Saturday 18 November 2017

Stephen Kinsella: How Irish exporters could be our economic saviours

'Merchants have no country". Thomas Jefferson may have been right when he wrote those words in 1814 to his friend, Horatio Spafford. Jefferson went on: "The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." How true is this statement for Ireland today, and what does it mean for the nation's recovery?

In Ireland today, it's all about exports. Growth can't come from anywhere else. Since the days of Sean Lemass, the strategy for industrial development has been export-led growth. The strategy has worked pretty well for successive Taoisigh. If it worked for Sean, Jack, Liam, Charlie, Garret, Albert, John, Bertie and Brian, why wouldn't it work for Enda?

Export-led growth happens when you sell more stuff to the rest of the world than you buy in, which increases the income of the nation through its exporting sectors. The people who work in those sectors then use the money they've earned to consume, invest, and save within Ireland, and so the economy grows. Export-led growth allows the economy to expand faster because demand for goods and services is not limited by the size of the domestic market.

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