Paul Cockshott wpc at
Fri Mar 31 13:08:19 MST 1995

Doug asks how Ireland moved from being one of the relatively
advanced countries in the 19th century to being one of the
poorest in Europe.

The simple answer is that the current Irish Republic is largely
made up of the areas that were least developed economically -
being dominated by small scale agriculture. The bulk of the
industrially developed areas of the economy remained part
of Britain. This was not accidental. When the Liberal Party at
Westminstercame out for home rule in the 1880s under Gladstone, the
industrial bourgoisie in Ireland largely broke with liberalism
and went over to the Tories as the unionist party.
They saw no advantage in breaking with the British state which
would have cut them off from their export markets in the empire.

They organised politically to ensure that the industrial areas
were not included in the Irish state.

In more recent years, the types of industry that formed the backbone
of the Northern Irish industrial economy - textiles, heavy engineering
etc, have gone into decline throughout Britain so that areas like
Clydeside, Tyneside and Northern Ireland have fallen behind economically.
25 years of civil war have also tended to hold back economic advance.

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