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Farming and technology will give us hope

Since 2008 we are living under the effects of the economic meltdown. The collapse of the international financial markets has revealed the problems that are at the heart of the global economy today.

Throughout history humans have used barter gold and money as the means to exchange goods and services. Modern banking since the Industrial Revolution has displaced this traditional role. Now it is increasingly about useless speculation.

We have entered into the era of what John Maynard Keynes called the “casino economy.” The financial markets have become increasingly divorced from real economic activity. Speculation and gambling are the main activities of international finance.

Ireland in the early 21st century got sucked into this madness. Banks and property developers gambled on the property market rising in value. The Government’s tax base was increasingly dependent on rising property prices through stamp duty. After this dream turned into a nightmare we are now living with a broken state, a broken economy, a mountain of debt and austerity.

We are in the middle of a new technological revolution. Humans need food and technological change. We also need a functioning state, the market, the rule of law and public services.

Modern agriculture needs to apply the latest technological and scientific knowledge to supply humanity with a secure food supply as well as a multiplicity of foods, drinks and other by-products.

The hi-tech industries can be used by society to resolve future environmental, human and social problems. The financial sector must be the servant and not the master of the economy. The international financial markets should be the means of circulating money in the service of agriculture, industry and governments. Greater regulation of banking and the economy needs to be our top priority.

John O’Brien
Co Cork


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