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Sometimes you might forget, but every one of us is still at risk from covid-19, but every time we do the right thing, we're protecting ourselves and the people around us. So next time you meet up, just take a step back. Let's all keep cleaning those hands and wear a face covering when you're shopping around public transport, if you cough or sneeze covers or have a tissue handy and don't know the covid tracker app to be one in more than a million because covid-19 is still a problem.
And we're all the answer from the Hejazi so much Mr. Number Five and influential economists in the whole wide world like ever, ever. How do you get there, Mike? How do you do you know what it's all about?
It's all about education, dissemination, economics, making it interesting, you know, because I've always thought education is the key. The more education you get, the more the world opens up to you demystify it.
So, I mean, on that note, there's some really interesting courses, this part time degrees, professional diplomas, postgraduate springboard programs at the Dublin Business School. And they're in law on fintech and psychology and marketing and business and loads and loads of topics. Yeah, what I like about these courses is they actually allow people to just keep their sort of work life balance and do online. You can do part time, have a look at them. They're really interested DBS, i.e. having gone to the website to have a look at these, you know, really fascinating courses.
Yeah, you're absolutely right, Mark. And while we're at it, we'd like to thank TB's for sponsoring this episode.
What in the world is happening on Wall Street's economic indicators knows where this is going to end up.
To understand the economy, you have to understand human nature. This podcast is powered by a cost. How are you? It's David's, it's the podcast we're doing the usual, trying to make economics, you know, comprehensible, a little bit more relevant and hopefully more accessible to all of us. Another strange, odd week, Mr. Davis. How are you? I'm very good. All week. Tell me more. We were down in Roscommon and it's not a place I would normally go to, but it was fantastic.
Cina said to me, we just need to get out of Dublin for a few days. And she went looking for places down the west and down Cork and all of us. There was nothing there. There was either a place were booked out or they were price gouging. Oh, yeah. Really expensive. Yeah, yeah. There was a lot of that going on, but we ended up in Roscommon, which was surprisingly brilliant. And I probably shouldn't say that we were near Boyle in a place called Novica and and it was brilliant, amazing walks, a lovely house that we were in.
The end of the house was the River Boyle and all of us, and I loved it. But when I was walking around both Boyle and Carrigan Shannon, it struck me that, you know, these are these are lively towns, the market towns and their lovely towns. But covid has really, really hit them hard. Oh, yeah. I mean, come on. Have you ever seen Ozark? I have. OK, you know Marty in Ozark.
Yeah, right. I was thinking if there was a really brilliant Dublin counterfeiter and he had to get the hell out of Dodge and to leave Dublin, he'd go to Ross. Come right, David. To go right. Absolutely. By vital of the place that a big casino, a big city, on the water, on the water, on the water bribe a couple of local politicians, get everyone hang out with the local families. So that's what when you say was coming.
I just think those are those. Fair enough. But do you know what you know, we were talking we have been talking over the last few weeks about how covid has changed everything and is changing everything lately. What struck me is to be in one of those places. I got a lot of relations, as you know, in Longford, and a lot of people commute from Longford to Dublin. So Kovno that Longford town is the most cosmopolitan town in Ireland.
It is the truth. Where are you getting that from? From the last census. It's the most ethnically diverse town, the most ethnically diverse town in Ireland. No way. Really, I swear to God.
Now, that wasn't when you and I were in St Mary's Cathedral. St Paul's here, which burnt down to burn down. Burnt down in the burn. Was it like this is like little fires everywhere. The Immaculate Conception, it just burnt. I don't know. It was it was trashed. Nope, they rebuilt it. But really, I am second really huge migrant population, massive.
And one of the more fascinating things about migration into Ireland has been the dispersal of migrants where they live. Yeah. And unlike many other countries where migrants almost exclusively go to the big cities, to the centres in order to go to areas of migrants where the migrants live, one is indeed in the centre city. The other is not in the suburbs, not in the outer suburbs, but in the massive hinterland in places like Longford. Wow. And why was that?
It's because of the way in which the refugees in the beginning were were were housed, were homeless.
