Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back in the Slow Lane

I'm just back from a couple of days in Dunfanaghy, Donegal. It's as pretty as ever, and enjoying above average sunshine and below average rainfall these past few months (in complete contrast to what the gloomier climate forecasts say should be happening: but I know, weather isn't climate ...)

What is even more remarkable than the sunshine is the number of half-completed houses. It's disturbing to walk along perfect tarmac roads and footpaths laid out for entire housing estates that have not been built - and probably never will be.

It's a salutary reminder of the madness that gripped the country after 2001. And as a fascinating paper published with today's Central Bank forecasts (even gloomier than climate change ones for a change) points out: much of our growth during the 1992-2000 period was due to a sharp rise in productivity (the delta a variable in the table above that I've created from three separate tables in the paper); but its fall in 2001-2007 was a sign of our investing in housing estates rather than factories during the ensuing madness.

Even a sunny day in Donegal can't take away from the sadness of so much malinvestment and wasted opportunity. We'll never see the like of it again (I hope).

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