Workers treat a building in Dublin city. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

A meaningful dereliction tax would change the game further, and for the better

As with banking, in the housing sphere, Irish citizens are being crushed financially. Photograph: iStock

This lamentable situation could end if State-owned AIB offered loans at the ECB rate

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn with HSE national director Liam Woods and Lorna Fitzpatrick, president of the Union of Student in Ireland, at a Covid-19 update press conference on Monday.  Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Rather than vilify them, let’s nurture them and invest in them now while we can

The lockdown robs us of future visibility ... In its stead, we get ingrained pessimism. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Bluntly, there will be no economic momentum as long as we have lockdowns

UK prime minister Boris Johnson (left) and former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. Photographs: Neil Hall/EPA and Patrick Hertzog/AFP via Getty

This could be the beginning of the end of the UK as the centre now struggles to hold

Ireland’s business model should still be that we are an attractive place to do international business, both for locals and foreigners. Photograph: Brian Lawless/AFP

Investment that might have gone to the UK can come here. Our job is to manage it

The future of Europe will be a struggle between the North and the South. Pictured Angela Merkel and Mario Draghi. Photograph: Silas Stein/POOL/AFP

The Germans have been boxed in by Italy. Fiscal policy has become monetary policy

The State and the ECB are behaving as if the pass-through from interest rates to the economy, via the banking system, still works. It doesn’t. Photograph: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

We are in a classic ‘liquidity trap’, and lowering interest rates won’t get us out of it

The rate of interest, which is the price of money in the future, is officially zero. What this means is there is no cost to dipping into the future to bailout the present. Image: istock

Medically, Ireland is to continue with the lockdown strategy, so what is our economic plan?

‘The office space that is freed up could then be converted into apartments, repopulating the city with residents rather than workers who commute.’

Employees who work from home will set the rent agenda and change the face of our cities

John Hume on the Walls of Derry, spring 1998. Photograph: Pacemaker

Derry Credit Union gave the city’s downtrodden the power to imagine a better future

Irish State can raise billions of euro in the bond market. Photograph:  Yann Schreiber/ AFP/Getty Images

Whatever the obstacles to social change in modern Ireland, money is not one

A glorious day on the beach in Lahinch. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

In a pandemic, unlike a recession, spending is constrained not by income but by fear

The Romans were so enamoured by urine that they taxed it, leading to the wonderful  expression, attributed to the emperor Vespasian: ‘pecunia non olet’, meaning ‘money has no smell’. Photograph: iStock

Tax is not just about raising revenue, it is a legitimate part of our economic arsenal

David McWilliams: ‘The Craic Economy covers bars, restaurants, hotels, comedy clubs ... and so one.’ All quiet in Temple Bar, Dublin on the eve of St Patricks Day this year as coronavirus restrictions came into place. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Income in the ‘Craic Economy’ – composed of bars, clubs and festivals – has dropped to zero

There is no business that opens solely in order to employ other people. Employment is what happens after a product is successful. Jobs are the consequence of product success. Photograph: iStock

It’s businesses, not governments, that create jobs. So politicians should stop promising them

Philip Lane, the European Central Bank’s chief economist. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Europe’s most conservative institution is – rightly – ripping up its own rule book

The young  are being left behind on almost every economic metric, from wage rates, to job security to housing. These issues have been made more stark since Covid-19. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Ireland is experiencing a generational divide both politically and economically

Building a sovereign wealth fund in Ireland is a sensible project – similar to the way Norway has used its oil money. Photograph: Bloomberg

Coronavirus pandemic gives us the opportunity to think big and reimagine the country

In the 1980s Ireland was a backward country, economically and socially. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland today is utterly different. Comparisons with the 1980s are lazy and inaccurate

The Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. The central bank there keeps its discount window jammed open and accepts government debt as collateral at zero interest rates. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

The solution to financial woes brought about by Covid-19 is obvious. It is called Japan

 Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: assertive macro-economic policy in 2020 is the most responsible thing we can do.  Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Saving the economy today, to grow tomorrow, requires assertive macro-economic policy

