Ireland without banks, a fascinating paper by Antoin Murphy

Antoin Murphy was and remains one of the most fascinating economic historians in Ireland, his work on John Law is internationally recognized as being the best there is. Here is a paper he did on how Ireland operated without banks, it is a must read for anybody who wants to know more on how the world can work without banks (in a paper oriented system).

Antoin Murphy, Money in an economy without banks, The case of Ireland – bank strike paper

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European Historical Economics Society 2011

There were some excellent presentations at the EHES this year, where some of the worlds leading historians, economists and economic historians gathered to share their thoughts.

The first video is excellent, Bob Allen of Oxford talks about why the Industrial Revolution was (in his opinion) a result of high wages and lower energy costs – which lead to a preference for technical innovation. Deirdre McCloskey of Chicago University offers excellent criticism in the questions at the end. Apologies for the sound quality, Bob had a tendency to move away from the mic and I wasn’t using a remote one.

In the next video Branko Milanovic talks about income distributions in the Mediterranean countries 2,000 years ago, and using very sparse data creates a compelling view of income from that time, what I took from this one was that income inequality has always been alive and well, a Roman Senator made about 500 times the wages of a regular worker (watch the video!).

Then there is a Roundtable discussion featuring the ‘who’s who’ of economic history

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‘What If’ … Economists were a few hundred years ahead of the game?

The Trinity Science Gallery is just across the street from our offices, proximity, linked with my interest in science (confession: I dropped out of Science in NUIM many years ago before studying business – but as a kid I actually wanted to be a scientist) means that I go there a lot, and they have these great exhibitions on regularly, the latest is called ‘What If’ and it poses questions that are part morality part science, part pie in the sky, but the fundamental aim of getting you thinking is totally successful.

Which brings me to something interesting that I noticed when I was there last week, one of the exhibitions was ‘What if we tried to make a toaster from scratch‘ (video here).

The actual description of this is as follows: ‘Thwaites (man behind the project) went on a quest to build an electric toaster from scratch, …

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