Articles tagged with: Economics

European Monetary Union in Historical Perspective

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Introduction

Economic historians are well used to writing essays on historical parallels with current economic problems, and drawing lessons from the past. In the case of European Monetary Union (EMU), however, there are no historical precedents. To be sure, we have examples of currency unions that have broken up, but these unions typically existed in the context of multinational empires, such as the Soviet Union. When the empires collapsed, so did the currency unions, and it is not surprising that they did so in circumstances of conflict and economic chaos. To ascribe these conditions to the collapse of the currency unions involved, rather than to the breakup of the empires themselves, as some banking analysts have recently done, is clearly unconvincing.1

 

Where Do We Want the Euro to be in 2020 and How Do We Get There?

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Great Expectations

European Monetary Union (EMU) was supposed to be a harbinger of growth and stability for its member states, yet the euro zone debt crisis is now in its fourth year and continues to rumble on, in a seemingly endless cycle of crises, summits and false dawns. The currency union creaks under the deficiencies of the euro zone’s fundamentally flawed design, while its survival and capacity to prosper depend on its ability to fix these design flaws. The stakes are high.

The Social Impact of the Economic Crisis in Europe

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, International Issues, Economics

Introduction
What is happening in Greece is dramatic; the IMF/EU plan for saving the country is destroying the country; the Greek people are more aware than a year ago that the remedy is killing the patient. It is destroying any kind of solidarity at European level. It can happen to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium. The question is not about our public sector or our corrupt government or about the Greeks that are lazy … The question [is] is the IMF changing the actual character of our European social model [?] ... there is impoverishment of our middle class, a return to the countryside, and emigration of our youth. There is a support network at neighbourhood and village level, because public sector formal social support networks have collapsed … People day by day are not any more fighting poverty; they are fighting for survival.1                                                                                                       EAPN Greece

 

The Implosion of Solidarity: A Critique of the Euro Zone Crisis

on Wednesday, 11 July 2012. Posted in Issue 69 The Future of the Euro, Economics

Introduction
The post-2007 global financial crisis was, fundamentally, an ethical crisis.1 This crisis and its aftermath presented in a distinctive way within the euro zone. What distinguishes the euro zone crisis has been the collapse of ‘solidarity’, considered both as a social virtue and as an integral part of the Schumann–Monnet model of a new European order, a renewal of Europe from the ashes of World War II. Unless and until the true meaning of solidarity is rediscovered and reanimated within the political leadership of the EU, there is unlikely to be economic stabilisation and recovery. In other words, a failure to move the Franco–German dominant consensus away from the hegemony established in the wake of the euro zone crisis, and towards a rediscovery of solidarity, will result in the serious risk of the ‘Balkanisation’ of Europe within a generation.

Buying a House – Is the Buyer Protected? Some Reflections from a Legal Perspective

on Thursday, 15 December 2011. Posted in Issue 68 After the Housing Bubble, Housing Policy, Economics

Introduction

Consumer law covers most of the products we buy today. We presume that what we buy is regulated by certain minimum standards. Furniture must meet some minimum health and safety requirements. Electrical goods must work, must not be a danger to the consumer, and must last a minimum period. Cars must meet mechanical, electrical, design and other minimum standards. Several laws and regulations govern the manufacture, transport and sale of goods. Most of the time, the goods we purchase ‘work’: the chair does not collapse, the kettle boils, and the car stays on the road. However, if faults are discovered, purchasers can, and do, return to the shop with the defective goods and so it is not unusual for kettles, shoes, and even cars to be exchanged.

 

Unemployment: The Need for a Comprehensive Response

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

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Unemployment: The Need for a Comprehensive Response

Bríd O'Brien

April 2011

Highlighting the Scale of Unemployment  © Derek SpeirsIntroduction

There is no doubting that nearly everyone who stood as a candidate in the February 2011 General Election saw employment – its maintenance and creation – as a critical issue to be addressed by the in-coming Dáil. Now that a new Dáil has been elected and a new Government appointed, what should be the focus in tackling unemployment? What is needed to give unemployed people hope for the future as well as proper income and social supports to meet their needs?

 

Irish Banking: Rediscovering Values for Rebuilding and Renewal

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

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Irish Banking: Rediscovering Values for Rebuilding and Renewal

Ray Kinsella & Maurice Kinsella

April 2011

Introduction

This article explores the deconstruction of the Irish banking system. It discusses the ‘pressure points’ which are reshaping this system, and how these are likely to impact on the wider banking and financial community. This is an important issue in its own right because the constitutive purpose of banking is to support the wider economy, and especially job creation. But it is particularly timely to critique recent events and policies which in combination have served to subvert the development of modern Ireland.

That is hardly an overstatement. After all, the collapse of the Irish economy since 2007 has been on a scale that is unique among developed countries. Moreover, this collapse precipitated the intervention by the European Union (EU), in association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leading to a ‘bailout’ agreement that, in exchange for highly conditional financial support, effectively emasculates discretionary fiscal policy, as well as imposing very far-reaching cuts in living standards.

 

The Way Forward for Ireland: A Values Added Tax Policy?

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 

 

pdf iconThe Way Forward for Ireland: A Values Added Tax Policy?

