"Ireland’s policymakers exist in an insulated bubble; congratulating themselves on reducing the debt-GDP ratio and high employment due to the sleight of hand of low corporate tax rates, " writes Tim Clarke. He argues that Ireland is hugely vulnerable to a global financial crash triggered by net energy decline, coupled with rapidly rising extreme global debts and many other factors: "Talk of a 'Celtic Phoenix' excites dull short memories, and another property bubble is in the making."
Patrick Noble warns us to "beware of grown-ups – the grown-up in ourselves as much as in others. Our true coming of age is into the spirit of the common; into the responsibilities of the rule of return and the maintenance of the joys of precious things."
A newly-developed National Well-being Index finds that well-being in Ireland flatlined and even diminished slightly during peak GDP years 2001-2004. The index takes housework, voluntary work, healthcare, education and environmental damage into account.
Brian Davey argues that it will be difficult to bring a new, renewables-based energy sector into existence when the economy is stagnant and people will struggle to afford expensive innovation. Paradoxically in these circumstances it is likely to be many older technologies that will make sense again - perhaps in a reworked form.
In this excerpt from his book Towards a Convivial Economy, Patrick Noble critiques the widespread assumption that carbon sequestration is a virtue: "the central consideration for atmospheric carbon dioxide projections is not the mass of carbon. It is the mass of life."
In this presentation given at the University of Nottingham on April 4, Brian Davey investigates the historical roots of the growth-based economy. He critiques the assumption that renewable energy could take over from fossil fuels while maintaining economic growth, and goes on to discuss some ways forward.