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08-02-2012, 16:02   #61
hatrickpatrick
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Godge I'm sure I've probably asked you this before, but all partuisan bickering aside, where do you actually stand on the financial sector? What's your opinion on it?

Do you regard what went wrong as 'mistakes', or 'deliberate, greedy "as long as I'm ok no one else matters"-ism' on the part of those in charge of it?

I think that's where our key ideological disagreement is here, you regard it as an accident, I (and other what you define as 'hard left' protesters) regard it as deliberate corruption for which the perpetrators should be penalized.

Thoughts?
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08-02-2012, 17:01   #62
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Godge I'm sure I've probably asked you this before, but all partuisan bickering aside, where do you actually stand on the financial sector? What's your opinion on it?

Do you regard what went wrong as 'mistakes', or 'deliberate, greedy "as long as I'm ok no one else matters"-ism' on the part of those in charge of it?

I think that's where our key ideological disagreement is here, you regard it as an accident, I (and other what you define as 'hard left' protesters) regard it as deliberate corruption for which the perpetrators should be penalized.

Thoughts?
Yes, I think you have asked me before and I think I have answered but in case it is lost here goes.

The Irish financial crisis (and this is the one that affects us) was partly caused by the global events. However, and this is the important point, most of it is down to domestic events. Firstly, there was the stupidly over-confident David Drumm and Sean Fitzpatrick who believed they could build a third force in Irish banking and who convinced thousands of shareholders, investers, government ministers and officials and loan customers, mostly businessmen that their stupid foolish dream could come true.

Secondly, there was the stupid reaction of the other banks who saw the Anglo model, and under pressure from shareholders and borrowers followed suit. They were supported in this endeavour by weak regulation from the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator which were retirement homes for former Department of Finance officials.

Thirdly, there was the reaction of the average gombeen Irishman who saw a chance to make a buck through property. The result of all of that was an unsustainable property boom in Ireland. When the financial markets went wallop we were at the top of the boom, the closest analogy I can think of is that Coyote character in the Road Runner cartoon who keeps running after the cliff has run out and suddently realises there is a long way to fall.

Fourthly, there was the incredible stupidity of Cowen, McCreevy, Ahern and Lenihan who attached our government finances both expenditure and tax on to the back of the property boom and said "let the good times roll". Their approach to regulation also played a huge part. What's more, despite being warned about them, the stupid Irish voters (nearly half of them) re-elected this crowd in 2007.

So most of the mess was created by ourselves which we then proceeded to make even worse by our response to the crisis. The bank guarantee introduced by Brian Lenihan in September 2008 was the single most stupid decision ever taken in the history of the state. There were other solutions available (letting Anglo and Irish Nationwide go bust and take AIB and BOI into state ownership) that would have cost less but it seems that Lenihan was influenced by advice he got from David Mcwilliams (google McWilliams own accounts of their meetings) though the media economist tends to distance himself from that advice these days (wouldn't you?)

Well, the bank guarantee didn't work, our EU partners were furious with us - read the UK reaction at the time, and already faced with a collapse in property tax revenue and an increasing social welfare bill leaving us with a huge hole in our public finances, we now had added on a bank recapitalisation bill (though this is smaller than the structural deficit problem). As a result of that the country was in sh1t and eventually we had to call in the IMF and the EU to bail us out.

So who do I blame? I blame the incompetence and stupidity of bankers, politicians, regulators, shareholders, civil servants, borrowers and also the Irish people themselves. We made this mess, the onus is on us to clean it up. Harsh truth but reality. There is nobody who lived in Ireland who didn't benefit from the boom. The kids got higher child benefit than anywhere in Europe, the pensioners got higher pensions, the civil servants got higher pay, anyone on social welfare got better benefits than anywhere else, we had lower income taxes. We all benefitted and joined in apart from a few who warned about the dangers. Those that didn't accepted the democratic outcome and the legitimacy of the decisions made by FF governments - where were the protesters in 2005, 2006 and 2007 about the increases in social welfare and the cuts in taxation? Too busy protesting about snails in Kildare or a couple of kms of pipeline in Mayo. You dropped the ball on the real issues, lads.

Was there corruption? No, I don't think so in regard to the major decisions. We elected the politicians who took the disastorous decisions on tax and spending, we then re-elected the same crowd with a few Greens and they took the bank guarantee decision. Those are the things that made the mess, nothing corrupt about that.