Yeah. It's because Zulia goes to states, estates, although all those things. Yeah. All those things. It's also because of the price of accommodation. Yeah. And because a lot of refugees just didn't know where to go and they've ended up in all sorts of areas. So the most diverse ethnically town outside of Dublin City. Yeah, that's really interesting. You wouldn't have thought that in the 80s. No, there absolutely. And that's really interesting.
But the thing about that place, I would have no qualms about living in Roscommon long for that area. The only thing that bothered me about that, though, was the fact that phone signal was patchy and the Internet was slow. Well, you know, wi fi is the motorway system of the 21st century. Ah, the railroads of the 21st century without wi fi. All this opportunity that has been presented by covid will not materialize. So if we were to put in whether it's a broadband system, whether it's a wi fi system, something that makes connectivity real, not aspirational.
Yeah, yeah. Profoundly change because we forget how small this country is that in the context of not having to go to the office. So maybe you need one meeting a week, right? You could easily get a bus and train or drive to Dublin, have that meeting and then go back home, you know, and.
The country is tiny, this is why I've always thought that covered gives us an opportunity to reimagine the country, you know, and I know lots of people say, oh, you couldn't do this, were too small, etc. to put in a French style high speed rail, knowing that it's going to cost you, knowing that it's never going to make money. But also, going back to my point that I keep making interest rates to zero so it doesn't matter.
And you could actually then release this, because over the years, you know, books I've written, you know, popes, children, these sort of books were all about suburban living and they were all over the place. Declan, you know, that was a suburban place where people are obsessed by Decs. And this came to me when I was in Nice and Naks was the fastest growing town in Ireland in 2005. Last year, the fastest growing town was portaledge.
So we've kind of gone out another 20 or 30 miles from Dublin. The youngest town in Ireland is Drona. So what you're seeing is the vibrancy of the nation is seen in commuter terms, but the cost of that job is all this dead time going in and out and the fact that the commuter towns themselves have no business. So if you imagine you're in one of these places, let's say. Portaledge, right? And you know that the vast majority of the working people of that town are driving from poverty to Dublin, so you're empty from 7:00 in the morning till 70, pretty much empty.
But imagine those towns, if people worked from home or if companies bought little bits of real estate, they're like Podsednik jobs that you could actually go and work there. But suddenly those towns become vibrant. Your boys as well. They become vibrant. They become interesting. One of the great fears that anyone would have if I've ever been to rural France, rural France has been denuded of population. Yeah, these towns are empty. Their towns there. Right.
Because people all left to go to the big cities and rural Ireland is the same. But covid. Gives us the opportunity to rethink that, and I think the state should accelerate the broadband. Absolutely. I take it on the chin, take the coast on the chin and just do it in the same way as we built railroads in the 19th century.
But why don't we do what the likes of Tanzania did and Algeria and places like that and get Chinese investment in? They are building fast train systems all over Africa. Get a bit of that. I'll tell you, I think I think ostensibly it's a good idea, but damn right it is. The last couple of weeks have shown us one thing is that the Cold War between America and China is crystallizing. Oh, yeah. Much quicker than we ever imagined.
And Europe has taken sides and Europe is siding with America. Yeah. And I think that Chinese investment, the idea that Chinese investment could be without strings attached, which was very much the sort of checkbook diplomacy we're going to be China and this out the window now. I mean, we have to build it ourselves, cost overruns and things. But I think covid. Gives us the opportunity to reimagine how we live, and I believe that's huge and it's a it's a lasting legacy.
If we take the opportunity, you could profoundly change to see like outside here outside our window, there is a bicycle lane going from Blakroc to Sandy Cove that has been accelerated by culvert to taking half the road. It's a one way system now. And and it's busy really. Like, well, you know, we know that, for example, this is the really germane thing about urban planning. If you set aside parts of the road for bikes, the number of bikes will increase dramatically.
But the corollary is also the case if you set aside. Huge stretch of the roads for cars, the numbers of cars will increase dramatically as well. So one thing we know about traffic management from all over the world is that more roads doesn't mean better flow of traffic. It means more traffic. We spoke about before the idea. But traffic doesn't flow like a liquid. So you expand the road and the liquid flows quicker. It flows much more like gas that you expand the road.
