The Vision thread


Yup, every child should have passed the ECDL and know how to touch type. Primary school children are well able for it. I reckon basic is still king in terms of programming although some sort of scripting knowledge might be handy? Even just visual basic macros in word or excel would be a good start.


I wouldn’t insult a kid with the ECDL…


Yes, the computer is something that takes education but it is a big tool in an economy of increasing returns - the more you buy, the more you buy more e.g. software. But the education base is necessary for it in the first place.

Also educate the parents to use a machine with more buttons than the remote control and run courses for the elderly (Fas could again be useful for this) because it’s not all about lowering costs - you must try to grow some industries as well and get people involved in new technology culture. The radio, phone and TV/Cable were the precursors but the computer is all those combined and more; typing will be the next talking/walking.

We should have a proper decent broadband network with local television stations sponsored by Chambers of Commerce featuring programmes and ads created by school children, articles and features about the locality etc.

Education is a main part of this but is the will there?


Irish is taught terribly. I’m all for teaching it but the approach has to change dramatically. As for other languages, I think its an English-speaking country problem. The Brits aren’t great with second languages and while Spanish is spoken widely in America, its nearly all immigrants that are bilingual.
I once had an american colleague who told me he was practically fluent in Spanish. Someone overheard us and asked him a basic question and he just stared. same thing for question 2. A+ for BS.
The point is, Europeans are forced (practically) to take up another language. Watching subtitled TV from a young age helps a lot I’ve been told. We seem to get by fine with English. For example, in research science, all decent publications worldwide are in English. There are some national journals but they wont reach a large enough audience so they only get shitty submissions. If you want a career in this area you are practically forced to speak english.

As for what we do well??
Its been said already. Food and tourism. The boom hasn’t created any new industry and it may well have destroyed on of two old reliables.


I would agree with this.

My earlier post (tourism/agriculture/foreign companies) was really to illustrate that Ireland doesn’t have a future. How many other countries can now also offer these?, and with better value for money?

Why I think this way;
Reason One
What would happen if American and European companies set up operations in a poor African country, providing work, then give the masses cheap, easily accessible credit? I suspect we would see a similar boom that happened in Ireland. Take away the cheap credit, and withdraw the companies and what are you left with?
Ireland didn’t invest its new found riches in its future, so now we don’t have one. Ireland is simply going to go back to being the poor man of Europe.

Reason Two
Very, very few Irish SMEs are innovators, or create something (apart from houses). Most of them are reliant on large foreign companies, other SMEs or the building industry. With the collapse of construction, the threads of the enconomy are being pulled.

We are probably now even in a worse situation than before the boom. Now we have lots of people with huge debts for fast depreciating liabilities like cars and houses etc.
Ireland has nothing to underpin the economy.


So why not liquidate the banks and their bad debts at whatever clearing price we can get and start again with an almost clean sheet? It’s not pretty but it beats dragging out a recession for the next decade.


Even if we could wave a magic wand and banish the debts, what are we going to start with?
We’re back to Tourism/Agriculture/Foreign firms.


We need to forget abut this fallicy of a knowledge economy. Ireland cannot compete with India and China in the tech arena.

China produces 400,000 engineers every year. I have no idea how many India produces but it is probably similar and their base language is English wihich is a substantial avantage when it comes to programming anyway. We may forget about this much vaunted knowledge economy. We never had one anyway. Just a few multinationals assembling stuff. It could be done anywhere where people are willing to work for the minimum amount of money. That is not a knowlede economy.

I think we need to concenctrate on the following:

1 Food Production/processing/marketing. We need to add more value in this area. We need to get away from raw ingredients game which is low rent and move up to the gourmet game.
2 Green Energy (Wind/Tidal)
3 Exporting building technology & services (Think Kingspan & Coffey Construction)
4 Pharmaceuticals (we seem to be good at that and the margins are huge so costs are not that critical. Also it is hard to move these industries because of regulatory issues with re-validation etc. We have a large amount of people in Ireland with pharma skills and this is a big plus for locating pharma industry here. However cost is still an issue and enough cost will drive them away eventually so this needs to be trimmed.)
5 Water: Water is becoming a very scarce natural resource. I know that we have f__ked up much of our water supplies ove the past few years and that needs to be resolved. However with all the rain that we have and all the rain that we are likely to have as a result of global warming it seems to me that we could kill two birds with one stone and put in rainwater collection systems that collect and store water and at the same time stop all these flooding issues. We could then sell the water to drier parts of europe like spain. Barcelona currently is having water delivered in huge tanker ships daily. We should take advantage of that ready and accessible market.

