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For lefties too stubborn to quit
Speaking of that unwanted gift? 16:40 Sun Sep 21, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Ireland and independence 12:43 Sun Sep 21, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Politics, Posters, Protest: British Political Posters 1914 ? Conference, Manchester, October 2014 09:50 Sun Sep 21, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week 09:15 Sun Sep 21, 2014 | Garibaldy
Latest Millward Brown/Sunday Independent Poll 00:06 Sun Sep 21, 2014 | WorldbyStorm
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
KENNY MAGIC TRICKS 08:39 Thu Sep 18, 2014
Global Finance, Money and Power: Lecture Two - The Development of Money and Banking 06:19 Thu Sep 18, 2014
Global Finance, Money and Power: Lecture One - The Nature of Money and Credit 10:21 Thu Sep 11, 2014
MANDATE TRADE UNION TRAINING - IRELAND AND FINANCE (SEP 2014) 08:58 Tue Sep 09, 2014
I SEE THE CLICHÉ CHICKENS ARE BACK AGAIN TED 10:02 Sat Aug 30, 2014
Conference on EU Counter-Terrorism, Dublin, 13 October Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:36 | Fiona de Londras
Rooney on Hassan v UK: ?symbiotic approaches?, ?subsequent practices? and amicus curiae Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:13 | GuestPost
Ireland to ratify complaints mechanism under UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Thu Sep 18, 2014 13:51 | Edel Quinn
Invitation to Tender: ECHR Act & ECFR in Irish Courts Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:14 | GuestPost
PILnet?s 8th Annual European Pro Bono Forum Tue Sep 16, 2014 15:14 | GuestPost
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
Seán Sheehan - Thu Sep 18, 2014 18:04
Wittgenstein in Exile, James C. Klagge (MIT Press)
Groundless Grounds: A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, Lee Braver (MIT Press)For James Klagge in his study of Wittgenstein and his philosophy, exile becomes a metaphor that help identify the enigmatic nature of his subject. Wittgenstein?s rootless, itinerant life was a crisscross of journeys across western Europe, from his home in Austria to England, to Norway, to Ireland ? returning to Austria to teach children in a rural location, returning to England in 1929 (?God has arrived. I met him on the 5.15 train?, announced Maynard Keynes to his wife), returning to Norway to live. Always he travelled, as he lived, alone. He exiled himself from family, friends and academia and, given the strangeness of his temperament, exile serves as a description for his state of mind. Everyone feels alienated to some degree of other ? those who don?t are spooky or just plain numpties ? but Wittgenstein?s estrangement from the society and culture of his age was profound and the author?s understanding of this underlies what he writes about the man. Wittgenstein in Exile is enjoyable to read because it does not indulge in abstruse, intricate arguments and is mercifully free of the mind-numbing prose that results when the author of a book about philosophy solely addresses a professional audience of people assumed to share his interests. Klagge?s comfortable style of writing, reaching out to a wider readership, succeeds in presenting the peculiarity of a man who could not separate his philosophical work from the way he conducted his own life. Unable to avoid remorseless self-examination, Wittgenstein was an artist of the intellect not just in his writings but in his relationship with the world and to demonstrate this Klagge draws considerably on reminiscences of those who knew Wittgenstein and who experienced in conversation aspects of his austere genius.
John Ross - Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:24
This article was originally posted on John's blog Key Trends in Globalisation on the 2nd of September.
Since 1978 China has seen the most rapid economic growth of any major country in world history, and the most rapid increase of living standards of any major economy. Furthermore, following the beginning of the international financial crisis, China far outperformed any other major economy ? in the seven years from 2ndquarter 2007 to 2nd quarter 2014 China?s economy grew by 78% and the US by 8%. In a single generation China has gone from a ?low income? economy to the verge of achieving ?high income? status by World Bank criteria.
This unprecedented economic development is sometimes explained in terms of unique ?Chinese characteristics?, but Western economic research over the last 30 years confirms that the reasons for China?s economic growth are rooted in universal economic processes. To be more precise, while the combination of global forces producing economic growth is unique in China, and produces unique ?Chinese characteristics?, the forces propelling China?s growth operate throughout the world economy.
These modern advances in Western measurement and analysis of the causes of economic growth have major implications for China. Some economists in China have claimed that its very rapid growth is ?aberrant? and not in conformity with economic theory. Instead, supposedly China must switch from a growth pattern based on high investment and exports to one based on productivity, more precisely Total Factor Productivity (TFP), growth. Unfortunately such arguments are based on economic methods and concepts that are 30 years out of date and which have been formally replaced by the UN, US and OECD.
