One More Thing: The cat laughs as Kilkenomics gets ready to roll into town

Fri, Oct 11, 2013, 01:00

Economics was never this interesting when I was at school.

The line-up has been released for next month’s Kilkenomics festival, a four-day economics think-in in Kilkenny organised by David McWilliams. It’s sort of a cross between Davos and Oxegen, with a plethora of separate events and discussions in theatres and pubs across the city. There’ll be drinking too.

The big draw will surely be Dan Ariely, the top US behavioural economist and Wall Street Journal writer.

He appears to be pencilled in for several of the panel discussions, and will also deliver the Raymond Crotty economic lecture.

The festival organisers describe Ariely as the WSJ’s economic “agony aunt”. I wonder did he get many letters from Ireland during the crisis? “Dear Dan. Nobody loves us anymore. What should we do?..... yours in hope, MN, Limerick.”

One of the most intriguing-sounding events is a discussion on the Saturday evening in Cleere’s pub and theatre about the provenance and accuracy of economic forecasts. It is called “Pulling it Out of Our Arse?”, a reference to where David Drumm allegedly plucked the figure for Anglo’s bailout requirements.

One of the panellists for that discussion is another American visitor to the festival, Deirdre McCloskey, a renowned professor of economics in Chicago and an old acquaintance of Milton Friedman. McCloskey was actually born Donald McCloskey, but became a woman in 1995.

Set Theatre event
While the Anglo-inspired arse discussion is on at Cleere’s, another event will be taking place across town at the Set Theatre – “Is Big Business Killing Sport?”. On the panel there is Fintan Drury, described by the organisers as a “sports agent”. Drury is, of course, a sports agent, and a mightily successful one at that.

What the festival organisers don’t say is that he was also a director of Anglo Irish Bank for six years until it hit the buffers in 2008. He was also the man who helped to facilitate Brian Cowen’s infamous game of golf with Seanie Fitzpatrick at Druid’s Glen, just as the house was about to fall down. I don’t blame him for missing the gig at Cleere’s.

The festival runs from November 7th until November 10th.

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