The brain drain from Northern Ireland continues…

I wrote a few weeks about the increasing brain drain from our province. Typically in Northern Ireland we view emigration as a problem that mostly impacts the Irish Republic rather than us.

However, today thanks to a question by Phil Flanagan to the Finance Minister, we have found that emigration from Northern Ireland now is actually worse than it was during some of the worst years of the Troubles.

Now here I must put a note that emigration from Northern Ireland includes people who have gone to live in other parts of Britain but to me that still does not make the problem any less prevalent.

You can see the steady increase of people leaving Northern Ireland which is a real problem as people who leave this place typically do not come back. This is an issue worthy of more examination than is currently being given to it and while we at times like to kid ourselves that emigration is some other state’s problem it is happening on our own doorstep.

Here are the figures courtesy of Phil Flanagan

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I always remember Eamon deValera’s pledge in the thirties when he said ‘no longer shall our children, like our cattle, be brought up for export.’ Seems like 70 years on our most valuable export is still the children of this island.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • socaire

    ………….. other parts of Britain ………

  • Charles_Gould

    You need to show the figures for people moving in, to yield net migration.

  • David McCann

    The story is that more people are leaving that did during the Troubles.

    Plus don’t forget people who leave NI are very unlikely to return so that 60k plus over the last few years is likely to be gone forever.

  • The figures are available on the NISRA website; the following are lifted from the historical migration figures 1871/2012:

    Year —– Inflow – Outflow – Net
    2001/02 18,998 17,982 1,016
    2002/03 17,917 17,688 229
    2003/04 20,419 18,854 1,565
    2004/05 25,842 20,152 5,690
    2005/06 28,183 20,307 7,876
    2006/07 32,705 21,775 10,930
    2007/08 30,402 22,688 7,714
    2008/09 25,261 21,604 3,657
    2009/10 24,544 23,394 1,150
    2010/11 23,724 25,218 -1,494
    2011/12 23,255 24,570 -1,315

  • Year ——- Net
    1966/67 -7,500
    1967/68 -7,200
    1968/69 -6,300
    1969/70 -7,300
    1970/71 -9,700
    1971/72 -20,400
    1972/73 -23,900
    1973/74 -13,700
    1974/75 -9,900
    1975/76 -9,700
    1976/77 -7,700
    1977/78 -8,700
    1978/79 -5,600
    1979/80 -5,300
    1980/81 -6,100

  • MrPMartin

    is this not a facet of the freedom of movement of labour? Some areas gain, others lose

    One has to ask the question, what is the economic raison d’être of NI? Cheap labour?

    Also economics is not the only reason to leave. People may choose to leave as NI is backward sewer and may prefer to live somewhere more progressive and exciting and multi cultural and vibrant

    Some regions and towns and even cities may have also outlived their economic usefulness. Has anyone thought about that? Tell me, anyone, with a straight face why a foreign company should invest in Fintona for example?

  • Year — Inflow – Outflow – Net
    1981/82 9,960 18,740 -8,780
    1982/83 14,360 18,940 -4,580
    1983/84 15,594 19,007 -3,413
    1984/85 15,098 19,002 -3,904
    1985/86 15,889 19,112 -3,223
    1986/87 13,478 19,122 -5,644
    1987/88 13,832 21,514 -7,682
    1988/89 14,373 20,779 -6,406
    1989/90 15,040 19,833 -4,793
    1990/91 17,640 16,197 1,443

  • Charles_Gould

    DELNI did a study and found that people wanted to leave and were not doing so reluctantly but were doing so positively.

  • The cessations of 1994 produced an inward blip the following year:

    Year — Outflow — Inflow – Net
    1994/95 16,115 18,001 -1,886
    1995/96 24,198 19,514 4,684
    1996/97 16,922 17,954 -1,032

  • David McCann

    Nevin,

    Thank you for those great stats.

    Charles,

    I don’t think there is anything wrong in people leaving and coming back but that’s the problem with emigration from NI-typically people don’t come back.

