Ireland’s Success

1 Jul ’05

Tom Friedman writes on the success of Ireland’s industrial development policies, which have brought Dell, Intel, big Pharma and much more to Ireland’s shores (Dell is now Ireland’s largest exporter). Interesting quote:

Today, 9 out of 10 of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies have operations here, as do 16 of the top 20 medical device companies and 7 out of the top 10 software designers. Last year, Ireland got more foreign direct investment from America than from China. And overall government tax receipts are way up.

Friedman’s wrap-up on how:

Ireland’s advice is very simple: Make high school and college education free; make your corporate taxes low, simple and transparent; actively seek out global companies; open your economy to competition; speak English; keep your fiscal house in order; and build a consensus around the whole package with labor and management – then hang in there, because there will be bumps in the road – and you, too, can become one of the richest countries in Europe.

All fair, but one also wonders how much of this drives off of taking advantage of the industrial malaise that has infected Europe. That is, being of Europe (close enough to ship to it efficiently), without actually being one of the sick old men of Europe. Or put another way, being just more efficient enough to make offshoring to Ireland viable.

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