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What you want to say – 30th April 2014 April 30, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.


1. Tomboktu - April 30, 2014

What are the chances that actual, you know, EU policies might get to be discussed in the election more than party rankings, candidate choices, or campaign strategies?


WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2014

Isn’t it amazing how that has just faded right into the background. All politics is local but…


Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

Well let’s do a bit of it here.

I can pony up with a list of European Left / Die Linke proposals – when I get a moment.

Anyone seen SF’s manifesto yet? I’d be interested in what the Greens have to say but reading it might lead to hospitalisation.


2. Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

I’m giving a presentation to assorted leftists and trades unionists of the effects nearly six years of Troika diktats, and would like to get some hard data on Ireland. Obviously Troika yes-men would have no interest in publishing or publicising this data, so I’m appealing to youse all.

Has anyone done a summary for Ireland for things like reductions in the social wage, health service cuts, education cuts, emmigration totals, numbers forced into part time and casual labour, suicide, domestic violence etc. etc. ?

Any leads would be appreciated.


CMK - April 30, 2014

The latest Survey On Income and Living Conditions by the CEO has some interesting information on, for instance, the increase in the deprivation rate and the decline in mean real income. It’s grim stuff and based on 2012 data; probably much worse now. The Central Bank’s reports On Mortgage Arrears show the scale of that problem, one studiously avoided by ‘recovery’ merchants and a problem that could take a decade to unwind, if ever.


BB - April 30, 2014

I find the following to be helpful and hope it suits you too Gewerkschaftler.


It is a Commentary on Irish Political Economy by Michael Taft, Research Officer, UNITE the Trade Union.


Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

Thanks BB – Micheal Taft is greate and one of the main resources that I’ll go to.


3. Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

In the age of age of the exhaustion of fossil fuels we should never forget that Realpolitik is about oil, gas and petrodollars.

That’s why I find Dobbin’s article in Counterpunch – Putin, Petrodollars and Canada’s Useful Idiot – so interesting, and somewhat seductive.

The thesis goes that the Obama (who is looking more an more like a man utterly out of his depth) has severely miscalculated in the Ukraine and is accelerating the process towards an energy market denominated at least partially in yuan and rubles. Iran has skin in this game as well. Without the ability to print dollars in the form of government bonds to buy shrinking energy resources, US economic hegemony is holed beneath the water line. The consequences for the Wall-St.-centred system of finance-capital would be catastrophic.

Now they could use bombs to prevent this kind of thing in Iraq and Libya, but Russia and China are another question. The notion of a developing German/Russian/Chinese axis does have some visible evidence to support it in Germany, but what’s China’s position? The collapse of the US market for its exports would require the swift development of markets elsewhere, putting them in something like the position of the US after the 2nd world war.


4. Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

Looks like I’ll have to read Piketty – here’s Paul Mason’s take in the Guardian.

He seems pretty sound on why it isn’t the new Das Kapital:

Is Piketty the new Karl Marx? Anybody who has read the latter will know he is not. Marx’s critique of capitalism was not about distribution but production: for Marx it was not rising inequality but a breakdown in the profit mechanism that drove the system towards its end. Where Marx saw social relationships – between labour and managers, factory owners and the landed aristocracy – Piketty sees only social categories: wealth and income. Marxist economics lives in a world where the inner tendencies of capitalism are belied by its surface experience. Piketty’s world is of concrete historical data only. So the charges of soft Marxism are completely misplaced.


Piketty has, more accurately, placed an unexploded bomb within mainstream, classical economics. If the underlying cause of the 2008 bank catastrophe was falling incomes alongside rising financial wealth then, says Piketty, these were no accident: no product of lax regulation or simple greed. The crisis is the product of the system working normally, and we should expect more.


Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014
Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014
Pasionario - April 30, 2014

I’ve read Piketty’s book and find Mason’s article doesn’t actually reflect the contents.Firstly, Piketty specifically rules out inflation as a good solution to the problems of high public debt and inequality because the effects are unpredictable and tend to enrich some at the expense of others. The biggest losers will inevitably be middle-class people with modest cash savings whereas capitalists who own non-liquid assets like plant and property will be unaffected (something like this happened in Germany in the Twenties).