  • “People may choose to leave as NI is backward sewer and may prefer to live somewhere more progressive and exciting and multi cultural and vibrant” .. PMartin

    I choose to remain here because my roots are here and my associations are exciting, multicultural and vibrant 🙂

  • MrPMartin

    David

    When my mother found out Rock Hudson was gay, she exclaimed ‘what waste’
    I replied ‘not for his lovers it wasn’t’

    When you say its a problem for NI that ppl don’t come back, well I say a problem for whom? NI? So what. Perhaps NI deserves to wither on its sick little vine

  • David McCann

    23k left NI in 1972/3 Nevin am I reading that right?

  • Charles_Gould

    David

    “I don’t think there is anything wrong in people leaving and coming back but that’s the problem with emigration from NI-typically people don’t come back.”

    What seems to happen is that some people leave, and other people come, and it roughly balances. NI is growing. 2m forecast by 2025 or so.

    Moreover, some people do come back. There is data showing that about 50% of the university leavers do, by 6 years.
    .

  • Charles_Gould

    David

    More than 23k left, 23k was the NET figure.

  • Charles_Gould

    Nevin in 8.32pm you have the outflow and inflow headings wrong way round, I think.

  • David McCann

    Our pop is increasing for the same reason ROI’s in increasing there is nearly always a baby boom during recessions.

  • “23k left NI in 1972/3 Nevin am I reading that right?”

    That’s right, David, there was quite a rapid build-up to that peak and a surprisingly rapid recovery.

  • Charles_Gould

    David you never ever acknowledge there are a lot of people moving to NI and it’s approx the same number as move away. Nevins “net” column in his 8.13 shows that in fact more people have moved *to* NI since 2000 than have left NI.

  • MrPMartin

    Nevin you must be living in BallyBricklane

  • “Nevin in 8.32pm you have the outflow and inflow headings wrong way round, I think.”

    OOPS I have indeed Charles 🙂

  • David McCann

    No but the real story in these figures is that more people are leaving today than did during the 80s.

    I just find it really sad from some people I know who have left and done so because they just could not find work.

  • Charles_Gould

    David

    The real issue is a lack of *high paid* *high skill* jobs in NI. I think that’s the real problem, and some people leave for more rewarding careers, therefore.

  • David McCann

    Charles

    Totally agree with that statement.

  • Charles_Gould

    David

    I would love to know the wage levels of the inflow immigrants and those who leave.

    Could it be that thousands of Polish etc people come to NI each year to work in low pay in chicken factories etc, and thousands of NI people leave each year to work in high pay in the London financial sector etc?

  • Morpheus
  • Barney

    ^^Morph thats correct the Northern economy is based on cheap labour but I have see it described as “everyone is a civil servant the rest sell them carpets and furniture”

  • Coll Ciotach

    And why is this a problem?

  • Barney

    You would need to work on your understanding of economic theory if you are seriously asking why a low waged economy that doesn’t generate wealth is a problem.

  • Charles_Gould

    Barney- spot on.

  • jagmaster

    Awful weather,low pay,high taxes,boring provincial towns and villages with little or no entertainment,vomit,rubbish and dog excrement wherever you walk,a general malaise that seems to permeate wherever you are in the North.

    Just some of the things of the top of my head that would persuade a young person to seek pastures new.

  • sherdy

    Would it be possible to limit contributors to two posts per story? I think maybe Charles’ computer suffers from a stammer.

  • Zig70

    Feckin Irish woman kept me here. How many more would have left if it wasn’t for Irish homebirds.

  • derrydave

    Jagmaster: fantastic friendly people, close family ties, warm close community, the Sunday game through the summer, warm atmospheric pubs, affordable quality housing, short commute times, beautiful countryside, bright winter mornings, the joy of the summer eventually arriving !!

    There’s lots to be grateful for back home also – often only fully appreciated however once you move away !

  • DoppiaVu

    Nevin – just followed the link that you posted. I assume the photo at the top is of you. Do you mind if I ask a personal question? Are you quite a small chap or is that a very big laptop?

  • Coll Ciotach

    The economy we are linked to creates many high wage high taxed jobs – there is no problem if that is the economy you wish to join, you must really try and break out of this our wee country mindset, this is a region, either thole it our break away.

  • DoppiaVu, I’m about average height – see the image to the right. The lap-top is closer to the camera!

