Monday, 22 November 2010

Eire and Exports

Ireland has been forced to accept an EU and IMF bail-out thought to be worth up to £77 billion in a deal designed to save the euro.  British taxpayers now face paying a bill of up to £7 billion as under a deal signed by the last Labour government, British taxpayers are liable to share in the cost of any EU bail-out.

David Cameron pledged to help Ireland as a close 'neighbour and friend' but refused to discuss how much aid we would be contributing or whether the bulk of it would come via an Anglo-Irish agreement or a wider EU deal.  Is David Cameron suggesting an extra loan directly to Ireland?  He may well be because British financial institutions have £140 billion of assets tied up in Irish banks and Irish banks are broke.  It was only on Friday that the Prime Minister was admitting that the UK would have to borrow even more this year if his government decides to lend directly to Dublin.

Ireland receives over 7% of our exports - more than Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.  David Cameron seemed proud to state that fact this weekend.  What does the UK have to export?  The following graphic answers the question.

click to enlarge

Notice the large drops in petrol, cars and other oils as well as the decreases over the 2009/2010 period.  What is David Cameron doing about it?  The UK can't survive on financial services and tourism any longer. The UK government has to start concentrating on improving our manufacturing base.  Maybe this idea is a step in the right direction.  It's certainly worth a try.


carrew said...

Do you think any of the politicians/bankers/Eurocrats who are currently forcing the people of Ireland to take a large drop in standards of living for a long time have thought that there are people in that country who probably still have access to guns and bomb making skills.....

As the tax paying people are forced into a corner with reduced representation who knows what the consequences might be?

I think it's actually quite scary.

William said...

"Maybe this idea is a step in the right direction."

I sometimes joke with my friend that there are people in Britain who don't want a return to the Thatcher era but, in fact, want to abolish the 1802 Factories Act.

I now realise that I should no longer joke about this.

We could have a strong manufacturing base - people on the Clyde didn't forget how to build ships - but we'd need to do things like introduce import tariffs on Chinese-manufactured goods and no-one has the balls to do that. The plain truth is that you can't 'compete' with workers earning a few dollars a day with no union, health and safety or employment protection. Unless you also remove these things from your own people.

So much of our economy is outwith our control, basically.

“The power of the markets had increased because of the explosion in oil prices. This meant the Arab countries, which produced the oil but had no means of spending the money internally because they have very small populations, had to find somewhere to put it abroad where it would earn as much as possible through high interest rates and appreciation. This totally transformed the international financial climate. This meant a lot of the essential economic decisions were taken externally and not inside the country at all. They were taken by investors abroad deciding where to put their money, by bankers abroad deciding where to put their money and by stockbrokers who are speculating, sending billions of dollars across the exchanges every day in search of short-term profit.”

Lord Healy, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Labour Government 1974-1979

“Unless action is taken to restore confidence in sterling and the British economy, unless this happens, money will continue to leave London. I feel the position is so serious that you should have a coalition government where actions are taken in the interests of the economy regardless of what effect they will have on the people.”

Dr Mohammed Abu Shadi, Head of Arab Investment Bank, 1976

Sue said...

Silicon Valley in East London?

Of course how the population of east london immigrants are supposed to fill these future hi tech positions is yet to be established.

Still, I suppose it will another excuse to import some more Indians.

subrosa said...

I was contacted yesterday by an Irish friend who said there was a great deal of underlying resentment against the Irish government. They feel their politicians haven't listened.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Sometimes Adam Smith must turn in his grave given the idiocies advocated by the institute that has purloined his name.

The "idea" we're asked to consider is merely pandering, and thereby adding to, the effects the present deeply flawed paradigm of society offers to the bewildered herd of its constituents.

The "idea" is a cop-out of the worst kind - akin to medical science finding the causes for all debilitating diseases but only measuring the individuals susceptibility to them, then giving them a rating on a potential viability scale without the offer of a cure.

For a sense of worth to exist it must be invested with much more than lip service. Investment in enthusiastic education leads to interest and interest leads on to aspiration and the factors this investment must be based on is a society of cooperation, equity and integrity.

