“Britain faces another general election for all sorts of reasons. The ‘Daily Mail’ captured it with a remarkably Leninist headline: ‘Crush the saboteurs’.”

Brexit narrative in UK shows how resistant beliefs can be to factual reality

Theresa May: untainted by exposure to economics or tough financial decisions, the British prime minister can pursue reduced immigration as her prime goal. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty

With a general election looming, the British PM’s hard-Brexit obsession has blinded her to reality

 ‘If Brexit-type forces take hold on the Continent then we really are taking risks with peace’ Image: iStock

Europe’s default destination is war, unless sensible people take a a detour

“The Brexiteers are so dim, so wedded to platitudes and simple slogans that they didn’t notice.” Above, UK Brexit secretary David Davis. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Chris Johns: Brexit leaders are so dim, they haven’t noticed their stated negotiating principles have already changed since articl(...)

Tory party ideologues want the hardest Brexit imaginable. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The UK is facing into the most challenging set of decisions since the second World War

If there is a single global problem that almost everyone agrees needs to be tackled, it is income inequality. The simple fact is that a lot of people don’t earn very much.

We accord the ‘dismal profession’ too much respect and listen to too much of its baloney

Donald Trump’s first budget and Paul Ryan’s tax cuts for the rich (masquerading as healthcare reform) are unlikely to get past even a Republican congress. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg

Chris Johns: What hope for Brexit if Tories can’t even put a coherent budget together?

Theresa May: It is bizarre that her pursuit of a hard Brexit is not seen as the biggest mistake of her premiership to date. Photograph: EPA

Time to explain to Northern Unionists that their economic future looks far rosier in the EU

Stock prices over the next few years will forever remain one of life’s known unknowns

Simple but brutal truth is that nobody has any idea what stock markets will do

Nigel Farage: after he  retired as leader of Ukip, the Conservative Party effectively took up his Brexit policies.

As Ukip fades from the political arena, its policy of immigration reduction prospers

Theresa May and Angela Merkel: whatever happens in public, the real action will be between Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble on one side and May, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox on the other. Photograph: Leon Neal-Pool/Getty

As the phoney war ends, the odds of an early collapse of Brexit negotiations shorten daily

British army engineers dismantle Kilturk checkpoint on the Border in February 1995. Will the return of a hard Border be a price worth paying?

Chris Johns: Is the social, political and economic costs of a hard Border worth paying?

Donald Trump has been consistent about his promise to start a trade war. Photograph: Reuters

Trump’s policies mean more Irish growth must come from Irish businesses

US president Donald Trump,  stands with Theresa May, UK prime minister, while arriving at the West Wing of the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

As the US and UK pursue unrealistic trade goals, Ireland needs to take a different path

The more “conventional” threat to the euro comes from a number of sources: forthcoming elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany. In particular, a Marine Le Pen victory in France is widely thought likely to be a euro-ending event

Some wonder how German banker misdeeds sit with government insistence on fiscal rules

Theresa May outside 10 Downing Street. ‘Her 12-point Brexit strategy will not survive its first contact with the enemy.’ Photograph: Reuters/Neil Hall

British leader’s real priority is curbing immigration whatever the economic cost

The near future? A Lexus RX 450h  modified by Google to be a self-driving car. Photograph: JasonDoiy/Getty

No car in the drive, no car parks, no insurance: it’s all about to happen

It is difficult to see anything stopping the Brexiteers getting what they want: the clean and complete exit.

