Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Losers from Recession

I blogged early last year on the losers from the Irish Recession. Eight months later, the drastic reductions in house prices and increases in unemployment among younger people have become as lodged as the snow outside. The few feeble attempts to get a jobs package together for younger people have now more or less failed and migration is not working as a channel, which has left unemployment stabilising at a dramatically high level. Following the collapsed attempt at a deal with social partners and a winding up of the unemployment taskforce, unemployment among younger people is now firmly off the government's agenda and is not likely to feature strongly in upcoming policy debates. We are often asked to come off the fence and say what we think is important. Based on every piece of evidence from the empirical literature (blogged here dozens of a times and accesible with a google search), I cannot think of a higher priority now for a government trying to maximise the overall welfare of its citizens. We are witnessing a decimation of a generation, one so complete that it is already slipping from public concern. The failure of Ireland as a society to offer any positive suggestions for renewing itself is the biggest casuality from this recession so far. The overwhelming focus has been reactionary and preserving of insiders, leaving us all looking worn out and bereft of any ideas outside some very basic textbook macroeconomics. We need some leadership on this issue from all sections of society, and all the more within the colleges and universities. The idea that youth unemployment would come off the agenda because of unhappiness over pay negotiations is far more criminal than any bank deal.

No comments: