irish VAP was 77.76% in 1973 when Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC). It was 73.41% in 1948.

The 2020 Irish poll was the first general election held on a Saturday since 1918 but the participation rate still fell.

The next Irish general election has to be held by March 2025 to elect the 34th Dáil, the lower house of Ireland's parliament, the Oireachtas.

Under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2023, there will be 174 TDs (Repersatives) at the next election, an increase of 14 seats from the current Dáil, and an increase in the number of constituencies from 39 to 43. This will be the largest Dáil in the history of the state.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

4,000+ big multinationals fall within new global tax regime

Paolo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner for Economy, says that the coming into force of new rules for big multinational firms in Europe and in jurisdictions around the world is a historic reform which marks a major step towards a fairer corporate taxation system.

He says the reforms have the potential to generate an extra $220bn annually — about 9% to help countries around the world, to fund crucial investments and high-quality public services.

Gentiloni says that since 1980 the rate of corporate taxes has fallen from an average of 40 to 23% and across Europe they have fallen from 45 to just under 20%. He says additional sweeteners, preferential rates and unacceptable loopholes allowing profits to be shifted to zero or low-tax jurisdictions have resulted in effective tax rates well below those headline figures.

"As the extent of such practices has come to light, the general public and owners of smaller businesses have become increasingly indignant...More than 4,000 large multinationals fall within the scope of this potential future top-up tax in the EU — an additional incentive for jurisdictions elsewhere to comply with the new rules."

Friday, December 29, 2023

Ireland in 2023: Music and tax haven shenanigans

'Fairytale of New York' played at funeral

(reload the page if the music doesn't start)

John Sheahan (born 1939), the last surviving member of 'The Dubliners' (the famous group that was founded in 1962) played at the funeral.

"The Rare Auld Times - John Sheahan – 80th Birthday Concert Celebration"

I was in Ireland in the first 3 weeks of December 2023. I was there to attend the funeral of my youngest brother in West Cork.

In Dublin despite the cold, the Christmas spirit was high. I visited The Ginger Man pub and the crowd spilled onto the pavement. A kind doorman prioritised me (I shocked him later by giving him a tip!).

Inside, the iconic Irish Christmas ‘Fairytale of New York’ played with the late frontman for the Pogues Group – Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl singing.

James Patrick Donleavy (1926-2017), a New Yorker whose parents were Irish migrants, had served in the US Navy during World War II and came to Ireland in 1946. Trinity College in Dublin after the war was a mecca for adventurous Americans who used the GI Bill as a passport to higher education and he enrolled in the university.

Donleavy's book ‘The Ginger Man’ (1955) was banned in Ireland. ‘A Fairytale of New York’ (1973) had an Irish theme. In the 1980s the London-Irish group the Pogues popularised the song version.

Five years ago Saoirse Ronan, the Irish-American actress, sang 'Fairytale of New York' with Jimmy Fallon, the host of NBC's 'The Tonight Show.'

The Pogues achieved 2nd place in the UK single charts in 1987, and last week 'Fairytale of New York' got a 6th ranking.

Sinéad O'Connor (1966–2023); Shane MacGowan (1957–2023), and Christy Dignam (1960–2023) were leading Irish musicians who died in the year.


In The Ginger Man, Dublin, Ireland

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Israel a "brutal colonial power"; local rights group calls it "apartheid"

A Bedouin by the Jordan River in the early 20th century taken by the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology.

The heinous attack on civilians in Israel, early on October 7th, was a monstrous crime perpetrated by Hamas terrorists. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said this month that Hamas committed war crimes but "The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians."

"An eye for an eye" (Biblical Hebrew: עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, ʿayīn taḥaṯ ʿayīn) is a commandment found in the Book of Exodus 21:23–27 citing the principle of reciprocal justice measure for measure.

Jesus in the Christian Bible John 8:7, with Mary Magdalene, a disciple, said to the men who wished to stone her to death, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

SEE also: Israel is the West's last settler colony

Avi Shlaim (born 1945) is an Israeli and British historian of Iraqi Jewish descent. He is an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University.

He wrote an essay for The Economist on this year, the 75th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948.

"The controlling logic of settler-colonialism is to subdue and drive out the natives. Noam Chomsky, an eminent Jewish-American intellectual, has argued that settler colonialism is the most sadistic form of imperialism. In Palestine, the Zionist leaders were not sadistic, but they were ruthless in pursuit of their goal."

