Looking for a friend: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

France and Germany, or Austria and Poland? It’s a major national decision

The Return to Amsterdam of the Second Expedition to the East Indies, by Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom (1566-1640). Over the years, the Dutch built the most commercially successful economy in the world. Photograph: Phas/UIG via Getty Images

We need the tech companies, but we must not let their interests supersede all others

  Grand Canal Dock, Dublin: The global economic cycle in general and the Irish economic system in particular are being profoundly affected by structural changes brought about by technological innovations. Photograph:  NurPhoto/Getty

The Crash – 10 years on: This was part of a classic cycle. The recovery came as a bit of a shock

In almost all cases, the price of a pint of Guinness gets cheaper when it leaves Ireland. In some cases the differences are enormous. Photograph: Getty Images

Shopping in the North could make you 30% richer. It is economic self-harm not to do so

First, Joseph learns the baby isn’t his but God’s, then he gets hit with a pile of new taxes by the Romans. Illustration: Wynnter/Getty Images

Today, wise men know that the world’s economic future isn’t in the west. It’s in China

Wrapping its arms around the world: China uses money it earns from selling cheap consumer goods to Cubans to invest in factories and other infrastructure back in Cuba, thus buying political influence as well as market share. Photograph: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty

We’ve grown far more productive, but global competition is keeping wages low

Bitcoin boom: the cryptocurrency’s price has risen by 1,525 per cent this year. Photograph: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

Bitcoin and financial markets are rising disturbingly fast. Let’s not forget our history

True North: although restaurants may have lost some of their social cachet, they still reveal, sociologically, something about a place. Photograph: Macduff Everton/Corbis Documentary/Getty

David McWilliams: Economically and socially, North and South are different countries

The Japanese concluded in 1868 that to get the economy working properly for as many people as possible they had to dramatically reduce the wealth tied up in land.

Ireland needs to follow radical example of Japan’s 19th-century ‘Meiji Restoration’

International role:  Commercially Ireland is more akin to a trading state than a nation state.  However, playing this trading state game takes skill and vision. Photograph: Christopher Murray/Getty

If we redefine our relationship with multinationals, Ireland can be a global leader

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