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Ireland and the Global Question

Michael J. O’Sullivan

Cloth $34.95s    |    0-8156-3106-5    |    2006

A look at how Ireland is affected by globalization yet maintains its financial, political, and social independence in a geopolitical world.

"Enriched with an historical perspective. . . . Issues such as strong institutions, ‘conducive’ business environment and regulations, sound macroeconomic policies, openness to trade and investment and a well-educated population all contribute to a nation being able to capitalize on the globalization process. [A] thoughtful analysis."
Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary General

Ireland is regarded as the "Celtic Tiger" in the economic development literature—a successful European example of the export-driven economic growth strategy made famous by the Asian Tigers. The "global question" of the title is how a small open economy country like Ireland can preserve sovereignty and autonomy in a world of economic globalization. The conventional wisdom holds that Ireland used a globalization strategy to transform itself from one of the European Union’s "poor four" to the top of the league table. Economist O’Sullivan means to undermine somewhat this facile story of globalization and prosperity. Globalization has benefited Ireland, O’Sullivan writes, but the process is now reaching its limits—it has gone as far as it can go. At the same time, he suggests that globalization has "gone too far" with respect to the domestic problems and tensions it has created or revealed. Ireland will need to rethink both its domestic and foreign policy positions in light of these conditions. Ireland’s foreign policy needs to become even more global, he suggests. The book concludes with a discussion of the lessons that Ireland’s experience with globalization may provide for other small open economies.

Ireland has been rated the number one place to live because it successfully combines the most desirable elements of a modern society—the world’s fourth highest GDP per person and low unemployment—with the preservation of certain cozy elements of the old, such as stable family and community life.

Michael J. O‘Sullivan presents the globalization of Ireland in a context of international trends in economics, international relations, and politics. His multi-disciplinary approach uncovers many of the weaknesses that lie behind the complacent and clichéd view of the Celtic Tiger. In examining Ireland’s great leap forward from a developing to a postindustrial economy, O‘Sullivan offers valuable lessons to other countries.

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Michael J. O‘Sullivan appears weekly on major business stations such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and on the BBC World Service radio. He has written op-ed articles in international newspapers including the Wall Street Journal Europe. Michael O’Sullivan was educated at UCC and Bailliol College, Oxford, and has taught economics at Princeton University. He currently works in the City of London.

6 x 9, 304 pages, notes, glossary, bibliography, index

Copublished with Cork University Press
Available in North America only

Ireland and the Global Question

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