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Ireland Bailout
November 13, 2010 1:30 PM   Subscribe


 
It's Goldfinger again. He's stolen the entire Irish bullion reserve. The country's in a state of crisis. Now the EU and her Majesty's Government are in talks to provide loans to meet immediate obligations. But you have to find Goldfinger and recover the bullion before the entire financial system collapses.

So are you saying that we're in a...

Yes, 007, this is an Irish Bond crisis.
posted by Naberius at 1:35 PM on November 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Irish aid package could be 45-90 bln euros-sources

BRUSSELS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - European Union financial aid for Ireland under discussion could be between 45 and 90 billion euros, depending on whether Dublin would need support for its banking sector, euro zone sources said on Saturday.
Ireland has not formally applied for EU aid, but euro zone sources told Reuters on Friday that talks on such a possiblity were already under way.
posted by chavenet at 1:48 PM on November 13, 2010


Remember when the tiger economies collapsed, and everyone laughed and they said that would never happen in Europe. And they renamed Ireland the new tiger economy... Obvious now, but at the time I didn't see we were all lying to ourselves, and this new tiger economy was just as flawed as the old.
posted by seanyboy at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least they have fewer qualms about working at McDonald's.
posted by Brian B. at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2010


Sounds like austerity is working out well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:14 PM on November 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I just back from Ireland, after a six month stint there.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, is happy about this.
posted by gcbv at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Erin Go Broke?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


I just got finished reading this Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi which describe Birmingham, Alabama's woes. Ireland is in similar straights, though on a countrywide scale.
posted by Catblack at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


their day has come.
posted by the cuban at 2:33 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if China starts buying Irish bonds - they have done the same for Greece and Portugal. This would probably help "save" Ireland if it happened - huge Chinese buying would depress Irish bond yields and the swaps on them would likely fall.

I think China's willingness to step in for the Eurozone and buy its members' bonds has been a brilliant move - not only does it offer China a high yield compared to US Treasuries, it diversifies their foreign holdings. China has an interest in keeping the Eurozone together so that there's a competitor to the dollar as a reserve currency. The EU is also a huge trading partner, so the move earns China significant goodwill.

Ireland's economic situation has in many ways mirrored that of the US over the past decade - they had an absolutely massive property bubble fueled by cheap credit (and real estate speculators) that exploded with the financial crisis, and now the country's in bad fiscal shape. Interestingly, a lot of right wing pundits in the US were touting Ireland's extremely low corporate tax rate and encouraging America to do the same - the problem with that, as you can now see, is that the government can't raise any revenue, and so they'll probably have to raise taxes and make brutal spending cuts.

I hope Mutant sees this thread and weighs in - I'm very interested to see how these negotiations turn out.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Swingeing cuts made as per the neoliberal nostrums, in return further punished by the markets. Might as well have got out on the streets like the people of Spain and Greece.

a state of crisis
The whole world's in a state o chassis!

posted by Abiezer at 2:49 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]




And yet RTE and many of the national newspapers are still reporting the Government's denial of any bailout or bailout discussions whatsoever.

gcbv, you're damn right that nobody here is happy about this. It appears that the most vulnerable here are the first ones to have services and resources cut as a result of predatory (and in some cases outright dodgy) financial practices they had no part in- but then again, 'twas ever thus.
posted by psychostorm at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2010


Poor Celtic Tiger, burning bright.
posted by chavenet at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


this new tiger economy was just as flawed as the old.

Eh, you were doing alright right up until you guaranteed your banks. Of course the fact that seemingly half the budget was stamp duty was also a wee bitty problem.

The Wall Street Journal actually had a quite excellent and readable summary of the crisis earlier this week. (If the link is paywalled for you, google the article title and click in from google; WSJ drops the paywall for searchers.)
posted by Diablevert at 3:11 PM on November 13, 2010


What's the article title?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:13 PM on November 13, 2010


Oh, sorry, that was rather thoughtless of me.

"Ireland's Fate Tied to Doomed Banks" is the title of the article.
posted by Diablevert at 3:15 PM on November 13, 2010


Remember when the tiger economies collapsed, and everyone laughed and they said that would never happen in Europe. And they renamed Ireland the new tiger economy... Obvious now, but at the time I didn't see we were all lying to ourselves, and this new tiger economy was just as flawed as the old.

This is the nature of economic booms. People love, love, love them, but it's very rare that they're sustainable. The bigger the boom (or the bubble), the more waste and fraud accumulates. The vast majority of perfectly honest businesses and workers just get sloppy and lazy about money and debt, and the genuinely bad guys are pulled in like roaches. You essentially always get a bust for every boom, where the waste and fraud are purged.

