Thursday, June 26, 2008

Celtic Kitten

Much has been made of why the Irish voted No to the Lisbon treaty. However few have pointed out some of the fundamental changes in the Irish economy over the past five years.

Ireland was historically a country where land ownership bestowed particular power, and it was on that root that the economic dominance of the Protestant ascendancy rested. Despite the gradual reduction in the power of the agricultural lobby which was the mainstay of the Republic until the 1980's, land and property has retained a talismanic role in the Irish psyche. It is one reason why property ownership in Ireland has assumed a far greater role than virtually any other place in Europe. More to the point, Irish property investment has straddled borders. The Irish property millionaires have invested heavily across Europe, ans especially in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

Yet investing for rent, rather than to create added value carries with it particular risks, and sure enough, many Irish investors have over paid for property and over extended themselves with credit. The Irish, now the landlords of much of Europe, are paying a heavy price for the credit crunch.

Perhaps it is the insecurity that the weakness of the property market has created, as much as concerns about immigration or the rather misleading claims about conscription, abortion and the rest that has created the atmosphere of fear amongst the Irish voters. However, there is no doubt that Ireland will still need to confront the problems that its obsession with property has created. Of course, so will the United Kingdom too.


asquith said...

I have always considered the Irish to be our brethren, & admired their spirit. I like to think that if Scotland ever seperates from the United Kingdom, we can have similar cordial relations between the nations.

The mentality of ownership & independence is essentially liberal. People who are independent are fearless. Charles Darwin, for example, could challenge the establishment because he was wealthy & was therefore not dependent on an employer or public money of any variety.

Likewise, in a liberal future, well educated & confident citizens will secure their rights because they will be more valuable to employers than the poor drones this system has spawned... & be in a better bargaining position, especially as they will easily be able to exist as self-employed traders.

You should be aware that I am not endorsing the Thatcherite settlement by saying this: rather, I am causing for the liberalism that she never dared unleash for fear of it disrupting the system of privilige that she supported.

What is currently enjoyed only by the wealthy can be available to all.

Newmania said...

Do you think the UK is unreasonably obsessed with Property then C?
I do not see this as a problem in fact I approve along Conservative lines . The housing over-heat has surely been caused by the uncontrolled money supply , immigration and to a lesser extent aging /household patterns .What are they on about when they talk about wage restraint btw? Wages rising is inflation

Part of Irelands problem is that they are about to become contributors and not recipents of endless largesse. I think those who have suggested the referendum was an eccentric business may be right . Its coverage in the UK is all through the prism of the lies told to deny us ours

It is a very strange knight to send into the lists with our favours but we did not get another. They will be easy to bully into line .

asquith said...

"Part of Irelands problem is that they are about to become contributors and not recipents of endless largesse."

Possibly, but they owe at least some of their current prosperity to EU membership in the first place. That is a significant part of what got them started :)

I hold out similar hopes for Eastern Europe: we have benefited from the work of immigrants from the new EU countries, & trade with the countries, & the money they have earned is helping enrich those countries, thus creating a virtuous circle.

Trade not aid. :)