A ‘Knowledge’ based economy

Today the Irish Times had an article about an American University opening a college here, in Dungarvan Co. Waterford. It occured to me that the Island of Saints and Scholars could do with trying to encourage this type of investment if we are to truly become a ‘knowledge economy’. In creating centres of excellence it is vital to ensure that the best research and advancement is happening in a certain place, in I.T. that may be Silicon Valley, in Finance the City of London prevails.

Harvard University Professors are not paid millions, rather they teach there for prestige. With Universities such as Trinity and our strong heritage of learning (if you want an interesting take on our written word tradition a book called ‘How the Irish saved civilization‘ is fascinating) there is no reason we should not see more universities wanting to locate here and have …

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A 'Knowledge' based economy

Today the Irish Times had an article about an American University opening a college here, in Dungarvan Co. Waterford. It occured to me that the Island of Saints and Scholars could do with trying to encourage this type of investment if we are to truly become a ‘knowledge economy’. In creating centres of excellence it is vital to ensure that the best research and advancement is happening in a certain place, in I.T. that may be Silicon Valley, in Finance the City of London prevails.

Harvard University Professors are not paid millions, rather they teach there for prestige. With Universities such as Trinity and our strong heritage of learning (if you want an interesting take on our written word tradition a book called ‘How the Irish saved civilization‘ is fascinating) there is no reason we should not see more universities wanting to locate here and have …

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Will Specialist or Sub-Prime lenders be better off?

With the news coming out daily about prime lenders facing higher and higher impairment charges it begs the question of who will do better during a downturn, specialist/sub prime lenders or prime high street banks?

Banks stated that they feel impairments of up to 90 basis points were likely, some have revised this figure higher several times with NIB predicting impairment of upwards of 300 basis points. Sub-prime lenders on the other hand start off with predictions of high impairment and they price and gauge the risk accordingly from the outset. Given that starting point, could it be a case that Irish specialist lenders may come out the other side of the liquidity crisis with an overall book that fares proportionately on margins than other prime lenders?

To answer this question we must first consider margins, with many banks typical margin is from 1% to 1.5% on average, however, with many prime lenders this margin is  lower because of low margin trackers that were a point of heavy competition between …

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Ludwig von Mises, Economist, Libertarian.

What kind of man was Ludwig von Mises? As this unique film shows, Mises (1881-1973) was a man who never stopped fighting for freedom: not when the Nazis burned his books, not when the Left blackballed him at universities, not when it seemed as if statism had won. With courage and genius, he fought big government until the day he died in 25 books, hundreds of articles, and more than 60 years of teaching.

Mises’s battles against Communists, Nazis, and other socialists, are featured in this film, as are his ideas of Liberty. There is also the old Vienna he loved, the Bolshevik prime minister he dissuaded from Communism, and a cast of villains from Lenin to Hitler, as well as such supporters and students as Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Bettina Greaves, M. Stanton Evans, Mary Peterson, Joseph Sobran, and Yuri Maltsev.

Among his many accomplishments, Mises showed that socialism had to fail, that central banking causes recessions and depressions, that the gold standard is honest money, and that only laissez-faire capitalism is fully compatible with Western civilization.

Mises …

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Nobody could see the financial mess coming…

Perhaps the problem was that we were not listening to the right people? In this post you will see Peter Schiff talk to the Mortgage Bankers of America back in 2006. He outlines with alarming accuracy exactly what would happen in the future as a result of how credit had distributed, the way interest rates were manipulated and the coming fall out in the property market. There are 8 videos in total, you can find the second one here and then watch the others in the youtube panel which will be on the same page (part three etc.)

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How far are we down the rabbit hole?

How far into the credit crunch and liquidity crisis are we? Banking stocks would have you think that it’s all upwards from here on in but how can you be sure? The Regulators in the USA were prepared for 100 to 200 bank closures in the 12-24 month period from the end of 07′. Thus far we have only seen eight actually close.

The total amount of assets involved is €38 billion. That might not seem like much when talking about bankers money, but keep in perspective that its 38,000 units of a million, its twice the size of AIB, its more than all of the lending market in Ireland for the whole year of 2007. And of course this is just the portion that have gone under, the actual ‘writedowns’ that other banks are surviving are (when added together) much larger, which means that some banks are just better able to take their blows than others. The worrisome thing in some cases …

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How a hacker will help you today, money hacks and life hacks

The word ‘hacker’ generally has a fairly negative connotation, hackers (traditionally) are the people who somehow get your credit card details and then buy lots of things without you knowing, the get into Pentagon missile systems and do all the things that are taboo electronically. Accepted that there are white and black hat hackers, white hat means they hack on the side of good (most of the good ones didn’t start out that way though!), black hat means they are on the side of evil (generally speaking). Damn hackers….

That was until ‘hacking’ became a good and positive thing in the form of ‘lifehacks‘ and ‘moneyhacks‘. This new phrase describes a ‘hack’ in its original meaning, a ‘hack‘ is a clever or quick fix, and it applies to more than square-eyed phreaks who get into your pc and rip-off your identity etc.

Lifehacks or moneyhacks are simple ways of doing everyday things with less effort or quicker, and they have dedicated followers and sites that share that information. …

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Irish Mortgage Brokers: Not the subject of Primetime report.

Primetime did a special last night on a company called MoneyZone who are part of Irish Mortgage Corporation, today I got an email asking if we were the company featured on the show.

No we are not, we have similar names to our competitor IMC but we are a totally different organization and having no connections whatsoever to them.

The show was about ‘sub-prime’ lending and it focused on how IMC dealt with a customer who was an undercover reporter. Brendan Burgess (he runs the popular finance website ask about money and is the former Chairman of the Financial Regulators Consumer Panel) was commenting from the consumer and compliance perspective.

Here are some of the extracts:

IMC Male Broker: “to be honest its all about if the regulator or somebody goes into the bank they say ‘why did you approve them?’and they quite simply go ‘there’s the lodgements, there’s the money going through” the broker then went on to explain …

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Learn a little about gardening to avoid inflation.

I know in advance I’ll draw some laughs (the ‘at’ kind, not the ‘with’ kind) due to this post but I do think it’s relevant. Today I am telling people to learn a bit about gardening, specifically, market gardening, in order to avoid getting hit by ag-flation. Agflation/Ag-flation (because it’s not an official word yet I don’t know if requires a hyphen or not) describes the current phase of world food commodity prices, the inflation is being driven on agricultural products, rice, corn, wheat, meat etc. So expect to be paying more at the till for every kind of food, in fact there have been riots in Mexico and Indonesia already because of food prices, in Haiti they stormed the presidential palace in Port au Prince and dethroned a leader.

Egypt has suspended rice exports and is trying to organise a rice for wheat swap with Syria, Ukraine is in talks with Libya, and the Philippines are in talks with Vietnam, this …

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