The busts are incredibly important to capitalism -- it's how bad ideas are removed from the system. What they've been trying, for the last thirty years or so, is boom-only capitalism, driven by excess liquidity/outright monetary disorder from the Federal Reserve. This is another way of saying fraud- and waste-only capitalism. The poisons of lack of fiscal discipline and excessive debt issuance have accumulated to the point that they're taking out the the fringe economies, the ones on the periphery. They're collapsing early because they were small and weak to begin with, but the rot will continue to spread inward, taking out larger and larger economies as it goes.

Essentially, the entire world has turned itself into Ponzi Economics, and it's all being driven by the United States. Between our profligate Congress, with its absolute refusal to pay for what we use, and our profligate Fed, which will do anything required to prevent even minor economic adjustments, the poisons just keep spreading.

Eventually, countries are going to figure out that using dollars as the world's reserve currency is an extremely bad idea, and that pain today to avoid a great deal more pain tomorrow is worth suffering through. Once they internalize this truth, things are going to go into crisis, here in the center, in very short order.
posted by Malor at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Its current deficit is an unprecedented 32% of gross domestic product, if the one-off cost of bad debts in the Irish banking system is included.

Holy moly.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:24 PM on November 13, 2010


Malor: "Eventually, countries are going to figure out that using dollars as the world's reserve currency is an extremely bad idea, and that pain today to avoid a great deal more pain tomorrow is worth suffering through. "

I think the rationale for using the dollar and propping up the US is that a rich person with a stunning array of weaponry is a lot less scary than a desperate and poverty-stricken person with a stunning array of weaponry.
posted by mullingitover at 3:29 PM on November 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Malor, we've been out here all goddamn day. The sky hasn't moved one tiny bit.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 3:29 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


celtic paper tiger.
posted by vectr at 3:31 PM on November 13, 2010


Oh? What's your house worth these days? Feeling secure about your employment? Shame about Greece, eh?
posted by Malor at 3:31 PM on November 13, 2010


Grecian earn urn
posted by vectr at 3:34 PM on November 13, 2010


Malor wrote: "What's your house worth these days? Feeling secure about your employment? Shame about Greece, eh?"

More than it was two years ago when we bought it or five years ago. Yes, quite, my clients are mostly doing pretty well. Yep, damn shame.
posted by wierdo at 3:37 PM on November 13, 2010


I would very much like to hear from Malcolm Gladwell on this topic, as he's the one who explained to me back in 2006 why Ireland's economy was so strong.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:38 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Essentially, the entire world has turned itself into Ponzi Economics, and it's all being driven by the United States. Between our profligate Congress, with its absolute refusal to pay for what we use, and our profligate Fed, which will do anything required to prevent even minor economic adjustments, the poisons just keep spreading.

I think that's right, but the part we often tend to leave out is that governments specifically seek to mitigate (or eliminate) the "bust" part out of a need to preserve social order.

The U.S. unemployment rate is at 9.6 percent even with the rot; what might it be were the powers that be to say - you know, we're just going to let this forest fire burn and consume what it will, so when it's over we'll have a healthier forest. That may very well be the case; but how many get burned in the meantime?
posted by kgasmart at 3:44 PM on November 13, 2010


No one, and I mean NO ONE, is happy about this.

Just get the bus North. I believe they're called Unionists.
posted by Damienmce at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, all I can say is that I'm glad Metafilter only cost me a fiver.
posted by Elmore at 3:48 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flagged for reminding me on a Saturday night that my future is mightily bleak.
posted by Elmore at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2010


When I was a kid, there were times that my Irish Catholic mom would make us potato pancakes for dinner - two or three nights in a row. At the time, I had no idea that it was because of money issues. They were wonderful. (Wipes tear .... buys crappy potato pancake from prepared food section of Whole Foods.)
posted by R. Mutt at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


That reminds me of the story some old fogey told me about having bread, milk and point. You had a cup of milk, a slice of bread and the point of a finger at the salted bacon hanging over the fire for flavour.
posted by Elmore at 4:18 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The IMF and EU had to step in with a 110bn-euro bailout package for Greece in May, sparking a Europe-wide sovereign debt crisis.

Probably meant to say sparked by a Europe-wide sovereign debt crisis.

wiki
# 27 Apr.: S&P downgrades Portuguese debt two notches and issues negative outlook, warning that further downgrades to junk status are likely. Stock indices around the world drop two to six percent on the news.
# 28 Apr. S&P downgrades Spanish bonds from AAA to AA-


I'm glad that the EFSF exists, but this is going to be tough on the Irish nevertheless. My Greek-Irish friend mustn't be in a great mood right now.
posted by ersatz at 4:22 PM on November 13, 2010


In 2004 I moved back to Canada after spending 10 years in Japan. The housing boom had been in full swing for a couple of years, and things would only continue to heat up. As a result, my wife and I shared a house with another couple our age who for various reasons were shut out of the housing market, too.

