The great maul of China’s partners

When you look around at the world economy, one thing strikes you: America is on its own in terms of having a growing economy. There simply has not been a period in recent history where global growth rates are so divergent. Europe is still gripped by austerity, Japan...

Food sector sows seeds of growth

While at the National Ploughing Championships last year, in truth I felt like a bit of a fraud mooching among the Massey Fergusons. My suburban Dun Laoghaire is about as far from an upbringing in the Irish countryside as you are likely to have on this island. Yet,...

Attitudes to refugees divide Europe with a new Iron Curtain

In May 1946, Churchill gave a speech considered to be the opening salvo of the Cold War. He declared: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” In addition to the “Iron Curtain”...

The rich get richer

It’s always odd to pass places you used to work. Nostalgia plays tricks on you. I am walking down the shaded side of Boston’s Newbury Street in the height of a wonderfully hot late September afternoon. Just across the road is the restaurant where I spent a summer...

Corbyn and Trump are different reactions to the rich getting richer

Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend have their gaffs here. Looking out over the Thames from Richmond Hill – the only view which is protected by a 1902 Act of Parliament – it is hardly surprising that ageing millionaire rockers want to hang here.   Richmond is...

Market Unrest: Time to invest?

For a documentary going out on RTE One the week after next on wealth in Ireland, we explored the recent returns to the stock market. In order to get a sense of the value of companies based here in Ireland, the team constructed a bespoke index, which measured the stock...

Let the homeless refugees breathe new life into our ghost estates

The refugee crisis has shone a light on an issue that in Ireland is always simmering under the surface: housing. A lot of people have made the point that we have nowhere to put the refugees if they were to come here. This seems a natural thing to say when you think of...

EU must finally show leadership in the Middle East

On March 21, 2004 – a year after America invaded Iraq and one week after the Madrid bombings where 191 commuters were murdered by Islamic fundamentalists – I wrote the following in this column.   I am reproducing it now not to appear prescient, but because I believe...

Islanders should not be stonewalled on Aer Arann row

There can be few more beautiful places in Ireland than Inis Meáin this morning. I am standing in warm sunlight on the top of Dún Chonchúir, an ancient pre-Christian fort. Like all forts, it was built to be defensive and it was positioned on a slight elevation right in...

Breaking China could cripple us all

As we headed out on the Happy Hooker from Doolin, the second mate sidled up beside me and whispered, “Not to worry, but hold on, there’s going to be a bit of rock ’n’ roll. Rock ’n’ roll is what he called it. The waves were enormous. To keep my eyes from the wall of...

When David beats Goliath

This week Irish boxing lost Billy Walsh, the key man in the success of the Irish boxing team over the past ten years. The story of Irish boxing is something akin to David and Goliath. It’s such a brilliant tale, and in the context of the economic recovery, it is a...

Hands up who wants to make Dublin more liveable?

What happens when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing? At the very least, you drop the ball. Looking at the Dublin property market and the capital’s population strategy in general, it would seem that we are in a bizarre position where different...

The cashed-up new collectives

This morning in a small Croatian village my family partook in something called ‘Radna Akcija’ (Work Action). This is a throwback to communist times in Yugoslavia when everyone in the village was expected to “muck in” and help build something for the benefit of the...

Why immigration is a class issue

Good morning from sunny, roasting hot Croatia! After the wettest and coldest July in years, can you blame me for getting out to the sun? Did you know that two weeks ago, Dublin airport’s weather station recorded a temperature of 3.9C! This turned out to be the lowest...

United Ireland may not be as remote as it seems

It’s the long weekend, which allows us time to kick back and maybe entertain some thoughts on where this economy of ours is going. Largely on the back of the strength of our two major trading partners, the US and Britain, our economy is growing. As long as the euro...

British prosperity will drive our recovery

I am on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, quite shocked. I have just put my card into an ATM to get £200 and realise that it has cost me nearly €300. I was aware that the British currency was rocketing, but this exchange rate difference is extraordinary and is brilliant...

There was no Irish miracle, just a very big overdraft

It could have been 2002 all over again. There was Bertie in the dock running rings around his inquisitors and just up the road, the social partners were at the new-fangled National Economic Dialogue discussing how to divvy up the spoils of the economy. All we needed...

