Ireland’s Economy and Socialism

18 Nov

Since arriving in Ireland, I’ve been shocked by the somewhat “underground” debate of a socialist versus capitalist Ireland. First it’s important to define both terms. Socialism means an economic system that relies on social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy while capitalism refers to an economic system, which is driven by trade, industry, and private owners with the objective of making a profit control the means of production. It’s also important to point out that Ireland is a capitalist country in the way it operates its markets and salaries.

However, after listening to weeks of both my Irish economy workshop professor and my Irish economy lecturer talk about the Irish economy, I’m beginning to believe that most Irish people want a socialist style of government. In my own opinion, socialism is a great idea in concept but when its implemented it doesn’t work the way its supposed to due to the fact that humans are naturally greedy and thus desire more than what the social norm is. Despite this, I’ve found that there is a decent amount of Irish people who would prefer this socialist way of life. This might be because of the recent economic collapse and thus people are more willing to settle for a below average wage job if it means they’ll at least have a job.


One example of a somewhat socialist method in Dublin is the Luas line. While the Luas line does require a ticket to ride, it is easy to simply walk on and off without anybody noticing or checking a ticket. I think this further demonstrates how socialism doesn’t work because it shows that despite the measly €1.50 it might cost to get a ticket, people are naturally greedy and as a result will want to save as much money as possible.

Now I’m not saying that the majority of people avoid paying their fare on the Luas line but there are people who choose to disobey this cost. To this extent, I find it hard to believe that a western European society is having thoughts of a socialist government when it has been proven not to work time and time again. Again, this is not a majority opinion but the fact that the opinion is out there is interesting. It shows that people are willing to change their way of life and possibly even their culture for the hope that they might be better off.

I can’t believe this is specifically an Ireland related occurrence, but its interesting to believe that our current capitalist way of society is only present because we as a society believe it’s the most beneficial way to run an economic based country. It further suggests that once a newer and possibly better style of government comes up, societies might ditch the old capitalist system. In any case, the whole topic of a proper system by which a country can govern its citizens by economic and social sanctions is way too complicated. But, these new opinions in Ireland are helpful in analyzing how people feel and act based on their surroundings.

– Philip Sypolt


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