Secondly, Piketty doesn’t actually link the rise in inequality to the banking collapse. Maybe that’s a plausible conjecture but I’d say it would require another book to flesh it out. One thing at a time folks. Piketty seems to think that in the very long-term, economic growth is basically pretty constant and not determined by government policy (in itself a radical critique of neo-liberalism). You may have peaks and troughs along the way but ultimately growth tends to settle down to an average of around 1% real growth per capita a year (which is more than enough, he shows, to transform a society over time). The “Trente Glorieuses” were thus an aberration prompted by the thirty lost years which preceded them. Note the irony here, Piketty is an economist who thinks that “economics” is basically irrelevant to economic growth. What we can decide is how that growth is distributed.

Galbraith’s critique seems a bit odd to me. He argues that corporate types in the 50s and 60s were richly rewarded through perks and loopholes but it’s clear that no amount of freebies or exemptions were bringing Mad Men types up to anything like the absurd salaries which get doled out in corporate boardrooms today. The Don Drapers of today might be making ten times what he was making and the reason for that is an end to confiscatory taxation (which Galbraith actually seems to think was unfair as applied to actors, rocks stars, and sportsmen!) Imagine the injustice of it if poor Wayne Rooney had to pay 80% on his 20 million a year. But then I suppose he counts as a proletarian in classical Marxist terms, as do all those traders in Goldman Sachs who earn wages of millions every year.


Dr. X - April 30, 2014

“poor Wayne Rooney . . . . But then I suppose he counts as a proletarian in classical Marxist term”

Are you high?


Pasionario - April 30, 2014

Not a bit of it. He’s a wage-earner. As per Karl Marx, those who depend on wages are proletarians. He could not foresee circumstances where a small number of individuals would receive enormous salaries in exchange for their labour.

As usual, reality turns out to be more complicated than a theory developed in the mid-19th century, which is not to deny its merits in other respects.


Gewerkschaftler - May 2, 2014

Thanks for your take Pasionario.

Piketty is an economist who thinks that “economics” is basically irrelevant to economic growth.

Which was my (badly put) point. Piketty is (albeit from a non- or even anti-Marxist postion) among those who (like Kilman) believe that underlying intrinsic structures determine the development of capitalism, and no amount of applied political will is going to change them.

But, as I understand it, his position is that the financialisation since the 1970s is significant, and should be rolled back for the good of a ‘healthy’ capitalism. Is that roughly right?


Tomboktu - May 1, 2014
CL - May 1, 2014

Good piece by Kuttner on Karl Polanyi too.
“Looking backward from 1944 to the 18th century, Polanyi saw the catastrophe of the interwar period, the Great Depression, fascism, and World War II as the logical culmination of laissez-faire taken to an extreme. “The origins of the cataclysm,” he wrote, “lay in the Utopian endeavor of economic liberalism to set up a self-regulating market system.” Others, such as John Maynard Keynes, had linked the policy mistakes of the interwar period to fascism and a second war. No one had connected the dots all the way back to the industrial revolution.”
This ‘Utopian endeavor’ continues.


Tomboktu - May 2, 2014

The Irish Times has another article on Piketty today. I make that three so far.


5. Gewerkschaftler - April 30, 2014

Enough from me already – can I wish everyone a active and enjoyable Worker’s Day tomorrow.


Joe - April 30, 2014

And the same to you. I will be practising the customs of the west Cork peasantry – getting my kids to was their faces in the dew and bringing in some green branches to strew around the house, “bringing in the May”.
And going to a riveting lecture in the Irish Print Museum.


6. Joe - April 30, 2014

i wonder will these new very big local election constituencies in Dublin throw up some odd results. Cabra Finglas has 37000 voters for 7 seats. On a 35% turnout that’s about 13000 votes. The other constituencies are similarly sized and similarly geographically spread out. I wonder have the parties got a handle on this change? How many no.1 votes would a candidate need to have a decent chance? How many counts will there be? Will lower preferences come more into play in the count – or does that matter whether there’s 4 or 7 seats to be won?
Psephology, is that what it’s called?
Is there a guide to the mechanics of elections and counts anywhere online?


Tomboktu - April 30, 2014

Quota would be about 1,600.


7. roddy - April 30, 2014

With regard to Rooney and the Goldman traders,I never could buy into these people being “workers” while my neighbour struggling to rear his family on 30 acres is some sort of capitalist exploiter.