How a Chinese puzzle could enable the Greeks to have the last laugh

The other day Enda Kenny speculated aloud that Greece should follow Ireland. Michael Noonan thinks that too. Apparently, they should do what we did and, if Greece did, there’d be no problems.   Maybe we should examine this proposal because what is on the table...

Greek crisis: Debt forgiveness must be part of the healing process

It is difficult to overestimate the seriousness of the Greek crisis, not just for Greece, but for Ireland too. Let us be very clear, the choice being presented is between amputation or recuperation. The German plan, which is what the rest of the eurozone governments...

Don’t underestimate the damage of a ‘small’ failure like Greece

Havana is a strange place from which to write about Greece. Cuba has been cut off for years, access to information is limited, people can’t travel and the Party is so paranoid that the Internet is barely available. However, what happens next in Greece and in...

There’s no sign of a European Mandela

In her groundbreaking book Eichmann In Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt, the Jewish German intellectual who fled the Nazis, coined the expression “the banality of evil”. She reported on the Eichmann trial and, after closely studying the butcher of Auschwitz, she made the...

It could have been any of us on the balcony

The first days on the J1 were like the Gaeltacht with dollars. On the first night, loads of young Irish students from all over the country were thrown together in the New York YMCA with no real idea of what to do next, desperately trying to figure out where to live,...

The beatings will continue until morale improves

Did you know that on the same day that Greece – home of the first openly gay city, Sparta – was forced to humiliate itself again at the feet of the EU’s creditor nations, the isolated island of Pitcairn became the smallest nation to legalise same-sex...

The EU’s disgraceful treatment of Greece

Whatever happens on Monday, Greece the country will survive this crisis – and the Greeks know it. The same can’t be said of the euro project – and we know it. Could it be the case that in order to save the euro, the European elite destroys the EU? What is happening –...

What would Joyce have done?

We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out 20 quid? So said Buck Mulligan to Stephen Daedalus in the opening chapter of Ulysses. I’ve just come back from the Martello Tower at Sandycove – all Joyced up – where this opening...

Greece’s downfall, Europe’s disgrace

It is regularly pointed out that Greece is only 2 per cent of eurozone GDP, but maybe we should consider that the plughole is also only 2 per cent of the bath. Greece matters not just politically and financially, but morally too and this is why the behaviour of...

Why there is a whole lot more to success than making the grade

Today let’s talk about the Leaving Cert (and its ugly little brother, the Junior Cert). Let’s look at the sort of minds that are rewarded by the system and the sort of minds that are punished by it. Given that the Leaving Cert is the closest thing we Irish...

Aer Lingus can really take off with takeover

Listening to the debate on Aer Lingus last week was like being propelled backwards to the 1970s when every country had to own an airline. The airline business, like almost every industry, has changed profoundly since then, yet the political language has hardly budged....

RTE Radio 1: News at One

Here is a clip from yesterday’s RTE Radio 1 News at One show where I was discussing the latest developments in the Banking Enquiry. The clip starts with some ausio from the Enquiry proceedings, I come in at 4:16. RTE Radio 1 News at One 28 May  ...

How a second-hand idea has now become a mass movement

The way in which popular movements morph from being extreme to becoming mainstream is inherently fascinating. The Marriage Referendum is an example of one such process. Not that long ago, gay people’s issues were exactly that: gay people’s issues. By last...

Don’t be fooled – all the banks win yet again

Many years ago, I spent a summer working in Canada, where the national hero at the time was Wayne Gretzky, the brilliant ice hockey player. Gretzky was so good that when he retired, his number – 99 – was retired from all North American professional hockey teams. His...

There is gold in them there shoals, so why are we not reeling it in?

Brave fishermen from Dingle saved five Scottish fishermen whose trawler got into difficulty off the Atlantic coast yesterday. The Scots were brought safely to Kerry and are fine now. But what were they doing fishing off the coast of Dingle? Why weren’t they off...

The bizarre entitlement culture of our public sector

Did you know that this week the pampered, well-paid mandarins in the Department of Finance agitated for higher wages for themselves, while at the same time advising that the minimum wage for the poorest workers shouldn’t rise? Isn’t this extraordinary? This is the...

Punk Economics: Britain – The Balkans of Europe?

