#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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UCC Economics Conference to kick-start wealth of debate

This Saturday, the UCC Economics Society will be holding their Economic Conference. There is a number of excellent speakers lined up (see below) which should be interesting to a lot of people. The reason I am posting this is that I shall be there and covering it on Twitter, Facebook and the blog.

Press Release:

Multi-million selling author and BBC Radio presenter Tim Harford will be the keynote speaker at the UCC Economics Society inaugural conference on Saturday the 1st of February in the Aula Maxima, UCC from 11am to 5pm. Other speakers include economists, broadcasters, politicians and journalists.

Harford spent some time lecturing in UCC in the nineties. Since then he become well known through his writing. He contributes to the Financial Times where he writes the world’s only economic ‘agony aunt’ column. His most recent publication ‘The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to run or ruin an economy’ takes a step into macroeconomics, while his online TED talk has over 150,000 views (link http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_harford.html )

The conference features a number of other high-profile panellists who will debate European and political related economicaffairs. Megan Greene, Chief Economist with Maverick Intelligence, based in London, will speak about the current European situation. Other speaks include Brendan Keenan, former Economics Editor for Independent NewspapersSinead Ryan, consumer and personal finance journalist with The Herald, and Ciarán Lynch TD, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. UCC economists will also contribute, including Robbie Butler, Seamus Coffey and Declan Jordan.

The conference comes as part of a string of economics events running from Monday 27th January – Monday 3 February.Economist and author David McWilliams will officially launch ‘Economics Week’ on Monday 27th January in Boole Lecture Theatre 1 at 6:30pm. The week will be concluded by John Fitzgerald, Research Professor at the Economics and Social Research Institute, on Monday 3rd February at 7pm in Kane Science Building G02. A full timetable is available here: http://www.ucceconomicsconference.com/

Speaking ahead of the event, conference convener Jamie Cullinan said, “This conference is intended to unite leading academics and practitioners in the field to discuss economic problems with a view towards finding a pathway into the future. Applying the discussion to matters of politics and policy will focus the conference on the most current topics in a continually challenging economic environment.”

“Thanks to our hard-working team, we are very happy to have such a fantastic line up from international and national commentators and economists. Many people have read Tim Harford and he has enthralled us with his writing, while we’ve seen the likes of Megan Greene and Sinead Ryan speaking at Kilkenomics where they proved very insightful commentators. Now more than ever economics is to the forefront of society. Economists have dug into real-world matters and tried to understand human behaviour.

“Importantly this discussion will take place in a college setting and will have the power to influence economic thinking into the future through the attending students, who will also be given an opportunity to question the prevailing economic thought and policy issues on the day.”

Tickets for the conference are €10, with a €5 rate for students, and are on sale both online (http://www.ucceconomicsconference.com/ )  and on campus. For further information please contact economics@uccsocieties.ie.

 

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