Departure of UK’s ambassador to the EU and strong economy emboldens Brexiteers

Once the importance of beliefs is acknowledged, forecasting the future becomes well nigh impossible. The only thing that we can say about what happens next is that “it all depends”

Perhaps with our new-found awareness of the fragility of forecasts, we can use them in more productive ways

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has publicly tried to persuade stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozïl that money isn’t everything. Photograph: Carl Recine/Livepic via Reuters

Global market for most professional salaries is rigged, unlike steel and coal workers’ pay

The Jarrow Crusade in Britain which in 1936 marched for the right to work

Most economists still obsessed by competitiveness when the reality is wage stagnation

Trump supporters after the election. Half of all Americans have seen no real income increases since the 1970s. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

In the US and UK, the rich will get richer and the poor will get nothing

“Berlin or Boston?” used to be the question, but maybe Ireland has more in common with Toronto. Photograph: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

MGI finds migrants added $6.7 trillion to world economy, and local jobs don’t suffer

Brexit leader Nigel Farage: campaign falsely claimed  NHS would get an extra  £350 million a week post-Brexit. Photograph:  Patrick Seeger/EPA

Trump and Brexit have nothing to say about real problems in a rapidly changing world

If Trump merely cuts taxes and boosts spending he risks enraging his base and clearing a path for an even worse goon

UK and US are engaged in a kind of cold civil war: that’s a recipe for economic stagnation

The Daily Mail published photographs of the three judges involved in the high court hearing, accompanied by the banner headline “Enemies of the people”. One leading commentator likened the tabloids to sterling: just as you think they can’t sink any lower, they do.

Is Theresa May playing a complex game with the ultimate goal of delivering a soft Brexit?

Technicians prepare Qashqai car doors  at the Nissan plant in Sunderland. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Reuters

Secret Nissan-style deals are postdated cheques offered by the UK government

‘The arguments of the Brexiteers are anti-intellectual, lazy, populist, xenophobic (if not racist) and utterly inward looking.’  Photograph: AFP

Ireland and Britain have stronger links than many realise, and it’s not all economics

British Prime Minister Theresa May. What if she realises how mad Brexit is?

What if the prime minister realises just how bonkers Brexit and the Brexiteers are?

France’s socialist leaders Jacques Delors and Francois Hollande. Europe needs more growth: “Delors 2” proposes ways in which public and private investment can be boosted. Photograph: Reuters/Charles Platiau

Existing code resembles nothing a sentient human being would design from scratch

The Irish budget announcement doesn’t matter much in the overall scheme of things now – and the €1.3 billion adjustment is not that big a deal – because of rules set by the European Union in Brussels. All of the furore is really the narcissism of small differences. Photograph: Getty Images.

Furore over €1.3bn package is really the narcissism of small differences

British prime minister Theresa May’s announcement of a Brexit date “will keep the crocodiles away for a while”. Photograph: Bloomberg

Brexit negotiations currently amount to a discussion held by the Tory party with itself

British prime minister Theresa May: she just seems to want to kick things into the long grass. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

As Britain moves towards exit talks, the UK currency is in the firing line

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson and British secretary of state for exiting the European Union  David Davis. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Tories are wrong to think EU decisions have primarily been driven by economics

If Brexit goes badly, we can be confident that sterling will fall further. Photograph: AFP

Massive moves in currency not a crisis for Bank of England

Big spender: Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump  speaking at an event in Miami, Florida. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

Europe’s banks are still far from being restored to health

Newt Gingrich: “American people feel that crime is on the up. I’ll go with that rather than your liberal statistics.” Photograph: AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

Never mind the ‘liberal statistics’, Gingrich and Trump know how people feel

It is nearly eight years since the night of the infamous bank guarantee; eight years since the failure of Lehman Brothers. And still our banks are not in great shape. NICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images.

It is not as if there is not a straightforward example of how to mend broken banks: the US did it very successfully

Irish policymakers will need to be both nimble and flexible. And very cautious when it comes to taxes and spending.

