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Monday, September 04, 2006


This table of GDP per head from the CIA World Fact Book should be of interest:

6 United States $ 41,800 2005 est.
7 Ireland $ 41,000 2005 est.
15 Hong Kong $ 32,900 2005 est.
25 United Kingdom $ 30,300 2005 est.
The whole table is worth reading (the first 5 are micro states with oil or financial institutions. The point I am making is that Ireland, a country that 17 years ago had a per capita income 2/3s of ours was in 2005 onlt 2% behind the USA, which means it is probably marginally ahead this year. Granted such figures should not be treated as exact - the fact that Ireland's taxes are so low encourages multinational's accountants to add as much of their value as possible there, on the other hand the fact that the dollar is the world's currency certainly gives the US an edge. However the trend is indisputable.

So do we have something to learn from them? Obviously not if you notice the amount of coverage Ireland doesn't get in our media.

The boom Ireland has had in the last decade has been mostly down to EU money. They where, until a few years ago, getting the most EU funding. This hasn't been a case of good management, but of our money, French money and other EU countries money boosting Ireland.
If that were so Scotland, which gets a considerable bonus from the Barnett formula & has oil on our doorstep would already be growing faster than Ireland. I'm afraid that good management (mainly less government) is more useful than extra money for that government.

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