ON Seven Days this afternoon…

I’ll be on a panel with economist Mike Smith, playwright Damian Gorman on Radio Ulster’s Seven Days programme. We’ll be talking about what’s to become of savers now that interest rates are paying them next to nothing. And why Northern Irish people find it so easy to take sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict? Or perhaps rather, why does it always have to be about us? Should be a bit of crack!

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Northern Irish people find it so easy to take sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict?

    Do you mean that the Fenians always support the Palestinians and the Prods always support the Israelis?

  • missfitz

    Look forward to that Mick. The save/ spend debate is really fascinating, and I think that we are not fully aware of the kind of deeper forces at play. Our understanding of economics may be undergoing a kind of paradigm shift at the moment, as our past strategies of money management are failing in the changing global economy.

    The key issue about saving is that it represents the management of ‘real’ money, whereas up to now we have been encouraged to spend borrowed funds. I think many people are spooked by the lack of security and safety that we are seeing in the future and saving will increase, even if the interest rates remain low.

    I used to joke in my presentations that we would eventually go back to stuffing money in a mattress and using a horse and cart, but it doesnt seem as funny now.

    Anyway, we’ll be out here listening!

  • ulsterfan

    Don’t let our side down.
    Impartiality is the key word.

  • “why Northern Irish people find it so easy to take sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict?”

    Not just you. We Free Staters are busy doing it too. Sadly most of us still can’t see a lost military cause and the need to revoke the local Article 2 & 3 in that conflict either.

  • Agree 100% with that Fitzy. In fact we barely got to talk about that, and went off from the get go on another tangent.

    Three points I made on the Israel Palestine thing:

    – People are genuinely moved by the story of what is unfolding in Gaza.

    – There is sufficient consonance between the two for people to pick sides and become closer to the action… Protestants and Unionists perceived the IRA campaign to get the British out; as aimed at them personally in quite the way Israelis take Hamas’ promise to obliterate Israel (and the Jews in general).. At the same time most Catholics and Nationalists see the punative measures taken against the Palestinians in Gaza as the equivalent of the like of the Falls Curfew…

    – The whole thing chimes in with the disappearance of popular street politics in Northern Ireland. Having the major parties settle for a tight collaboration at Stormont Castle leaves most of the politics that motivated a generation bereft of any popular issues to het up about… This was as good a reason people have had to take to the streets as our indigenous politics has given them in a long time…

  • And on the economics of the thing:

    – The big problem is the banks do not know how much money they actually have to lend. The fear after the Lehman brothers collapse arises from the fact that it’s be estimated that with current technologies it will take more than 50 years to find out exactly how it racked up its massive debts (Mike no doubt will have the exact figures)… That’s why before its collapse in Sept bank managers were happy to shell out loads of money; and have brought the steel shutters down afterwards…

    Why has it happened? Deregulation and the disaggregating effect of the Internet… Savings are no longer tied to outgoing loans…

    Trouble is we don’t have fifty years for the banks to work out which of their assets are real and which crumbly… Business needs to be done now… It’s a great gapping maw… if and when the smoke clears we will need people to save rather than borrow (UK’s problem is no government debt but the aggregation of public and private debt)… But just finding a functional way of the banks operating again is the top priority…

    The Republic is already experiencing the pain of downsizing its economy because it’s too small and economy to have a choice… The UK with much higher levels of public assets may have a choice, but at this stage has no guarantee that it will work…

    Northern Ireland (and other parts of the UK that are effectively floating on rafts of public money) will likely breast the first stages of this crisis, since Labour are committed to increased public spending to take up the slack of the reduction in international and retail trade…

    But as one colleague noted, this may just be 1914 and our final destination be 1945…

    Just another thirty one years to go then?

  • missfitz

    Like I said Mick, ponies and traps!!

  • Mick Fealty

    Trouble is that banks used to be bricks and mortar institutions and bank managers were real asset managers. The combo of deregulation and the internet where transactions are complex has reduced the bank manager to a very minor nodal point in a huge and predictable global network.