Economist says Republic could afford NI subvention

The latest edition of the Connolly Association’s Irish Democrat has some interesting material from the annual Desmond Greaves Summer School.

Among the pieces that caught my eye was this contribution from economist Douglas Hamilton on north-south integration:

Traditionally, unionists have argued that Irish economic, let alone political, unity is a financial impossibility due to the size of the British Treasury’s subvention to the north, the removal of which would have a dramatic impact on local taxes to support the public services.

While breaking the financial link with Britain would involve severe costs, it is worth making some revised estimates of what the consequences might be in the 21st century. The south has been running a substantial fiscal surplus throughout the 1990s and it can be argued that Britain’s subvention to the north is likely to fall.

The hypothetical fiscal position for the whole of Ireland would be a deficit. However, that public deficit is likely to be below the Maastrict criteria of three per cent of GDP, making, in the short term at least, an integrated Ireland economy no longer something to be seen as a financial impossibility. (Irish Democrat)

Other interesting stuff includes a piece by Anhony Coughlan on the late Raymond Crotty, and his ‘lactose intolerance’ theory of civilisation.

Today thousands of years of genetic evolution have resulted in high proportions of adult Africans, Europeans and Indians being able to consume milk — they are lactose tolerant. On the other hand, nearly all adult east and south east Asians and indigenous Americans have a repugnance to milk — they are lactose intolerant.

In ancient times the acquisition of lactose tolerance made it possible for more pastoralists, and therefore more efficient pastoralists, to subsist on given pastoral resources. It shifted the ancient balance of power from the crop-growing, lactose malabsorbent peoples who built the first city civilisations in the valleys of the Tigris, Euphrates, Indus, Nile and Yangtze, toward the pastoralists. (Irish Democrat)

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5 responses to “Economist says Republic could afford NI subvention”

  1. Anonymous avatar

    Hi Tom. What’s your opinion on the ideas in Doug Hamilton’s article? Is he right for the most part? Has he omitted anything of substance? And how do you feel about the whole thing – as somebody living in England? Thanks for any comments.

  2. Tom Griffin avatar

    I can’t profess to be aan economic expert, but the finiancial argument against a United Ireland must have weakened over the past decade, and will weaken further if the British subvention is squeezed.
    Th real obstacles, of course, are political, not economic.

  3. Anonymous avatar

    Thanks for your reply, Tom.
    If the economics of the thing were sorted, would you personally like to see Ireland re-united or remain divided?
    What does your gut tell you about how the English feel about the issue? Or would you say there’s ambivalence for the most part?
    Hope you don’t mind the questions, I’m just trying to get a clearer picture of how an Irishman, who is living in England, feels about things.
    Thanks for your time.

  4. Tom Griffin avatar

    I would like to see a united Ireland, and there have actually been quite a few polls over the years that suggest that is what a majority of English people want.
    If there were agreement within Ireland, (a big if) I don’t think public opinion over here would be a problem.

  5. Anonymous avatar

    Thanks for that, Tom.
    I too would like to see a united Ireland at some point.
    However, I believe there is a good probability of repartition due to the undemocratic nature of certain elements within Unionism.

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