Modern economic methods show that growth in the world economy, therefore including China, is fundamentally driven by high levels of investment and by globalisation, which is division of labour on an international scale. The aim of this article, therefore, is to outline the results of the most advanced Western economic methods and their implications for China. First a brief characterisation of the scale of China?s economic achievement will be given, as this establishes the fundamental implications of this for economic theory, and then the implications of modern Western economic research for understanding China?s growth will be analysed. In particular, attention will be given to the formally registered advances of measurement and understanding of economic growth in general, by international economic agencies, and to the most comprehensive application of these to the study of China and Asia?s economic growth ? Vu Minh Khuong?s masterpiece The Dynamics of Economic Growth: Policy Insights from Comparative Analyses in Asia.
Michael Taft - Tue Sep 16, 2014 13:48
Last night on Prime Time Brendan Burgess, from Ask About Money, stated that high-income earners in Ireland pay more tax than high earners in other countries. ?We have a very low direct tax economy in this country for the lower and the middle paid and very high taxes for the upper paid. And that?s something people don?t appreciate. And they need to appreciate that.? Let?s do some appreciation. Are we a ?very low? direct tax economy? Direct, or personal, taxes include income taxes, social insurance (PRSI) and other taxes on income such as Ireland?s Universal Social Charge or Germany?s surtax.
We are low-tax, well below a lot of other countries. But we are not that far behind the EU-15 weighted average, not that far behind ?high-tax? Sweden and ahead of another ?high-tax? economy, France. So I don?t know that I would call it ?very low? but we certainly should be doing better. But what about that ?very high taxes for the upper paid?? We don?t have ?effective? tax rates for different income groups to compare (that is, the tax rate when all reliefs and deductions are taken into account). We only have ?headline? tax rates ? which only include basic reliefs like personal tax credits. But the following headline tax rates come from the OECD Benefit and Wages database. The highest level of income for Ireland in the database is ?119,000 (a couple, both working) so I?ll use that to compare with the same level of income in other countries.
Headline tax rates on Irish high-earners are well below most other countries. If they were living in Germany they?d be paying ?11,000 more in income taxes and social insurance. There is caveat in this. In Ireland, taxpayers get relief on pension contributions, mortgage interest, health insurance and a rake of business investments. Do taxpayers have access to the same level of reliefs and allowances? More? Less? We don?t have easily accessible comparable data. (Also, the tax rate for Italy in the above chart is for ?107,000 ? the highest level of income in the OECD database). However, when looking at headline rate, Irish high-earners are not over-taxed in comparative terms. And there are some further explanations needed (the type of explanations that rarely get a hearing on current affairs programmes). Take the example of Sweden. The chart above shows Swedish headline rates lower than Ireland. In the first total direct taxation chart, Sweden is only slightly above Ireland. Some might find this surprising since we all think of Sweden as high-taxed.
Irish Left Review - Tue Sep 16, 2014 13:36
The September Socialist Voice is now available online List of articles in this issue Illusions of recovery In early September the minister for public expenditure, Brendan Howlin, claimed that the Government?s economic strategy was so successful that ?we?re not going back to boom and bust.? But he is not the first social democrat, and no doubt will not be the last, to make that grandiose claim. Slump and boom are inherent in the capitalist system, and recurrent crises cannot be prevented within capitalism but only by defeating capitalism itself. Capitalism is prone to sequences of slump and boom, coupled with wild financial speculation and property and asset bubbles. It simply cannot exist otherwise. Guests of the nation Being a theoretical journal with an unambiguous world view, Socialist Voice places less emphasis on the type of investigative journalism that features prominently in more commercially inclined publications. Nevertheless there is a role for this method of news-gathering and especially when an intriguing rumour is begging for authentication. Suffer Little Children The United States is one of three countries that have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this it finds itself in the august company of Somalia and South Sudan. Somalia, however, has committed itself to ratifying, and South Sudan?s parliament has passed a bill to do so. To be fair, it has to be said that the United States played an active role in the drafting of the bill, and has actually signed, though not ratified, it. Among the reasons given is the fear of a backlash from the religious right, who see the bill as an assault