#UCCEconoCon Live Blog

Refresh for updates, thanks to @AudreyEWalsh for some of the quotes

Hello and welcome to my live blog of the UCC Economics Society Economic Conference. There is a great line up of speakers organised and I will be updating this post as the day goes on. Feel free to ask questions in the comments on Twitter (@spiller2 or @corkeconomics) or on Facebook. Todays Timetable:

11:30 – 11:35    Welcome by Stephen Barry, Auditor of UCC Economics Society
11:35 – 11:50    Opening Address by Robbie Butler, UCC Department of Economics

11:50 – 12:50    Panel Discussion 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability? Ciaran Lynch TD, Sinead Ryan and Declan Jordan, Peter Mathews TD and John Considine (Chair)

12:50 – 13:20    Q&A

13:20 – 14:20    Lunch

14:20 – 14:40 “Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

14:40 – 15:40    Panel Discussion 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt? Megan Greene, Seamus Coffey, Brendan Keenan, Lorcan Roche-Kelly and Tim Harford (Chair)

15:40 – 16.10   Q&A

16:10 – 16:20    Coffee Break

16.20 –     Keynote Speech by Tim Harford

Robbie Butler:

  • We can go from Primary to University without studying Economics.
  • We don’t teach basic Economics, how to save, how to spend, how not to spend more then you earn
  • Interest in Economics has declined since the recession.
  • Need to capture imagination of young people. Less than 10% leave formal education with education in economics

Panel 1: Is politics the greatest stumbling block to economic stability?

Declan Jordan

  • Politics isnt the greatest stumbling block to economic stability
  • Do Governments hinder or help the Economy
  • 13 Countries with good growth had committed, credible and capable Government
  • Bad decisions and Bad Governments can damage Economies
  • Electorate needs to incentives “good politicians” with “Good policies”
  • we tend to see politics as a problem, we get the government we deserve, we elected them
  • we elected the same government 3 times who had short term views, but we contributed to it

Peter Matthews TD

  • We’ve had a volatile economic situation here, as opposed to stagnation (Japan) or depressed (Soviet Union)
  • Unregulated markets has wrecked the real economy.
  • Read the “Price of Inequality” – Joseph Stiglitz
  • Also read “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
  • This country is overburdened by debt which is unsustainable! A debt right down for Ireland would be the right thing to do!
  • The 11 MEPs need to agree on working together to reduce the €53bn debt

Sinead Ryan

  • 1st lesson of economics is of scarcity, 1st lesson of politics is to ignore the 1st lesson of economics.
  • Where there is conflict between Economist and Politicians, the tax payer ends up the loser.
  • Examples are Irish Water, HSE, Bank Crisis and unprofitable routes on public transport
  • No politician wants to be called brave

Ciaran Lynch TD

  • If Government is a stumbling block for economic stability if bad policies are followed, its not if good policies are followed.
  • Everyone now has opinion about economics just as in politics
  • The financial crisis has both internal and external causes!
  • Economics does not come with an ideology, just like Politics
  • Coming out of the current crisis/bailout is an example of how politics can work
  • Life cycle carbon taxes – there is not enough materials in the world to meet future supply.
  • Politics does not cause instability but pursuing economic dogma does

Q&A: Question: How do we get the Politician’s we deserve

  • Economist should provide Electorate with information
  • Economist should fact check on political policies

“ECB Monetary Policy” – Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • German Economy is the most important tool to the the ECB
  • To get where the ECB wants to be, the must do something new. They can’t cut interest rates. Money supply must be managed better!
  • The crisis that Europe is facing, is not a debt crisis…. it is a growth crisis!
  • The best thing that happened to the ECB was Trichet leaving the bank and Draghi coming in
  • The Euro suffers from a publicity problem

“Gaming It: Incentives, Cheating and the Grey Area in Sports” – Declan Jordan

  • Lots of cheating in sport, Luis Suraz, World Cup 1982, Theire Henry, A-Rod, Lance Armstrong, Maradonna.
  • Cheating is not new, its easier, they do work hard
  • Its’ expected
  • Is bending the rules allowed?
  • Cheating needs a new definition
  • Should be defined as Breaking the rules for Advantage

Panel 2: The Eurozone – wobbling on a tightrope between growth and debt?

Brendan Keenan

  • Eurozone is still a collection of National Economies, cant be compared to USA. Huge disparities between Governments
  • The eurozone crisis could easily erupt again!
  • Ireland facing more contraction until 2016, Public spending can grow beyond that if we reach that if international recovery
  • Is Ireland political willing to continue walking the tightrope? It will still be tough
  • A Tightrope… doesn’t matter which side you fall off! You fall off! A second bailout would lead to unknown territory.

Megan Greene

  • Adding an item to the agenda, INFLATION…… it should be growth, solvency and inflation.
  • It is important to look at 2 different solvency levels: 1) Public Solvency levels 2) External Solvency levels
  • 2014 will be a chronic year for the Eurozone, however next year things should get get better!
  • Germany has some room to provide some stimulus, but unlikely as its facing a rapid ageing population
  • German’s population is ageing and while their fiscal policy is good, their future generations will be paying the price.
  • Banking Union will not be about burden sharing, which was the point
  • Debt conference in Europe with all the weaker countries (and perhaps France), to restructure debt, is necessary.
  • The most political likely deal is debt restructuring. It will be politically tough. But rescheduling at least is nessecary

Seamus Coffey

  • If deflation appears in prices, it might not be too bad. However, if it appears in wages, it would not good!
  • Deflation also affects Government income, VAT and Duty.
  • Those most hurt by deflation are those in debt. Most in debt? Governments- where anti deflation comments come
  • We still havent solved the Banking Crisis
  • EU needs to become more federal, whether in policy or fiscally, for social project of 1950s to avoid getting stuck
  • The Burden of the Debt has to go Somewhere

Lorcan Roche Kelly

  • Eurozone is almost a Co-Op
  • The Eurozone is a good tempate for a Federalised Europe
  • We need a really bad crisis for politicians to hand over fiscal power. Seeds are there for that crisis. Sovereign Debt
  • The answer is more Europe
  • Integration or Disintegration
  • We are half way across canyon, if we turn around we will fall off.

Keynote Speech: Tim Harford

  • Focusing on the story of Alban William Phillips (Also known as Bill Phillips)
  • He is the Indiana Jones of Economics
  • Invented the Moniac the first computer model of an economy
  • Developed the Philips Curve, the correlation between inflation and unemployment
  • The 1970’s Oil Crisis discredited the Philips Curve
  • When he developed the curve he never believed in it.

And thats it folks! Thanks for joining me!

 

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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