Exploring Political Issues

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The management of the Celtic Tiger seen through Elitist and Marxist Approaches

Ireland’s economy developed dramatically during the 1990s, and was referred to as the “Celtic Tiger” - an analogous term for the East Asian Tigers. As a member of the EC, foreign investors saw Ireland as a potential platform to launch their products into Europe. Also, there was a lower corporate tax rate, a skilled workforce and improved economic management.

While the country did, at the time of the Celtic Tiger, benefit from direct foreign investment and the extensive external trade, its lasting effects were detrimental to its economy, (Burnham 2003). Ireland’s Celtic Tiger period has very much diminished and the aftermath of the reckless management of the past ten years is less than desirable. Austerity measures now put in place are so severe the working class population of Ireland are finding it harder than ever to survive.

Due to the fall of the Banking sector, Ireland has now lost control of its economic standing and is now in severe debt to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Money Fund (IMF), (Laiho, H. 2012). Economic progress in Ireland is stagnant at present with suggestions that politicians are focusing on personal gain rather than national growth. Politicians, instead of addressing problems as they arose, buried their heads in the sand and as a result Ireland has lost its economic independence which has been regrettably handed over to other European countries.

Bearing in mind the aforementioned, this essay will attempt to discuss the political management of the failing Celtic Tiger through the opinions of the both the Elitist, Marxist and pluralist approaches.

The first theory to be defined is pluralism. This theory governs political science with its emphasis on diversity of groups and interests within the state; it precludes any one group from taking control and dominating. Distinction between political and economic power is evident; between civil society and the state. The pluralist approach states that power is shared between different groups in society. The government is distinguished as being an impartial regulatory body that helps to regulate conflict and negotiates amongst groups. Resources may be unequal and some groups may have closer relations to the government but ideally the state does not intrinsically favour any one group. Therefore, a pluralist state is formed of different groups pushing forth their interests in the hope to influence policies. The emphasis on policy and decision enables the pluralist approach to determine empirically who has power; focusing on actions which are observable and considered to be relevant, (http://www.britannica.com).

The second approach to be discussed is the Elitist theory. The fundamental ideas in this approach are that the history of politics is the history of elite domination. In any form of social group elites will always exist and their nature will outline the properties of the society in which they exist, (Laiho, H 2012). The Elitist approach rejects Marxist concepts that the economy is the ultimate factor of societal dynamics and that society is progressing towards a classless structure with an equal distribution of power. Elites are placed at the top end of the societal hierarchy, believing that there is a division in society; those who are in control and those who are under control, (Laiho, H 2012).

The final approach to describe is the Marxist theory of the state. Marxists believe that economic factors are central to the determinant of all relations between groups in society. This approach states that society is constructed into two divisions; the substructure and the superstructure. The substructure is the base of society where all production occurs from the means (resources) of production to the relations (owners) of production, (Cuddy, L, 2008). The superstructure in society contains all its...
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