on their rights. The Republican Congress eighty years on: A relevant or redundant concept? Like any organisation, the Republican Congress was a product of its time and place; therefore we need to understand it on its own terms and in the historical conditions of the time. Ireland eighty years later is a different place from the Ireland of the 1920s and 30s. The world is different, and the balance of forces has shifted. We need to consider such factors as the deep economic crisis of the system at the time, which had a huge impact on Ireland. Unemployment in the South stood at more than a quarter of a million; there was mass emigration, widespread poverty, and evictions from farms and homes. A stark class divide A recent report from the Higher Education Authority reveals a stark class divide in Dublin when it comes to access to higher education. The report confirms what all socialists already knew: that teenagers from the leafy middle-class suburbs are far more likely to go on to third-level education than those from less privileged areas of the city. Lance Armstrong should keep his jerseys In July, RTE featured a documentary on Paul Kimmage, the sports journalist. He was portrayed as the journalist who exposed Lance Armstrong as a cheat, and was one of the main journalists who campaigned about the use of drugs in professional cycling. There is no doubt that Kimmage is a unique journalist, and in fact he is one of the small number of people?never mind journalists?who actually completed a Tour de France when he was a professional cyclist. He could have completed a second Tour but withdrew. This still seems to be a source of regret to him. Political statement National Executive Committee, Communist Party of Ireland The National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with workers now engaged in industrial struggles to defend their livelihood. Iarnród Éireann workers are struggling to prevent a cut in wages arising out of Government policy, which is to to run down the rail service, and public transport in general, in the interests of privately owned companies, to shift the burden of running public transport onto the workers and travelling public, and to remove the state from any meaningful social responsibility for providing a comprehensive public transport service. Whoop it up for freedom! René González, the first of the Cuban Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London to mark the sixteenth anniversary of their arrest. Who really owns us? It was announced last month that the value of Government bonds at the end of last May was ?113.216 billion?120 per cent of the value of the country?s annual economic output. 53 per cent of these bonds are held by foreign individuals and institutions. Along with Portugal, Ireland is one of the EU?s most indebted countries, and it has recently taken to share-switching to stave off an inability to pay its creditors. Short-term bonds due to be cashed in in 2016 are swapped for ten-year bonds, and so the evil day is postponed. O?Flaherty Summer School a huge success Féile na bhFlaitheartach, 2014?the Liam and Tom O?Flaherty Society?s August summer school?was a fantastic weekend, richly rewarding for all who made it to Árainn. The school opened with a talk by Theo Dorgan on the horrific industrial slaughter that was the First World War, making the point that if it were not for the literary records of the brutality and horrors of this war in books such as Liam O?Flaherty?s Return of the Brute later generations could be more easily duped by politicians and the the media into believing there was something heroic in it. On Tom Gilmartin Frank Connolly, Tom Gilmartin: The Man Who Brought Down a Taoiseach and Exposed the Corruption and Greed at the Heart of Irish Politics (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2014); ISBN 978-0-7171-6047-1; ?16.99 / £14.99. Níl siad imithe uainn fós, bíodh a fhios agat?polaiteoirí, baincéirí, lucht forbartha, agus infheisteoirí cama, ná na fórsaí taobh thiar díobh. Ná níl scéal Bhinse Flood/Mahon thart go fóill, mar a mheabhraigh cúis George Redmond sa Chúirt Uachtarach dúinn i mí Iúil. Bratacha Bána Gabriel Rosenstock The pigs are back! Tomás Mac Síomóin, Is Stacey Pregnant? Notes from the Irish Dystopia (Nuascéalta, 2014; ISBN 978-1-4992-1354-6; $10.75). Available from Amazon, Connolly Books, and general booksellers. Anybody familiar with Orwell?s Animal Farm will be amused by Tomás Mac Síomóin?s rebirth of the pig as the ?Smilin? Porky? in his newly published novel Is Stacey Pregnant??although the amusement will not last long as this novel gradually unfolds its horror! The first expressionist play in Irish Expressionism is an art form that developed fully in Germany in the years before the First World War (in painting, poetry and drama) and after the war in German cinema. It arose from a sense of existential fear and a world going out of control. Its themes are very often psychological struggle, insanity, and unfathomable forces controlling people?s lives. Mainstream bourgeois aesthetics of outward objectivity are rejected in favour of the aesthetics of ugliness as the way these artists perceived their reality in the build-up for war and following it, right through the 1920s.
