Fabricating economic development

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Title: Fabricating economic development
Authors: Brownlow, Graham
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2343
Date: 2009
Abstract: This paper is concerned with the institutions of Irish economics; it is structured around two arguments each of which links to the thesis presented in Garvin’s Preventing the future (2004). Overall it will be demonstrated that Irish economics was shaped by intellectual trends experienced within economic thought globally as well as the social considerations that were peculiar to Ireland. The evidence presented indicates that firstly while Economic Development mattered to the Irish economy it did not matter for the reasons that most writers have suggested it did. It is argued for instance that much of the literature, regardless of academic discipline, presents the publication of Economic Development in 1958 as analogous to a “big bang” event in the creation of modern Ireland. However, such a “big bang” perspective misrepresents the sophistication of economic debates prior to Whitaker’s report as well as distorting the interpretation of subsequent developments. The paper secondly, by drawing on the contents of contemporary academic journals, reappraises Irish economic thinking before and after the publication of Economic Development. It is argued that an economically “liberal” approach to Keynesianism, such as that favoured by TK Whitaker and George O’Brien, lost out in the 1960s to a more interventionist approach: only later did a more liberal approach to macroeconomic policy triumph. The rival approaches to academic economics were in turn linked to wider debates on the influence of religious authorities on Irish higher education. Academic economists were particularly concerned with preserving their intellectual independence and how a shift to planning would keep decisions on resource allocation out of the reach of conservative political and religious leaders.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The author, 2009
Keywords: IrelandEconomicDevelopmentRecessionKeynesianism
Subject LCSH: Economics--Ireland
Economics literature--Ireland
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Paper presented at the conference Politics, economy and society: Irish developmentism, 1958-2008. University College Dublin, March 12, 2009
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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