  • “often only fully appreciated however once you move away !”

    Agreed, derrydave. I’d also add the proximity to a sea view. I commemorated the 20th anniversary of Douglas Hurd’s conversations with a purpose with ‘Martin and Mitchel’ by popping over for a stroll round the centre of the Maiden City on the banks of the Foyle two days ago!

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Barney and Charles have it right – it’s the drive to the bottom that’s the problem, not emigration / immigration per se. What seems to be lacking is entrepreneurship in high value, wealth-generating fields.

    However, what the inflow / outflow figures don’t show is the relative skill and education levels of those coming in vs those leaving. That would be the real measure of whether or not there is a “brain drain”. Anyone know if that data exists?

  • Greenflag

    “Barney and Charles have it right – it’s the drive to the bottom that’s the problem”

    Thats not just an NI phenomenon its an issue which is seen almost everywhere bar perhaps Scandinavia in the developed west .

    Entrepreneurs tend to gravitate to where the capital and mass markets are . A stagnant ,aging or declining population is not conducive to business . Despite globalisation and internet technologies -numbers and location count . Being peripheral on the outer rim of the EU just like the Republic is disadvantageous and costly . French and Germans prefer to set up subsidaries in nearby lower wage Poland or Hungary ,From Hungary German multi nationals can export ‘German engineering ” to China at prices no NI or ROI or UK company could.

    There are of course exceptions to the general in certain market niches but these are generally insufficient to make up for the overall loss of competitive advantage .

    And now we read of the final demise of Britain’s 500 year tradition of shipbuilding with jobs being lost at Portsmouth and some in Scotland .Can the City of London ever replace the job losses due to de industrialisation and job reducing efficiency raising technologies ? Can modern day capitalism ever create the number of jobs required to keep 95% plus of the population employed at earnings levels which can provide a decent living ?

    I’ve come around to the conclusion that probably not is the answer . As to how this will impact democratic politics remains yet to be seen . But when a city like New York votes 73% for a socialist (De Blasio ) against 23% for GOP Lhota then it can be seen as a sign that race to the bottom has hit bottom . Mr Bloomberg the multi billionaire’s favored candidate/s came nowhere . A sign of the times .

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Greenflag,
    Let’s hope. I’m also much cheered by De Blasio’s victory; and it does feel like a “moment” of opportunity, as we have the plutocrats morally on the ropes for the time being. But the West badly needs an alternative centre-left example to show the way towards a more people-centred form of prosperity; France was the big hope but that’s a work in progress.

    What I do think is encouraging is that the running down of the rest of society for the benefit of the top 5 per cent has been exposed and has been shown not to be no good – even at generating the money for the top 5 per cent. So the need for re-balancing the economy and the burdens is not a question of being a ‘nice to have’ any more, it’s a practical necessity.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    sorry, typo – meant to say “shown to be no good”

  • jagmaster

    derrydave of course you’re right in what you have said, on reflection I was probably a bit harsh in some of the things I wrote but I was trying to convey it from a young person’s viewpoint.

    It’s hard to see but how the Island of Ireland can ever recover from the chronic under population it has. When you consider that the Island of Sicily, about 3.5 times smaller than Ireland has 5 million inhabitants, the problems are illustrated starkly.

  • derrydave

    Jagmaster,

    I’d be very optimistic actually for the future of the South. There is a vibrancy around Dublin in particular which will see it bounce back. The Celtic Tiger era has created a real dynacism and entrepreneurial spirit which will not easily be kept down. By all accounts Dublin is already bouncing back strongly.

    The North to me just doesn’t have the same spirit and / or the same dynacism and talent. Never has done in my experience. Not sure why, though am sure that the fact that a lot of the better educated amongst those who stay have their senses dulled by a lifetime in the civil service has something to do with it.

    I think i can quite categorically state that I will never get the opportunity to return to the North. Give it a few years however and I’m sure there will be many interesting opportunities in the Dublin area which may be worth considering.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    derrydave,
    But isn’t part of the hit to the ROI’s economy still to come? The deal was to delay debt repayment for 10 years. So what happens then? Reality is, they have a massive long term issue, as do we. I’d rather be in our shoes.