 A view of Government Buildings in Dublin amid lockdown. File photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

There is an opportunity for Ireland in this unique 21st-century economic scenario

Today’s service economy is completely dependent on science and finding a vaccine. With no vaccine, we have no recovery. Photograph: iStock

The money will not run out unless the Central Bank decides not to provide it

Small business owners are heroic. They are the people who take the risks, and without them there is no economy.  Photograph: Getty Images

The new government must make saving small businesses its top priority

An almost-deserted Grafton Street in Dublin on Wednesday.  Our reality is that the economy has been shut down not by debts, spending, a property bubble, too much lending or bad policy, but by a virus. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

Solving the economic crisis we find ourselves in due to Covid-19 is actually quite simple

Jobless men line up for a free meal in Los Angeles in December 1934 during the Great Depression. Photograph: New York Times

The Corona shut down is not normal. Therefore, economic policy has to be abnormal

It’s time to save companies with helicopter money and then allow the young to step forward and lead the rest of us to the promised land. Photograph: Getty

Recovery and immunity rates are higher for young people. So release them first

The sun sets behind European Central Bank  in Frankfurt, Germany. Once the ECB backstops  coronabonds, private investors will hold them, knowing the ECB will buy them in unlimited quantities if the investor wants to sell. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP via Getty

If the EU, ECB and all governments meet this economic crisis head on, Europe has a chance

The ECB has opened up the taps and indicated it will do whatever it takes to prevent a recession becoming a depression. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Our Central Bank has unforgivably abdicated in this crisis, precisely when it was needed

A man wearing a face mask takes a selfie at the Charging Bull statue near the New Stock Exchange. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP

We need to avoid putting current system back together with sticking plaster

Empty streets due to Covid-19 in Dublin city centre. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The best way to keep people in jobs and buy time is to give all adults ‘helicopter money’

So what should we do?  The Central Bank of Ireland should print money and deposit free cash into every citizen’s account and every business account. Photograph: Tom Honan

Is such a move a one-off to tackle Covid-19 crisis? Yes. Can it be done? Absolutely

Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve. Its 0.5 percentage-point cut in interest rates followed falls on Wall Street amid the threat from Covid-19. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

China has put the economy to sleep. The US is trying to shake it awake – with limited success

Mary Lou McDonald at a Sinn Féin rally at Liberty Hall, Dublin.  Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil helped create Mary Lou McDonald’s electoral juggernaut

Leaving the stage: German chancellor Angela Merkel. Photograph: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Germany may be about to enter a convulsive period economically, socially and politically

On all the big issues there’s not much between the parties. They are all pro-EU. Mary Lou McDonald has said a Border poll can wait. And all parties support the 12.5% tax rate. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/EPA

There is not much between the coalition candidates on policy – until it comes to tax

Global supply chains with Chinese exposure, which is a substantial share of the global economy, will be immediately affected, leading to disruption across many sectors. Photograph: Alex Plavevski/EPA

Economic contagion spreads far more easily than physical illness in a globalised world

The bonanzavirus is a dangerous, fiscal virus spread by politicians, and is particularly virulent in the excessive heat of an election campaign. Photographs: Nick Bradshaw  and Gareth Chaney/Collins

This virus is highly contagious, spreading rapidly from politician to politician

Housing under construction in  Lucan, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

More houses are being built, but not enough, while prices and rents are climbing too fast

A renovated house in Dublin. Since 2012 house and apartment prices in Dublin have risen by 90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, while wages have only increased by 18%. Photograph: Alan Betson

Home ownership was supposed to give people a stake in society. Today nothing is locking out and alienating our citizens more

At peak times, general Dublin traffic speeds reach about 18 km/h; at off-peak times, speeds are about 37km/h, rising during “free-flow” times to an average of 45 km/h. Photograph: Alan Betson

Why can’t our politicians adopt two simple economic solutions to traffic chaos?