"In 1948, following the Arab rejection of the UN partition plan, they exploited the opportunity offered by an Arab military attack to extend the territory of their emerging state beyond the borders drawn by the UN cartographers and to carry out large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestine. After the war, all the emphasis was on Aliyah or immigration, “the ingathering of the exiles”, nation-building and promoting the welfare of the Jewish population. The Arab minority inside Israel was kept under military government until 1966. During this period the settler-colonial character of the new state became obscured, but it did not fundamentally change."

I experienced the transformation of Israeli society over the past half-century at the personal level. In the mid-1960s I served loyally and proudly in the Israeli army because I felt at that time that the IDF was true to its name: it was the Israeli Defence Forces. After the 1967 war, its character gradually changed. It became the repressive police force of a brutal colonial power. I for one, therefore, do not regard Israel’s 75th birthday as a cause for celebration but rather as an occasion for critical reflection and soul-searching.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Israel is the West's last settler colony

Map of the Southern Levant in the 9th century BC, with Israel in blue

Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem, located just outside the walls of the Old City. The term Mount Zion has been used in the Hebrew Bible first for the City of David and later for the Temple Mount, but its meaning has shifted and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem's Western Hill (Wikipedia).

Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), a Jewish journalist living in Austria-Hungary, founded the Zionist movement in 1896 and he convened the First Zionist Conference in 1897.

In 1902, Arthur James Balfour, succeeded his uncle, Lord Salisbury, as British prime minister. He established a Royal Commission on Alien Immigration (1902–03). Colonial immigration restriction laws played an important role in the formulation and passing of the 1905 Aliens Act.

In London there were immigration restrictions among the Jewish community who did not wish to see Jewish ‘pauper classes’ descend on England.

Herzl asked the colonial secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, to permit Jewish colonisation in British-controlled Egypt near El Arish (the largest settlement of the Sinai Peninsula in the northeastern area by the Mediterranean coast), but he was offered Uganda. The goal was to still to settle in Ottoman Palestine.

SEE here as well: Israel a "brutal colonial power"; local rights group calls it "apartheid"

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The ‘Perfect Storm’ metaphor and lame excuses

Google Books Ngram Viewer cites 'Perfect Storm' in the early 1700s and the Oxford English Dictionary has published a reference from 1718: 'and a perfect storm of applause.'

The references peaked in the 1860s and in modern times from the late 1990s. There was an all-time peak in 2018.

Vanity Fair, an 1847 novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, has a scene in Naples where "the hat went round, and the bajocchi (a coin, originally copper, later silver, issued by the Papal States from the 15th century to 1865) tumbled into it, in the midst of a perfect storm of sympathy."

The first known use of the expression in the meteorological sense is on May 30, 1850, when the Rev. Lloyd of Withington (Manchester, England) describes a perfect storm of thunder and lightning all over England (except London) doing fearful and fatal damage.″

The UK Met Office was founded in 1854 and the Irish Meteorological Service was established in 1936.

From Google Books 1720 to 2019 'Perfect Storm'

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Secure homelands for Jewish and Palestinian people



In James Joyce's 'Ulysses' the character Mr Deasy says "Ireland, they say, has the honour of being the only country which never persecuted the Jews. Do you know that? No. And do you know why?"

"- Why sir?" Stephen Dedalus asked, beginning to smile.

"- Because she never let them in," Mr. Deasy said solemnly.

Leopold Bloom, the Jewish protagonist is believed to have been modelled on a Jewish friend of Joyce in Trieste, in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city had many nationalities and Jews were more welcome there than in other cities of the empire.

The Irish minister in Berlin in 1933-1939, Charles Bewley, was a Nazi admirer and an anti-Semite while Ireland had a postwar welcome for Nazi war criminals.

It took 50 years for a French president to acknowledge without any equivocation the extent of the French state and citizens' complicity in collaboration with the Nazis in deporting some 76,000 French and foreign Jews.

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Irish Government may have nixed a key remedy for 'Leprechaun economics'


Tourism Ireland: "Gold" at the end of the rainbow County Donegal - Oct 30, 2015

[Leprechaun economics triggered über sham Irish economic growth in 2015 and it still endures up to the present. Phantom overseas exports that neither originate in Ireland nor have subsequent contact, trump the value of net custom-tracked Irish merchandise exports...In Irish folklore, the “luchorpán,” which means “little body," was a mischievous elf who hid a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.]

