Invading Ireland

There are only a limited number of ways governments can deal with a large debt (such as that run up in the UK): taking via war, raising taxes, currency devaluation, or default. The first of those possibilities inspired me when, a while back, I was asked to try and come up with a good way of explaining just how large the UK’s national debt is, in a way that a normal person can understand.

Private islands around Ireland seem to be going at the moment for between US$3M and US$300,000 for 25 acres (0.1 sq km). If the UK invaded the country of Eire, threw in Northern Ireland and sold the result as a private island, it would raise:

84,421 square km x £5m per square km = £421 billion.

Selling an entire country would raise only about 1/3 of the total needed to pay back the UK national debt.

7 thoughts on “Invading Ireland

  1. Not to mention, you know, the cost of invading Ireland, which is likely to be an expensive affair, rivaling your predicted returns from the sale. And I imagine your £421b is wildly optimistic to start with – it would probably detract from the sale price, having a pre-existing population with a relatively recent history of shooting and blowing up unwanted occupiers…

    • A fair point. We do have nuclear weapons and the Irish don’t, but they aren’t very good if you actually want the country to remain in a saleable condition. I hadn’t considered how to subdue the populace. Perhaps a media education campaign would do it? “Invasion: Good for the Nation”.

      We could argue it was their patriotic duty to help their European neighbour deal with its debts. After all, that’s an argument with a recent history of deployment…

  2. Developed land is worth more, though. Dublin alone is probably worth a hundred billion or so, so that would boost the total a bit. Admittedly, that’s assuming you can find a buyer with enough capital to make the purchase.

    • Finding a buyer might indeed be the tricky part. Perhaps there’s an North African or Middle Eastern dictator or two who is fed up of sand and would prefer to rule somewhere a bit more lush and green? Hey, perhaps Assad is in the market – it’s getting a bit hot, metaphorically speaking, where he is at the moment…

  3. I would suggest simply relocating the Irish people over to mainland Britain, in order to leave Ireland pristine, empty and ready to sell.

    As for where to put the people (around 6.4 million, if I’m not wrong), I would suggest creating one or maybe two new metropolises in beautiful but underpopulated or economically deprived areas. Places such as the flat area to the west of Snowdonia, around Bangor and Anglesey, or perhaps centred around the Kendal estuary in Cumbria. This would have several beneficial effects: (1) alleviating England’s north/south divide, (2) creating an economically vibrant heavily populated hub surrounded by breathtaking scenery, to rival places such as Vancouver and Sydney, (3) giving us a much-needed second “global city” – something which other countries do much better at than us (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city)