Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Anglo Irish bailout equivalents

Brian Lucey (Professor of Finance in TCD) posted a Anglo Irish challenge on Twitter this afternoon. He is looking for things that we could have spent the €25B that Anglo has cost the tax payer. These items might be useful or might be ridiculous. Here are some of my suggestions (some of these are a bit back of the envelope)
  • A Maglev rail system from Belfast to Cork via Dublin. Based on the costs for the Shanghai one it would cost about €11B but lets assume Ireland is twice as expensive as Shanghai.
  • The Porto metro system that has been built in the last decade or so cost about €4B and has about 70 stations over 60km of track. Therefore we could have a 400 station system with about 250km of track
  • A round the world plane ticket costs about €1,500. So we could send every man, woman and child on three trips and still have money for some duty free on the way home.
  • Canada is in the process of purchasing 65 F35 fighter jets for about €7B. Our Anglo money could get us 250 allowing for some bulk purchase discounting.
  • The 200km long proposed Japan-Korea tunnel is estimated to cost about €60B. Dublin to Holyhead is about 100km so the Anglo money could almost bankroll a tunnel joining Ireland to the UK.
  • We could buy for full cost all the external debt of Bangladesh. This is all the money owed by the country and its residents to outsiders.
  • Pigs cost about €1.50 per kilo and weigh on average say 100kg. So that's €150 per pig or about 160 million pigs per Anglo which is about 5% of the world's total pig population.
  • Gold currently trades at about €1000 per oz. One Anglo turns into 25M oz or around 700 tonnes of shiny metal.
  • The construction of nuclear power plants comes in at around €1Bn per GW. Eirgrid's website suggests that Ireland's peak consumption is about 5GW in winter. This means we could power Ireland 5 times over for the cost of the Anglo bail out.
  • It costs about €100k per annum to employ an academic between wages, PRSI, pensions etc. and there are about 2000 of them employed in TCD. Anglo's lump sum would cover TCD's academic staff costs for 125 years assuming no inflation. Given inflation that might come down to 40 years.
  • My mortgage (not with Anglo) could be paid off about 100,000 times over. Instead it'll take me another 20 years to do it just once.
There is almost an infinite number of possibilities. I look forward to seeing Lucey's final list.

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