Now I will step of my high horse long enough to say this: I am well aware that this is a vast and complex issue this is, and how divisive it can be for both intelligensia and laymen to discuss, that such talks of economics can not in the traditional sense be grasped by so called 'basic understanding' for to understand economics fully is to have enough liberty to be free from its effects, and thus impossible. I confess that economics naturally lends itself to politics, ideology, bias, and culture. My American readers, (and there are a goodly number of you) are well aware of this. I know that it will be impossible for my view and my arguments to be persuasive enough to convince even a small minority of you, and those of you of a socialist bent on Market theory are likely already aware that nothing I say could convince you.
Now with that said I'll just get back onto my high horse here and say this.
There is no such thing as Monarchist Economics and such talk undermines the Principles of Monarchism. I say this firstly because, of course, everything in this blog relates to Monarchism and the Irish situation, so it needed to stated before I am mistaking for speaking for all Monarchists of my stripes, which I am not. And I say it secondly, because it is true. Monarchism, as an ideology, is an ideology of realism, one of enduring traditionalism that absorbs new ideas that strengthens it and one on which it can rely upon good thinking and sound decision making of ages to guide its judgement and hence cannot be restricted y economic theories when said theories only emerge with the times. Monarchism allows for the Sovereign, (one should note I am speaking as an Absolutist here wherein the Kingdom has the Monarch retain a certain amount of active and decision making powers as either a check on Parliament or in communion with it), allows for the sovereign to choose economic policies free from party restrictions, petty election time restraints and concerns, and for the short term popularity or unpopularity of said decisions. After all, in any monarchy the principle about what is always popular is not always right reigns, (or at least it should).
Now how does this relate to Ireland? Well you may recall my previous blog posts lamenting Ireland's shattered harp, the celtic tiger and the threat of Irish Labour, and it got me to thinking of Ireland's economic situation as a whole. And when you get down to the nitty gritty of supply and demand, it is impossible for Ireland to survive without trade, we cannot possibly be a self-sufficient country, in any sense, (I can hear the Greens cry already).
Ireland has few natural resources. We have few precious minerals we can exploit and those resources we can exploit are dwindling and were small to begin with. We have, and likely always will rely heavily on agriculture, farming and fishing, as well as tertiary goods, high end products such as electronics. One thing Ireland has always been good at is producing very high quality products in high enough quantity to warrant the interest of investors, creating jobs, stimulating the economy and other such nonsense we we rent worried about when the country was getting drunk on the celtic tiger.
Yes thats right I am seriously claiming the celtic tiger stunted the Irish Economy, much like how coffee gives you an energy boost yet stunts your overall growth. Yes it gave Ireland the money it needed to build up its infrastructure and help 'the poor man of europe' to catch up but that was not the point of it. Not at all.
In truth, while the EU was subscribing to flawed notions of unending boom, (something that'll take more then a few blog posts to go over, I assure you), it was still relying on the economic make up of Europe during the beginning of that boom, one in which France and Britain controlled the trade in western Europe. Now dont get me wrong, I am not going to berate the French and British for looking after their own interests, its what any of us would do in their place. It was this set up that the EU relied on for their overall market. For the sake of argument, Ireland had a much stronger industry, its beef and grain increased in price due to its high quality and highly sought after worldwide would bring trade to Ireland (this is an isolated example), more trade would flow Ireland's way then it normally has done, Ireland's economy would grow at a slower, but steady rate, it'd pull itself out of the depths of poverty and become a respectible power. At the same time, this would decrease the level of trade that currently goes through France and Britain, American trade, which is still highly sought after, would increasingly invest in the Irish market, to the detriment of the British, this would change the economic make up of Europe.
Solution? Outside of Embargo, the easiest is to make the poor country (Ireland) economically rely on you. The celtic tiger was just that, investment from the EU had the same effect on Ireland as handing a man who had been poor all his life $1000, he will live like he has $1,000,000. And predictably he will get drunk, squander his money and be surprised to find himself sleeping in the same gutter he was in not 20 nights before.
Now, even while this was going on, Irish Industries where hamstrung by EU and UN restrictions on fishing and farming, in fact several times farmers and fishing communities in Ireland where near up in arms over these restrictions, and in other affected areas. These stifled growth, and were further harmed by other, less then above the counter effects. International chains in Ireland, markets famed for the quality of their goods weren't using Irish made products that they were advertising. This is old news for some but in Ireland when this comes to meat sales its quite serious. When most people go to the markets and buy beef, or lamb, or fish, 98% of the times they are buying goods imported cheaply from places such as New Zealand and masqueraded as Irish meat to attract consumers. I've spet a year working in a meat packing plant for such chains to know this is a cold truth. This means that Irish products, despite high quality have to undersell both in local markets and international markets all the time. The downsides should be obvious, after all, isnt this the same thing that happened to the linen industry in Ireland 200 years ago?
The only way a truly responsible government, republican or monarchical can rectify this is through a certain degree or economic protectionism. We have to protect what industries we have in order to justify investments and improve exports and the flow of trade in Ireland and, well, to hell with Europe if such is the case, I mean why not? They say to hell with us. This will no doubt offend those who espouse laise faire policies, but my only response is complete hands off approach to the economy is the same as riding a horse without any gear. And to those Libertarians who think I am a devil for approving some interference with markets, well, I'm flattered. Since I never liked you anyway.
And really my good Gentlemen and Ladies of court, what self respecting Nation hasn't broken a few UN regulations and restrictions in self interest? Come now, lets be sensible here.