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”
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
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.
– 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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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”
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”
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”
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”
Orthodox economics treats labour as a good like any other subject to the laws of supply and demand. However this misses a crucial point that we are not dealing with commodities but rather people. With goods, demand is decided by consumers and supply by producers, whereas with labour, demand is decided by producers and supply by consumers. The entire system is turned on its head yet neo-classical economics claims the results will be the same.
Continue reading “Labour Market In The Real World”
Unions have a pretty bad reputation. They are often stereotyped as protecting lazy and bad workers, as well as causing unemployment other inefficiencies. However the many benefits of unions are often ignored. These include increased morale, productivity and equality. Continue reading “The Benefits Of Unions”