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!