    But you’re right, I don’t always see the dynamism in NI I’d like to see. It’s a cliche but I do think energy wasted on ethnic grinding must play a role. There seems to be a lack of vision too. The place needs to dare to think big.

  • Barnshee

    “hard to see but how the Island of Ireland can ever recover from the chronic under population it has. When you consider that the Island of Sicily, about 3.5 times smaller than Ireland has 5 million inhabitants, the problems are illustrated starkly.”

    Sicily has a much more benign climate http://www.1yachtua.com/medit-marinas/italy/sicily_data.htm
    and the productivity which aries from that

    The problems in Ireland and NI in particular are not too few people but too many people -few natural resources- an indifferent climate( at best Not too may vines figs etc growing ?)

    The British welfare state thus holds up a population in NI level far beyond that sustainable naturally . The result is an over supply of workers and defecit in supply of work.
    The net result is unemployment

    This is severly mitigated by the (British Funded) Public sector which employs relatively more in NI than anywhere else (4 local councils where 1 or less would do ) and separate sectarian education systems

    Then add in the various “industries” in “Fair Employment ” “Reconciliation” “Justice””Community work” and the services supported by these “industries” and the vista is appalling.

    If you want to know what NI would look like without the subvention a short trip to Co Donegal will suffice.

  • derrydave

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    The South have done an amazing job of cutting their deficit in the past 4 years or so through austerity measures. After next year they are done in that regard and growth will come back and take care of the future (it has already come back actually – whisper it !).

    Regarding paying back the debt – with the credit rating of the South improving every year and the government bond yields very low (due to the international confidence in the governments management of the Irish economy), this can be done over as long a period as they chose. Will not be a major issue.

    If you would rather be in NI’s shoes than the South’s, then you lack even the mere-est hint of ambition. The North will never amount to anything pre-unification. It has got too used to the handouts from the UK government, and has been drained of almost all initiative and energy. Visit Dublin and then visit Belfast and look at the opportunities available – the contrast is stark ! We don’t do vision in the North – vision is what the south has been all about and will be all about again before very long !

  • Greenflag

    @ Mainland Ulsterman ,

    ‘ the West badly needs an alternative centre-left example to show the way towards a more people-centred form of prosperity;”

    Indeed . Ironically Mayor Bloomberg’s comment that NYC needs more billionaires to create jobs was in hindsight a stupid remark . Any Harlem or Bronx dweller could have told him that NYC has probably the highest concentration of billionaires per sq mile on the planet and that all they have achieved is job reduction in the financial services sector and job creation in China and overseas . As De Blasio put it NYC is a tale of two cities . The building of the De Blasio faction within the Democratic Party is now being seen as a model for other areas of the country where Progressives can roll back the destruction wrought on the middle and working classes of the USA over the past two decades .

    ” the running down of the rest of society for the benefit of the top 5 per cent has been exposed and has been shown not to be no good – even at generating the money for the top 5 per cent.”

    All it has resulted in is 3 million in prison , millions of foreclosed homes , looted Pension funds and an economy that cannot grow itself out of recession fast enough to create the paying jobs needed to reduce welfare rolls . At the same time interest rates are at an all time low and yet investment in job creation and infrastructure and education in the USA is probably about 50% of what it ought to be .
    Economically it’s insane .OK for Twitter investors though .

    The neo con path of destruction has run it’s course and the coming civil war between the Tea Partiers and Republican Moderates in the run up to the 2014 mid terms should be interesting for political suicide watchers .

  • Greenflag

    @barnshee,

    “The problems in Ireland and NI in particular are not too few people but too many people -”

    Nonsense . Had the island had the same demographics as Britain since 1840 .Ireland today (the island ) would have 20 million people as against the current 6.5 Million )

    Luxembourg is one sixth the size of Northern Ireland and has a population one third the size of Northern Irelands . Population density for Luxembourg is 536 people per square mile which is almost double that of Northern Ireland.

    Yet GDP per capita in Luxembourg is 1st in the world at $107,000 . Northern Ireland GDP per capita is approx $29,000 or 27% of the Luxembourg figure .

