economics finance politics

The Joy of Self-Employment in Ireland

An ironic title as such joy is largely confined to the freedom to pick your work hours that exists in a quite limited sense if you’re providing services to people and you have to fit around their schedules.
Let’s look at the positive side:

  1. You’re the boss. Customers or clients may harass or harangue you but at least the boss won’t bully you.
  2. You have some flexibility regarding place and time of work that you may otherwise not be afforded as a PAYE worker.
  3. Expenses. You get to factor in some expenses associated with a home office into your tax bill. More on this later.
  4. Job security in the sense that you are ultimately responsible for whether you have it rather than a VP or SVP with no personal stake in your life deciding you need to be downsized because your division doesn’t look good on his spreadsheet or you’re at a grade where his costings suggest he could bring in someone younger to bugger up your job.
  5. The sense of achievement that comes with making it on your own.
philosophy politics psychology

Meedya is the muddle

Pondering the following quote which I saw on Facebook today. The irony of that sentence isn’t lost on me 🙂

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” – Marshall McLuhan.

It puzzles me that many otherwise intelligent people argue that the Internet has democratised media and so the above could not be true in the current age.  In reality, media companies are aggregated and conglomerated like never before – they are owned by rich media czars. It’s certainly true that the mechanisms for news distribution have been democratised and are now much more affordable thanks to social media and web publishing software. However, what people talk about is determined by mainstream media. We retweet, repost, add colour to and debate the topics that we’re encouraged to believe are important. Whether’s it’s “shirt gate” or Adele not singing on Bandaid30, it’s all such rubbish. Often mesmerisingly trivial banalities dressed up with complicated ideological arguments to suggest it’s something more important.

economics politics

Ireland versus Iceland

Iceland would win. Consider what has happened to these 2 countries since 2008. Iceland are not part of the EU and held a public referendum to accept the terms of a repayment deal for money lent by British and Dutch governments as a result of the IceSave crisis.The public rejected the initial terms of the deal (93% against) and the government used this result to negotiate a new and more favorable deal.

Let’s look at the terms. They’re paying fixed rates to both NL and UK. 3% to the Netherlands on £1.2Bn STG and 3.3% to the UK on £2.3 Bn STG. Good terms so far but it gets even better. Payments will not begin until July 2016 and cannot continue beyond 2046. Iceland has also secured a limit on the amount it is expected to pay out relative to its national growth. Payments cannot be lower than 1.3% of Iceland’s GDP nor exceed 5%.


Lack of confidence in no-confidence

A friend directed me to a recent article by David McWilliams about the silliness of flogging all state assets in a firesale to cover a bank induced collapse in the Irish economy. It occurred to me that since the recession started (bear in mind property peaked in 2006) we’ve seen a huge number of useful and positive suggestions from commentators like McWilliams but very few of these have been taken up. Some have. In particular the idea of a national recovery bond is an excellent one and was suggested on many blogs including this one many months ago.

The Irish Times poll results are largely anti-government. I’ve been looking at them every day and, apart from wanting public sector employees to have pay cuts instead of larger tax cuts for EVERYBODY, there’s almost no area of government economic policy that people seem to agree with. The average IT poll is negative on the government, short term economic recovery, economic policies such as the bank-bailout, NAMA, carbon taxation, health sector cuts etc.