And I say the pipe in this case, the gaskets and the gas fields is on slowly. Right. So I saw the other day I was in Ranelagh, I was at Reynella. Oh, it's Ranelagh. I think. I think people who live in Ranelagh say Ranelagh. I think we need this at the mine, this swanky sort of Gonzaga, Egypt. They say Rinella apparently even though it's Ranelagh sort of distinction point anyway. So I'm sitting with Shamma in a cafe called Tribecca yet which is on the main street in Ranelagh, not Ranna.
And there's a really poxy little bicycle. And this is Aymond Ryan's constituency to the right and it's really EPOXI right. And on the far side of the street, they've got a few little bollards. Yeah, but on this side, the Tribeca side, they've got it right. So you've got buses going into the vans going to. And then I was watching the bike lane and a guy comes up. And parks smack in the middle of the bike lane now there are traffic wardens walking around giving tickets, right?
Yeah, there are cops in the vicinity, right. But nobody moves them up. Suddenly the bikes have to go around in the delivery van.
No, it wasn't. It was a couple of parking just parked right there because he parked about five minutes later. Somebody else parked. Right. Somebody somebody else in. By about a quarter of an hour later, the entire cycle, Lane was blocked with cars. Now, if we are serious about creating a new problem, you need to leave those cars out of it.
Absolutely straight away. Because once you do, it's like the broken windows theory. Remember that unless you punish the small crimes, the big crimes happen. So if somebody it was it was a Giuliani thing in New York at the time. Right? Right. But I mean, again, the idea was that if you. Tolerate a broken window in an estate, right, and you don't fix it to find that the person who smashed the window very suddenly, one broken window gives permission for two, four, three, four, four, and then the estate goes to shit.
Right. It's the same sort of ideas. And if you don't punish one guy parking and bicycle lane, then everyone's going to do it right. And it struck me that. If you look about how other cities have reacted to Milan, Paris have reacted by implementing this idea called the 15 minute city, the 15 minute city is a totally new way of looking at urban spaces. It's kind of like a postcard city, right? So the car is the enemy of proper urban living.
And I actually believe that's the case. But the cars destroy cities and have destroyed our cities for the last hundred years. Right. The car lobby has lobbied for many, many years against public transport, against the train system, and has been very, very successful. And not such a car city, though, in terms of production.
Yeah, it is. It is. And Milan and Turin, of course, is the big fear production. But what a lot of 10 the 15 minute city is a beautiful idea. The idea is that you will never live either 15 minutes walk or by bike away from everything you need. So your entertainment, your work, your home, your culture, your public spaces, your sport, whatever you need will be within a 15 minute walk hour cycle and there will be cycle lanes there.
And so the idea is to envisage the city beyond cars. So this is a little bit like that kind of autonomous neighborhoods, like a little bit like in New York where they have, you know, a little neighborhood here and everything is in that little neighborhood. To me, the idea of the living city, the city. So from 1950 to the last four or five years. The city was besmirched by planners, and by that I mean that the city wasn't regarded as a living organism, an ecosystem in itself, it was a place to drive to.
Yeah, and a place to drive away from. That's the whole planning has been based on that. So that the two things one is created a an empty, ghostly city during the weekends and the evenings, and it created commuter towns which were no more than dormitory towns in the evenings as well. Yeah. So everyone got into their car, drove from the dormitory town into the city, left the city, drove back out to the dormitory. So it is kind of it's like it's like, you know, in Yugoslavia.
Ethnic cleansing. Right. Right. Population transfer. Yeah. But this was a willing population transfer the population transfer itself from A to B and from B to A. Right. And all the while enriching road construction and car. Yeah. Purchasing and production. Yeah. Yeah. Crazy thing. We don't make cars so we should actually do everything in our power to minimize the attractiveness of cars because we get nothing from it. Do you imagine that? I think I can understand that Germany might elevate car usage because they make the things we don't make them.
The only people who make money out of cars and on a car dealers and the government taxing them. Yeah, but there's no actual stations. There's nothing there's nothing going back to us. Right. So let's think about the city as a living organism. There's a mayor in France called Hidalgo, who's the mayor of Paris. She's just been reelected. Yes. Yeah. And she has an advisor called Moreno. And Marino is an urban planner. And he is bringing in this idea that the city lives and everything should be within a 15 minute walk hour drive.