    Why such a huge difference ? Could be that the Luxembourgers don’t spend entire summers dressing up and marching around the streets and lighting fires and waving flags .On the other hand it could be that the Luxembourgers are 90% Catholic ?

    BTW

    The Republic is on it’s way back but not to Celtic Tiger days . Joe Stiglitz the Nobel Prize economist has been commenting on it on RTE earlier today .

    Much will depend on how the German Coalition Government is formed and what role the German Socialists will take re continuing austerity . Ireland should benefit from the trqade offs . The UK on the other hand has higher energy prices to look forward to this winter but will muddle along until the Tories are booted out at the next election .

  • FuturePhysicist

    The country with the highest brain drain is the Islamic Republic of Iran, it also has a 60/40 female to male university ratio and 70% of Iranian science and engineering university students are women. Science if anything is a stereotypical female career there.

    Iran is culturally scientific and industrialized enough to immerse people in STEM awareness across the gender divide from a very young age. It even has a Party of Engineers. Iran needs engineers and uses them, the problem in the Western World you earn more financial engineering than engineering anything else.

    A recent report by two female engineers is trying to tackle the female STEM shortages …. here’s my two cents.

    Firstly, you can’t encourage women to take up STEM degrees, you encourage girls … if they don’t love a STEM subject by the time they are a women, they are highly unlikely to change. Same logic applies to boys and men. If adults want to retrain as STEM students, it’s highly unlikely it’s due to a university or government campaign. Women will enter STEM careers because they love them enough to work to get them, not through benevolent sexism.

    Secondly, this whole women doing life sciences, men doing physical sciences shouldn’t be seen negatively … we need people men and women in both, and indeed with more multidisciplinary fields we will see life scientists in physics labs and physicists in biology labs. Physics gave Biology the tools to find DNA’s double helix, Biology gave Physics the tools to discover Electromagnetism. Obsessing over an artificial classification barrier between the physician and the physicist isn’t going to help anyone.

    Thirdly, Let’s not politicize science to breach the gender divide, it’s not going to work. Science is universal, and the universe is available to everyone. At the end of the day Science doesn’t need Politics anywhere near as much as Politics needs Science.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    GreenFlag,
    All eyes on De Blasio then and fingers crossed. Clinton got elected twice on convincing American voters of the folly of “trickle down economics”, so it can be done on a national scale.

    As an occasional comms consultant myself (with a New Yorker brother), I like the “a tale of two cities” slogan. What it does neatly is capture the fact the divide itself is wrong; obvious you might say but the neo con counter to it will be to point to *overall* economic stats showing the economy improving and saying, the current system is working again. But what is likely to happen is that the fast pick-up for the haves creates the appearance of an overall economic improvement, but which is actually one only experienced by a tiny percentage. By drilling home that there are in effect two economies that both need to do well, he forces the right into a focus on the less well off – which is the last thing they want, of course. It’s very good political weather-making.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mainland Ulsterman,

    It has been a tale of two cities ever since I spent some time there in mid nineties and even more so today . A tale of two countries is just as good a slogan although for the Dems coming into 2014 and 2016 the problem is what have they done about evening the playing field since 2008 ? In retro Obama came to power at probably the worst possible moment -All he could do was prevent a complete financial breakdown which would have led to international chaos as well as no doubt blood on the streets throughout the USA’s biggest cities .

    “By drilling home that there are in effect two economies that both need to do well, he forces the right into a focus on the less well off – which is the last thing they want, of course. It’s very good political weather-making.”

    One would hope so . The American Health Care system such as it is will not be ‘fixed ‘ by Obamacare although if the system changes are up and running by early next year then it could impact on the 2014 mid terms . The GOP have no answer to the problem of increasing numbers of poorer Americans and in particular those without health care insurance . Its simple numbers . How can amedian income of family man or indeed a single man earning $40,000 a year pay for private health insurance which costs a family of 4 (man /wife /two children ) $16,000 per annum ?

    Can’t be done . It’s fairly obvious that if employers did’nt contribute much /most of the premiums then another 200 million Americans would be unable to afford the premiums . As many employers are now dropping employee health insurance and as millions more are entering lower paid jobs on leaving school or college it’s clear that longer term the current system is non sustainable . So Obamacare is a stop gap short term palliative which may address the problem of rising costs of healthcare for the country now running at almost 20% of GDP which is insane even in an aging population .