UK cut to corporation tax hardly a positive development but benefits of low Irish rate already being eroded

Boris Johnson: ‘His only real job experience comes from writing newspaper columns’. Photograph: Getty Images

Not impossible that country’s next prime minister will be its last

Could this, as some have suggested, be another Lehman-style crash? Photograph: Bloomberg

‘It is absolutely impossible to guess how deep or how long UK downturn may last’

British justice secretary Michael Gove declared; “We have had enough of experts.” Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

UK recession is probable in event of exit, with unintended consequences for Ireland

An internet rumour once suggested that a Google search for “swivel-eyed loon” took the user straight to the UK Independence party (Ukip) website. The origins of this rather British political label are hard to pin down.  File photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

My cohort of Brits know the EU is about peace and not economic growth

Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist at the IMF, is among the economists who disagree with a lot of recent commentary, and say that “we share a conviction that public discussion of the global economic outlook has run off the rails”. Photograph: Ibrahim Usta/AP Photo

Low inflation has been around for so long most analysts now assume it is permanent

A trader on the NYSE. The main worry is another recession. All we know is that a slowdown is certain but what is utterly unknown is how many months or years that calamity lies in the future. It has become a cliché to repeat Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson’s joke that markets predict nine out of five recessions.

All we know is that a slowdown is certain but what is utterly unknown is how many months or years that calamity lies in the future(...)

Minister Leo Varadkar TD with Fine Gael Dublin Bay South candidate Kate O’Connell. while preparations are made for Dublin Chinese New Year Festival, at CHQ, while the party announced their plans to abolish the USC by 2020. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

A good idea in principle it has been tortured into submission by exemptions, bands, multiple changes to rates and promises of abo(...)

“In any event, if you argue for something, no matter how flawed you might privately believe it to be, you are saddled with the blame when things go wrong. It’s called cabinet responsibility.” Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

If IMF was so vehemently opposed to what was going on it should have said so at the time, perhaps even threatening to withdraw fro(...)

Sections of the Irish commentariat resemble the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in the way they congratulate themselves for the hundreds of people that listen to them but fail to recognise the millions that are turned off by their never-ending complaints. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Confidence is vital and there are lots of reasons to feel better about the future

 Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance:  the intensely political budget won’t actually amount to much, economically speaking, because of  EU constraints. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

The budget and euro are political creations with almost incidental economic outcomes

The Volkswagen logo outside the group’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. Clever software from VW defeated the environmental monitors; there is lots of fiendishly complex computer code out there, not all of it benign. Photograph: AFP Photo /John MacDougall

Aspects of corporate behaviour have been a source of concern for centuries

Kevin Gardiner:  in his new book, Making Sense of Markets, he tells the story of how he coined the term “Celtic Tiger”, and how he has tried to live it down ever since. Photograph: Frank Miller.

Predictions of low growth are likely to be as wrong as any other economic forecasting

‘The syllabus revision that was never quite achieved was motivated in part by inspectors noticing rote learning as opposed to thinking.’

Promised review of 1969 syllabus failed to materialise

Figures suggest we are more flush than we thought. Photograph: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

European economy is looking buoyant, led by robust labour market figures for Ireland

A board showing currency exchange rates in Almaty, Kazakhstan: the 22 per cent drop in Kazakhstan’s currency has reminded traders of what happened next when the Thai Baht devalued in the late 1990s. Photograph: Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

The world economy is still susceptible to problems wherever and whenever they pop up

John Bruton: his view that government finances should be likened to those of the ordinary household is wrong. A government can have positive or negative effects, sometimes huge, on an economy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Expenditure has to rise – and a big part of this has to be on capital investment

John Cochrane, a Chicago professor, points out that the US money supply recently went up 10,000 per cent and inflation went down. Photograph: PA

Economists increasing at odds over financial theories

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. ‘In many respects, the Irish economy is now on autopilot: the policy parameters are known and set by our European masters.’ Photograph: Collins

There are many reasons for us to be confident about our economic future

Former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke: in a recent blog he makes several telling points about the mess the euro zone finds itself in.  Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Germany must be obliged to introduce structural changes to its economy

Yanis Varoufakis: annoyed the European establishment with lots of analysis. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

