The Ninety-Five Reforms

17 December, 2009

It seems on first inspection that the trade unions miscalculated by announcing their concessions on public sector reform before the pay cuts were certain not to have been instituted. By going public, they cannot avoid either complying or suffering serious public disdain.

The ‘concessions’ would have the effect of hugely improving the quality of public service provided to Irish tax-payers, and create incentives to eliminate the culture of mediocrity which has subsisted for so long.

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Signaling Theory, IKEA and Public Sector Strikes

3 December, 2009

The Irish Times explains why today’s planned public sector strike was cancelled. In the media, there was plenty of discussion over how the public sector workers were going to spend their strike day.

Last week, it was widely reported that there was a mass exodus from the city to places like IKEA. This irked many members of the public, but some felt it was reasonable to use the time productively. Why does the trip to IKEA damage the strikers’ cause?

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How To Lose Friends and Alienate Tax-Payers

23 November, 2009

The public sector strikers might as well be protesting against the recession, as though such a beast could be tamed by opprobrium. They seem to be confusing the dire economic circumstances facing the state and public finances, with some discretionary government policy that can be reconsidered.

Quite simply, the government has to cut back on public sector pay, and quite significantly so. According to the Department of Finance, the Irish government has suffered a €26 billion deficit in expenditure over revenue thus far in 2009. Next year, it could be worse.

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Big Government Ignorance

22 April, 2009

UnemployedPatricia Callan, Director of the Small Firms’ Association, recently spoke before an assembled crowd during an event at which I was in attendance. She made an extremely valid point, that the unemployed in Ireland at the moment for the most part are not lacking skills.

Rather, unemployment during difficult economic times (especially due to faltering competitiveness) can often be characterised by people signing onto the Live Register with impressive skill-sets. This is the phenomenon in Ireland currently. The problem is that these people are unable to find jobs that suit them, because companies are cutting costs and reducing expansion.

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Paying People to Work

21 April, 2009

UnemploymentThere has long been argument over whether the European Union constitutes what economists call an “optimal currency area”. The worsening economic conditions in the state are bringing the arguments against into sharp focus. Ireland has for long suffered wage inflation higher than the rest of the current monetary union. This increased the purchasing power of Irish consumers, and intially brought prosperity. Meanwhile, the country’s competitiveness was suffering as it became a more expensive place to do business. This is the major source of Ireland’s current employment crisis.

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