When Economic Development was published in 1958 there was good reason to worry both about Ireland's economic performance and its economic prospects. While most western European countries were enjoying rapid economic growth Ireland was falling well behind the leaders. With an industrial−relations structure based on strong but de-centralized collective bargaining, Ireland was not in a position to follow the corporatist path to rapid catch-up growth based on wage restraint in return for high investment which prevailed in much of Europe. As a small, inefficient, and still quite agricultural economy on the periphery, there were good reasons to fear the consequences of moves to free trade within Europe
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