Eugene Quinn

April, 2011

Introduction

The maintenance of a low tax regime was a key tenet of national policy during the years of Ireland’s economic boom. However, there were also demands from many quarters for improved public services and for greater protection for the most vulnerable. For a time, Ireland appeared to achieve the impossible – remaining a low tax economy while spending ever greater amounts on public services. It was a mirage.

International events in 2008 lit the fuse to a crisis that would ultimately overwhelm the State’s finances. But at the heart of our woes was not the international financial crisis but a home-grown problem. Ireland found itself facing a double-sided structural deficit problem, in which the crash in tax revenues was not being mitigated by equivalent reductions in public spending. In particular, the massive growth in unemployment represented a dual blow, with the consequent reduction in tax revenue occurring alongside a huge increase in the number of people dependent on the State for social welfare payments.

 

What Kind of Society? A Better Vision Needed

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 

April 2011

Introduction

The people have spoken in the General Election. They have voted in overwhelming numbers for change. They have done so because the philosophy and policies of the past have patently failed and they want no more of them. The new Government will go down the same tired routes at its peril.

The new Government, and all of us, must now ask, and answer, a number of fundamental questions. Do we want a society where economic growth takes precedence over all else? Do we want a society where market forces and the ability to pay dictate whether or not all of our people have equal access to food, accommodation, health care and education? Do we want a society where the distribution of income and wealth remains significantly skewed in favour of the well-off and the powerful? Do we want a society where considerable numbers of children and the elderly live in consistent poverty or at risk of poverty?

 

Working Notes Issue 66 Editorial

on Thursday, 02 June 2011. Posted in Issue 66 New Dáil: New Dawn?

 pdf iconWorking Notes Issue 66 Editorial

In a Statement issued prior to the General Election in February of this year, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice noted that in public discussions in Ireland on how to address the economic crisis reference was frequently made, by politicians and commentators, to ‘the common good’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘sustainability’. The Statement said that while this was welcome, the reality was that the mere articulation of such values was in itself of little consequence, unless there was ‘a corresponding determination to take the decisions and measures necessary to give effect to these values’.

The Programme for Government of the new Fine Gael–Labour Party Government includes many references to values such as social solidarity and equality; indeed, at the outset, the Programme states that both parties in Government are ‘committed to forging a new Ireland that is built on fairness and equal citizenship’.

 

A New Economic Paradigm?

Written by Gerry O'Hanlon SJ on Thursday, 31 March 2011. Posted in Issue 63 A New Economic Paradigm?, 2010

A New Economic Paradigm?

Introduction

The virus of global recession, with its virulent manifestation in Ireland, has raised the question of what antidotes are possible. What lessons can we learn from the past, in order to plot a more secure way into the future? In particular, the question arises as to whether we need to consider a new, more socially responsible, economic model, and not just a reform of the old one, which arguably, despite its undoubted partial successes, has shown itself to be unsustainable.1

A New Economic Paradigm? In the Concrete

on Thursday, 31 March 2011. Posted in Issue 64 What Direction for Recovery?

Towards a New Model

A New Economic Paradigm? In the Concrete – Towards a New Model

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at ... (Oscar Wilde)

It is good to remember that utopia is nothing but the reality of tomorrow and that today’s reality is yesterday’s utopia. (Le Corbusier)

Politics left to managers and economics left to brokers add up to a recipe for social and environmental chaos. (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury1)

The Great Transition – New Economics Foundation

In October 2009, the New Economics Foundation (NEF), an independent think-and-do tank based in Britain, published The Great Transition,2 its version of how things could ‘turn out right’ by 2050. The transition in question is to an economic model capable of responding to the situation of crisis that we find ourselves in and based on the values outlined in the first article in this series, published in the March 2010 issue of Working Notes.3 The model contains seven major steps, some aspects of which I will outline briefly.

 

Working Notes Issue 64 Editorial

on Thursday, 07 October 2010. Posted in Issue 64 What Direction for Recovery?

October 2010

Working Notes Issue 64 Editorial

Even as the global economy shows signs of recovery from the financial and economic shocks of the past two years, worrying questions remain. Just how robust is the recovery: is it possible we may yet face a ‘double dip’ recession? How long until economic growth translates into a fall in unemployment? How severe will be the social, as well as the economic, impact of governments having to deal with the public debt incurred in order to prevent a deeper recession?

Enough: Foundation for a Moral and Ecological Economics

on Wednesday, 06 October 2010. Posted in Issue 64 What Direction for Recovery?

Anne B. Ryan

October 2010

Waste

Enough: Foundation for a Moral and Ecological Economics

Introduction

How can we live in harmony with nature? How do we stop global warming, the associated climate change and the destruction of ecosystems?

How can we eliminate poverty, provide security and create sufficiency for all the people of the earth?

How do we restore an ethic of care for people and for the earth?

In short, how can we put human and planetary well-being at the centre of all our decision-making?

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As a society, Ireland puts effort into remembering. Orchestrated campaigns have been launched for the “decade of commemorations,” as we mark the centenary of the decisive events, from the 1913 Lock-out to the cessation of the Civil War in 1923, that established modern Ireland. Yet right in the middle of that period, in 2018, we reach the landmark ten years since the end of the Celtic Tiger.’ Read full editorial

Working Notes is a journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The journal focuses on social, economic and theological analysis of Irish society. It has been produced since 1987.