So he's talking about having concentric circles in every city. Could be the little villages. Yeah. In the Irish sense, like tearing your is different to Ranelagh is different to Phibbs is different. It could be the same, but the idea would be that nobody really has to commute in and out of anywhere. Now in the French case, interestingly, they haven't enough offices in Paris that too many flats enough. She's had to take some various sources. We have to switch it around.
Yeah. And reduce profoundly the amount of offices and dramatically increase the amount of flats and apartments.
But what covid does is you realize you don't need to go to work to a place. You need to be at work. You need to go to work. Yeah, I'm going to work. So you don't need cars, you don't need expensive offices, but you need very good Wi-Fi and you need the flexibility to understand that if you have a crisis, you go and meet as a team and you figure things out. But I think it's I think it's fascinating.
But now there's an opportunity. I don't think there's that much resistance to this at the moment. I think people understand that this is a good thing. Yeah. And that comes from a great American writer, all this thing called Jane Jacobs and Jane Jacobs has written many, many economics books. But one of her most famous book, I think is probably is the most famous book is The Life and Death of Great American Cities. And in it and this was written in the early 60s, OK?
And she was American and then she emigrated to Canada, as quite a lot of American liberals did in the 60s, because they didn't like what was going on in the United States, whether it was segregation in the 50s or the Vietnam War in the 60s. So you find actually quite a few Canadian liberals like Naomi Klein. You know that. No logo. Yeah. Yeah. She's the daughter of American liberals who migrated up to Canada during the Vietnam War.
But Jane Jacobs left America protesting against segregation and so is an early black lives matter, because in the 1950s when she wrote these books about urban planning and her enemy was Le Corbusier, the French architect, and his idea of putting people in kind of anthills, these sort of various different sort of cabooses, big ideas, you build these monstrous modernist brutalist structures and put people in the big housing estates like massive, massive housing estates with no connection to anything.
And she was saying that she compared. It's really interesting. She for Jane Jacobs, the sidewalk, as the Americans say, the footpath was the essential artery of the of the community. You know, that's where sacred therapists play. They were places to walk, their place to meet people. She describes city life has been the Great Wall of urban adventure. But the people who walked into it was a big dance and they would meet each other in the public spaces.
And it's really fascinating stuff and it has taken a long time. So she was against, for example, high rise, right? She thought that the higher people go up, the less likely they are to come down to this to the street and the less likely they are to mix with each other. Right. OK, and that's it. So she was thinking that maybe the edelheit is about four or five stories, but that it is essential that people occupy the street.
And then she argued very strongly that the street, the way in which police the street as we police ourselves. So she was arguing in the 60s and 70s against the ghettoization of American cities. And she was saying one of the reasons that American cities are ghettoized is that we have allowed the car and the road to monopolize the footpath. And therefore, people there's no people on the footpath and there's no people. There's no she was talking about police have been eyes on the street.
Yeah. Basically, you protect me and I protect you and I protect him and I pick her and we protect our kids and everyone knows what's going on. And she was making the point that in Lower East Side New York. Which were described as a ghetto by people who didn't live in the lower. Yeah, the crime rates were very low, even though the people were very poor because they're living on top of each other and looking out for each other, OK?
Yeah. And there was a more of a sense of community massive since I can testify to that in in Southern California. No, I was over there quite a few years ago in Orange County in place that that Newport Beach and dreadful places. They are dreadful places, awful places, because you have to have a car. You're lost without a car. There are no footpaths as such. Everything was, as you say, spread out. But the other thing I was going to say as well is that it's interesting that the French guy was named Le Corbusier.
All of that idea of High-Rise Estates and stuff like we had Ballymun here and we had the Broadwater Farm in London. And, you know, all these have proven to be disasters and our been torn down. And the reason she argued is, was because humans love contact. This is her central argument that humans are social animals and the urban the pre brutalist modernist urban landscape was maybe the most suitable for human communication that you actually all live. Cheek by jowl.
OK, and there is a certain vibrancy in the public space and the public know it's very it's fascinating if you if you mention Joyce was into all this stuff, too. Right. So Bloom. Right. So it's all about this idea that Bloom was into public spaces and public transport, public amenities alike. It's no surprise that what Joyce creates was, should we celebrate?
It was a walk around the city who you meet in the public space and you meet your man, your man, your one and land places and you're dumping your hat to people. Hello, alone. There's an exit. It's basically what we're talking about.
