Tuesday 16 October 2018

Brendan Keenan: It's time to stop arguing about the past -- we need fresh ideas

GIVE my head peace, we like to say up north. It was even the name of a comedy series, I believe, and it could have made a catchy title for the latest report from the social partnership thinktank, NESC.

The National Economic and Social Council does not do catchy titles, though. Its original remit as part of the social partnership process makes it a last bastion of what used to be called "political economy," where the study of the economy is intended as a guide to political policy. 'Assessing Recent Irish Economic Performance' -- the actual title -- is much more its kind of thing.

Yet the thrust of this report is about the political process, rather than the assessment of pure economic performance. In the 18th Century, they would not have seen much point in separating the two things; in the 20th Century, it became very much the fashionable thing to do.

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