Ten years ago when a bunch of bankers greatly damaged the economy the country of Ireland suffered quite a bit. The people of Ireland made the connection between influence on politicians from large corporations on poor public policy – thus they changed the rules on how the private sector can influence the public sector. The rues now put in place are appearing to rebuild trust in politicians, and the other countries are now looking at following Ireland’s lead.
The Irish reforms are simple. Any individual, company or NGO that seeks to directly or indirectly influence officials on a policy issue must list themselves on a public register and disclose any lobbying activity. The rules cover any meeting with high-level public officials, as well as letters, emails or tweets intended to influence policy.
For those in the business, the impact of the register and its requirements are primarily about the way the industry is perceived — and, broadly, they’re happy about it.
“I’ve not heard anybody suggest the Lobbying Act has impacted in any way the willingness or the ability to influence [policymakers],” said Conall McDevitt, CEO of Hume Brophy, one of Ireland’s largest lobbying firms. “It’s always better in our industry to have transparency, we’re all the stronger for it.”
Modern economies indirectly subsidize environmentally damaging corporate practices by ignoring the environmental costs ( younger generations have to deal with the environmental damage), this can be seen in everything from the tar sands in Alberta to ewaste in electronics. In Ireland they have started a carbon tax to deal with this environmental problem while raising a lot more revenue for the country.
The results in Ireland prove promising and may encourage other countries in Europe to take the European Commission’s suggestions that a carbon tax can help other debt-ridden economies.
Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are billed for anything that is not being recycled.The Irish now pay purchase taxes on new cars and yearly registration fees that rise steeply in proportion to the vehicle’s emissions. Environmentally and economically, the new taxes have delivered results. Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 per cent since 2008.
The three-year-old carbon tax has raised nearly 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) overall, including 400 million euros in 2012. That provided the Irish government with 25 per cent of the 1.6 billion euros in new tax revenue it needed to narrow its budget gap this year and avert a rise in income tax rates.
Read more here.
Thanks to Mike!