It's the great walls of life of the city, you know, and you're in and out moving around.
That's what covid to come back. Allows us to reimagine take the cars out of the city, you put as many cycle lanes as possible. You expand the footpaths, you understand the value of the footpath of the footpath. Is your archery imagine that life is like blood pumping around the city and the footpath is your artery and your capillaries going all over there. Yeah, and that brings people to life. And that's how you reimagine. And I think in our case in Ireland, we could particularly in a city like Dublin or Cork, these are cities that are absolutely perfect, like Cork.
If you if you if you blocked traffic east to west in Cork, you the east or West, you could create an amazing walkway from the LEA all the way down to the Maadi because I know quite well. Yeah. And then you'd think about someone like Dublin and then once you reoccupied the street for the people and once you realize the people on the street, then you look upwards in three four story Dublin and you look at all those empty potential apartments.
Yes, yeah. Yeah. And I've always thought that when I look up at Dublin and I see the first floor has a has maybe a shop and there's nothing above it, I think that's what a dereliction is, a form of vandalism. And you penalise that, you identify who owns this building. This building is going to recommend, OK, we are going to tax you, we will penalize you for your vandalism of the cityscape. Yeah, but on the other hand, if you say, OK, I'm going to put two apartments up here, we're going to give you a tax break on your rent for five years, so suddenly you create incentives to revitalize the city.
You take the cars out. I think you create something magical here. Yeah, I love the idea of revitalizing the cities. London is actually a great example of the city of London. It's a beautiful city, that square mile. But nobody lives there. No, completely dead. Completely dead at the weekends and in the evenings. I remember years ago when I worked in the city and we'd be working on maybe a deal. You have to go the Saturday, right?
Yeah. And it was extraordinary. Come up out of the tube bank. Yeah. Nobody that. Nobody around. Nobody around. No tourists. No nothing. Yeah. Even St Paul's Bank, Aldwych. All those places. Yeah. Yeah. Not a zinner. And the thing is it's a lovely place to walk around. But then of course none the pubs are open. There was nothing to eat, hang out. So that idea of revitalizing the cities in Dublin and Cork and that kind of stuff is is brilliant.
What are the cities that currently have that? I'm sure there's a it in Holland. Yeah. Everyone talks about the Scandinavian cities, particularly Denmark. Yes, Copenhagen. Copenhagen is gorgeous city, but also many German cities have revitalized themselves. Many, many continental cities feel like living organisms. You feel like the living, breathing cities. Barcelona is a good example. I know rents have gone out of control there recently, but it feels like a living city and all of this harks back to a civic pride.
This is the point that I believe is missing in art is pride in the city. Understanding the city itself is part of the brand of the people. And civic pride goes incredibly deep if you have it. Yeah, but if you don't have it. You know what's missing, so I think for many, many years, Dublin City was run by people who hated Dublin. Why not? I mean, it was run by engineers from the country who worked for various departments.
Right. Who were very happy to commute, who felt no proximity to our affection for this city, its buildings, its people, people very importantly, Dublin, Dublin. People are capable city people. Yeah. And as a result of that, there was also definitely in the first few decades of the republic's existence, a sense that Dublin's architectural heritage was a British heritage, was a hangover from the British state. Yeah, well, George.
And stuff wasn't really ours to reclaim because it was never ours. So there was a hyper realism that came in. And if you think as well, modernity is an awful thing at one level. Right. If you believe that modernity is the way forward and is the solution, suddenly what you do is you demolish history in front of you and you replace it with something like the car. If you believed in the 1950s and 60s and 70s the car was the sign of modernity, then you would smash, for example, do you know where?
Outside St. Patrick's Cathedral? Yeah. Do you know that the crossroads of Crossroads Jilt, there were six pubs in the crossroads, six clubs facing each other. Right. And that was a bustling part. And it was smashed by road engineers who decided to knock down the buildings on either side and widen the road to go where? Nowhere to go to Christchurch.
That's true. And it's actually there's only one pub there that I exacts bar. And the other corner. Exactly does a great pub called Fallon's, though just around the corner I tell a story about the one I used to drink in France when I worked in the central bank because I had a flat on Parliament Street. That's right. I woke up palmistry. There was only one bar in Parliament Street then, which was the old George, the only gay bar Dublin was on Parliament Street.