‘The State needs to do deals with developers, who are the only people capable of building.’ File photo.

The general election will be a battle between the brickie and the bookkeeper

In 2020, if people want to see lower rents and more homes built, they should vote for the parties they believe will make those choices for them. Photograph: Getty Images

Year in Review: Forecasters underestimated the success of the Irish economy in 2019

Think about the large swathes of northern England that voted Conservative. They are a population decimated by the decline of British industry in the 1970s and 1980s, exacerbated by Thatcher’s policies which were explicitly based on a misunderstanding of human nature. No one has scratched their backs in a long time. Photograph: iStock

Love, trust and human connection are among the essentials of economics

People   watch Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez and vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaking on stage after the presidential inauguration in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

A close-up view of Latin America’s political crisis, from insecure Argentina

Before the multinationals: from 1921 to 1991 the Irish economy was the worst performer in western Europe; this photograph, by Hans Silvester of Gamma-Rapho, shows Toomey’s bar in Hollywood, Co Wicklow, in the 1950s

Multinationals have transformed Ireland for the better, plugging us into the globe

Portrait of Dean Jonathan Swift. Swift lived through and lost money on the world’s first global financial boom and bust, the South Sea Bubble of 1720. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images

What would Jonathan Swift make of today’s anti-multinationals lunacy? Not much

Democratic presidential hopeful Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren: wants not to end capitalism but reset it from its unfair feedback loop. Photograph:  Bridget Bennett

Elizabeth Warren wants to reset an economy destroyed by vast inequality

Monopoly is based on hoarding land, accumulating fortunes from buying property and waiting for prices to rise

We should tax landlords instead of the workers being priced out of the market

East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin Wall after demonstrators pulled down the segment at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photograph: Lionel Cironneau/File/AP Photo

After the wall fell, Ireland’s middle class expanded and mainland Europe’s shrank

Plant-based burgers are already on the menu of Burger King. And if it’s good enough for Burger King, it will be good enough for McDonalds. A once-marginal food will become mainstream. Photograph: Con Poulos/The New York Times

Plant-based meat could be the most significant change in the human diet in centuries

Setting up on your own as an entrepreneur,  knowing that if you fail you will pay the price, is an act of great personal courage. Photograph: Getty Images

Commercial risk-takers get too little credit for their valuable role in the Irish economy

Why has inflation disappeared? And is it a good thing? Photograph: iStock

Rapid disappearance of inflation has made workers poorer. And that’s not its worst effect

‘Could Cork transform itself into a true high-density city?’ File photograph: Getty

Cork doesn’t need to emulate Manhattan, but a significant increase in building is needed

The Bank of Ireland building at College Green. After the former parliament building was sold to the  Bank of Ireland, the bank avoided the then wealth tax (on windows) by blocking up the windows. Photograph: Alan Betson

With both the left and right agitating for the move worldwide, it might happen

Minister for Finance  Paschal Donohoe before delivering Budget 2019. The upcoming budget should involve a multi-decade plan to provide proper public infrastructure. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The budget should be a multi-decade plan to provide proper public infrastructure

A Kenyan hawker sells mobile phone covers on a street, in Nairobi. Photograph: Simon Maina/Getty

These consummate entrepreneurs are buying and selling as if their lives depended on it

Dubai stands testament to what can be done through sheer force of will and extraordinary urban vision. File photograph: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Dubai’s foreign labour record is appalling, but it could teach us a thing or two about urban vision

People load luggage  into a car at José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba. File photograph: Enrique De La Osa/Reuters

If you restrict supply amid huge demand, even old bangers become hugely expensive

Dún Laoghaire should be one of the best places to live in Ireland. It has so much potential. The seafront and harbour are unique. Yet the town feels abandoned. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Crippled by years of bad planning, Dún Laoghaire and towns like it must now lead the way

 Apple chief executive Tim Cook: Apple has a 20% share of the smartphone market but captures as much as 92% of the industry’s operating profit. File photograph: Eric Luke

Day of the clock-in clock-out salaryman is fading as earnings inequality grows unabated

A storm over the Adriatic Sea. We should take a leaf out of Emperor Augustus’s book and use the natural rhythm of the economic cycle and the one-off event of Brexit to signal a change in the way we work and orientate ourselves. Photograph: Chris Winsor/Getty Images

To make Brexit work for us, we must build up our cities, invest in transport and tax land

When it comes to financing disruptive technology, lower interest rates are deflationary rather than inflationary.

