Category Archives: Economics

Why haven’t we rioted in the streets?

Every now and then I ask myself why the Irish people haven’t been in greater uproar over the devastating cutbacks in public services, teaching, and welfare benefits that have had to be made over the past few years. There have been some mass protests, but not the sort of turmoil one might find in Greece. Tom O’Connor, in today’s Irish Examiner, has a good take that’s worth reading:

What else stirs the Irish indifference to protest and uprising? The historical evidence argues that the ‘gombeen’-type ‘cute hoorism’ of Irish people has become part of the cultural makeup of many. During the Famine, the emerging middle class were more than happy to have three million starve or perish by 1870; it left more land for them.

They, along with the merchants and food producers, were not going to share during the Famine. This same class of people, the erstwhile Irish rural-landed class were and are the Irish movers and shakers.

They moved in to government and in Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil were never going to allow the class-based politics of the ‘haves and have-nots’ break out..

The sayings ‘cover your ass’ and ‘don’t rock the boat’ became national mantras.! That this is anathema to protest is obvious.

Coffee under threat

About 20% of South America’s coffee harvest has been killed off by a fungus. We might get away without a massive price increase this year, but next year could be a different story according to USA Today:

Green Mountain Coffee is one of the biggest buyers of coffee in the world, purchasing some 207 million pounds in 2012. [Senior director Lindsey] Bolger said the coffee market hasn’t responded to Central American production dropping by 20% this year because Brazil, the biggest coffee grower in the world, is expected to bring in a good crop.

“I think the situation will be very different next year, because despite a bumper crop from Brazil, if coffee rust continues to be an issue, and plants in Central America are weakened, production will be down even more than 20%,” Bolger said.

Central America produces half of all arabica beans in the world, which makes me edgy for the future of my beloved coffee.