Saturday, November 27, 2010

Almost Bust

On Friday, I ventured on the canopy walk. And I timed myself. With two colleagues in tow, the walk to Sunway Pyramid took us 8 minutes. There, we were faced with a choice of at least 70 F&B outlets. We had a Chinese lunch before we returned to the college – that took us 13 minutes. These photos were taken on the canopy walk:

Ireland was hailed as the "Celtic Tiger" (I don’t understand why countries would want to be labeled a ‘tiger’ when this species is endangered) for the rapid growth of its economy not too long ago. But in the space of three years the Irish Republic has gone from boom to almost bust.

Much of its growth was built around the property market. But since 2008 this has suffered a dramatic collapse, with house values falling 50-60%. Then bad debts have almost wrecked the country's banks, forcing the government to bail them out. This of course opened a huge hole in the Irish government's finances – which will see them run a budget deficit equivalent to 32% of GDP this year. And to counter the specter of recession, the government started to spend. And before they knew it, the government's spending gap is a substantial (and unsustainable) 12% of GDP.

To help solve the country’s debt crisis, the Irish government has unveiled a range of tough austerity measures – among the spending cuts and tax rises are a reduction in the minimum wage, a new property tax and thousands of public sector job cuts. The four-year plan is designed to save the state 15 billion euros ($20 billion; £13 billion). Also the government is also negotiating a bail-out package with the EU and IMF, expected to be worth up to 90 billion euros.

Which country will be next, I wonder?

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