We are witnessing one the biggest rolls of the economic dice in history

 British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne: widely regarded as prime minister in waiting. It appears he is single-handedly running the UK economy while David Cameron busies himself with the Brexit referendum. Photograph:  Andrew Yates

Radical steps point to minister with vision who is not afraid to take business to task

‘The euro is a project that resembles what was intended as Anglo Irish Bank’s headquarters.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

EU’s democratic and governance gaps are more worrying than its fiscal holes

Customers queue to use an ATM outside a bank  in Thessaloniki, Greece, yesterday. Photograph: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg

Greece needs debt relief, it has got nothing to do with morality or who deserves what

UK chancellor George Osborne is the latest politician trying to enshrine a balanced budget rule into national law. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Politics and the economy are a dangerous mix and remind us why supervision is needed

Banknotes worth 150 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Zimbabwe may be a contrarian idea too far

 Klaus Masuch, Istvan Szekely and Ajai Chopra: neutral observers will probably conclude that the troika’s polices worked in Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

The situation in Greece mirrors our own but its economy remains under serious threat

‘The debate over technology speaks to shifting economic structures whose implications we poorly understand.’ Robots manufactured by Spanish company Pal Robotics. Photograph: Peter Kneffel/EPA

Technologically disrupted workers need to reinvent themselves in self-employment.

US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen:  peppers her speeches with references to ‘equilibrium interest rates’. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ireland’s rate of growth is extraordinarily high by global economy standards

Bank of England governor Mark Carney: what he actually said was much more nuanced than the headlines suggested. Photograph: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

As a group, EU migrants to the UK go to work and when they do, they are more productive than the natives

British prime minister David Cameron at a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day,  in London yesterday.   Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

If Britain leaves it may not be that big a deal, as the EU is a busted flush

‘It seems to be easier to cut public sector pay than to take on pensioners.’ Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Chris Johns: Government must tackle issue of unaffordable and indefensible benefits

“Free money is there to spend on infrastructure: it isn’t really borrowing, more an asset swap.” Photograph: Alan Betson

‘We want the low paid, eventually, to earn enough to pay some income taxes’

  The only institution capable of acting as an impartial judge between the Germans and the Greeks is the IMF which, sadly, has gone missing in action. Pictured: Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Nasty things will happen after a default but reinstating the drachma is not automatic

Our debate about tax is as incoherent as is the one in the UK; claims are made that often violate the basic principles of arithmetic

Former British PM John Major’s election victory of 25 yeas ago remains instructive

Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras: the Greeks have managed to pull off a remarkable trick. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

It is not just Greece we have to worry about – the UK election is likely to lead to a brand new political landscape

 Jeremy Clarkson: the former Top Gear television presenter  is another member of the 1 per cent who get to walk away with most of the cash. The producer whom he allegedly assaulted is almost certainly not a member and probably will never be. Photograph: Koen Van Weel/EPA

Chief financial officers are being lured into technology far more than banking

Try to imagine what an executive of a tech or pharmaceutical company would think of a country with a Sinn Féin taxation system

Commentators focused on fact that Goldman Sachs was responsible for financial crisis

One or two Nowcasting models are saying Europe is actually growing faster than the US. Photograph: Thinkstock

|Nowcasting suggests Europe is doing better than thought but the US has slowed

The rise of robots will challenge many of our beliefs, not least our conviction that a good education is the best route towards prosperity. Photograph: Michael Nelson/EPA

Driverless cars are one thing, but when your own job is threatened you need to pay attention

Central Bank: every banker knows that higher volumes of lending risks lower quality – the chance of loans not being repaid. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

As loan profitability declined, banks just made more loans – the usual checks and balances disappeared

Apples and oranges: the comparison with “US poverty levels” is risible; one economy is at full employment, the other is not even close. Photograph: Thinkstock

Further taxing Ireland’s diminutive 1 per cent won’t deliver equality; full employment will

According to Revenue, there will be 129,919 people earning over €100,000 this year.  Photograph: Joe St Leger

A key part of Sinn Féin’s plans is to raise taxes on people earning over €100,000

The smart money is clearly on a negotiated settlement, but only after a good bit of sabre-rattling. Photograph: Getty Images

Stakes could not be higher for crunch EU talks – but common ground appears elusive

US president Barack Obama thinks Americans should start to pay death duties. Republicans in control of Congress are apoplectic. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Politicians and commentators who persist in calling for the introduction of wealth taxes are being disingenuous

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. ‘Draghi may be like Napoleon’s favourite general: lucky.’ Photograph: Michael Probst/AP Photo

Amid the bond-buying the furore, the release of key economic data was ignored

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper: few of his incremental reforms can be described as radical but taken together, over several years, they have amounted to an astonishingly successful centre-right revolution. Photograph: Ben Nelms/Reuters

‘Reboot Ireland’ must think that significant chunks of the Irish political spectrum are perhaps business-hostile

Someone has to pay for pensions. For the public sector and the State pension that someone is the taxpayer

Pension promises cannot be honoured when the ratio of pensioners to workers explodes

 Tokyo, Japan: the country’s recent success can be partly ascribed to the dramatic policy shifts implemented over the past few years

Japan is growing its GDP per head at levels approaching 2% a year but Europe’s GDP per head is still falling

There was a mere 10 months between the gamble of the exit and the first post-austerity budget. Photogarph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Government should be congratulated for its courage and luck on bailout exit strategy

The fall in oil prices could represent the equivalent of a trillion-dollar tax cut for the global economy. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Opinion: Irish exporters to benefit from falls in oil prices

An oilfield in Iraq. The oil market is analysed more than any other, and for good reason – it really is that important.  Photograph: Reuters

Impact of oil price collapse has potential to be massive

Social  media enhances our interactions with fellow human beings but also poses great risks. Photograph: Camelia Dobrin/Ikon Images

Bullying unacceptable at home or in school but fine on social media, writes Chris Johns

An Apple watch at an Apple event in California. Technology has essentially shifted the profitability of the telephone and newspaper industries to Apple and Google

Opinion: legacy of financial crisis may be vulnerability to technological disruption

Jean-Claude Trichet: We have his letters, but we will probably never know exactly what former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet said to Brian Lenihan. Photograph: Bloomberg

Interests of weaker EU states will always come second to interests of the stronger ones

Company lending is a risky business with characteristics common to other forms of credit but also with its own unique challenges

Are low levels of lending to SMEs a reflection of limited demand for credit rather than lack of supply?

Michael Noonan: unlikely to agree with recent criticism of Ireland in the New York Times for displaying an apparent lack of interest in corporate tax reform. Photograph: Alan Betson

An astonishing number of US firms are incorporated in Delaware, despite having no business there. Why?

“The Common Travel Area (CTA) is utterly inconsistent: it means no queues and no passport controls when we travel to Heathrow and Gatwick, but usually involves queues and always a passport check when travelling through Dublin Airport.” Photograph:  Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Initiatives like the Common Travel Area agreement with the UK must make it easier to travel and do business

 Anyone who earns €70,000 or more (or who merely aspires one day to earn that much) is on their own. Photo: Bloomberg
Plucking the SME goose

Those who are self-employed or earning in excess of €70,000 are on their own

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: As some of the power has seeped back to Dublin, the transition has elicited another form of instability: narrow sectional interests flex their muscles for the first time in what seems an age

Noonan should abandon hoopla and tell it like it is

Apple’s effective tax rate, properly measured, is 26 per cent rather than the 52 per cent for PAYE workers. Photograph: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Ireland reveals its antipathy towards small business via the tax system

A tax protest march in the early 1980s. The debate still rages.

Partisan lobbying now dominates all discussion

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