Yeah. And then they johns's a gay bar as well. I think that George was a gay bar partidos was. It went either way. Right. Right. But you know what I mean. It is very modern. But the George was almost like shamefully when you think about it now, I can tell you this story with George and secondary but shameful thing was really that was almost like the small little windows. There was no sense of celebrating anything about gay.
Ah, this is the 1990s. Yeah. But more interestingly, did George identify as a gay bar? Dublin City Council was going to take its licence away from it so it could be a gay bar. Couldn't serve booze, but yes, because booze would make you promiscuous and lascivious. Aulus, I swear to Jesus, I swear to God. Are you in the 90s and know in the 80s. OK, well, there was a bar. There's a place called a Hazes Crime.
Hirshfield Centre. Yeah. Which David Norris was a. Serious player in bringing small, very underground gay culture to Dublin in the 1980s and 1990s, the Hirshfield Center was the only gay center. It's also a place you get a cargo in the Hirshfield center. Right. And I think Hirshfield, if I'm not mistaken, was a gay man persecuted by the Nazis, if I'm not mistaken, and became whereas the Hirshfield Center, exactly where it is now, if you are in Temple Bar and if you walk over the central bank, as you walk behind central banker on the left hand side.
Yeah, there's a shop missiroli thuggy Jew. Exactly. So you was the old forgood. You smell bar and it was the old Jew and you walked down the river towards the river from there. Yeah. That is a cobbled street. Right. That's exactly where the Hirshfield Center was that was firebombed in the 80s really by anti gay activists are crazy straightjackets push stuff like that in my heart. I know it's mad, but that was a mistake. Yeah.
You know, but we used to drink because there's no bars on Padam streets. There was a little bar in the corner apartments. People used to drink in salons and there was an awful lot of the bar is there every night proper up. And he was called REM or E m. Right. And I was always intrigued is why if this guy was called or e m rem because it didn't sound like a name. And one night I was actually there with.
Paddy Brannock as a director, movie director, Robbie Walpole, a producer, we just finished talking to them and probably said, where's the name from? Or ETM? And he said, they are the three things I fucking hate in this world, Rangers', England and me. It needs jobs. Gayet hates me because remember me, these were good, right? Yeah. Yeah. Of he hates rangers. Yeah. Yeah. Cause that was it.
That was he was identified by his three. Hatred's was our Mr. Ram. So the band got the name. I wonder to be great it was. Michael Stipe is outed as a Dubosc supporter and anti English and a Celltex supporting anti Rangers afficionado. This is a cast recommends every week we pick one of our favorite shows, and this is one we think you're going to love.
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Doesn't John have another curious fact for you? I was just rummaging around there on these data, some data, that's my thing, but it's about foreign direct investment in Ireland, right? Just how much foreign direct investment Ireland gets, particularly for American corporations. I come back to at the end and I'll give you that review. And you know why we're doing this? We're doing this because we want to thank Vodafone for sponsoring this episode with Vodafone. You can follow your curiosity.
And this is all about curious facts. Let your whole family follow their curiosity when you bring everyone's plans together on Vodafone's multi mobile, a red family plan, such Vodafone red family for more. John, my point is that somebody has to look after the city. If somebody has to wake up in the morning when they're brushing their teeth, has to think about Dublin. I think about how the city melds together, how blends together, and there's a great example from history which the history of Florence and the guilds of Florence, the Florentine Republics of Florence, was not a papacy member, nor was it a member of Empire from 13 to about 15, 70.
It was a free republic. And The Free Republic was run by Gilt's, the Weavers Guilds Moneylender Guilds, the one guild site, and it was run by the civic bourgeoisie for the city. So as a civic bourgeoisie, it wasn't like a democracy of one man, one vote. It was if you were in a guild, your guild elected a leader and that leader went to the parliament and they made the decision that the parliament, your council decisions.
But they were infused by legislation which explicitly said it is our job to make the city as beautiful as it can be, OK? They all competed with each other to build beautiful buildings, amazing municipal squares, art. And so this is the Renaissance. All comes from that renaissance comes from patrons, from wealthy patrons who said the city is part of our power and the city's beauty is part of our beauty. And also because they were Republican, they distinguished themselves from the old aristocracy by not dressing and displaying signs of their wealth outrageously.
