Sinéad Pentony: In The Guardian, Larry Elliott argues that “only a new way of managing the global economy can prevent more mayhem in the market and on the streets”.
He identifies a number of ingredients that have contributed to the crisis, namely the US decision to break-up the Bretton Wood system and abandon the ‘gold standard’. While this system wasn’t perfect, it acted as an anchor for the global economy. Its demise paved the way for the liberalisation of financial markets in the 1970’s.
He describes the currency system as “an utter mess”, particularly since almost every country in the world is now trying to manipulate its currency downwards in order to make exports cheaper and imports more expensive. The role of sub-prime mortgage scandal in the current crisis is well documented – the conditions for which were created through the liberalisation of financial markets.
Finally, Elliott points to the breakdown of the social contract under which the individual was guaranteed a job, with decent pay that rose as the economy grew. Over the last 40 years, the benefits from growth have been disproportionately accruing to companies and the wealthy.
This point is reinforced by research recently published by the Resolution Foundation (UK think tank), which found that workers in the bottom half of the earnings scale received £12 out of every £100 rise in national income in 2010, compared with £16 in 1977, while the top 10 per cent received £14 out of every £100 in 2010, up from £12 in 1977.
Elliott says that growing inequality, global imbalances, manic-depressive stock markets, high unemployment, naked consumerism and the riots are telling us something – that the system is in deep trouble and it is waiting to blow.
While we haven’t had any riots in Ireland, we are part of the same system, which is displaying many of the same symptoms. Policies to address these symptoms domestically and globally remain in short support.
Sinéad Pentony is Associate Director with the Trinity Foundation, Trinity College Dublin working towards securing private funding and other support for a range of projects - primarily from individuals, companies and foundations.
Her fundraising portfolio includes supporting the Schools of Computer Science and Statistics; Mathematics; and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to deliver on their strategic priorities with the help of philanthropy support and sponsorship.
She has been working in the not-for-profit sector since the mid-1990s and generating income and fundraising has been a key part of her roles. She develops strategic relationships with a view to delivering mutually beneficial outcomes.
Her previous roles have involved undertaking research and policy work across a variety of public policy areas, policy influencing and advocacy work with a wide variety of stakeholders, public communications, lecturing, and leading or supported strategic planning and review processes aimed at refocusing the work of programmes and organisations in a changing context.
Sinéad was previously head of policy with TASC.