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 TK Whitaker, the Irish Adam Smith?

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PostSubject: TK Whitaker, the Irish Adam Smith?   Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:48 pm

Well there is bound to be a buzz about the place coming to the 50th annivesary of TK Whitaker's study "Economic Development".

The ESRI's director Frances Ruane has written an opinion piece of how what was identified
by Whitaker 50 years ago is relevant to the success of Ireland's economy today.


  • Competitiveness really matters for economic survival and prosperity
  • The development of social partnership and the need for unions to operate in the national interest in their approach to wage demands at difficult times
  • Productive investment must take priority over social investment until the economy is back on a stable growth path
  • We need a responsible banking sector and appropriate financial regulation, recognising that "the exercise of financial responsibility may require unpopular measures of restriction as often as it admits of liberality and expansion"
  • Flexibility and adaptability are essential, on the part of all employers, both public and private.
  • In making policy, our decisions should be informed by empirical evidence. As the Whitaker document puts it: "The mind needs the support of facts and figures."

The article can be found on the Irish Times website HERE
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PostSubject: Re: TK Whitaker, the Irish Adam Smith?   Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:49 pm

Whitaker was certainly one of the most important figures in twentieth century Irish history. He is a poster figure for historians but one who is, I feel, often and unfortunately overlooked when it comes to popular thought in wider society. He set the ground for an awful lot of our economic prosperity despite the blip between his period and the tiger economy.

An incredibly nice man, I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the University Observer at UCD several years ago.
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