The New International Division of Labour in ‘High-Tech’ Production: The Genesis of Ireland’s Boom in the 1990s

Tomás Friedenthal


This paper questions the debate over the nature of Ireland’s boom in the 1990s,

insofar as most commentaries explain the trajectory of the Irish developmental

process on the basis of the successful implementation of ‘correct’ nation-state

policies. By contrast, the paper argues that the Irish experience is yet another

concrete expression of the further development of the essentially global dynamics of

the new international division of labour (NIDL). More specifically, the continuous

‘skill-replacing’ technical change characteristic of the production of relative surplus-

value across the globe has allowed capital to integrate national working classes with

more ‘skilled’ but still relatively cheaper labour-power into the NIDL, and the

peculiar state policies and institutions prevailing in Ireland are grounded in this

specific form of integration into the NIDL.

Ireland - New International Division of Labor - Surplus population