    Americans may have to face up to the unmentionable class warfare issue and accept two systems for healthcare .One for the 5% who earn $200,000 who can afford private health insurance from their own resources and incomes and another Public Health Care system for the other 300 million Americans who would all pay a percentage for national health insurance based on income with all employers also paying a fixed percentage for employees and with general taxation /sales ta etc taking up any shortfall .

    Of course the vested interests -private insurance companies and pharmaceutical and medical interests will have to be faced up to . Perhaps Hilary Clinton will be able to cross that bridge particularly if she win the Presidency with control of both Houses of Congress . May seem unlikely but given that the so called economic recovery is still iffy and the financial sector has not yet been ‘reformed ‘ and the Tea Party seems set on an internal GOP uncivil war ?

    One cn only hope for the sake of what I ‘d call a’democracy of the people ‘ and not a continuation of corporate ,financial and lobbyist oligarchy.

  • Greenflag

    What happened to Barnshee ?

    Has he run away yet again : (

    Dear oh dear I must have upset him again 🙂

  • Barnshee

    What happened to Barnshee ?

    Has he run away yet again

    Er no shaken by the facile nature of your posits

    “Nonsense . Had the island had the same demographics as Britain since 1840 .Ireland today (the island ) would have 20 million people as against the current 6.5 Million ) ”

    I think you will find that the 20M is correct in that “ireland” could not feed clothe or educate that number and a short examination of the GB phone directories will show that they were dumped on the British taxpayer

    “Luxembourg is one sixth the size of Northern Ireland and has a population one third the size of Northern Irelands . Population density for Luxembourg is 536 people per square mile which is almost double that of Northern Ireland.

    “Yet GDP per capita in Luxembourg is 1st in the world at $107,000 . Northern Ireland GDP per capita is approx $29,000 or 27% of the Luxembourg figure .

    Why such a huge difference ? Could be that the Luxembourgers don’t spend entire summers dressing up and marching around the streets and lighting fires and waving flags .On the other hand it could be that the Luxembourgers are 90% Catholic ?”

    The geographical location of Luxembourg might go someway to explaining the difference -BENELUX a clue?
    Its position as a home for funds filtered out of tax systems might also be hint and a source of concern in more effectively policed tax regimes–I do accept that the ROI has a similar attitude to other tax regimes and I do accept as you hint
    ” it could be that the Irish are 90% Catholic ?” (tho the figure is i think nearer 97%) is an indicator as with Luxembourg wholesale tax evasion is assorted in some way with Roman Catholicism

  • Greenflag

    @ Barnshee,

    Well done you discovered Luxembourg -took a while . And you even got the geography right -brilliant . I’m astounded .

    Now all you need is to read up on Ireland a country of which you appear to know very little other than what you overhear in pubs .For starters you could try understanding that Ireland was part of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at the time of the Great Famine and though it was the richest country on the planet then .GB allowed a million of it’s subjects starve to death while food was being exported from the country under armed guard . Not to worry the then British Empire thugs also looked aside a few years later when 27 million Indians starved to death while India exported grain to feed more deserving lands of the Empire .

    Nice touch with the tax evasion and catholicism link but you’d have better odds lining up the 100 Crown colonies and the Cayman Islands , Bermudas , Isle of Mann, Jersey, Guernsey and Sark etc all part of the City of London and it’s offshore ‘diversification “. Although I will concede that the Vatican and Switzerland are up there with the best of the off shore tax evasion regimes .

  • Barnshee

    the Great Famine and though it was the richest country on the planet then .GB allowed a million of it’s subjects starve to death while food was being exported from the country under armed guard

    Ah le vieux canard the whinging Irish use to beat the brits

    Who wholesaled the food
    Who shipped the food
    Who owned the food

    Of course no Irish landowner /merchant ever rack rented or expelled tenants

    (why would the brits treat the Irish any different to the way they had treated the English or Scots eg

    .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315%E2%80%9317 )

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Potato_Famine)

  • Greenflag

    Who wholesaled the food
    Who shipped the food
    Who owned the food

    You omitted those who guarded the food as it was shipped out of the country ?

