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The Rise and Fall of Ireland's Celtic Tiger
Liberalism, Boom and Bust


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  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521279055

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About the Authors
  • In 2008 Ireland experienced one of the most dramatic economic crises of any economy in the world. It remains at the heart of the international crisis, sitting uneasily between the US and European economies. Not long ago, however, Ireland was celebrated as an example of successful market-led globalisation and economic growth. How can we explain the Irish crisis? What does it tell us about the causes of the international crisis? How should we rethink our understanding of contemporary economies and the workings of economic liberalism based on the Irish experience? This book combines economic sociology and comparative political economy to analyse the causes, dynamics and implications of Ireland's economic 'boom to bust'. It examines the interplay between the financial system, European integration and Irish national politics to show how financial speculation overwhelmed the economic and social development of the 1990s 'Celtic Tiger'.

    • Proposes a new explanation for the economic boom and subsequent economic bust in Ireland, going beyond approaches that emphasize simple corruption or policy mistakes to examine the underlying features of the economy, politics and society that made the crisis possible
    • Adds to our understanding of the worldwide financial crisis – both as an international phenomenon and by comparing different forms of the crisis in different places
    • Outlines a new understanding of liberal political economies and advances the field of political economy
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    • Honourable Mention, 2015 PEWS Book Award, Section on the Political Economy of the World-System, American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Seán Ó'Riain has done it again. His new book combines a rich diagnosis of the Irish case with keen comparative insights into the changing organisation of market societies. In The Rise and Fall of Ireland's Celtic Tiger, we gain new insights into the politics of financialization within and across Europe.' Fred Block, Research Professor, University of California, Davis

    'The collapse of Ireland's famous Celtic Tiger in the early twenty-first century is a remarkable story of corporatism, clientelism, globalisation and ultimately liberalism run amok. Sean Ó'Riain's analysis of the underlying shift from economic growth based on industrial development to growth based on financial speculation is insightful, not only in explaining how it all happened, but also in showing that understanding it requires a serious reconsideration of scholarship on the varieties of capitalism, small states in world markets, and political economy and economic sociology in general. This is an important and very timely book.' John L. Campbell, Class of 1925 Professor, Dartmouth College and Professor of Political Economy, Copenhagen Business School

    'A truly wonderful and supremely important book, which places Ireland's rise and subsequent fall in exactly the kind of socio-economic and political-historical perspective that is desperately required and yet which has been so sorely lacking in much of the existing literature. A most powerful corrective to established orthodoxies, this should be required reading for all of us anxious to learn the right lessons from the crisis, in Ireland and beyond.' Colin Hay, Sciences Po, Paris and the University of Sheffield

    'A careful and insightful analysis of the dramatic changes in Irish economic activity and performance over the past 25 years by the leading scholar of Ireland's political economy.' Bill Roche, Professor of Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University College Dublin

    'O'Riain's book is the first to tackle systemically the deep societal factors that help explain the kind of dramatic economic collapses that have occurred in the past three generations.' Dublin Review of Books

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521279055
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 59 b/w illus. 40 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Liberalism in crisis
    2. Ireland: between development and crisis
    3. Capital: the triumph of finance
    4. Europe: between market and diversity
    5. National politics: governing fragmentation, fragmented governance
    6. Crisis: the difficult politics of development and liberalism.

  • Author

    Seán Ó Riain, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
    Seán Ó Riain is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is the author of The Politics of High Tech Growth (Cambridge University Press, 2004) which was awarded the James S. Donnelly book prize of the American Conference of Irish Studies in 2004. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious European Research Council Starting Investigator Grant for a project titled 'New Deals in the New Economy: European Workplaces in an Era of Transformation'.


    • Honourable Mention, 2015 PEWS Book Award, Section on the Political Economy of the World-System, American Sociological Association

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