Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Great Little Documentary on Financial Instability

The Boom-Bust Life Cycle of Ireland’s Balance of Payments and Net Foreign Assets



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2012: Global Recovery or False Dawn?

It’s not just the warm winter or early spring – the global economy really is looking brighter now than in the dark days of November.

US growth has been accelerating, unemployment falling, and Obama’s re-election chances improving. The EU appears to have gotten a handle on its debt crisis, for now, and a spiral from Recession to Depression has been averted. Continue reading

Circles Within Circles

This is a paper I wrote in December 2011 for a course in Global Economic Governance, taught be Kemal Dervis and José Antonio Ocampo.

At a global level, the G-20 has tasked the Financial Stability Board (FSB), successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), with pursuing a macro-prudential mandate in close cooperation with the IMF. The EU established in early 2011 a European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) to pursue a similar mandate at EU level, while the UK is creating a Financial Policy Committee (FPC), on a par with the Monetary Policy Committee, at the Bank of England.

In this paper, I compare and contrast their mandates, capacities, modus operandii, impact to date and perspectives for the future.

Dear Blogosphere…

To all of you who told me over the years that I’m so full of hot air I should be blogging… this is for you! I finally got around to it.

To take the bare look off it, I’ve posted some initial content – articles from my monthly column in SIPTU’s newspaper ‘Liberty‘.

For giving me the opportunity to write in my own voice, thank you to Jack O’Connor, Frank Connolly, and Scott Millar.

Watch this space.

Euro Treaty to Save Monetary Union?

Writing in this column two months ago, I suggested that Treaty change would be needed to save the Euro. Where once such talk was taboo, it is now clear that we are faced with such constitutional change, irrespective of the UK position. A real fiscal union would involve transfers to those regions for whom a one-size-fits-all monetary policy is inappropriate. What is in prospect is not a fiscal union, however, but an austerity club.

European leaders have finally realized the need for bold reform, but they’ve completely missed the point. The Eurozone crisis is less about members’ debts, and more about their competitiveness. Continue reading

Lessons for Ireland from Obama’s Jobs Plan

Barack Obama knows that his 2012 re-election chances may hinge on his ability to tackle unemployment which has remained stubbornly above 9%. With the US purse strings in the vice-grip of a US Congress controlled by a Republican Party with a deficit fetish, he knows better than to expect help from this quarter.

If more fiscal stimulus is impossible, whether because of real funding constraints, as in Ireland, or because of purely political constraints, as in the US, then the next best approach is to get more bang from the government buck. It is this concept, formally known as the ‘balanced budget multiplier’, that underpins President Obama’s latest jobs plan. Continue reading