Irish Left Review - Fri Sep 12, 2014 17:17
LookLeft 19 is in Easons stores and hundreds of selected newsagents across the island now. Still only ?2 this issue includes former Worker?s Party President Séan Garland?s assessment of the career of Eamon Gilmore, an exclusive article by Greek economist, Yanis Varoufakis, on the failure of European Social Democracy, an interview with new Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger, an examination of the growing militancy among trade union members in Ireland and John Cooney on Scottish Independence and much, much more? Contents include: CLASS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH The links between Irish corporate and clerical elites, Richard McAlevey investigates. RACISM, NORTH AND SOUTH Brian McDermott and Kevin Squires discuss the rise of racism on both sides of the Border. THE OIREACHTAS' NEWEST SOCIALIST Kevin Squires meets Ruth Coppinger to discuss her aims in the Dáil. CAN RENT CONTROLS WORK? Osal Kelly discusses how to put a lid on a the bubbling housing market. WHAT IS TTIP? Dara McHugh and Padraig Mannion discuss the threat to democracy from the secretive trade deal. RISING TIDE OF EXPECTATIONS Workers are seeking a new militancy in the trade union movement, Francis Donohoe explores. THE FORUM Seán Garland bids an unfond farewell to Eamon Gilmore. Also featuring John Cooney, Anna Quigley, Cian O'Callaghan, Marie Moran and Gavin Mendel-Gleason. WHAT NEXT FOR EUROPE? Yanis Varoufakis and Terry McDonough discuss the fall of European social democracy and look at how the Left can rise instead. RADICAL PROTESTANTS Conall Parr looks at the legacy of radical Protestants in Northern Ireland politics GLAM ROCK AND ANARCHY Dara McHugh talks music, politics and petty theft with pioneering Dublin folk band Lynched. NO NAZIS AT MALMÖ Neil Dunne discusses the reactions of Malmö FC to the stabbing of a fan by neo-nazis.
Andy Storey - Wed Sep 10, 2014 21:16
Criticism of the government?s nomination of Phil Hogan as Ireland?s EU Commissioner has tended to focus on his lobbying, in 2012, to prevent a Traveller family accessing social housing. On this basis, independent MEP Nessa Childers has reasonably described the nomination as a ?step backwards for equality?. The other main strand of criticism concerns his signing off on bloated consultancy payments for the establishment of Irish Water, an issue that Sinn Fein in particular is highlighting. Again, the criticism is legitimate and important, as is the fact that he spent the summer appointing former Fine Gael and Labour councillors to state boards and that he quashed inquiries into planning irregularities (including in his own fiefdom of Carlow) when he took office as Minister for the Environment. But the problem with Hogan goes well beyond anti-Traveller racism, the wasting of public money, the dishing out of sinecures to political cronies, and taking a relaxed approach to dodgy planning. Most Irish politicians engage in all of the above. Hogan?s real importance lies in his being a prime exemplar of the noxious nexus between political and corporate power in Ireland. The Moriarty Tribunal in 2011 concluded that former Minister Michael Lowry had ?an insidious and pervasive influence? over the awarding of a mobile phone licence to Denis O?Brien?s East Digifone consortium. In fact, the tribunal described Lowry?s conduct as ?profoundly corrupt to a degree that was nothing short of breath-taking?. Lowry was an honoured guest at Hogan?s 50th birthday party in July 2010, and only days after the publication of the Moriarty report Hogan had an official meeting with Lowry ? allegedly to discuss unrelated matters. But then this should not be so surprising, Hogan has form here. As Jody Corcoran has reported, ?Hogan was personally engaged in the extraction of at least two significant sums of money from O'Brien, or his companies or associates, for Fine Gael at or around the time of the granting of the licence?. Coincidentally, Siteserv ? an O?Brien-owned company that had substantial debts it owed to now state-owned Anglo Irish Bank (i.e., you and me) written off ? has won some of the contracts to install water meters in Ireland, water charges of course being another of Hogan?s legacies to us.