Disruptive technology has rewritten the economic rulebook, but the old manual is still in use

British prime minister Boris Johnson is making great play of the bunker mentality. But, ultimately, the UK will have to cut a trade deal with the EU. Photograph: Simon Dawson/EPA

The Brexit long game is glaringly obvious and is the one on which we must concentrate

UK prime minister Boris Johnson holds a plastic wrapped kipper fish during a hustings event in London on July 17th, 2019. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters.

David McWilliams: Ireland needs to pay more attention to global trends than regional ones

Muhammad Ali  knocking out George Foreman during the so-called Rumble in the Jungle in Kinshasa, Zaire on  October 30th, 1974. China is now throwing its investment hat in the African ring. Photograph: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

By 2100, a quarter of all humans will be African, so China’s gamble could pay off

NTMA head Conor O’Kelly stated with “100 per cent” certainty that Ireland will enter a recession. When the man charged with borrowing money for the State announces such calamitous news, people sit up and worry.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Burned by the 2008 bust, today’s Irish officials preach caution and warn of crashes

FT columnist Simon Kuper argues that loquacious posturing, so essential at the university debating society, is still the fuel that propels Brexit and Johnson. File photograph: Getty

The next stage of Brexit will pit the Oxford Union posh boys against the Bruges eurocrats

There are few more beautiful views than the Twelve Pins. Photograph: Getty Images

Moving public servants out of the capital is a solution to several Irish problems

 Boris Johnson leaving his London home. To become the unifying Churchillian figure he so craves to be he will have to adopt the policies of Clement Attlee on the left and Enoch Powell on the right. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The Conservative Party has abandoned metropolitan England. This is a huge change

When things are going well and prices are rising, we become giddy and optimistic. Such optimism is contagious. This is what economists call consumer confidence. Photograph: Alan Betson

When things are going well and demand is strong, like now, the State should dampen it

US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2017. Photograph:  EPA/Roman Pilipey

The United States is not getting any stronger. China is the growing economic power

 Members of the German Greens react to the publication of the first exit polls in the European elections, in Berlin. Photograph: Omer Messinger/EPA

Europe is now split between the politics of behaviour and the politics of identity

Building pressure: Dublin experienced the strongest growth in property prices among 32 countries and cities between 2013 and 2018, according to the OECD. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Worldwide, the 10-year debt binge is coming to an end. These things rarely end pleasantly

Tech insiders are said to be “disappointed” at Uber’s  valuation of  $65bn for a taxi firm with  few assets, that has no immediate prospect of making a profit, and burns through $2bn   of shareholders’ money a year.  Photograph: Getty Images

Stockmarket speculators may have Uber–extended themselves – and not for the first time

Minister for Finance: Paschal Donohoe announces the national broadband plan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The State will pay most upfront costs, then give away our investment. Take that in

In the US for example, most recent studies indicate that in the market for weed, 93% of the price is due to prohibition. File photograph: Getty

All sorts of Irish people take drugs, often a lot of drugs. Prohibition just makes things worse

High prices: Young couples excluded from the property market push life’s milestones out further. Photograph: Getty

Sign of the Times: A country that equates property with wealth is excluding its young

Whether it is cool or not to admit, the middle class provides political ballast to a country, preventing lurches to the extremes. Photograph: iStock

Class is more fluid here than elsewhere, implying greater equality of opportunity

The crane index published last week is reminiscent of 2007. It reveals that there are 127 cranes in the Dublin skyline – a record figure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A giddy herd mentality has taken hold of the the capital’s commercial property market