In July 2016 American economist Paul Krugman dubbed the annual revision of Irish 2015 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) "Leprechaun economics." The 2015 GDP had jumped to a stunning 26.3% on the 2014 data.

IMF April 2023: Ireland at US$145,200 per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was the highest in the world; the UK was at $56,500, but Ireland's true level was $33,500 per capita.😏

In response to the 2015 results, the CSO convened the Economic Statistics Review Group (ESRG), to broaden its deliberations on the challenges to interpreting Ireland’s national accounts due to the impact of globalisation.

Philip Lane, then governor of the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) and now chief economist at the European Central Bank (ECB), chaired the ESRG, and members included representatives from the CSO, ESRI, UCC, Fiscal Council, TCD, Department of Finance, IIEA, IBEC, SIPTU, and the NTMA. The Group also received submissions from former CBI governor Patrick Honohan, the Revenue Commissioners, Eurostat, and the OECD.

In February 2017 the 'Central Statistics Office (CSO) Response to the Main Recommendations of the Economic Statistics Review Group (ESRG') were unveiled.

"An adjusted indicator, Gross National Income* (GNI*) of the size of the economy should be published, appropriately adjusted for the retained earnings of re-domiciled firms and depreciation on foreign-owned domestic capital assets."

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

European mass inward migration and melting Arctic


Scientists from the US Geological Survey predict that by 2050, the lack of sea ice will have reduced polar bear numbers by about two-thirds. By 2040, summer sea ice is expected to recede to a band around north-eastern Canada and northern Greenland, taking polar bears with it. This remote area could provide the very last bastion for sea ice-dependent Arctic species, such as polar bears to make their last stand.

Climate change was likely the catalyst that spurred our early modern humans to leave Africa. Archaeologists speculate that our ancestors left 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, or maybe earlier, following coastlines and islands through Southeast Asia toward Australia. In June 2023 archaeologists uncovered two new bone fragments in a cave in northern Laos, suggesting that Homo Sapiens wandered southeast Asia up to 86,000 years ago. The findings indicate that humans migrated through the area earlier than previously thought.

2.7°C is the median of the combined low and high ends of current policy projections on climate change. This is a global average. A heatwave such as the recent one would occur every 2-5 years in a world that is 2°C warmer than the preindustrial climate.

Extreme heat will be regional and before the end of the 21st century, the heat could trigger unprecedented migration. 

Ancient hunters stayed in the coldest part of Northern Europe rather than migrating to escape freezing winter conditions, archaeologists have found. Dr Alexander Pryor, from the University of Exeter, who led a study, said: "Our research shows the cold harsh winter climates of the last ice age were no barrier to human activity in the area. Hunters made very specific choices about where and when to kill their prey."

However, with the Arctic ice melted, Northern Europe will be a refuge from extreme heat.

The summer of 2023 was Earth’s hottest since global records began in 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

European cities, housing crises, and too much tourism

'Far from the Madding Crowd' (1874: Thomas Hardy's novel)
Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia
Credit Michael Hennigan

William Whyte (1917-1999), a Fortune magazine editor, was the author of a famous 1956 book 'The Organization Man.' He argued that corporations and suburbs were turning the American middle class into timid conformists more interested in pleasing their colleagues and neighbours than in thinking or acting for themselves.

The book challenged claims of entrepreneurial vision and courage in business by describing the ongoing bureaucratisation of white-collar environments including board rooms, offices, and laboratories. Whyte also popularised the word “groupthink.”

His New York Times obituary noted "As an urbanologist he wrote, taught, planned and once spent 16 years watching and filming what people do on the streets of New York. He also conducted a study showing that a large percentage of companies that moved from New York City ended up in locations less than eight miles from the homes of their chief executives." Finfacts: Cognitive dissonance and the flawed American democracy

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Irish wealthiest in World in 2023! Brits ahead in GDP per capita

IMF April 2023: Ireland at $145,200 per capita; UK at $56,500; Irish adjusted $33,500

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) says that Ireland's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is the highest of 195 countries. This is based on Purchasing Power Parities (PPP).

"Not Pygmalion likely!" or better still the original "Walk! Not bloody likely" ("bloody" was a contemporary taboo) from the character of Eliza Doolittle in the 1914 'Pygmalion' play by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

However, the gold at the end of the rainbow is an illusion.