    As to why would the British ruling class treat the Irish any different to the English and Scots ? The fact is they did . In the smaller Famine of 1741 the local (Dublin so called Patriots Parliament ) Parliament did a lot more than the Westminster Gov in 1848.

    As to beating the ‘Brits ‘ . I’m very much aware of the economc and social history of Britain and the Empire 1500 -2010 so your Wiki links are not unknown .

    Would it or could it happen today ? Well in one sense it already is happening and not just in the UK or Ireland or the USA . Those who put market interests above the role of government to the point where government is impotent have no compunction about condemning tens of millions of people around the globe to death by war induced famines , resource shortages or whatever it takes to keep the shareholders happy .

    Look around at the disappearing middle on western societies as the number towards the bottom of the economic hierarchy swells and the small number at the top grow richer . Laissez faire by itself will not keep what we like to call “democracy ‘ alive just as it ensured the death of a million Irish and 27 million Indians in the richest Empire on the planet in it’s time .

  • Barnshee

    ” Laissez faire by itself will not keep what we like to call “democracy ‘ alive just as it ensured the death of a million Irish and 27 million Indians in the richest Empire on the planet in it’s time .”

    Sadly the laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed

    In any period(day week year etc) there is a defined level of economic activity whose “fruits” are available for sharing.
    An excess of supply of labour means that employers do not have any real need to compete for employees -pay rates and thus share of “the fruits” are reduced-keep labour supply tight and the employer has to pay more.

    Societies with a reckless attitude to population growth and a dependency on a particular food source are vulnerable to an enormous extent.
    Governments however are windy about macro planning and strategies which would try to balance population growth and economic activity so the costs burdens and distress of unemployment continue

  • PeterOHanrahanrahan

    @FuturePhysicist

    Re: Iranians: There are loads of them at my university, and I think there are some parallels to be had there; they’re sick of the ridiculous political situation at home and are embarrassed by their government. If you squint at the situation enough, you could say that the dilemmas of the educated youth of Iran and NI are not a million miles removed.

    Still not sure if Shiites are the Ussuns or Themmuns of Islam, though…

  • Greenflag

    ‘Sadly the laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed”

    So says ‘economic man ‘ and the world of economic theory. Fortunately for humanity in real life they are if not repealed then amended /adapted to meet the demands of citizens . . Were it no so then British and Irish and American senior citizens would starve to death or would have to be supported in old age by the children that many never had .

    Laissez faire by itself is a blueprint for corporate interests to exploit , kill or maim people around the globe in the interest of shareholders profits and dividends . If they did’nt there are competitors who would. Just read up on the tobacco industry or the lead industry and countless others who would as per the neo con laissez faire doctrine still be responsible for killing millions of people a year with their products were it not for government intervention and regulation .
    Democracy as we know it or used to know it will not survive the destruction of the western world’s middle classes . In that case those favouring laissez faire may find their heads at the bottom of Madame Guillotine’s basket wondering why the starving millions got so upset with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer . As an aside the number of Americans formerly classified as middle class has dropped from 61% to 51% in the past decade hile the number of the very rich has doubled to 5% and the poor have increased from 20% to 34%
    .

    A tipping point is being reached and the first evidence of that is ironically in that home of billionaires New York City here citizens have elected a socialist Mayor with 73% of the vote .Mayor Bloomberg’s presidential ambitions are in the toilet .

  • Greenflag

    @ Peterohanrahahan,

    ‘ I think there are some parallels to be had there’

    Think again . I have heard that the Iranian regime executes gays . The DUP as yet haven’t decided that this disease cannot be cured as per the Caleb foundation .

    The Iranians are largely Shiites and the Saudis Sunnites . The parallel is with Europe in the 16th century with Catholics and Protestants /Heretics . The Saudis are the Catholics the Shites the Protestants .

    The Wahabi sect within Saudi Arabia is an extreme faction -It was members of this cult who were responsible for the 9/11 atrocities .They are still protected by the Saudi Government which is reputedly a US ally in the war on terror as is supposedly Pakistan . Go figure ???