When you have anti-English, pro-European nationalists in Scotland and anti-European, pro-British nationalists in England, spiced up with a few anti-English, pro-European nationalists in Wales and of course, the anti-each-other, pro-whatever your having yourself,...

The Great British Balkanisation

Ronnie Quinn is a big, broad shouldered man, with a great story. Not only is he a hurling fanatic and president of the Hurling Club of Argentina, he was – as a bilingual Irish Argentinean conscript in the Argentine army – the “unofficial” translator for the...

Floating fridges changed history – just as the internet is doing

At first, it tasted a bit like pork. Some of them vomited at the idea but, after a few morsels – nearly freezing to death from hypothermia and driven demented by hunger after over a week without food – they sat on the side of the Andes and chewed on their...

The day of debt reckoning is nigh

Could the governor of the Central Bank have resigned early because he expects some nasty surprises to come down the track, and because he doesn’t want to be around if a mortgage timebomb explodes? As long as interest rates are low, the huge personal debts incurred by...

Sugar-coated storytelling dressed up as an economic forecast

Today, this column is going to be uncharacteristically blunt. This grumpiness is because much of yesterday was spent reading the 62-page economic document that the Government unveiled as part of its new ‘Spring Economic Bulletin.’ These are hours I will...

Now is the time for a New Deal

Edinburgh is a majestic city. The view, in bright sunshine, from the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile down the hill towards the New Town must be one of the finest urban vistas anywhere in the world. Today, the St Andrew flags are flying everywhere, and with the...

The internet is grooming migrants for a brave new world

On February 5, 1889, the City of Dresden, a hulking old ship, disgorged 2,000 immigrants onto the sweltering docks of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aries. They were all Irish. This was the largest number of immigrants to dock from a single vessel ever in Argentinian...

English nationalism could result in a united Ireland

Birmingham is many things, but as a city to visit, I have yet to find its attraction. It is home to one of the biggest Irish populations in Britain. In the pretty run-down inner suburbs of south Birmingham, the Kerryman and the Dubliner pubs face each other on either...

Dublin Bus workers are right to fear route privatisation

I love getting the bus, don’t you? It appeals to my nosey side. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved being on the top of the bus, hopefully right at the front, looking into people’s gardens and over walls into the secret world of other people’s...

What Roosevelt did won’t work here, but…

Perhaps the best description of the journey from solvency to bankruptcy comes from Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises. Two characters have just met and are talking intently, each trying to figure out what the other is doing in rural Spain in the 1920s. One of...

Iran has come in from the cold

Theocracies tend to project their power and influence in the strangest ways. From local mystic rituals to get the natives onside, to subtle proselytising, to overt attempts to convert what my children would describe as “randomers”. When I was a little boy, Ireland was...

We need incentives to entice the ‘near diaspora’ home

I am being nosy sitting in a small café in central London, listening behind my paper to three young Irish professionals grab their sandwiches as they chat about job opportunities in Dublin. This scene could be anywhere in the world today. It could be Sydney, Auckland,...

Why are we sacrificing Greece for the insiders?

It hasn’t gone away, you know. The Greek crisis is back and this time it’s serious. The Greeks are about to run out of money again. Athens faces a €1.7 billion bill for wages and pensions at the end of the month and a further €450 million loan payment to the IMF on...

If teachers’ morale is low, they should learn something new

There can be few better feelings than successfully explaining something to someone and watching their face and their reaction, as something that was confusing and difficult becomes clear and straightforward. It is a beautiful thing to see the weight of incomprehension...

Auf Wiedersehen? Never

Over the past year, the euro is 25 per cent down against the dollar – our main trading partner. This is the currency that was supposed to bring stability to Ireland. Losing a quarter of your value in 12 months is hardly stability, now, is it? In fact, our 15 years’...

The children of the small farmer inherited the earth

Is rural Ireland dying today? Or maybe a better question is, when wasn’t rural Ireland dying? It has always been the case that opportunities in cities are more plentiful and that people migrate from the countryside to the cities. I was brought up in a suburban...

AIB: a mirror on the Irish economy

AIB emerged from the “Munster & Leinster Bank” and for years it was dominated by men from Cork. There can hardly be a better place to write about AIB than from a small café in the pretty area of Cork known as Sunday’s Well. The unique Victorian and Georgian...