Was there something going on in the banks? The Quinn loans, the director loans in Anglo, Fingleton in Irish Nationwide, there may have been breaches of company and/or fraud law in these cases, let us wait and see but I very much doubt that the major decisions that caused the problem were corrupt. They were made by stupid incompetent politicians (or their appointees) who the electorate stupidly elected.

So yes, I am very angry about what happened, but I also realise that we have made our bed in this situation and we have to sleep in it, uncomfortable and all as that is. What annoys me about the people who end up in groups like the ULA, PfP and ODS, is their point-blank refusal as Irishmen and Irishwomen to accept that this is our own fault and instead of protesting and crying and looking around for someone else to blame, we should just get on with the task on rebuilding this country and economy, something I believe is eminently possible.

Rant over.
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08-02-2012, 17:29   #63
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So yes, I am very angry about what happened, but I also realise that we have made our bed in this situation and we have to sleep in it, uncomfortable and all as that is. What annoys me about the people who end up in groups like the ULA, PfP and ODS, is their point-blank refusal as Irishmen and Irishwomen to accept that this is our own fault and instead of protesting and crying and looking around for someone else to blame, we should just get on with the task on rebuilding this country and economy, something I believe is eminently possible.

Rant over.
But surely the average person-on-the-street, maybe with a mortgage, children, maybe about to lose their job if they haven't already, can't do a lot towards rebuilding this country. So you are saying that they should quietly, and without protest, continue to make cutbacks, struggle to pay the bills, pay ever increasing taxes and hope that our leaders (who, as you say, haven't had the best record over the last few decades) will sort it all out in our best interests?
I would also like to mention that the €1.25bn that was paid to Anglo Irish Bank on 25th January was not covered by the bank guarantee scheme, and had already been sold by the original bondholders at a 50% discount. So the people who received that vast sum of money made an instant, undeserved windfall of €62500000000
I personally believe that is not something that comes under the heading of 'we all made this bed so we must lie in it'
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08-02-2012, 18:23   #64
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But surely the average person-on-the-street, maybe with a mortgage, children, maybe about to lose their job if they haven't already, can't do a lot towards rebuilding this country. So you are saying that they should quietly, and without protest, continue to make cutbacks, struggle to pay the bills, pay ever increasing taxes and hope that our leaders (who, as you say, haven't had the best record over the last few decades) will sort it all out in our best interests?
That is not the average person on the street.

(1) There are 400,000 unemployed but there are 1.8 million employed, the average person is employed (or supported by someone who is employed).

(2) Figures from the 2006 Census indicated that around 40% of households were in owner-occupied homes that had a mortgage outstanding while 35% of households owned their home outright. The remaining 25% of household were mainly in Local Authority or private rented accommodation. So less than 50% have a mortgage.

(3) I can't find figures for children, but I would again suspect that less than 50% of households have children under 18 but I may be wrong. Either way, enough above to show your averge household isn't average.

(4) Our leaders now are different to the leaders who over the last 15 years brought us into this mess. It is something that the ODS people don't seem to have realised - we had a democratic election and threw out the government that made the mess. Just because a small group of people don't like the result doesn't mean that new group don't deserve their five years to have a go at cleaning the mess up.


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I would also like to mention that the €1.25bn that was paid to Anglo Irish Bank on 25th January was not covered by the bank guarantee scheme, and had already been sold by the original bondholders at a 50% discount. So the people who received that vast sum of money made an instant, undeserved windfall of €62500000000
I personally believe that is not something that comes under the heading of 'we all made this bed so we must lie in it'

Those people took a gamble that paid off. You guarantee the banks, it is very difficult to unguarantee them, all of it flows from the stupid FF decision, I just hope the people of this country never forget that.
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08-02-2012, 18:50   #65
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"People must have economic and political control over their own lives" could be interpreted as a libertarian call for greater personal and economic autonomy and less government interventionism.

However, that's not what the Occupy movement actually wants. If I have greater economic autonomy, and I use that freedom (hypothetically) to make millions trading on the markets, then I become part of the vaunted 1 percent whom the Occupy movement regards as its enemies. Suddenly, the Occupy movement will advocate that the government should take my wealth away and redistribute it to others — thus depriving me of the economic control they previously said they wanted me to have.