In 2021, the US Treasury named Bermuda, the Caymans, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Switzerland, the top 7 corporate tax havens. Their share of US multinational corporations' foreign profits had risen from almost 30% in 2000 to over 60% in 2019.

Almost a quarter of a century ago, Ireland became the world's most profitable country for US corporations.

While American companies provide jobs, the distorted headline GDP results in high international rankings whether it's economic or social issues. It fools foreigners and is seldom corrected in Ireland.

The reality is that Ireland is in the second tier of Advanced Economies.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Facts: Ireland's GDP per capita was €25,300 in 2022

Last April the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published gross domestic product (GDP) data for countries across the globe, in current US dollars.

The Irish level adjusted by me for overseas multinational data in the National Accounts was at $26,600 (€25,300) in 2022 with Lithuania and Portugal just behind and Estonia and Czech Republic ahead.

If the polluted Modified GNI* metric was used the GDP per capita would be €53,600.

Irish public debt rose more than 11% to €226bn at the end of 2022. The Department of Finance announced in March 2023 that the per capita debt was at €44,000. It said, "Ireland has one the highest per capita debt burdens in the world."  

Last February The Financial Times ran a story titled "Irish central banker defends runaway economic growth as ‘real.’"

Sept 2023: Irish wealthiest in the World in 2023! Brits ahead in GDP per capita

However, the governor was economical with the truth.

Gabriel Makhlouf told the Financial Times that much of Ireland’s growth — forecast to be 12.2% last year, more than treble growth in the overall EU — comes from “real factories with real people” even if a lot of activity stems from big technology and pharmaceutical groups.

“Too many people think or jump to the conclusion that this is all about intellectual property that’s sort of moving around and it’s not real, and that’s wrong,” Makhlouf said.

In late 2021 economists at the Central Bank of Ireland noted: "Further increases in exports due to contract manufacturing and merchanting will continue to distort Ireland’s trade performance and inflate GDP in the National Accounts."

Ireland is not among the wealthy countries.

Last June Eurostat reported that actual individual consumption (AIC) consists of goods and services actually consumed by households, irrespective of whether they were purchased and paid for by households directly, by government, or by nonprofit organizations. It said the AIC per capita is an indicator of the material welfare of households.

Ireland in 2022 fell to 87, meaning AIC was 13% below the EU average and a gap of 32% with Germany.

Ireland was at 115% in 2006-7!

Patrick Honohan, a former governor of the Central Bank and emeritus professor of economics at Trinity College, Dublin, has written a piece "Is Ireland really the most prosperous country in Europe?"

Ireland’s average per capita consumption ranked 21 in the world in 2017 (ignoring countries with less than a million population).

The OECD club of mainly advanced economies, ranked Ireland 19 of 38 countries for household net adjusted disposable income.

The 2022 edition of the European Commission's Scoreboard of 2,500 business companies, outlines spending on R&D (research and development) worldwide in 2021.

Ireland has 24 companies on the global listing led by Medtronic of the US having a spend of €2.4bn (the redomiciled firms are mainly American). However, the only Irish-born companies are Kerry Group and both Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks.

Irish SMEs (small and medium-sized firms) also export less than their European counterparts. Survey data shows the percentage of SMEs that do not export fluctuated between 58% and 65% over the past 5 years – well above the Euro Area (single currency area) average. In 2022 Irish companies exported to the other 19 other member countries, were at a paltry €8.9bn. The Euro Area has a population of 347mn including Ireland's 5.057mn.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

American business firms global champions for now

The genesis of multinational enterprises (MNEs) dates from the early 160Os when the state trading companies, the English East India Company, and Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC: 1602-1799) — United East India Company in English, but commonly known as the Dutch East India Company, adopted the shareholder model. China in particular preferred silver rather than European-produced goods in exchange for spices and tea, and the trading companies became leading Asian traders in opium — in effect drug cartels. Finfacts: First Modern Economy: Myths on tulips & most valuable firm in history.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

The misplaced fascination with the RMS Titanic

The Titanic leaving Belfast on April 2, 1912

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912 has been in the news again and the US Coast Guard has announced that a “catastrophic implosion” of the submersible, known as “Titan,” killed the 5 people on board. The front cone and other debris were located by a remotely operated vehicle 1,600 feet (487 metres) from the bow of the Titanic, which rests in 13,000 feet (4 kilometres) deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was about 400 miles (348 knots; 644 km) off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

In 1985, it took Robert Ballard (born 1942), a former US naval officer, eight days to be the first person to locate the wreck of the RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic.