A new reality after bankruptcy

Every morning just before 8am I walk our dog over Killiney Hill. On a crisp morning, which is most days actually, there are magnificent views from the Obelisk at the top of the hill out to the Irish Sea and back around in a sweeping arc from Bray Head to the Wicklow...

Watching while the economy burned

Could it happen again? This is the thought that went through my head, as I waited for the first question from the panel at the banking inquiry last Thursday morning. During the previous few weeks, I spent lots of late nights going through articles, books and...

Frankfurt’s way over the top

This weekend, we are faced with the possibility of either a European Germany or a German Europe. It sounds stark, but there it is. Even though Greece backed down in order to secure a bridging loan to stave off bankruptcy for another four months, the problem hasn’t...

The stakes are sky high if EU calls Greek bluff

Will the EU torpedo Greece? Will the ECB cause the Greek banking system to collapse? Will forcing a Europe-inspired bank run make it any more likely that the Greeks will be able to pay back more debt? What do you think? The short answer is: of course not. Therefore,...

Fifty shades of green

Irish politicians were almost unanimously delighted to abandon our national currency and join a currency of countries with which we do modest trade and with whom we have almost no traditional demographic links. These same politicians appear to be unwilling to sell...

Europe is now a bankocracy

I am queuing in the cavernous aisle of Right Priced, a wholesaler in George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands. Around me, poor black Caymanians are stocking up too, served by Filipino immigrants. These are not the people you see in the glittering strip of bars...

Oiling the EU’s economic engine

Two major and interrelated events occurred on Thursday. The first was an Italian coup d’état at the heart of the German monetary establishment in Frankfurt. The second was a changing of the guard in Riyadh, with the death of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. It remains...

Law of unintended consequences from a Paris taxi journey

I am on the RER train from the centre of Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport after having what could only be described as a very French adventure. Over an hour before, I had arrived at the airport a few hours early to write this article in peace. But as is...

Silicon Dock will float many boats

In the early 1990s, I used to take the Dart from Dalkey to Pearse Station every day. Back then, Lansdowne Road station was the frontline. It marked the border where the leafy back gardens of upmarket south Dublin gave way to the gritty urban reality of the canals, old...

We are at risk because Germany hasn’t learnt its lesson

Contrary to the popular myth, Hitler was voted into power in Germany because of deflation, not inflation. Hitler was elected in 1932, following three years of deflation – the consequence of restrictive polices after the great crash in 1929. In contrast,...

Prime Time – European Deflation

Explaining deflation and why it is so dangerous on Prime Time last night. As always, these interviews are a bit short to get into the topic in detail, it’s as if the producers are scared to be serious for too long. Hope you enjoy! Watch my appearance on Prime...

Just like the ’80s, only different

Leg warmers, Hall & Oates, mullets, Spandau Ballet, big hair, Bonnie Tyler, trickle down economics, overalls, shoulder pads and Charlie – my God! – Charlie Haughey. The 1980s are everywhere at the moment. More than anything, this was the week of the Ford Granada,...

Our smart young scientists can discover that the future is bright

When I was a kid my favourite toy was a moon buggy, a little model the size of a matchbox. I loved it and spent hours pretending to drive around the moon, avoiding moon craters and inventing moon creatures in my head. I was one of those ‘locked in’ little...

Greeks might be bearing great gifts for us

The new year will kick off with another financial crisis in Greece. The problem for Greece in 2012/13 was not that it defaulted, but that it didn’t default enough. And this half-baked debt renegotiation is coming back to haunt Greece and the rest of the eurozone. For...

Why the bookie always wins

One of the many positive by-products of the system of better roads built in Ireland over the last decade is the patchwork of better views. Many of the new roads have cut through parts of the countryside that were never seen before, and lots of new vistas of our lovely...

Oil proves Putin’s weak spot

It’s ironic that in the week that the US lifted its ridiculous embargo on communist Cuba, capitalist Russia experienced one of the most debilitating crises any capitalist country can go through – a run on its currency. It is also a bit paradoxical that the Argentinian...

Why it’s easier to invade Ukraine than defend the Rouble!

The global financial markets are going through a spasm. Emerging markets, long the flavour of the month as poor countries got richer, have seen money flow out of their economies at historical rates. Russia’s currency is in free-fall and there’s very little...

