Category: Archive

Post-Famine economy boomed, profs say

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Frank Geary and Tom Stark say in their latest work that the Irish economy of the latter 19th century was the seventh richest in the world.
They also state that: “Ireland always does well when she goes into something bigger. It did well out of the union with Britain; the Famine was a massive blip. It took off again when Ireland joined the European Union. Smaller countries must be joined to larger groups.”
The two academics also say that “after the Famine, employment in Ireland fell dramatically and up to one million people emigrated. There was a 29 percent decline in the labor force between 1861 and 1911.” Most academics say this emigration accounts for the rise in Irish output per worker and compare it with a similar improvement in the living standards of Europe after the Black Death.
But the two scholars dispute this, and instead argue that “new technology and the construction of plants and machinery can explain the Irish performance. Ireland got a rail network and developed a factory-based textile industry after the Famine. Its shipbuilding in the late 19th century was the fastest growing of the UK shipbuilding regions.”

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