Re: Re: The Question of Land

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However the day land + house prices are related to the social welfare and minimum wage wage and shown in the development plan for the state with guaranteed ownership after 5 years related to the population is the only time there will never be another recession.

Well that is a great assessment right there. When I started reading what Feasta were publishing and listening to some lectures they scheduled around the time the bust began, I started to learn things like the following. If one goes and gets a job, then the support you get on the housing side from the state is automatically taken away. I mean, how is that supposed to work? Planning officials, public servants and people in general a lot more knowledgeable than I am, are better qualified to understand these things and comment. From my limited overview of the situation, I can see a lot of problems that aught to be tackled. I believe that all political parties have some part to play in the process. I tend to veer too dangerously towards a revolution and a Stalinist approach myself. But I don’t suppose piles of bodies will solve much either.

I only hoped to underline in the post above, the seriousness of the situation regarding the research into taxation and the land issue. We basically have no one working on the problem with any degree of skill and qualification. I don’t know if Bolton Street managed to organise a single Phd student yet. I even doubt that. In fact, the Ireland of the post Famine years had engaged more people to deal with the land problem than today. We really do need to open a big new chapter in Ireland with regard to land and its taxation. Simply funding a PHd thesis or too might help, but it is like throwing a timble at a blazing fire.

I do believe that we saw in the Celtic Tiger years a glimpse at some of the real possibilities. The ready availability of so many large corporate tenants in Ireland compensated for the problems that are structural, that are embedded in the system. The drop in numbers of graduates and young people leaving the country certainly played a part. I do believe, we can regain conditions favourable to construction in Ireland, even in recession times, if we could look at the systemic problems and relieve them. My best instinct is that Ireland as country always under performed. We experience these very brief glimpses of hope once ever decade or two and then it passes.

It is like the sun that struggles to emerge from the cloud cover in the Irish sky. Economists from around the world come to Ireland rather like anthropologists or botanists go to rare habitats, to study some once in 20 year blooming in the desert. We are kind of a pit stop once every 20 years on the tour of world’s economic oddities. The builders and developers seem to understand that better than most. They have adapted to the environment and have the same culture as nomads or bedouin travellers. A string of camels and some tents in which to interface with politicians. We need to look for solutions that enable us to sustain a level of activity expected of a first world country even in the slower part of the economic cycle. We need to find the oil that lies underneath the sand of the desert. That requires a lot more than one or two students. It requires many.

Brian O’ Hanlon

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