Jim Stewart: Recent reported commentary in the media from the ESRI, drawing an analogy between Zimbabwe and Ireland is unhelpful in terms of analysing the current crisis in Ireland and developing solutions. The recent ESRI report (Spring 2009) in describing the impact of current policies in terms of rising unemployment, falling tax revenues, etc. is very valuable However, forecasting growth rates is in general a very inexact science. Even estimating past growth rates in the case of Ireland is problematic given the large impact of transfer pricing, and profit outflows from, multinational companies can have on measured GNP.
2) The ratio of bank liabilities to GNP is 900%. Wrong, because bank liabilities of IFSC companies should be excluded. If excluded one estimate for this ratio is 309% of GDP (Davy Research Feb 17, 2009), but the total amount guaranteed by the State is 230% (€436 billion) of GDP (Annex I to supplementary Budget p. 17).
But more fundamentally some commentators are wrong in assuming certainty for what is uncertain. The overall impression is one of dogma rather than analysis.
Dr Jim Stewart is Adjunct Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin. His research interests include Corporate Finance and Taxation, Pension Funds and financial products, Financial Systems and Economic Development.
He is widely published and his titles include Mutuals and Alternative Banking: A Solution to the Financial and Economic Crisis in Ireland (2013), Choosing Your Future: How to Reform Ireland's Pension System (co-author, 2007) and For Richer, For Poorer: An Investigation of the Irish pension system (2005).