They were from the UK originally, waaaay back, but had emigrated in the late 80s to Canada, and were working class through and through. They occasionally returned to Britain, notably in 2005.

"Everybody's got a second house, man," is what they said. "Everyone has got a little summer place in Spain. Friends of ours who are prison guards own a Porsche and BMW motorcycles. Britain is doing really well. It's easier to get ahead there than Canada."

Of course, it was all borrowed money, and the world came crashing down. Canada has suffered over the past couple of years, but it's nothing like Ireland, Britain, or the US.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:36 PM on November 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jeremy Paxman's interview with Ireland's Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, 9 November 2010

Paxman asks Lenihan if Ireland will have to go to the EU for a bailout. Lenihan starts out by saying no, though he later says that he can't guarantee anything.
posted by dhens at 4:42 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember when the tiger economies collapsed, and everyone laughed and they said that would never happen in Europe. And they renamed Ireland the new tiger economy...

I think that the conclusion is that, if your country is named a "tiger" by the usual shills in the financial press...it's time to get the Hell out of there.
posted by Skeptic at 5:12 PM on November 13, 2010




The Chinese need to stop printing RMB to keep their currency artificially low and stimulate exports. They need to stop selling things to Americans and Europeans and sell more stuff internally. They need to buy things other than mortgages from the United States and Europe. Then everything will kind of work itself out.
posted by humanfont at 7:55 PM on November 13, 2010


They need to stop selling things to Americans and Europeans and sell more stuff internally

Most Chinese manufactured products are actually sold internally.
posted by atrazine at 9:26 PM on November 13, 2010


Rupert Murdoch moved to the US because federal law required him to have citizenship if he wanted to own TV stations here. He apparently was not eligible for dual citizenship. It was money, not love, that brought him to the States.
posted by raysmj at 9:47 PM on November 13, 2010


Woops. Wrong discussion. Please delete! Thanks.
posted by raysmj at 9:48 PM on November 13, 2010


Remember, life in Ireland is sooooooooo much better than it is in the U.S., so everyone should move there. And the Irish will really appreciate tens of thousands of expats coming in to get jobs and use public services. And even better, if you need a job, you can just teach English!
posted by happyroach at 3:51 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most Chinese manufactured products are actually sold internally.

My point is that domestic consumer spending in China accounts for 35% of GDP and exports makeup another 35%. This is atypical. Look at India where it's 57/24.
posted by humanfont at 4:32 AM on November 14, 2010


if you need a job, you can just teach English!

*snickers*
posted by Wolof at 4:43 AM on November 14, 2010



Eventually, countries are going to figure out that using dollars as the world's reserve currency is an extremely bad idea, and that pain today to avoid a great deal more pain tomorrow is worth suffering through. Once they internalize this truth, things are going to go into crisis, here in the center, in very short order


Funny dat, at a party last night I got into a conversation with the regional head of a Nordic bank and she actually brought up this exact point. The eurozone has many challenges - different cultures, countries, languages, higher barriers to worker mobility etc etc as compared to the equivalent sized economy of the US, which is one nation. Otoh, as was described to me, it sounded like the very challenges could also be a strength, that is, the diversity of the eurozone was a strength. You have strong arms and weak knees or whatever :) I gathered a sense of community and helping each other out, like a squabbling yet close knit family (i.e. Greece and Portugal's problem for eg) which may point to greater resilience in the longer run.

There's been talk of choosing between basket of currencies and the Euro for some years now and I recall discussing that with Mutant. It seems to me that now its moving more towards the Euro itself, as the risk is distributed across a wider range of economies. I'm sure that the ideal for all the bankers would be make the shift with as little pain as possible, especially to China who would have the most to lose. Its becoming like "Oh, go to the dentist already and get teh rotty tooth pulled out" ;p

I think the question now is when to have the crisis - in the spring or the summer - rather than how not to have it.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 4:56 AM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dang, Abiezer got there first with the Sean O'Casey. I've been thinking of Juno and the Paycock since the Guardian's spread on Ireland earlier in the week. Great play.

Britons, this is what austerity gets you. Cameron had better ready the Number 10 guest rooms for the men from the IMF.
posted by WPW at 7:55 AM on November 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


And even better, if you need a job, you can just teach English!

No, that doesn't sound right. I'm pretty sure you're thinking of Scotland.
posted by Naberius at 2:29 PM on November 14, 2010


The Lady is a designer wrote: "It seems to me that now its moving more towards the Euro itself, as the risk is distributed across a wider range of economies."

