Five economics lessons for the Leaving Certificate

With the leaving cert results out and students awaiting CAO offers, we might wish to consider again some of the problems of the second level system, and in particular how basic economic principles can aid us towards a solution. Too much discussion on reform revolves into micro discussion of whether we should have compulsory Irish or replace it with compulsory C++ training. We display educational opsablepsia with regards to our own educational system and need to face its problems.

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The Tontosity and Tontification of John Bruton

john-bruton-iAt one time western movies, cowboys and indians, were the most popular form of cinema. The top of the tree in hero terms was The Lone Ranger. With his Native American sidekick, Tonto, he got into and out of scrapes on a weekly basis. A running gag is when, holed up by enraged Native Americans, LR turns to Tonto and says “we’re in trouble” to be met with a flinty eyed “who’s this we, white man?” .   We in Ireland have a mode of discourse best called Tontosity – pompous urging of ‘us’ to do something when the speaker has no intention of being one of ‘us’. Sometimes, when they are in full form they Tontificate, expressing such views from on high (usually a first class airplane seat) Continue reading

Monopoly Madness, Irish Style

watervanclampedTwo recent government decisions – on postcodes and the ongoing Irish Water rollout-  show the lack of basic economic logic at the heart of policy making.  This is worrying. As I have noted many times before, while some macroeconomic approaches have been shown to have failed, and how, in the last decade, the basic precepts of supply and demand, of how firms and consumers interact, of market failure and so forth, these remain unchallenged for the main.  The unwillingness of governments to adhere to the implications of these fundamentals is as worrying in its field as would be the case of a government persistently and wilfully ignoring the advice of medical professionals on matters of public health. Not that t that would ever happen… Continue reading

Scotland post independence – what currency would, could, it use?

Sclyde20cotland will vote in September on whether to break from the rest of the UK. (RUK) The polls suggest they wont, but its all coming to a boil. A, possibly THE, major issue is the economy. Bill Clinton could have told Salmond that – it’s the economy stupid. At the heart of the debate seems not to be oil/gas but instead which currency a future independent Scotland, lets call it Alba, would use were it to return to the international stage.

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A Procrastination Once Again

Hemingway had it right on bankruptcy, that it happens slowly then all at once. So too it seems are changes in how the world sees finance. For the best part of a decade now the (final?) flowering of Financialisation has been rampant. In the Eurozone we have seen the coupling of private financial sector debts to the state. In the USA we have seen the obsessing by the Republicans on inflation (though to be fair their store of things to be obsessed about is deep and wide). In the markets we have seen case after case of alleged manipulation, if not downright rigging, of key features. We have seen the growth of “dark pools” which have the effect of making organized markets such as the NYSE or the LSE less and less relevant with trading happening “offsite” And yet all these have been addressed. 
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It may not be a technical house price bubble but it sure looks like one..

so…. another CSO release of house price statistics. Recall that a bubble is where prices deviate fundamentally from their warranted levels. We know that there are massive supply constraints in the dublin region so we should see house price appreciation. But this much?  The largest ever year on year percentage rise ? We are back to the madness it seems.












Here is my old friend SupADF….  Remember  when Mr SADf crosses Mr 95% from below, its BUBBLETIME. So technically not a bubble but give it time… these figures should be a very large bucket of cold water in the face of government insouciance about back to the future…

Screenshot 2014-07-24 18.28.39