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The Atlantic Economy: Britain, the Us and Ireland

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0719059742
ISBN-10: 0719059747
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Denis O'Hearn is Reader in Sociology at Queens University, Belfast and Chair of the West Belfast Economic Forum.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press (August 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719059747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719059742
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,936,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book is a bit misleading. This book is not really about the Atlantic economy per se but is more of a history of Irish economic development since the 1600's. O'Hearn's book looks at Irish economic development from the perpective of world system and dependency theories. For those who are unfamiliar with the terms it basically means that this book's intoduction is full of unreadable neo-Marxist jargon. Unless you are already familiar with basic Irish economic history, I recommend you take a look at Wallerstein's "World System Analysis: An Introduction" (available from Amazon.com!)before attempting to read this book.

O'Hearn's basic thesis is that Ireland's economic development has been constraned and limited throughout its history first by English colonization and then by American hegemony. Under English rule, Ireland was forced to play a supporting and subordinate role in the English quest for dominating the Atlantic militarily and economically. After gaining independence from England, Ireland was absorbed into a new version of the Atlantic economy this time under U.S. control and again basically became a pawn in a game not of its own making. U.S. multinationals found a ideal window to the European market in Ireland and rushed in essentially crowding out native industries and creating a nominally prosperous but perhaps unsustanable "Celtic Tiger" economy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

O'Hearn's book is well researched and packed full of fascinating information of the history of the Irish economy. While O'Hearn has perhaps broken some new ground in applying world-systems analysis to Irish history, unfortunately I didn't feel that O'Hearn really brings much of anything new and innovative to that school of thought.
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Format: Paperback
This is without doubt one of the best books I've ever read. It traces the ways that Ireland was incorporated into first British and later U.S. economic hegemony, touching on such far-reaching issues as the true nature of the Marshall Plan (a calculating attempt to create European dependence on the U.S. and open European markets to U.S. products) and the ways in which core economic powers control the economic policies and decisions of apparently autonomous peripheral nations. It is an extremely valuable study, not least because of the relative proximity* of the players--culturally, racially and geographically--which sidesteps many of the other distracting variables that appear in many cases of core-periphery interaction. O'Hearn combines quantitative analytical depth with a readable and compelling style, making this book useful to professional economists and sociologists, yet accessible to undergrads and other well-read individuals. A must-have for anyone interested in political economy in any region or time period within the last milennium.
*British and Irish readers: I said _relative_ proximity. There's no need to take offense.
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