The Edmund Burke Institute was founded in 1988 in response to the economic crisis which Ireland was then experiencing. After the collapse of the previous boom the economy was badly managed by interventionist politicians and civil servants. Taxes were too high. Public services were poor. Unemployment was so great that it threatened the integrity – even the survival- of many communities. A whole generation left Ireland. The business community looked to state for guidance rather than to their own knowledge and experience. Worse, the media acquiesced in the state’s promises and prescriptions which had demonstrably failed. Privatisation and regulation were widely seen as being unthinkable.
hose willing to make the case for the market were few in number and rarely heard. It was in fact the very depth of the crisis which forced policy makers in all the political parties and perhaps more crucially within the civil service into a pragmatic reassessment of their activities.
However market based politics have yet to strike deep roots in Ireland. With rare exceptions the conversion of Irish lawmakers to the market is shallow. Too few Irish politicians and opinion formers have any theoretical grasp of the philosophic and economic grasp of the case for markets.