Four very expensive words: “This time it’s different”

Much of today’s economic and financial discourse revolves around the impact of new technology on our lives, as if this were something new. It’s not. The repetitive economic cycle is also as old as the hills, as is speculation.   If you doubt this think about the Book...

The Price of a Pint of Guinness: A Boozy Guide to Currencies

Every Christmas, our family heads to Belfast to see the in-laws and eat gluttonously, drink copiously, argue endlessly, and fill the boot dementedly before we head down South again. The difference in prices between the Republic and Northern Ireland is remarkable,...

There’s an economic star in the east

Some 2000 years ago, Joseph and Mary headed from Nazareth to Bethlehem to sign a census. Census night was a big deal in Roman Judea because the Romans were meticulous about economic and demographic affairs, particularly because they were exacting tax-collectors. These...

Why Ireland’s growing economy isn’t making you richer

One of the oddest things happening in the Irish economy is that unemployment is falling quickly but income-tax receipts are not rising in tandem. The Government is confused. When employment rises so should income tax. So why isn’t this happening?   A few weeks ago, I...

Northern Ireland and the Trip Advisor Index of Economic Vibrancy

When I was a boy I never went to a restaurant with my parents. On very special occasions we might go to a hotel grill room. Restaurants were for other people, of a different caste. Restaurants signified not just wealth or commercial status; a more adventurous palate...