The dog eat dog, predator and prey society does not work. Its failures are legion. It's wasteful, disgraceful and utterly distorting in the lifestyles it offers.

For most, work is an expensive form of drudgery; mundane, repetitive, boring. Yet, despite, all the advances in technology, the toss-pot governors want to keep all the profits while extending the envelope of working life suffered by those who by dint of breath are caught up in it.

From the cradle to the grave the prey can only pray for the chance of lottery or the slip of fortune. Perhaps that a instead of e has served the governors purpose for too long along with their plastic pollution of financial jiggery pokery.

The Yobs we suffer at the bottom of the ladder are an irritation but the Yobs who shit on us from their lofty towers are deadly.

strapworld said...

George Osborne has promised to loan money to Ireland.

If you are a councillor/director etc you have to declare an interest, however maginal that interest may be!

The Chancellor is heir to the Osborne Baronetcy of Ballentaylor in the County of Tipperary, and Ballylemon in the county of Wexford, making him part of the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy known as the Protestant Ascendancy...

Now if THAT is not an interest I do not know what is and he should have removed himself from this decision!

Subrosa I think you should alert your First Minister!

subrosa said...

William, good post. I certainly don't advocate abolishing the Factories Act, but I suppose the more and more red tape that was put in manufacturing's way over the past 50 years destroyed our base. Businesses operate for profit and their ethics are below that, hence so many moving to third world countries.

Healy is right. Short-term profit is the name of the game.

Dr Shadi is also correct. The pound has dropped 25% yet the government seldom mentions that.

It's a worrying time. Not so bad for the few manufacturers we have left who export though.

subrosa said...

I think there is already an agreement for Indian immigrant workers already in place Sue. Didn't Cameron organise it on his visit there?

subrosa said...

RA, the 'idea' surely isn't that bad. There are far too many youngsters floating about (or truanting) from comprehensive schools because the syllabus doesn't suit their mindset.

I believe few people are stupid yet we all learn differently. What is wrong with providing vocational 'schools' were energies can be channelled in to areas of interest for these youngsters?

As it is, they truant then miss the vital 3 Rs which they don't understand is fundamental to a decent existence. Give them physical work which produces physical results and there could be a difference.

Time we rehashed the education system. The 'one size fits all' hasn't worked.

subrosa said...

Jings strapworld, hot information indeed. I'm sure someone will pass it on to the powers that be and if not, I'll do a wee post myself.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Perhaps we'll have to agree to differ on this one Rosa.

There has never been a one size fits all in education other than the disengeuous belief foisted on society that such a system can be created. That's not my argument.

The unarguable fact is that the standards applied and the education offered is failing to capture the interest of a large section of society.

Why is that? Is it because of genuine inability, despite the best efforts of educationalists, teachers and administrators. Or the curse of resource economics; which raises the question of, does it cost more to create interest than it does to dispense mind numbing mediocrity?

Think about it Rosa. This idea is so regressive it's qualifying failure as a maxim. Surely we have enough of that with the oxymoron we call politics.

Just a thought on the chart - I wonder if they do a similar one for imports?

William said...

It wasn't just red tape, SR. Bureaucracy didn't help. Extreme trade unions didn't help. But our manufactured base was eroded for political purposes, as a part of a deliberate policy. Until that's understood, it can never be reversed.

James Goldsmith spoke about this 16 years ago. He was right then and he's right now (although he's now dead).

I hope you don't mind me posting this.

Part 1 -

Goldsmith - “NAFTA and GATT are totally different sizes. NAFTA was a free-trade area with Mexico and Canada. But it’s nothing. It’s like Portugal and Greece was for us in Europe. But with GATT we’re talking about a free-trade area with China, with India, with Vietnam, with Indonesia, with 4 billion people. You can employ 47 people in Vietnam or the Phillipines for the cost of 1 American. What has changed since GATT first started? Technology can be transferred anywhere in the world. Capital can be transferred instantaneously wherever the return is highest. So, take two companies that make the same product to be sold on the same market. They have access to the same technology. They have access to the same capital. They only have one difference – cost of labour. 47:1. So they move. In the last 20 years, the economy of France has grown 80%. The number of unemployed has gone from 420,000 to 5.1 million. “

Interviewer - “What about the huge buying power of China in the new Millennium when it becomes the fastest growing economy in the world? There will be a market that will want to buy from the industrialised world.”