The irony is that that wider range of economies generally run bigger deficits (as a percentage of GDP) and have a worse debt-to-GDP ratio than we do, especially as the Eurozone takes in more former Soviet bloc countries. Not that I think diversification is a bad thing for anybody but the US.
posted by wierdo at 9:26 PM on November 14, 2010


I've seen a lot of talk since this crisis began about moving from the dollar to the euro as reserve currency, but I must confess I don't understand a word of it. Germany and France may be doing well but Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy are all in various stages of disaster. Not only that, but Greece and Italy are both excellent examples of how outrageously Eurozone countries can flaunt the rules and still be part of the union. I'm not at all convinced they represent a better solution than the dollar. I think there is no solution. The fiscal crisis is global and systemic; we'll all just have to tough it out and hope.
posted by kernel_sander at 10:19 PM on November 14, 2010


They were from the UK originally, waaaay back, but had emigrated in the late 80s to Canada, and were working class through and through. They occasionally returned to Britain, notably in 2005.

"Everybody's got a second house, man," is what they said. "Everyone has got a little summer place in Spain. Friends of ours who are prison guards own a Porsche and BMW motorcycles. Britain is doing really well. It's easier to get ahead there than Canada."


This isn't and wasn't ever a realistic picture of Britain, except possibly for a tiny middle-aged, middle-class subset that were helping to fuck everything up for everyone else. It was easier to get ahead only if you were lucky enough to already be ahead, especially in regards to the housing market.
posted by dng at 5:23 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


dng wrote: "This isn't and wasn't ever a realistic picture of Britain, except possibly for a tiny middle-aged, middle-class subset that were helping to fuck everything up for everyone else. It was easier to get ahead only if you were lucky enough to already be ahead, especially in regards to the housing market."

What was realistic among the middle class set (IOW, the ones who already owned houses) was selling their house in the UK around 02-03 and coming here and buying a huge new house in Florida and still having some money left over. They're the ones who don't care that their home price has fallen by half because their house more than doubled in value between the time they bought it and 2008 when the market fell apart.
posted by wierdo at 6:23 AM on November 16, 2010


The Lady is a designer wrote: "It seems to me that now its moving more towards the Euro itself, as the risk is distributed across a wider range of economies."

The irony is that that wider range of economies generally run bigger deficits (as a percentage of GDP) and have a worse debt-to-GDP ratio than we do, especially as the Eurozone takes in more former Soviet bloc countries. Not that I think diversification is a bad thing for anybody but the US.


I'm still digging for the link because I can't recall if it was one of kliuless' or something else I read that said that the countries that were suffering in the eurozone were the ones who had most closely followed the pattern of increasing debt, rising housing bubble and playing the stock market.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2010


You'd think that would be the case, but you'd be (mostly) wrong. Yes, the countries with the larger housing bubble are the ones stealing the headlines. What nobody mentions is that banks in every Eurozone country were lending money on what has now turned out to be a pile of shit, not just the banks in the bubbliest countries. Those German banks got into just as deep shit as the Irish banks or anybody else. They're just bigger so they were better able to paper over their losses.

Sort of like JP Morgan or Bank of America here in the US. They're just as fucked as anybody, even as the eyes have mostly been on Citibank. Sure, Citibank might be more fucked than the others, but they're all so fucked that it's a difference between failing spectacularly and failing slightly more spectacularly.

I have no doubt that there will be more bank rescues. And it's looking like the Euro is about to get into some deep shit itself. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
posted by wierdo at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2010


Yes, you are right. What was I thinking...
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:27 PM on November 16, 2010


Ireland confirms EU financial rescue deal

The Republic of Ireland and the EU have agreed a financial rescue package, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has confirmed. Mr Cowen said the amount and terms would be negotiated in the coming days with the EU and the IMF. Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the amount would be less than 100bn euros (£85bn; $136bn).
posted by dng at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2010


Press Conference
posted by Elmore at 2:04 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


More seriously, TV3 will be broadcasting a "Crisis Special" without IP restrictions in about 20 minutes. (Warning: obnoxious ad).
posted by Elmore at 2:11 PM on November 21, 2010


Paul Mason's take:
What I don't think most people have realised is that the moment has just happened where Ireland's "shared sovereignty" with Brussels has tipped into very scant economic sovereignty.

The IMF will be on their case in real time: probably quarterly reviews where the EC or IMF can just come in and tell them to intensify austerity.

The Irish politicans on the TV are still talking about shared sovereignty as if nothing's happened.

But, as they say, "Earth to Ireland's political class and media": getting your country's budget controlled from outside is not a normal part of the shared sovereignty arrangement. It is abnormal. Likewise Anglo-Irish and Allied Irish banks look like they will soon be sold at knockdown prices to bigger, more solvent EU banks. Losing nationally owned banks is not normal either.
posted by Abiezer at 12:17 AM on November 22, 2010


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