Right, OK, where they did display signs their wealth was in their public buildings. Right. So basically they walked around quite modestly and they hid their wealth. They lived in these PALAZUELOS but they weren't palaces like the old palaces. They were basically five, six storey buildings over the shops over there, guilds, whatever. There were seven years old. And so but what they did collectively over 200 years was create, you know, maybe the most beautiful city in Europe based on the civic bourgeoisie, based on thinking it is our job to make the city beautiful, to look after the city, to build gorgeous buildings.
Now, we can't do that right now because we don't have those families in the city. Yeah, you are wealthy, but Dublin City Council, Cork City Council, whoever happens to be needs to think like a almost a patrician bourgeois member of the Florentine guilds. And I really mean this, that the somebody wakes up in the morning and when they're brushing their teeth, they think about the beauty of what we're going to do today for the city. And if we could achieve that, this place could be gorgeous.
But I suppose the problem these days is that, like you say, we don't have that kind of way of thinking. We don't have those kind of people, because there'll be no there will be seen as a very much a philanthropic activity called a pure philanthropy now.
Yeah. And the flip side of that as well is that the more kind of global city is, the more transient the crowd is and the residence. That is a very fair point. However, think about you know, we talked about multinationals in the past, but think about all these big multinational companies that now are taking office. And, yeah, imagine we said you have a small obligation, but your obligation is to do something that makes the city beautiful over and above your profit motive, because this is what the merchants I'm reading an amazing book at the moment, The Glory of the Merchant, Some Degree on The Merchant of Prato, The Daily Life in a medieval Italian City by Ierace Origo.
And it's a beautiful thing. It's it's a it's the letters of an extraordinary merchant in Prato, which is in Tuscany. Yeah. Small town called Francesco DeMarco Tartini. And they found these amazing letters, thousands of letters, this guy. And he was a merchant. Right. But it's all about his obligation to the city, what he was doing to write the letters to him. He was writing letters to all key. For example, he's writing a script to his missus.
Right. It's a very, very rare thing. All the creditors, bankers and merchants, everyone is doing, because all this idea that, you know, we have an obligation over and above profit. There's also extraordinary letters to his wife. And what's really lovely is it's a totally normal marriage. Like he's a very rich guy and he's married to a woman. She's just these things, just things. All change is 20 years younger than him, you know.
Come on. And rich blokes tend to do that. Right. But it's really funny. And she's kind of. Nah, I only a tosser. I wouldn't do that. I think it's a proper marriage. It's really good luck and it doesn't. Because there are letters written to each other. It's always a way trading, but the Merchant of Prato is also all about the responsibility that commerce has to the greater good. That's my point that we've lost.
Yeah, and something we could inculcate. So, for example, when large corporations base themselves in Dublin with a foreign or Irish, you would say, OK, but part of your ground rent is an obligation to build a park home to do this, to create a space, to buy a thousand bicycles for the people and give them a free. Yeah, yeah, yeah. To plant trees, to agitate the council, to have less cars, not more, and become part of our campaign to make the city beautiful.
That is a very small price to pay when you're getting a huge tax break for being here, when you're getting your employees who are educated by the Irish state, who are paid for by our taxes, et cetera. So it's just a matter of changing. John, the conversation. I don't think it's that radical. You just do it.
Over the last couple of months, you've asked, could we get our academic courses, the online course, the ask tutorials, SCPD, i.e., could you get points for continuous professional development as part of your own career development?
I'm delighted to say yes, indeed. Coming up from the 1st of September, our courses will be CTD applicable. We'll be able to get points on all the courses. We're going to give the details, watch this space. But I think it's a really exciting development, Torgeson.
My quotes that foreign direct investment fact you were banging on about, you've got to explain that. The fact is the beauty it is that over the last 20 years, Ireland has received in more American direct foreign investment. Right. Think about this. Right. Our tiny country than China, India, Russia and Brazil combined. Combined. That's an extraordinary fact. Wow, that's incredible. And again, we're bringing these facts to you via Vodafone, who are sponsoring this episode because with Vodafone, you can follow your own curiosity with unlimited data and best performing mobile network.
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