Goldsmith - “That’s wonderful and there’s a benefit in that. But how do we benefit from it without destroying ourselves? You create a corporation in China and you build a factory in China. What do you want to sell? Mugs? Sell mugs in China. You conquer part of the Chinese market by competing fair and square. But if you take a factory from the States and take it to China so as to re-import the goods back into the States then what are you saying? You’re saying to your employees here, “you’re too expensive folks, you want money, you want protection, you want unions, you want holidays, forget it, we can employ 47 people over there who want nothing.” Don’t confuse two issues. One is going out to participate in their growing economies, getting a share of their market and the other is killing off employment in your own country, transferring it over there and importing to here purely to increase your profit margins.”

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Goldsmith - “What is the purpose of GATT? It is to reduce trade barriers. We’ve had 8 rounds that have reduced barriers from 40% to 3.9% to manufacture anywhere in the world to sell anywhere in the world. Why did this not happen before? Because if you manufactured abroad before, you couldn’t import without a cost. What you’re now saying is move offshore, keep on moving offshore and you can re-import into the States and obliterate earnings and employment in the States. What will happen is more American products will be sold abroad which have been manufactured in low cost areas, and therefore they will carry a US name. They will have a US manufacturing company and the corporations that make them will make greater profits but the workforces will be eliminated.”

William said...

Part 4 -

Part 5 -

Goldsmith - "This is the Establishment against the rest of society. In France, 30% is for GATT, 70% is against. But who are the 70%? They're ordinary people. Who is the 30%? They're basically big business - and I've been in big business and I'm for business unless it divides society, I'm for business, I'm for profits, I'm a capitalist - but we have a conflict of interest. Big business loves having total access to unlimited giveaway labour."

Interviewer - "You say that jobs will be lost because companies, in search of cheap labour, will move their operations abroad."

Goldsmith - "Do you know who will make money over there? In every developing nation, you have the same situation. You have a handful of people in control of it- the oligarchs. The people who are going to lose are not going to be people like me or you. It is the poor in rich countries who will be subsidising the rich in poor countries."

Part 6 -

Interviewer - "You sold all your stock before the Stock Market crash in 1987. You saw that. How do you see the economy today?"

Goldsmith - "I think our financial system is extremely fragile. You see it in the volatility of currencies, the fragility of it. I think there's a great danger in derivatives. I think we're moving to the outer limits of acceptable risk-taking. I think our financial system is dangerous and could cause problems for the real economy. You cannot enrich a country by impoverishing its people. You cannot measure the health of an economy by the profits of its corporations. Profits are important but even more important is the health of the people in terms of participation in the economy."

subrosa said...

Aye RA, we'll have to agree to differ. There has been a one size fits all education system since comprehensives were introduced (unless you managed to rustle up private school fees).

I entirely agree that standards have failed but that's related to the OSFA system.

Again, being a cynic, I think the reduction in standards was planned RA, although politicians ensured there were plenty frills involved. Today's youngsters are as able to absorb huge amounts of information. They're no worse than we were and they have so much technology at their fingertips that they should learn faster than we did.

I'll see if I can find you a chart.

subrosa said...

No William, I don't mind in the least. It's refreshed my memory.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Rosa,it seems our objectives are much they same though our diagnosis of cause and prognosis of cure differs.

And William's comment has lessened my ignorance. I have to admit I never considered Goldsmith as a serious contender for common sense.

Perhaps I could recommend to you both Ian Bells article in the comments section of last Sundays Herald. It compliments, if not gives credence to Goldsmiths prescience.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Damn, he's got two articles this week.

It's the one titled "Why don't we tax the rich?

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


'They feel their politicians haven't listened.'

Why I am truly shocked politicians not listening what a thing to say

subrosa said...

Ian Bell's article does exactly that RA.

Oh, I couldn't find an import graphic but they are listed on same page as the export graphic I used.

subrosa said...

I know Nicko. What's the world coming to I ask myself.

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