Archive for December, 2013

ESRI Economic Forecasts-MUCH Worse than Weather Forecasts!

December 25, 2013 Leave a comment





The Economic and Social Research Institute infamously forecast a soft landing to the bubble!

Now it is forecasting a growth rate of 3% for the Irish Economy next year. The Institute has many professors and highly qualified staff. When challenged, Professor John Fitzgerald replied: “I never claimed to be infallible”. That was, of course, the last thing of which he had been accused! How could this high powered Institute get it so wrong? It wasn’t just a few percentage points out in the growth rate it denied the elephant was in the room when professor Morgan Kelly told it so?

It is understandable if not excusable that forecasters linked to finance houses and even newspapers habitually paint a rosy picture. Their employers have a vested interest in rising share values and higher levels of business.

But why The ESRI?  It has no direct financial interest in over-optimistic forecasting.

True, the right to academic freedom conferred by the Universities Act does not apply to ESRI Academic staff. But then with the exception of UCD Professor, Morgan Kelly, none of the business/economics faculties covered themselves in glory either!

The ESRI and the business faculties are committed to the survival of capitalism and to the notion that, if regulated properly, it can function in the interest of humanity. This predisposes these institutions to give favourable economic forecasts. To them it is unthinkable that the system itself is the cause of misery to billions and will inevitably collapse.

But there are special factors predisposing the ESRI to cheer-lead the capitalist government in power and to reinforce its message.

The governing board has the following composition according to the ESRI website: “ESRI Council members are elected at the Institute’s AGM for a three year term. They represent a cross-section of ESRI members: academia, civil services, state agencies, business and civil society. Council Members: Laurence Crowley, Chairman of ESRI, Chairman, Gaisce; Frances Ruane, Director of the Institute (ex officio);Vani Borooah, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Ulster; John Buckley, former Comptroller and Auditor General;Patrick Honohan, Governor, Central Bank of Ireland; Paul Johnson, Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies, London;Michael Kelly, former Chairman, Higher Education Authority;Philip Lane, Professor of International Macroeconomics, Trinity College Dublin;Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons;Padraig McManus, Chairman, Eircom; David Moloney, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform;Brid O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed ;Gerry O’Hanlon, former Director General, Central Statistics Office.

Is it possible to imagine a body more representative of the Irish elite or more linked to the government of the day?

Though there was overlapping membership between the board of ESRI and the Central Bank which failed in its duty to protect the solvency of banks, ESRI was not called bfeore the Banking Tribunal. This was obscured by a devilishly clever device. Professor John “The Soft Landing” Fitzgerald, retired from ESRI, volunteered to go before the Tribunal. His first sentence to the Tribunal was to the effect that he was not speaking for ESRI!! But this enabled tribunal members to refuse my request that recent directors of ESRI be called. The refusal was despite the fact that there was evidence before the tribunal that Central Bank had contacted ESRI Director to seek that statements about Irish Banking byan ESRI staff member on banking  should not be repeated! The Irish elite know how to Circle the Wagons.

Furthermore a practice has arisen under which any candidate for election to the council at the AGM of the Institute must be PRE-APPROVED by the existing council!!!!. In other words the council is self-perpetuating!! I,Paddy Healy,then President of TUI and of Governing Body of DIT, was disqualified from contesting a position on the board when Proposed by ESRI member bodies TUI and DIT and supported by SIPTU because I “had not been pre-selected to be a candidate ” by the existing board!!!

Citizens are paying for this Institute through their taxes!

Clearly the Institute has no independence from the Irish establishment.

This arrangement must not continue. ESRI should be absorbed into a university so that the academic staff enjoy academic freedom-the right to publicly disagree with the management, the government and,indeed, academic colleagues

There is an interesting discussion on the failure of economic forecasting generally on Michael Roberts Blog:

Categories: Uncategorized