The A, B, C, D And X Of Abortion In Ireland

Ireland has the most peculiar relationship with abortion in the world. You see, in Ireland we pretend it doesn’t exist. Abortion is something to be ignored at all costs and unlike in most other countries, it is almost completely absent from the political discourse. Abortion is more or less (more on that) completely illegal and in fact the constitution contains an amendment (passed in 1983) that guarantees the “right to life of the unborn” which has an “equal right to life” as the mother. This doesn’t mean abortions don’t take place, they do, but in secret or in England. However, whether we like it or not abortion has exploded onto the political stage and we are going to finally have to deal with the problem that many wish would just disappear. Continue reading “The A, B, C, D And X Of Abortion In Ireland”

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Why Did Communism Fail? #3 – Incentives

The most common and simple explanation for why communism failed is that people are greedy. This is a gross simplification but does contain some truth. Communism failed to provide incentives for workers and citizens to work hard and be productive. While there are many benefits from equality, if pushed to an extreme it robs people of an incentive to make an effort. There was little if any reward for hard work or innovation and a lack of punishment for poor or inefficient work. The lack of incentives was a major reason for the poor performance of Eastern Europe economies. Why bother working hard if the reward was the same as doing the bare minimal? Continue reading “Why Did Communism Fail? #3 – Incentives”

Why Did Communism Fail? #2 – Absence Of The Market

The main reasons why Communism failed was that it could not provide a decent standard of living for its people. This was because the absence of a market meant Communism was enormously wasteful with resources. The system was notable for its crippling inefficiencies and gross mismanagement. Despite having some of the highest levels of investment, they had some of the lowest returns. This was due to the absence of market forces and signals, the primacy of political influences and a lack of accountability. Continue reading “Why Did Communism Fail? #2 – Absence Of The Market”

The Bitcoin Bubble Has Burst

Well it has finally happened. We looked at those charts of ever rising price of bitcoin and said this cannot last, and it hasn’t. The bitcoin bubble has finally peaked and now all that is left is to watch its steady and inexorable decline. But this post will not simply be full of smug gloating (though I see no reason why there shouldn’t be at least a little bit of smugness). You see, the crash of bitcoin mirrors other financial crashes and gives us an opportunity to draw some conclusions. It is best to view bitcoin as a giant experiment of how an economy would operate without a central bank. Continue reading “The Bitcoin Bubble Has Burst”

Why Did Communism Fail? #1 – Dictatorship

Communism was one of the most influential ideologies of all time. Millions of people lived under Communist regimes and millions more debated whether or not it would be a superior system. However, as everyone knows, it failed. It hardly needs to be said that the Soviet Union failed to provide an adequate standard of living, and this was the major reason for its collapse. But why? Huge amounts of ink have been spilt over narrating its collapse, but little has been said about why this happened. What was it about Communism that made it fail?

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I will run a series of posts discussing several reasons why communism failed economically. It will soon become clear that there is a strong overlap among the reasons and there are all interlinked. Although I will not quote sources, the posts are based on a politics essay I wrote for university. The first and most obvious (though not always discussed) reason was that Communist regimes were dictatorships. This meant there was a repressive environment, large military expenditure, misallocation of resources, and the heavy burden of a totalitarian regime and the absence of procedures to remove incompetent decision makers. Continue reading “Why Did Communism Fail? #1 – Dictatorship”

The Great Bitcoin Bubble

There’s this new idea that plans to revolutionise money. It’s called bitcoin and aims to be an online currency to replace the real thing. Unlike printed money, it is not controlled by any central bank or government and prides itself on its lack of rules and regulations. Its proponents see it as a 21st century version of the gold standard and it has been enthusiastically endorsed by libertarians and anarchists around the globe as its price sky rockets. However, it is in reality a giant internet bubble based primarily on speculation that will inevitably crash. It is open to abuse, hacking and is no more trust worthy than the government. It is an economic calamity and trapped in hyper deflation death spiral. It can teach us a lot about how currencies work, and just as importantly, why some don’t. Continue reading “The Great Bitcoin Bubble”

Why Do We Print Money?

Printing money seems like a no-brainer. Surely it’s extremely obvious that printing money is a recipe for disaster that will result in hyperinflation. Surely the obvious action is to not print money and therefore avoid inflation. Yet every year, every country prints money. Why? Surely the money supply should be fixed. What possible reason could central banks have for risking massive inflation? Why do we print money? Continue reading “Why Do We Print Money?”