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with German chancellor Angela Merkel at Farmleigh House, Dublin, where they met for talks on Brexit, on Thursday. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

If we let landowners not skilled workers take the coming dividend, we will miss a huge opportunity

The facade of McCarthy’s Irish Bar, in Lexington, Kentucky. The Irish pub is a brilliant and easy to understand indicator of globalisation. Photograph: Richard Cummins/Lonely Planet/Getty

The growth in demand for Irish bars abroad is our greatest expression of soft power

Russian president Vladimir Putin  greets BP chief executive Robert Dudley  (right) and AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot (centre) during a meeting with businessmen at the Kremlin in Moscow on Wednesday. Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/Reuters

As Putin marks 20 years in power, he knows how much the world needs his country

Sheridans: its counter at Dunnes' Cornelscourt supermarket was named best cheese shop in the UK and Ireland

I’ll take an upwardly mobile Gubeen over a stinky Brexit cheddar

Germans celebrate as the Berlin Wall is opened in November 1989. Had you asked which countries would benefit most from the collapse of communism, Ireland wouldn’t have featured. Photograph: Patrick Piel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

After 1990, Ireland recorded the fastest economic growth of any European country

Cranes in the Dublin skyline in the docklands area: Organised local opposition to major infrastructural initiatives  retard economic growth and threaten Ireland’s future. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Local opposition to MetroLink and other infrastructure projects stymies growth

Who knows, Sanders could even be as influential and economically radical as the most radical of them all, Ronald Reagan. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/ Reuters

The pendulum could swing from Trump’s radical right to Sanders’s radical left

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds in Westminster, London. As a result of the party’s  current policies, the present DUP leadership is undermining rather than enhancing unionism. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Unionism has one last chance to make Northern Ireland work for everyone

 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a 70 per cent tax on the wealthy – this would have been unheard of a few years ago.  Photograph: Elizabeth D Herman/The New York Times

Millennials won’t forget being abandoned in 2009. Their votes will change our world

Countries like Ireland have a lot to lose if the world gets smaller. Photograph: Getty Images

Few societies have benefited as much as ours from globalisation. But its heyday is over

The cost overruns on the national children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital have to come from somewhere other than wages. Photograph: Eric Luke

The people who spend our money have an outrageously cavalier approach

Brexit is an act of aggression against globalisation; this will not be forgotten quickly by international investors. Photograph: EPA/Neil Hall

When your neighbour shows signs of deep political instability – do nothing and you look remarkably sane and thus attractive

A 1970s Mercedes Benz: the Merc is a traded good, sold in the competitive international market, where its price is determined by competitive international forces. Photograph: Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty

In 1973, when Ireland joined EEC, a Mercedes cost more than an average new house

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May: If the UK crashes out, it will be a failure of politics not economics. Photograph: Adrian Dennis / AFP

Events that are well flagged sometimes have a much smaller impact than we fear

The average property nationwide was worth almost €257,000 in the third quarter of 2018, up from a low of €165,000 in early 2013. There is now almost €450 billion of housing wealth in Ireland. Photograph: Frank Miller

It wasn't perfect, but the past 12 months saw incomes exceed their pre-crash peak

Today almost one-third of Australians are born elsewhere, and one in 10 are Asian. Photograph: Getty

‘Lucky Country’ can thank new arrivals, common-sense policy and luck for its expansion

France’s president Macron is deeply unpopular, and his efforts to placate the national protests through the narrow gauge lens of economics have thus far made things worse. Why? Photograph:  Getty Images

It is hard to see, from a purely economic perspective, where French anger comes from

Why not use the Apple money, the €14bn which is lying idle in an account, to build houses?

We could give windfalls from international firms to young entrepreneurs

Bernie Sanders: what underlies his movement and gives him energy, is the objective to give more and more people access to some of the enormous wealth of the country.  Photograph: Kathryn Gamble/The New York Times

Building a broad coalition against Donald Trump means convincing working, blue-collar Americans

More articles