From top: David Mcwilliams in Saturday’s Irish Times; Eamonn Kelly

Eamonn Kelly writes;

David McWilliams’ article in Saturday’s Irish Times about how people who give out about the multi-nationals are a bit backward, a bit “old Ireland” in their outlook.

But what he failed to see is that people who criticise all the breaks the multi-nationals get are really critiquing in a deflected manner all the breaks that the Irish people don’t get when they want to start a business.

Implicit in the multi-national deals and the manner in which successive sycophantic governments clamour to please corporate America is the idea that the Irish people in and of themselves are clueless about business and dependent on someone else making jobs for us.

This despite the fact that the boast of our superior educated workforce is what the IDA always leads with as a selling point to multi-nationals.

But if you’re an Irish person wanting to start a business it is awkward to the point of being punitive in setting it up and running it. And should the business fail the system is designed to whip away the safety net of welfare at the very time you might need it.

It seems then that everyone and everything is invested in and given breaks except the Irish people. Public monies ear-marked for retraining the workforce, for instance, were handed out in the millions to two British companies who provided no retraining for the investment but only a kind of policing of unemployed people.

The message is clear from the top. The Irish people are not worth investing in but are only useful as drones for corporate America who get all the breaks to use us, basically.

I’m not suggesting that we fling out the multi-nationals. That would be stupid. But this is the kind of “stupidity” that McWilliams was suggesting lay behind critiquing the multi-national deal.

What I am suggesting is that we invest in Irish would-be entrepreneurs and local businesses with the same confidence and generosity as we have been affording to multi-nationals.

By not investing in the Irish people you create a self-fulfilling prophecy that local entrepreneurs are unable to create employment. This reinforces the old national inferiority complex that informs the present system of attracting multi-national investment.

So contrary to McWilliams’  view that people who criticise the multi-nationals are somehow “backward”, the truth is that the system engineered by Lemass for a different Irish population made up of mainly farmers and labourers, is still being run as if the people haven’t changed.

A system based on an acknowledgment of a national inferiority complex, a need for creating employment for a workforce of mainly uneducated and unskilled labour and the luring of friends in America to make jobs for us.

Everything about it is dependent. But that’s not us any more. It’s the system is backward, not the people, as McWilliams implies.

The irony of this is that David McWilliams who presents himself as the progressive face of economics appears to be arguing that we return to the “innocence” of the Lemass era and show gratitude towards the multi-nationals.

If that’s not a big-red-flag clue to a post-colonial authoritarian issue I don’t know what is.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Corporate Tax And The Yeah But School Of Economics (David McWilliamns, Irish Times)

26 thoughts on “Ah Yeah But No

  1. stephen c

    Taxes should be lower for all businesses and taxpayers. Ireland charges a barbaric rate of tax to everyone who doesnt have a ‘sweet deal’ .

    Time to impose a lot more spending cuts and adjust taxes to a much better level.

    1. Cian

      if taxes are lower for all businesses and taxpayers… then there is less revenue to redistribute.
      Where do you suggest we cut back?
      Air-traffic control?
      Dental benefit?
      Children’s allowance?

  2. Nialler

    I’m a sole trader, pay my taxes, file my accounts, make enough to survive but if it all went tits up I’d be left to fend for myself, what revenue and the government fail to see is that if you run a business you’re automatically successful and wealthy which is not true in many cases, I know many a business owner who leaves themselves short in order to ensure their employees are paid and looked after to the detriment of themselves, we don’t have the support structures like an employee unfortunately but I don’t know what the solution would be.

  3. rotide

    So if there’s a pie factory in gaza and that employs 750 people, we shouldn’t be buying those pies and put the 750 people out of a job and deliver them into hopeless poverty?

        1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

          Meat, obvs.
          I’m searching for a word. I’m going to go with scintillating for the moment.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            i was going to revert to type and say muff

            but then I remembered the feta and sweet potato pies in the pieman cafe on crown alley (? or somewhere near there). they’re very nice.

    1. johnny

      Few comps for the quite literally financially/investment illiterate amadans at NTMA-who insist on getting paid off the scale to retain that ‘talent” !

      “China’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. (CIC) booked its best annual performance last year with a 37.5% increase in net profit, thanks to record returns from overseas portfolios.”

      Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund 13% last year.

      “Sovereign investors on average achieved a return of over 9% in 2017, with development sovereigns doing best at nearly 12%, thanks to their exposure to private markets assets. At the other end of the return spectrum, liquidity sovereigns still generated returns of around 6%, despite their defensive portfolios”

      NTMA-2.8% p.a !

      Link to 2018 Invesco Global Sovereign Asset Management Study (126 sovereign investors)

        1. johnny

          Cian-the NTMA qualified last years 4% return by clearly stating numerous time in their report,that the return was artfully impacted by a one off 650 million AIB dividend,rending it useless for comparisons.
          But good attempt at deflecting from what is simply an awful,dreadful performance by the NTMA’s “best and brightest”,they would all have been fired by any commercial organization for this.
          Why were they buying Digicel junk bonds-to prop up DOB-an extremely strange and odd investment choice for the NTMA,on which they have lost million of Irish state money-with typically no consequences!
          Its more akin to a secondary school mock investment club than a professional run organisation,they had no business loading up on Digicel bonds.

  4. Sheik Yahbouti

    Excellent article on a subject which has long been painfully obvious, but which is seldom if ever discussed.

  5. phil

    Companies are not in the business of creating jobs. They are in the business of making money, sure they new a few employees, but if they can get away with it they will pay buttons , and make more profits..

    Ive often wonder was sone deal done with unions to keep the away from IT multinationals…

    1. Rob_G

      The skills of the people who work in IT multinationals tend to be so in demand that, if they are not happy with their current salary, they can just move to a different company. No point in having a union in that instance.

  6. andy

    What are these “breaks” that are being given to multi-nationals that aren’t available to domestic companies?

  7. johnny

    Andy-the link above is to the annual report-pg 204 on details the sleazy hedge and vulture funds,above it you will also find that the NTMA has been buying Digicel junk bonds,which begs the question why ?
    They closed today at mid 60’s,NTMA loaded up at par !

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