We create our own buzz

Yesterday, in rural Kilkenny, a man stopped me and asked me when the recovery would be felt in the countryside. He told me he was watching the TV and listening to the radio about the recovery in Dublin and Cork, but he wasn’t feeling it. His question was whether this...

Opportunity knocks, but will we take it?

Forty years ago this weekend, at the Geneva peace conference between the Arabs and the Israelis, the Israeli foreign minister and one-time Belfast resident, Abba Eban, declared of the Palestinian negotiators that “they never miss an opportunity to miss an...

Joyeux Noël – from Russia with love

Under the watchful eye of Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, the first stones of Notre Dame cathedral were laid in 1136. In the medieval ages, no city could proclaim itself a truly great urban centre without a cathedral. Paris had none. How could a city with...

Don’t let the dreaded ‘Ned Kelly’ take over

Like many fortysomething Irish men, I try to live a reasonably healthy life in between the pints, the Twixes and a car dashboard littered with sandwich wrappers, milky takeaway coffee cups and more than the odd crumpled up, badly-hidden bag of Tayto. Let’s just say...

We love EU, we love EU not

You can feel the wealth everywhere in central London. The place has changed dramatically from the city I lived in during the 1990s. Back then it was almost sleepy: huge, yes; manageable, hardly; but excessively wealthy, no. Fifteen years ago, rich and poor lived cheek...

Kilkenomics reveals the equity in our heritage

Who would have thought that an economics and comedy festival would sell out in Kilkenny? Certainly five years ago when the idea was first mooted, the notion that the festival would get stronger and stronger appeared to be fanciful – but it has. Kilkenomics in now...

Staying ahead of the economic curve

You know the sporting expression “he reads the game well”? It is usually applied to great players who know where the ball is going. It was often applied to the two men whose books are just out, Keano and Drico. It is the ultimate compliment for any player because it...

The indomitable spirit is taking over

The traffic on Paseo de la Castellana in the centre of Madrid is backed up. This is another sign, according to Spanish commentators, that things are looking up. Just as parts of Dublin are doing well while the rest of the economy is still shuddering from the...

What happens in Germany is more important than Irish posturing

The tourist boat ploughs through the fast-flowing Rhine. On either side of us, barges weighed down by tonnes of scrap metal sparkle in the bright autumn sunshine as they cleave upstream towards Cologne. This river has been Germany’s mercantile artery for...

The kids aren’t alright

The other day a friend of mine, driven demented by her son, screamed: “Will he ever grow up?” The son in question, a really nice young man – clever, sociable, kind and very funny – is still living at home, aged 26. So too are most of his friends. His mother, knocking...

Screams in the suburbs

Ireland is about to move into the Repo Man phase of its credit and debt cycle. This phase is not pretty, because when the repossessor comes to get you, things can turn very nasty, very quickly. If you saw the 1984 movie Repo Man with Emilio Estevez, you’ll know what I...

Number One in #Power100 list

Wilson Hartnell PR company have voted me Number 1 in their power rankings of the most influencial Twitter users in Ireland. Read more here, here and here for...

Paddy is easy pickings for the foreign vultures

I woke up on Friday thinking we must be back to the good times. Morning Ireland was gushing about rising property prices, the ruling party is back to blatant cronyism and there was a mega cocaine bust off the south coast. If anything sums up 2006, it’s property porn,...

Recovery policy: push up house prices

A few weeks ago this column stated that the economy was growing at 4 per cent plus and would grow much faster than most economists thought. The contention was partly based on the array of figures that were coming in more positive than before. However, the main factor...

Kicking the bear has backfired

In the summer of 1787, determined to show foreign ambassadors the might of Russian power in the newly-subjugated Ukraine and Crimea, Catherine the Great organised a boat trip down the Dnieper past modern-day Kiev.   Her trusted field marshal, and her lover at the...

Prime Time -Scottish Independence

As it goes down to the wire, here’s my views of why an Independent Scotland could easily thrive economically in the face of scaremongering from the establishment. In fact, there’s never been a better time to go for it! Watch my appearance on Prime Time...

RTE Radio 1 – Miriam O’Callaghan Interview: The herd has turned

Here is an interview I did with Miriam O’Callaghan on the crucial role of human nature, human psychology and our own frailties in explaining why we do things and how the economy operates. Also why group psychology impacts far more on the way we behave than...

