The future of personal transport

Transport is a big problem, at the personal (how will I get to work?), economic (How much is it costing to move all these people around) and environmental levels (What damage is all this movement causing?). A few interesting links:

New suburbanism is a new way of solving the environmental crisis, an alternative to ‘new urbanism’ (which basically means creating more dense urban areas). The problem with the concept is that the underlying principles (which are really assumptions) are mainly wrong. You cannot support a global population of ten billion people on this planet if they are all spread all over the place, have an attachment to their living places, are not subsistence farmers and have to travel to congregate at work or school on a regular basis. Continue reading

Aer Lingus needs to get real

David McWilliams thinks that the Irish public is being a little unrealistic in its assessment of the Ryanair bid. He is right. The comments give an indication of how unrealistic the public is. But the reality is that Aer Lingus is a minnow in a world of eagles and it has to be bought by somebody if it is to avoid the disastrous fate of Alitalia and many other flag carriers before it.

It is interesting to see the perception people have of Ireland’s biggest airline. There is an assumption that because Ryanair does one particular thing well, or a particular way, that it cannot do anything else.

Shinsei Bank – a model for Irish banking reform?

J.C Flowers is one of the companies apparently interested in investing in and restructuring Irish banks, in particular, Bank of Ireland. The same company took over Long Term Credit Bank of Japan and restructured it into Shinsei (‘rebirth’) Bank which according to Joichi Ito describes as ‘an example of how legacy companies in Japan can be turned around with good management and smart methods’.

A lot of people are concerned that foreign investors will do something radical with the Irish banks. But the reality is that this is what is required. Our banking is not anything like as efficient as it could be and our bankers are nowhere near as smart as they thought they were. If the sector does not restructure itself now, it will have restructuring forced upon it by competition from across the eurozone within a few years. It is worth reading what former Bank of Ireland CEO Michael Soden has said. Leaving things the way they are is just not an option.