To what extent is the nation state still relevant in shaping national labour markets?
MSc Training and Development
Module 3 (Oct 2007 intake)
Total word count:
1 Raquel Hanley
Module 3 Global Context of HRD & HRM
To what extent is the nation state still relevant in shaping national labour markets? ‘It is widely accepted that that international economic integration is a defining characteristic of the Irish economy. Globalisation is perceived as both an opportunity (to sell goods and services abroad) and a threat (if Ireland is uncompetitive, it’s domestic industries will decline in the face of cheaper imports of goods and services). There is also increasing awareness of the impact of globalisation on the labour market – having experienced net emigration for decades, Ireland is now the recipient of significant immigration in relative terms. Furthermore, Ireland is highly networked into global capital markets, through significant flows of foreign direct investment and other forms of financial capital.’ (Lane.P)
Ireland has enjoyed the successes of being a nation state since its break away from the then British colonies in 1922. Until then Ireland led a life of protectionism, which made working life difficult and increased emigration. Ireland was indeed the ‘Sick man of Europe’ but this has since changed and now Ireland as a nation state can exert more power and influence to European policy making than many European regions of much larger sizes. Therefore the question remains; does Ireland as a nation state still hold the power to shape its national labour markets? For me to discuss this it is important that I explore where Ireland’s successes came from, how immigration has impacted the labour markets and why education, taxation, foreign direct investment all shape the nation
‘The Irish economy has enjoyed a decade of unparalleled economic progress. Irish economic growth has been unmatched in the European Union. Material living standards have risen appreciably for the majority of Irish citizens. Social safety nets have been strengthened. The exodus of people from the country has cease. The population is growing.’ (Tansey, 1998:249)
The 1960s represented a watershed in economic terms in Ireland. Policy actions taken from the late 1950s and early 1960s onward launched the economy on a development path that was radically different from that pursued before
2 Raquel Hanley
Module 3 Global Context of HRD & HRM
and after independence. The strategy of economic development adopted in Ireland since 1960 has involved the opening up of the goods and capital markets as part of a long term process of EU integration. There is more to the belated success of Ireland than merely a liberlisation of markets. There was also active intervention from the state in investing in human capital and in encouraging foreign direct investment. This approach has been followed consistently by all governments over the past 30 years. There was also’ enabling’ factors that have facilitated the success of the past decade, as well as some policy mistakes that have rendered the convergence path somewhat bumpy. Economics alone is not sufficient to explain the process of economic development in Ireland in recent years. The cultural and social environment in which an economy is set plays such a vital role in determining the relative success or failure of economic policy. The Ireland of today has come of age however there are many who still hark back to the days of the state in a protected environment. For most people living in Ireland today, they have seen profound changes in a number of different areas. The opening up of Irelands to the outside world underlines the turnaround in economic fortunes. Central to the Irish consciousness over two centuries, has been the continuing...