Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ireland: Research Needed to Help Plan for Year 2000

(Read before the Society on 17 January, 1969)

Another one from the TARA vaults that might interest Stephen Kinsella. Michael Fogarty outlines the type of research that will be needed in the next 30 years to ensure economic (and social) success.
I put first what is really a blanket idea, arching over a number of projects, about lengthening the perspective of economic and social planning in Ireland. One of the criticisms commonly made of Irish planning is that it is too exclusively focussed on short and medium term objectives and what is immediately practicable There are of course very good reasons why most practical planning should have a focus of this sort Inevitably, however,the room for maneouvre in short and even medium term planning is small. If one thinks ahead for twenty or thirty years the possibility of achieving what can clearly be called revolutionary change becomes much more realistic. I do not know whether we want to have ten million people in Ireland by the year 2000, or to ship the entire government to a Braziha at Athlone, or to locate half a dozen new towns the size of Cork or Limerick up and down the West. The point is that if one thinks thirty years ahead a change on that scale is perfectly possible, and the decisions which we take now in the shorter run will either pave or block the way to it.
A young Bertie Ahern's ears must have been burning on that cold January night:
We can ascertain here and now the values and attitudes of people who may be in leading positions at that time. It is a reasonable guess that the man or woman who will be Taoiseach in 1990 or 2000 is already a young adult active in political or student or labour movements, and one could form some idea from past experience about how far objectives formulated at this time of life are likely to carry forward into the days when today's younger people reach power. On this sort of foundation it ought to be possible to set up a number of alternative programmes which have a real chance of being pursued. The economic, psychological and sociological implications of these - for example the implications for demography and the family - can then be worked out.

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