As with many of the statements coming from the Occupy movement, it's ultimately self-contradictory and incoherent.
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08-02-2012, 19:08   #66
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I think the real core of the original Occupy movement ( not the various hangers on and interest groups that have since hitched their sail to the overall mast) would be a lot closer ideologically to the libertarian movement than many ere would like or want to believe tbh.
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08-02-2012, 19:43   #67
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I think the real core of the original Occupy movement ( not the various hangers on and interest groups that have since hitched their sail to the overall mast) would be a lot closer ideologically to the libertarian movement than many ere would like or want to believe tbh.
There's certainly an anti-corporatist core to the Occupy movement that would seem at first glance to have common interests with libertarianism. However, the libertarian's proposed solution to corporatism is a completely unfettered free market, without the possibility of the state intervening to award bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks, and so on to its favoured companies and industries. Meanwhile, the Occupy movement's proposed solution seems to involve direct democracy, which would ultimately involve more state control over the market, not less.

Most libertarians are heavily in favour of private property, to the point where some libertarians question whether public property should exist at all. However, most Occupiers seem to be heavily in favour of state redistribution of wealth — to the point where many appear to be questioning the very institution of private property.
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08-02-2012, 20:50   #68
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I wouldn't suggest that the two movements are identical, but there are similarities as you point out. I would suggest that there would be quite a few within the "core" of Occupy who would quite a bit in common with the libertarians out there, thats all.

On here particularly, it appears to have become a battle between the Libs and Occupiers and I would say that really thats a bit silly in some ways. From what I've read, it is the various "outsiders" who have since got involved with Occupy who have diluted the message to encompass all sorts of other things, such as Shell to Sea, ULA and others here.
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08-02-2012, 21:02   #69
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"People must have economic and political control over their own lives" could be interpreted as a libertarian call for greater personal and economic autonomy and less government interventionism.
Not this again.

The problem isn't government. The problem is corruption of government by the wealthy and the powerful.

Government is a function of democracy. Without it the rule of the powerful and wealthy will only be more absolute and afford people LESS freedom as was seen before democratic revolution around the world. Eliminating government is not and cannot be the solution. Removing corrupting influence from government is what we should all be striving for. This is what the occupy movement stands for.

Modern libertarianism isn't at all about freedom even though it attempts very skillfully to adorn itself in that cloak. It is only about freedom for the ultra powerful to do whatever the hell they want and if the vast majority of us get screwed in the process, suffer or are limited in our freedoms, that's just too bad.
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08-02-2012, 21:07   #70
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Eliminating government is not and cannot be the solution.
Where did I propose eliminating government?
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08-02-2012, 21:12   #71
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Where did I propose eliminating government?
You want to drastically limit the power of government. You want to cut taxes drastically. I'm sure you'd rather if there was no tax at all. Libertarians have argued similarly in the past on boards (i believe). You want to minimise deregulation and give corporations free reign.

When you want to clamp down on some of the most important purposes government then that is in effect what you are taking about. Please don't drag me into another pointless argument on semantics. But this is what libertarians do. They hide behind semantics because of how ludicrous and antidemocratic their philosophy is repeatedly shown to be when it's exposed under the full light of day.
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08-02-2012, 21:14   #72
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On here particularly, it appears to have become a battle between the Libs and Occupiers and I would say that really thats a bit silly in some ways. From what I've read, it is the various "outsiders" who have since got involved with Occupy who have diluted the message to encompass all sorts of other things, such as Shell to Sea, ULA and others here.
That's probably true, but given Occupy's democratic nature if they're promoting a campaign like Shell to Sea it means a majority involved support it.
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08-02-2012, 21:20   #73
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You want to drastically limit the power of government.
Yes, that is correct. But limiting the power of government is rather different from eliminating government. I hope you can see the distinction.
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08-02-2012, 21:23   #74
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Yes, that is correct. But limiting the power of government is rather different from eliminating government. I hope you can see the distinction.
Like I said, getting caught in semantics again. I'm sure there is a distinction, but the extent to which the libertarians want to 'limit' government is so drastic that in comparison to what we consider government today, what you will have will barely be a husk.

Libertarian philosophy seems to think that there should be very little actual GOVERNING that should be done by the government. They want to trust individuals to govern themselves.

For all intents and purposes you're talking about the elimination of government.
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08-02-2012, 21:42   #75
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Libertarian philosophy seems to think that there should be very little actual GOVERNING that should be done by the government. They want to trust individuals to govern themselves.
Pretty much, yes. Libertarians usually believe that as long as people are not harming one another or infringing on one another's liberty, they should be left alone to do as they please. As Thoreau once wrote, "That government is best which governs least."
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