“A Night to Remember” (1958), a British film directed by Roy Ward Baker, was acclaimed for its accuracy on the sinking of the Titanic and had been based on Walter Lord’s 1955 book. "Titanic" (1997) which was directed by Hollywood film director James Cameron, brought the story to another generation. It's reported that Cameron has completed 33 dives to the wreck of the Titanic.

Harland and Wolff Ltd was founded in Belfast, north-east Ireland, in 1861. It had in the first decade of the 20th century won orders for 3 giant 'Olympic Class' liners from the White Star Line. Employing about 15,000 people on a 300-acre site, the nearby Belfast College of Technology provided vocational education for the firm's apprentices.

Catholics comprised 24% of Belfast's population in 1911 and a small number worked at the shipyard in East Belfast. There was a myth that the Titanic's hull number "3909 04" flipped over, read "No Pope."

The chairman of Harland and Wolff in 1895-1924 was a leading Liberal peer, Lord Pirrie, and on April 11 1912, the British Liberal Party government introduced the Third Home Rule Bill which would grant Ireland self-government.

Research by Andy Bielenberg, senior lecturer at University College Cork (UCC), shows that by 1907, the 6 counties of the north-east accounted for two-thirds of Irish industrial output and two-thirds of industrial exports originated in Belfast, Ireland's biggest city in 1911.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Dear dirty Dublin" — Air pollution low among Europe's capitals

Una Mullally of the Irish Times said this week that "Dublin is a dirty, smelly, sticky old town once again." I was back in Ireland in May and I stayed in the city centre south of the River Liffey for more than a week. It looked clean to me; the sun was shining and people were using the recently installed outdoor furniture.

IQAir is a Swiss tech firm - IQAir World Air Quality Report 2022 Finds Only 5% of Countries Meet WHO PM2.5 Air Pollution. For example, it collects data from Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency. There are 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,323 locations in 131 countries.

Dublin's north inner city has been named Ireland's "litter blackspot'" in a survey. The country's latest litter league, compiled by the Irish Business Against Litter, lists the north inner city bottom of 40 areas across Ireland for rubbish.

The Irish Times reported last week that members of the public have been urged to treat outdoor spaces with care and protect fragile ecosystems as part of a new campaign launched by Leave No Trace Ireland, an organisation that campaigns for “outdoor ethics”.

“The lowest awareness of the impact of irresponsible behaviour was shown to be among those below 35 years of age and the 2023 Love This Place Campaign is focused on this demographic to increase education around the simple actions people can take to protect and enhance our experience of the outdoors countryside, and recreational spaces.”

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Irish Celts are as real as Leprechauns

In Ancient Greece Κελτοί (Keltoí) was the word used for "Barbarian" (non-Greek-speaking people, including Egyptians, Persians, Medes, Phoenicians, and tribes in Europe, emphasised their otherness. According to Greek writers, this was because the language they spoke sounded to Greeks like gibberish represented by the sounds "bar...bar")." While viewing foreigners as inferior, they were also often treated as candidates for conquest and enslavement.

The mainly independent tribes collectively Keltoí had their own names during the Iron Age, between about 600 BC and 43 AD. It would be about 2,000 years, in the early 18th century, for the words "Celt "or "Celtish" to enter the English language.

Greeks established a colony in Southern Gaul around Masallia, or modern-day Marseille in 600 BC. There were about 60 tribes in the area of the Gauls in Western Europe.

There was no invasion of Ireland by these tribes that settled in land stretching from the Atlantic coast to Asia Minor (see map above). What tribes invaded Ireland?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Putin critic gets 25 years evoking Gulags and useful idiots

Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was accused of treason and spreading "false" information about the Russian army, stands inside a defendant's cage during his sentencing at the Moscow City Court on April 17, 2023. Handout/Moscow City Court Press Service

The Russian Putic critic Vladimir Kara-Murza (41) has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in Russia for charges linked to his criticism of the war in Ukraine. He was found guilty of treason, spreading "false" information about the Russian army and being affiliated with an "undesirable organisation."

The "outrageously harsh court decision clearly demonstrates yet again the political misuse of the judiciary in order to pressure activists, human rights defenders and any voices opposing Russia's illegitimate war of aggression against Ukraine," the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.

