Immigrants And The Welfare State

It is common to hear people groaning about how immigrants are supposedly abusing our welfare system. There are numerous anecdotes (but never actual facts) involving immigrants being put ahead of natives. Allegedly, hordes of undeserving lazy foreigners are robbing us blind while the government stands idly by. None of this is supported by the evidence. In truth, study after study has found that do not harm the local economy but rather benefit it. There are twice as many natives (as a percentage) on welfare in Ireland as immigrants. Continue reading “Immigrants And The Welfare State”

Immigrants Don’t Steal Our Jobs

It is common to hear people complain about immigrants taking the jobs of locals. The logic behind this is simple; if an immigrant has a job then that is one less job for a local. It is therefore deduced that a large influx of immigrants would be disastrous, leading to mass unemployment and a decline in the standard of living. However this is not supported by the evidence. There are several examples of huge numbers of immigrants entering a country within a short period of time, yet the economy does not collapse. Continue reading “Immigrants Don’t Steal Our Jobs”

The Euro: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Ten years ago most countries of the European Union abolished their individual currencies in favour of one regional currency, the Euro. There were celebrations and rejoicing at a further step towards European integration and co-operation. It was proclaimed that this would lead to peace and prosperity. Most people gave it little thought beyond the fact it would be handy to use the home currency abroad on holidays. Very little consideration was given to the economic effects the currency might have. Rather it was presumed Europe could only benefit from a single currency. Ten years on and the Euro is facing widespread and possibly even collapse. Where did it go wrong? Continue reading “The Euro: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time”

Laissez Faire And The Irish Great Famine

Right wing libertarian politics have never really caught on in Ireland. Part of this is due to the memory of the Great Famine of 1845-8. The Famine, though caused by blight, was made worse by the prevailing conservative doctrine of laissez faire. This was the prime example of politicians believing the free market will solve everything, that it would be unethical for the government to intervene and that helping the poor would only make them lazy and dependent. This was an experiment of a world with only minimal government, of free market principles in practice, the result was so disastrous that a million people died. Continue reading “Laissez Faire And The Irish Great Famine”

What Is The Real Unemployment Rate?

Unemployment is a major issue that isn’t far from the news. According to official figures, America has an unemployment rate of 8.3% and Ireland has a rate of 14.7%. However some argue that these could be underestimates and the true figure could be as high as 15% in America and 25% in Ireland. The government has a natural interest in the unemployment rate being as low as possible; with some claiming they openly twist the numbers to suit themselves. This is a contentious issue with an election coming up and some claim unemployment could decide who the next President of America is. So what is the real rate of unemployment? Continue reading “What Is The Real Unemployment Rate?”

There Is (Almost) No Such Thing As Perfect Competition

Neo-classicalists argue that the market will naturally come to an equilibrium known as perfect competition. In this ideal utopia everything will be perfect. Consumers get the lowest price, workers get a fair wage and businesses earn only ‘normal’ profits. No one is ripped off or exploited because no such nasty things occur. There is no poverty, unemployment, inflation or recessions. There is no need for government to intervene or even exist. While it does describe agriculture, it is completely irrelevant to the rest of the economy. It is a conservative’s dream, more like Narnia than the real world. Despite being taught in all textbooks and described as the economy without government interference, it is instead a deeply flawed theory. It is based upon 5 unrealistic assumptions that do not reflect the actual economy. Continue reading “There Is (Almost) No Such Thing As Perfect Competition”

The Market Is Never Free

It is common to hear people call for the removal of the government from the market or launch defences of the ‘free’ market. It is asserted that governments always get things wrong and that regulations only make things worse. Conservatives proclaim that if the economy was only left in the hands of the free market everything would be better. However there is no such thing as the free market. It doesn’t exist and probably never did. Every market has some rules and regulations that even conservatives admit are necessary. We have grown so use to them that we don’t see them but they are still there. The market is never free. Continue reading “The Market Is Never Free”