The Rise and Fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger: Liberalism, Boom and Bust

May 21, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger: Liberalism, Boom and Bust

ORiainCoverBy Seán Ó Riain

The book was launched in May by Professor Rory O’Donnell, Director, National Economic and Social Council of Ireland


As Ireland appears to sit on the edge of economic recovery, it faces many of the same choices about its future that it faced – and failed to make – in the early 2000s. Once again, Ireland faces the choice of ‘Boston or Berlin’ – or some alternative to both.

This book documents how the domination of financial markets in investment decisions, a hollowed out version of the European project and a weak and unsustainable national social contract overwhelmed many of the genuine advances made in the 1990s and lead to a disastrous economic crisis.

The questions of the power of private finance, the future of the European social and economic model and Ireland’s ability to build a genuine social and political pact among its citizens remain crucial to what kind of recovery can be built in Ireland – and what kind of society and economy will be produced from it.

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Reviews & endorsements

Read the reviews by John Bradley in Dublin Review of Books, Joe Larragy in Working for Change and by Rob Kitchin in The View from the Blue House.

‘Seán Ó’Riain has done it again. His new book combines a rich diagnosis of the Irish case with keen comparative insights into the changing organisation of market societies. In The Rise and Fall of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger, we gain new insights into the politics of financialization within and across Europe.’
Fred Block, Research Professor, University of California, Davis

‘The collapse of Ireland’s famous Celtic Tiger in the early twenty-first century is a remarkable story of corporatism, clientelism, globalisation and ultimately liberalism run amok. Sean Ó’Riain’s analysis of the underlying shift from economic growth based on industrial development to growth based on financial speculation is insightful, not only in explaining how it all happened, but also in showing that understanding it requires a serious reconsideration of scholarship on the varieties of capitalism, small states in world markets, and political economy and economic sociology in general. This is an important and very timely book.’
John L. Campbell, Class of 1925 Professor, Dartmouth College and Professor of Political Economy, Copenhagen Business School

‘A truly wonderful and supremely important book, which places Ireland’s rise and subsequent fall in exactly the kind of socio-economic and political-historical perspective that is desperately required and yet which has been so sorely lacking in much of the existing literature. A most powerful corrective to established orthodoxies, this should be required reading for all of us anxious to learn the right lessons from the crisis, in Ireland and beyond.’
Colin Hay, Sciences Po, Paris and the University of Sheffield

‘A careful and insightful analysis of the dramatic changes in Irish economic activity and performance over the past 25 years by the leading scholar of Ireland’s political economy.’
Bill Roche, Professor of Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University College Dublin