Sugar Rush

Our economy is showing considerable signs of life. Many indicators, which were dormant for years, are now pointing upwards. The big question is whether this is something muscular, the fruition of a long lasting plan or is it a massive sugar rush, fuelled by six years...

Two things can be true at the same time

Two things can be true at the same time. An economy can grow strongly and also be badly managed. The key is what Keynes called “animal spirits” which can’t be suppressed indefinitely. In fact, history suggests that economies can grow despite bad...

Public Sector: the insider story

As of this week, both my children are in secondary school. Time flies and in no time they will be finished school. If they were to ask me (which they don’t) what they should do after school, what should I say? If they ask, “Dad, what should I do for a living?” or,...

Education Apartheid

There’s something about Dublin 6. Don’t you think? For years, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was a strange sensation. What was it? Was it the solid redbricks, the good taste, the drop-in Pilates classes, the sensitively old Volvos, or maybe the Gonzaga...

Start the presses, Mr Draghi

I am sitting opposite the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, where the First World War started one hundred years ago this month. Six weeks after the assassination by Gavrilo Princip of Franz Ferdinand came the actual outbreak of war. No one really thought the war was possible....

The McIlroy effect

Yesterday a friend of mine was supposed to fly to New York using two cheap business class tickets which his brother, a pilot on one of the big international airlines, can get as a perk for family. Up until Thursday there were lots of seats left on the route and there...

Time to call a halt on tax

I don’t care if it’s legal – it’s wrong. With these seven simple words, President Barack Obama drove a six-inch nail through the heart of Irish multinational tax policy and the legal jiggery-pokery that allows American companies to...

Deadly game of human chess

When an airliner is blown out of the sky by people who want part of their country to break away, it’s time to actually take things seriously. This isn’t just some country. We are talking about Russia here and its southern border with Ukraine. The West (and that...

Having a trade might be the smarter choice these days

I have just done something I haven’t done since I was a boy. I took two ancient children’s bikes apart, bolt by bolt; screw by screw, stripped the two frames down, fixed up the chains, mended the punctures, sanded down the tubes, fixed the broken saddles,...

Don’t stop the music

My first major gig was the Police in the summer of 1980. I was 13, and told my mother I was going to an all-day football blitz in Cabinteely. I stashed my football gear in a hedge down the road and put on my cousin’s Sid Vicious Dead’ T-shirt, which was a...

Accident and Emergency – a small story of a hospital that worked.

Today I am going to tell you about something that happened to me in a not very rich European country, which got me thinking about our health system. Before I start, there will be no moral to this story. There will be no “We should do this” or “We...

Strike while the iron’s hot

There are good things happening in the Irish economy. Now is the time to protect them. We have heard a lot about the GDP figures and the tax data in the past few days, but these things tell you what has already happened, rather than what is going on right now. My...

Till debt do us part

This may seem like a distasteful question to pose on a Sunday morning, particularly if you are sitting across the kitchen table from someone you love, but I’ll ask it anyway: do you think divorces are good for the housing market? Or, to put it another way, did...

Why technology is going to destroy middle class professions

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I...

Ireland needs a new tax reality

Years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for Jack Welch of GE fame at close quarters. It is the sort of invaluable experience that is hard to replicate, even if, at times, his pace of work was shocking for someone 30-odd years his junior. During the period...

Economics of sin

  Did you know there is an acute cocaine shortage in England at the moment? The scarcity is made all the more acute due to the fact that the World Cup apparently drives up cocaine consumption dramatically. According to dealers, good weather and an evening match has...

Bank on booming Britain

While you may have been watching the opening game of the World Cup on Thursday night, the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney sent sterling surging towards a five-year high with his speech at the Mansion House in London. This move in Britain could have a...

Newstalk- Radio Interviews

Have a listen to my  interviews with Kirsty Wark, Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis while filling in for Pat Kenny on Newstalk . For more from my time on the show you can find podcasts...

Bank investors will not be our ‘saviours’!

If you only look at one chart today to understand the story of Bank of Ireland, this is the one here. It shows the movement in the share price of Bank of Ireland since Wilbur Ross bought his stake and it contrasts this upward movement with the downward trajectory in...

Print and be saved?