Putin's Federal Security Service, or FSB (the successor to Putin's KGB), tried to kill Kara-Murza by poisoning in 2015 and 2017.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (46) was poisoned with novichok by FSB agents in August 2020. Bellingcat, the investigations group, identified the team that was authorised by Putin to kill Navalny.

After treatment in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia and is now serving 11-1/2 years in the IK-6 penal colony, and may also face another charge with a sentence of 5 years.

Navalny is allowed only four visits by relatives per year instead of the usual six visits and there can be no communication with other prisoners. His lawyers believe that he is being slowly poisoned. “Our theory is that they are gradually killing him, using slow-acting poison which is applied through food."

Today April 26, 2023, Alexei Navalny (46), the jailed critic of the Russian dictator who is 70, has said he is being investigated on terrorism charges that could see him sentenced to 30 years in prison. Putin couldn't kill him by poisoning and now he wants to have Navalny in jail indefinitely.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Success of Irish economy masks the extent of underlying weakness

The International Energy Agency was set up in the wake of the 1973-1974 oil crisis to help industrialised countries to respond to major oil shocks — this year the head has warned that the “energy battle” between Europe and Russia is not over, despite a sharp drop in wholesale gas prices that has eased concerns over high bills and blackouts. Fatih Birol said Europe’s efforts to replace Russian gas supplies this winter had been a “big success” but cautioned there were lingering fears over next winter. IEA

Indigenous Irish exports were 4.7% of total merchandise and services exports in 2021, dominated by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) firms.

In 2021, the highest price level for consumer goods and services among the EU member states was observed in Ireland (44 % above the EU average) and the lowest in Romania (45 % below the average).

The USA was Ireland’s largest merchandise export market in 2021, with over €52bn in exports. This accounted for 32% of the total value of exports. Medical & Pharmaceutical Products and Organic Chemicals comprised €37bn, or 71% of the total exports to the USA in 2021, according to the CSO (Central Statistics Office). The second biggest export partner was the UK with over €18bn of exports, closely followed by Germany with over €17.7bn.

China and Belgium (for onward flights to other destinations) complete the list of the remaining top 5 export markets.

The UK was the biggest source of imports in 2021, with imports of €19.5bn.

Ireland remains an important UK trading partner

The UK’s trade surplus with Ireland was the UK’s second highest, after the surplus with the United States. Ireland was one of seven EU countries the UK had a trade surplus in 2021 — the remaining six were with Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Denmark and Estonia. Overall, Ireland was the UK's fourth-largest export market and tenth-largest source of imports.

A UK Department of Business & Trade factsheet issued on March 17, 2023, noted that total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Ireland was £82.0bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, an increase of 25.2% or £16.5bn from the four quarters to the end of Q3 2021.

Ireland was the UK’s 6th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022 accounting for 5.0% of total UK trade.

In 2021, 40% of Northern Ireland's goods exports were to the Republic of Ireland (compared to 7% for the UK as a whole) while 36% of Northern Ireland's goods imports were from the Republic of Ireland (compared to 3% for the UK as a whole).

UK exports to Ireland were worth £41.6bn; imports from Ireland were £20.4bn, resulting in a trade surplus of £21.3bn. The UK had a surplus with Ireland in both goods and services.

Ireland was the UK’s 4th largest export market and the 10th largest source of imports.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

FT 1000: 7th ranking of Europe’s fastest-growing companies 2023


Ireland has no native-born firms in the tech categories. The only entry is in the Food & Beverage category: Bevcraft Group (181), a specialist process and packaging business. Last December it merged with a Norwegian firm — Cubicle 7 Entertainment (192); System.I0 (271); Zoosh Digital (423) — these 3 Irish firms were founded by foreign nationals.

The Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) last month reported  an estimate that venture capital investment "in Irish tech firms and SMEs in 2022 totalled €1.33bn, no change on the previous year." The data are not reliable as it includes foreign firms, mainly American, that become Irish for tax purposes. 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says "Ireland has a large population of very low-productive SMEs that co-exist with high-productive large firms (mainly foreign firms)." Employer firm births are low (even including foreign firms) and the number of firms that export is also low (separate article pending). 

The Financial Times's FT 1000 published in March 2023 with Statista, a research company, data on the European companies with the highest compound annual growth rate in revenue between 2018 and 2021.

The minimum CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) required to be included on the rankings, was 36.2% — slightly below the 35.5% in last year’s ranking.

The Big 4 countries Italy (260); Germany (217); the UK (155) and France (140) accounted for 772 of the 1,000 firms or 77%.