We also need to reform the public services (fire half of them bsically and cut the pay for the rest by 30% and stop funding their pensions). However I doubt that this will be done as it would be political suicide.



Would this be so bad as a start? Some industries around these sectors might be natural to the Irish - our food industry could be a world leader but our dedication to food eaten publicly is awful - we’re good enough in the home. Couldn’t we go for a higher quality of food - organic produce, niche ranges and markets? I think it might be a matter of getting tourists to return and generating new tourist markets here in watersports and cycle lanes -big one proposed from Galway to Clifden along a used railway line - something like this would give depth to our tourist sector - at the moment there’s a lot of whirlwind Bunratty Castle, a few pubs in Galway, the Cliffs of Moher (where it costs €8 to park :confused: )

Are we really worse off than before the boom? I’d nearly think so. Our personal debt is higher, however we do have a lot more infrastructure and an awful lot of houses … renting is often a big issue for labour movements and maybe there will be a lot more flexibility here with the increased availability of property. But what will people come here to work for? Isn’t it the case that, using Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs as a model, if you provide for the basic needs then the rest follows more easily? Didn’t two kids in Limerick become millionaires by developing a piece of software recently? Home-grown business will naturally arise if the basics are provided for - I’m convinced of it. It might not be super high tech but it’ll be what we’re good at - whether that’s music, art, telling stories or creating fusion power isn’t it best to try to provide the environment rather than pushing it?

Changing our attitudes to part-time or casual work might be no harm either - maybe some of us would like to study for half of our lives… is it so impossible in this day and age to do this (and maybe support a family too?)


I’d agree that we have to stop deluding ourselves quickly that we have the pricing power to compete with super cheap labour. Once we’ve digested that fact we examine our options and take it from there.


Are those the lads that had to go to America to be taken seriously because Enterprise Ireland didn’t want to know? - Clever kids.


FFS TUG, economics basics, capital is allocated where it gets a good return. FYI other costs in the hotel trade are largely fixed. You sound like Bertie.

Capital, like Elvis, has pretty much left the building. If the sums have been done wrong, whatever capital if any is left will go elsewhere.

Lot of people are/will be fucked. Competitiveness is key. Free wage levels are necessary.


Tourism/Agriculture/Foreign firms is mostly where we’re at in 2008 and they are shackled with with the overheads imposed by servicing the debt leftover from the construction boom, pricing us out of the market and out of work.

We don’t have the option of inflating our way out of this crisis (It’s not a good option anyway, but it is more politically acceptable). The gig is almost up on the corporate tax scam and the East Europeans have settled on a flat tax model, how long more before that leg is pulled from under us?
The Irish banks are clearly the Achilles heal for the Irish economy, with their unserviceable debt weighing us down, either they get recapitalised or they go broke. I am in favour of calling in the receiver, seize their assets (loans) to cover their debts (savings) and put them in a trust so the money can be recovered over time.

So a big reset would restore our competitive advantage, in the above areas and allow us to develop indigenous industry?


Eh, check what you’ve just said, you’re not making sense…


Economic and fiscal strategy

  • Pay freeze for the public sector
  • Convert all public sector pensions to defined contribution
  • Massive investment in offshore wind parks
  • Undersea gas and electricity connections direct to France.
  • Sell water to countries like Morocco and Spain.
  • leave the tax system alone, its better than any other country I know of.

Social strategy

  • Ban advertising of alcohol. Less binge drinkers means improved quality of life. Already implemented in France.
  • Constitutional amendment to the right to defend yourself from criminals. Already implemented in USA.
  • Prison and justice system to be revenue neutral. Convicts pay the cost of incarceration thru work programs.
  • National Dail seats to represent national issues. Already implemented in New Zealand.


Can we get looser handgun laws while we’re at it???


Like in Seattle you mean, where youre so desperate to move to because you hate yourself and you hate where youre from.

No I dont think liberal handgun laws in Ireland would work, people couldnt handle that kind of responsibility.




You were sarcastic and I responded. What did you expect.


Mercantilist, I couldn’t possibly be bothered dealing with you from here on in. To be honest, I’ve been one of the lone voices in the moderation team that has been pleading your case behind closed doors and if you think what you’ve posted just there is reasonable then it’s small wonder you’re taking up such a lot of the moderating team’s time.

Please return to on topic comments.