Michael Taft - Thu Sep 04, 2014 17:39
The new Global Competitiveness Report is out. This is produced by the World Economic Forum (the crowd that occupies Davos once a year). It purports to rank countries by their business competitiveness. Ireland was ranked 25 in 2014. Last year we were ranked 28. Our competitiveness has improved. Yawn. The rankings are based on a number of indicators ? infrastructure, taxation, business efficiency, labour market, ease of doing business, etc. The rankings are compiled based upon a survey of 13,000 ?business leaders? throughout the world. So it is subjective ? opinions formed by the executives of multi-nationals and large companies. You can only imagine what they might think. They?d probably give gold stars to countries that have hardly any tax, any wage, and require workers to bow every time the owner?s son drives by. But actually, no. These captains of industry and finance actually like (or don?t dislike) high-tax, high-spend, high-regulated economies ? everything that we have been told is bad for our economic health. Here's how our peer group - small open economies in the EU-15 - rank in competitiveness. All the other small open economies are ranked higher than Ireland. Two of the countries are ranked in the top 10 in the world ? Finland and Sweden. Let?s go through some of the economic sins as written down in the orthodox bible and see how the different countries fare (taxation data is taken from Eurostat?s Taxation Trends).
Sean Byers - Thu Sep 04, 2014 15:54
As the Scottish independence referendum approaches, most polls and observers suggest that the Yes campaign will just fall short but at the same time secure of greater devolution to Holyrood. Against this backdrop, Northern Ireland Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has given the strongest indication yet that the Tory-led government is prepared to hand Stormont the power to reduce corporation tax for the region. The relative absence of a debate around this issue in the Assembly is a reflection of the consensus between all five Executive parties? on cutting the tax. Only the Green Party has voiced opposition to a reduction in the headline rate, while the local media has proved unable or unwilling to facilitate a serious discussion about its merits and demerits. It is not surprising that the UUP and DUP are giving this proposal their uncritical support. The former is a local embodiment of Toryism with a tendency for highly conservative social views. The latter gives representation to an aspiring middle and petit bourgeoisie and with every new scandal that transpires the stench of shysterism emanating from the party grows stronger. Both purport to represent large sections of the Protestant working class, yet have enthusiastically welcomed the prospect of introducing welfare reforms that will remove up to £750m annually from the local economy. Not only will these cuts hit Northern Ireland harder than other regions of the UK, but disadvantaged areas are on course to suffer the biggest loss per adult of working age. The two Unionist parties are concerned that Stormont may lose approximately £100m this year in fines for its failure to introduce welfare reforms, but are prepared to countenance the much more devastating cut that anything close to full implementation of the Welfare Reform Bill will bring about. This says something about the ideological position of mainstream Unionism and its contempt for the working class. The increasingly polarised nature of the welfare reform debate is an apt demonstration of how Sinn Féin?s electoral success presents an opportunity and a problem for the party. By adopting an austerity-critical approach in the South, it has managed to capitalise on working-class disenchantment with a toothless Labour Party and emerge, along with socialists and independents in the Dáil, as the most vocal opponents of Fine Gael?s class war. At the same time, there is pressure on the northern Executive to introduce Tory cuts in the manner of a regional council. It is widely believed that, with the support of senior figures such as Alex Maskey and Eoin Ó Broin, Gerry Adams intervened to ensure that his colleagues in the North reversed an earlier decision to endorse parts of the Welfare Reform Bill. Various media reports suggest that this is the reason for Leo Green?s acrimonious departure from Stormont, where he held the position of key Sinn Féin strategist.
Michael Taft - Wed Sep 03, 2014 17:25
The Sunday Business Post ran four stories last weekend- including a front-page banner headline - attacking not only public sector workers? living standards, but workers in public enterprise as well.
Semi-States Enjoy Pay Increases During the Recession Sitting Pretty in the Semi-States Public Sector: the Insider Story The Special Protections of the Semi-States
The Sunday Business Post is determined to outdo the Sunday Independent in public sector worker bashing.
And the most interesting thing about these articles is that they are based on a survey and a reading of wage numbers that are not only completely wrong ? but make the most basic statistical mistakes. This is poor analysis, masquerading as informed commentary. Let?s look at some of the claims and see where they went off the rails (unfortunately the SBP is behind a paywall).
The SBP Survey on Public Enterprise Wages
The SBP did a survey. It purported to show the average wage in a number of public enterprises for 2009 and 2013. From this they deduced whether the average wage rose or fell. Here?s what their survey found.
Tom O'Brien - Mon Sep 01, 2014 16:11
This week we have part two of our discussion with Professor Peter Hudis, of Oakton Community College, about his book 'Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism'. The first part can be found here. In this week's show we talk about the Soviet experiment and the alienation of labour, the role of the state in a post-capitalist society, the Spanish revolution and the anarchist understanding of revolution, and the co-operative model as an alternative. You can get the Professors book here.