Overworked and Constantly Shouted At – My J1 Working Experience

In Ireland it is common for people to go abroad towards the end of college to somewhere warm and work for the summer. J1 visas are easy to get and it’s a great experience. You get a job for the summer, go drinking and do a bit of travelling. I was no different and this summer I sent 3 months in America with a group of my Irish friends. There were seven of us in a 2 bed apartment house, which was a smaller group than most Irish; it was more common to have 10-15 people in a house. It was a fantastic experience and I don’t regret it a bit, but this post is not about my J1, but rather one part of it, my job. Continue reading “Overworked and Constantly Shouted At – My J1 Working Experience”

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The Most Important Lesson Of Economics

Economics is a broad and vast field comprising intricate areas that would take years to master. This makes it very hard to summarise or reduce it to a simple point. However, if there was one simple lesson that I wished everyone knew about economics, one easy sentence or sound bite that could explain the essential core to people who know nothing else about economics, it would be: “My spending is your income”. This simple point, properly understood, explains everything you need to know about the important policy issues of the economy. It doesn’t explain everything, but it explains the important parts.

My Spending Is Your Income

Continue reading “The Most Important Lesson Of Economics”

Why Cutting Public Sector Pay Is Always a Bad Idea

At the moment the government is trying to negotiate a deal to best cut public sector wages. However, any such deal will only make the recession worse without reducing the deficit. Here is a guest blog I wrote on the topic.

Irish Student Left Online

– Robert Nielsen discusses the ongoing dispute over the Croke Park II proposals, and why cutting wages is always a bad idea.

At the moment there is a great deal of controversy over the Croke Park Deal. In essence the government is trying to cut the wages of public sector workers while the public sector unions are opposing this. Regardless of the politics of the agreement, cutting wages is bad economics. It depresses the economy, worsens the recession and doesn’t even achieve its objective of reducing the deficit. The union membership was absolutely right to reject the Croke Park Deal and the government must completely reconsider its plan of action, because the current one isn’t working.

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Boycott Coca-Cola

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Coca-Cola is the biggest brand on Earth. It is not just a drink, it is the symbol of the American way of life and of capitalism. Gallons of it are drunk by almost everyone, it is available in every single shop in the country and it reaches almost every corner of the globe. But I have been boycotting it for about seven years now, ever since I heard about its dark underbelly. Coke may be the symbol of the prosperity of capitalism but it is also the symbol of greed and exploitation. This global corporation has despicable links with the death squads of Columbia. Continue reading “Boycott Coca-Cola”

Conservative Logic

There is no such thing as a free lunch . . . except for free trade which makes everyone everywhere better off

It is naive and foolish to imagine there is some magic pot of gold which will make us all magically richer . . . but competition magically makes everyone richer

As Adam Smith said, the “invisible hand” of the free market ensures everyone is best off . . . even though Smith never said that about the market but rather about protectionism.

We should never rely on one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t take account of the specifics of each case . . . and cut taxes in response to every problem

The government makes everything worse . . . which is why countries like Somalia which have no government are so much better off Continue reading “Conservative Logic”

The Other Civil War

There was a civil war in Ireland between 1922 and 1923 but we rarely speak about it. It was such a destructive bitter conflict that the wounds were too deep to discuss. However there was another civil war happening at the same time that is even less discussed. This split was just as bitter, but instead of being centred on the Treaty it was based on something much deeper. It was a split between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, landlords and peasants. It is a story of Soviets, White Guards, sabotage, strikes, land seizures, violence and burnings. It was nothing short of a second civil war. Continue reading “The Other Civil War”

Marikana Mine Massacre

On the 16th of August South African police opened fire on striking miners in Marikana. 112 people were shot, 34 killed and 78 wounded. There were allegations of murder and counter claims of self-defence as well as comparisons to the Apartheid era. Suspiciously, not a single officer was even slightly wounded. Bizarrely the police responded by arresting 270 strikers but not a single police officer. Recent reports claim that most of the victims were shot in the back and far from police lines. It’s looking more and more like we are dealing with a massacre of innocent strikers, a South African Bloody Sunday. Continue reading “Marikana Mine Massacre”