If you only have to look at one chart this week, let it be the one on this page (chart one). It shows how Europe and Ireland have become cash economies because bank lending has collapsed. This slump in bank lending is why the European Central Bank (ECB) introduced...

Is housing too important to be left to estate agents?

It is hard to believe that we are at it again, but we are and it’s kind of surreal. I was walking past a small end-of-estate, three-bedroomed semi the other day. It is for sale, and it is going for auction – a sure sign that the mania is upon us again. The...

Property: here we go again

Last week, there was lots of talk about individual politicians but, in truth, these people – although mostly well-intentioned – don’t actually matter in terms of the economy. All the main Irish parties believe in the same economic orthodoxy, so in a sense they...

David and Goliath politics

Every now and then you get a chance to work in a place that you’d happily pay to visit. There can be few more stunning places on earth than Interlaken in Switzerland. Therefore, waking up here this morning I could appreciate one of those rare joys in life – someone...

Bloomberg Radio Interview – 16th May 2014

Here I am talking to Kathleen Hays on her Bloomberg Radio Show ‘The Hays Advantage’. For more like this check out my Daily Financial Newletter Global Macro 360....

A sneaking sense of déjà vu

If you were worried about the Dublin property market entering bubble territory, then the government’s plans unveiled during the week, makes that bubble more, not less likely. The Construction 2020 document is long on aspirations and short on detail. There is lots of...

Women, not men, are the key drivers of the Irish economy.

On Monday evening I was in Tesco in Ballybrack. Like every other supermarket in Ireland on a Monday evening it is full of women and the odd few men sent out to get things that the family have run out of like milk, bread and “stuff for the packed lunches”....

Will Apple’s effort to buy cool backfire?

Do you have teenage children? I have one such darling creature and another one soon to screech into his teens, so I know all you need to know about Beats. About this time last year, I became aware of the Beats craze in Dublin, when both my children requested these...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – The Rebirth of Cool

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Technology: The Rebirth of Cool Ukraine: Putin is boxing clever Eurozone: Draghi is in a corner United States: Weekly jobless...

Will big data and economics destory the beautiful game?

If you are a Liverpool fan, don’t read this! When I was young and playing football, I remember the routine at the kick-off from under-eights upwards. If it was our kick-off, the two wingers (usually small lads) tapped the ball to each other and rolled it back to...

Tax games of phantom firms

Years ago, in 2006, this column coined the expression ‘ghost estates’ after a drive from Castlebar to Dublin, where I saw row after row of these estates being built outside provincial villages. That year, over 90,000 houses were built in Ireland. I had no...
Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Giz a job

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Giz a job

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Europe: Try getting a job over here! Ukraine: Goading the bear   Equities & Bonds on different trajectories United...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note -The Rear View Mirror

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary United States: Very weak Q1 number United States: Boring FOMC China: Manufacturing essentially flat Turkey: More spin from...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Thwarted Twitter?

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Tweet me: All eyes on Twitter today Russia: Stocks rebound as US sanctions targeted at bigwigs Eurozone: Liquidity strains...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Parking the bus

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary UK: Housing market on steroids Russia: Why central banks never learn United States: The Yanks are feeling good about...

The threat from the East

This week’s column comes to you from a very warm and sunny Istanbul, where I am working, for my sins. This is one of the world’s great cities and everywhere there is the evidence that this place has been at the centre of the world for close to 2,000 years,...

What the sacking of David Moyes tells us about our modern economy

Sport is the ultimate winner- takes-all economy where the difference between first and second place is huge. No one remembers runners-up. It is all about glory – or glory and riches – and no one wants to be second best. This is why Moyes’ exit was so abrupt; Man...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Where East meets West

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Russia accuses Ukraine of violating last week’s agreement Eurozone: The ‘Hows’ and ‘Whats’ of...

The regeneration of Limerick? Why not?

I’ve had a soft spot for Limerick since the time a pretty Laurel Hill teenager from Ennis Road whispered to a freckly, 15-year-old redhead outside the ceili at Irish college that she thought he was special. These are the events you remember from your teenage...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – China Syndrome

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary China: Q1 GDP beats expectations United Kingdom: BoE is stuck between a rock and a hard place United States: CPI surprises to...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Unknown World

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Ukraine’s central bank hikes discount rate to 9.5% from 6.5% China: Stocks lower as money supply growth disappoints...