Bob Smiles - April 30, 2014

30 acres is a decent sized garden for west Belfast


8. Bob Smiles - April 30, 2014

Bob Hoskins RIP


WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2014

Very sad. I see his dad was a communist and he was an atheist. Always thought the Long Good Friday was a fantastic film.


Michael Carley - April 30, 2014

And he played a communist shop steward, as the hero, in Made in Dagenham.


WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2014

As far as I can tell he voted Labour up to about 2009/10.


9. littlemicky2012 - April 30, 2014

A very useful little video about what’s going on at the anti water meter protests in Cork


10. roddy - April 30, 2014

Bob,I would classify a small farmer eeking out a living on 30 acres more of a worker than many bullshitters who claimed to speak for workers over the years.


Bob Smiles - April 30, 2014

So would I


11. doctorfive - May 1, 2014

One thing that these minutes bear witness to is the seriousness with which voluntary work was undertaken in pre-war Britain and Ireland. In an era when the only volunteers that now appear to interest historians are those who drilled with rifles, what is resurrected in these minutes is the volunteerism of officials who meticulously managed the administration of sport in pre-war Ireland.



12. May Day Greetings | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - May 1, 2014

[…] To echo Gewerkschaftler… […]


13. Starkadder - May 1, 2014

“The curious survival of the US Communist Party” – BBC News profile
Sam Webb and company :



14. Jolly Red Giant - May 1, 2014

Glad to see that Cllr Ciaran Perry has endorsed Paul Murphy for MEP. It’s a welcome development that hopefully the first of many left activists endorsing Paul Murphy and calling for their supporters to vote for Paul Murphy n 23 May.

I look forward to similar statements from Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Seamus Healy and other TDs and councillors opposing austerity calling for support for Paul Murphy. Maybe Paddy Healy can update us on any discussions within the WUAG on whether they intend to make such an endorsement.


EamonnCork - May 1, 2014

The phrase ‘you’ll be waiting’ comes irresistibly to mind.


Jolly Red Giant - May 1, 2014

That would be very disappointing if it came to pass and raises questions about the political outlook of the people involved.


Ed - May 2, 2014

This is obviously going to become a squabble very quickly, but an honest question JRG – has the SP approached Daly, Healy or Collins directly asking for support? What did they say if so?


CMK - May 4, 2014

Collins declined, apparently.


dublingirl891 - May 2, 2014

JRG – perhaps you could enlighten me as to why in the context of this statement from you….

‘the National Executive made numerous efforts to persuade Clare Daly that her political support for Wallace was inappropriate and damaging for the SP and the wider left’

why do you state this….’I look forward to similar statements from Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Seamus Healy and other TDs and councillors opposing austerity calling for support for Paul Murphy’.

I’m a little confused by this apparaent contradiction?

Has the SP contacted Daly and Healy (I believe they have in Collins case) – asking for support? Have the SP arranged to meet these TDs to discuss their potential support for PM?


15. irishelectionliterature - May 2, 2014

Some fuckers are going around sticking bacon to the posters of a Muslim candidate. Seems to be other racist stuff against Edmund Lukusa of SF out there also I gather.


16. Tomboktu - May 4, 2014

Anna Doyle is running for the People Before Profit Alliance in Wicklow. She is quoting Ayn Rand, favourably, on her Facebook page.



Michael Carley - May 4, 2014

In fairness, a lot of that quote could apply without alteration to the banks.


EamonnCork - May 5, 2014

And a thinly veiled anti-Semitic comment underneath it which nobody appears to be challenging. PBP are like McDonald’s, they’ll let anyone be part of the franchise.


17. Tomboktu - May 5, 2014

John McManus in the Irish Times today:

If the baying mob must have a victim, perhaps the correct place to look for one is among those responsible for the regime in which Neary worked.

The immediate parents of principles-based regulation in Ireland were Charlie McCreevy and Mary Harney.

They were respectively the minister for finance and the minister for enterprise when the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority came into being in 2003.

The decision to create a new regulator had its origins in a report by a group chaired by Michael McDowell, who was taking one his periodic breaks from politics at the time.
All three would have been very much of the “markets know best” school of thought when it came to economics


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