When the yin meets the yang

My dad used to tell me about the numerous pawnbrokers in Dun Laoghaire, and how it was common for people to use them at the end of a week, or coming up to some big event, to get cash for clothes, jewellery or anything that could be used as collateral. If the person...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – The ECB – Europe’s Pawnbroker

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial.   Summary European Peripherals: Recovery rented, not earned. United States: Growth at all costs United States: Inventories up. China:...

Are the Irish the creative bit in the English?

I am writing this from a small cafe just opposite the Old Bailey. For many Irishmen of my vintage, the Old Bailey is synonymous with IRA terrorists as well as innocent Irish people stitched up for crimes they didn’t commit. In my head, the Old Bailey reminds me...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Outsourcing nationalism

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Good morning. I’ve just come from the CNBC studio here in London which is outside the Old Bailey. For Irishmen of my vintage, the Old...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Tech Crunched

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Tech Crunch? Are falling tech prices the new normal? United States: Risk off – to stay with us? United States: Yanks creating...

No country for young buyers

The frenzy has started again. Six years after a property boom practically destroyed our economy, we are at the same nonsense again. When are we ever going to learn that buying and selling over-priced houses to each other is not going to make us rich, but will make us...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – ECB chickens out!

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Eurozone: Draghi takes aim with his bazooka United States: Rebound in the service sector as we wait for the March employment...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Germans Grounded

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Germany: When they strike, they really strike! United States: Yanks buying cars in volume again Russia: GDP slowing and...

Global Macro – Daily Note – More Ordinary Joes than Flash Boys

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary United States: Yellen working for poor people not rich people   China: Steady as she goes Australia: The jockey riding...

Global Macro 360 – Daily Note – Kylie’s back on tour

Here is an extract from today’s Global Macro 360 Daily Note. To read the full content click here to sign up for a One Week Free Trial. Summary Turkey: Who says Twitter matters?  Eurozone: ECB plays a dangerous game flirting with deflation United States: The...

Game is all set to change in battle for our hearts and minds

WHEN every fashionable tech start-up company is being bought by competitors or is raising billions on the stock market or from private investors, it is clear we are in the era of marketing, hype and opportunism, fuelled by lots of people having lots of money to throw...

The game changer

This week the diminutive Janet Yellen, by far and away the most powerful woman in the world, sent the macho and male-dominated financial markets into a hissy fit when she mused aloud that she may raise US interest rates early next year. The new head of the Federal...

It’ll take more than an absence of Remy Martin to dislodge Putin

Every month you’ll hear about the number of new cars that are sold. This is usually taken as a bellweather for the health of the economy. Cars are expensive and the more that are shifted in any one month, or indeed year, the healthier the economy. Also because...

Elite have us living in a fool’s paradise

In the summer of 1787, determined to show foreign ambassadors the might of Russian power in the newly subjugated Ukraine and Crimea, Catherine the Great organised a boat trip down the Dnieper past modern-day Kiev. Her trusted field marshal, and her lover at the time,...

It’s time we tapped into potential of the diaspora’s power

A few years ago, a reviewer decided to do a hatchet job on a book I wrote. This book was written in mid-2006. It forecast explicitly that the Irish banks were dangerously over-lending, one of the main banks was a wildly speculative “hedge fund” and would...

Russian roulette in an unstable world

I am here at Abu Dhabi Airport. My flight was supposed to depart at 2.15am. It’s now 9am and we’ve been told the flight may take off at 11am. So you can imagine the state of the place and the state of me! There’s no point in getting angry at staff,...

Who will tear up the EU rule book?

I am in Kilkenny this evening, planning some events for this year’s Kilkenomics festival. Kilkenomics is a strange hybrid of economics and comedy. It is not your usual economics conference because the stand-up comedians tease out the logic – warts and all...

If a person’s better off on the dole than at work, we have a problem

Sometimes when people write about economics, it is easy to forget that behind every economic statistic is a personal story. Each sanitised economic figure when shorn of its personal testimony rarely reveals much. That is the point of aggregated data: it serves to...

At the mercy of the markets

One of the interesting things about emerging market crises, is that when you are in one, it doesn’t feel like a crisis at all. Turkey has been buffeted by a political crisis and mass demonstrations, which could easily have spilled over into the nightmare playing...