T. K. Whitaker has been much eulogised over recent times, and rightly so. But, as he recognised himself in later life, he had not been infallible (is anyone, ever?) and others whom he opposed at the time deserved credit for their part in the outward re-orientation of the economy in the 1950s and 1960s. In an article just published in the Dublin Review of Books, I offer an assessment of his significance over the period.
2 replies on “The outward re-orientation of the 1950s and 1960s”
Whitaker was the right man at the right time. The ideology that had been in place since the Civil war was knackered.
Post-war recovery ended by balance of payments crisis in 1950 and 1951. Several periods of deflation in the 50s.
The veneration of crap.
Young people wanted something different.
“Whitaker was careful in life to accord credit where credit was due” writes Frank Barry. ( Dublin Review of Books, 17 March 2017)
One instance where Whitaker got is spectacularly wrong is where, anticipating Dick Rowe of Decca Records’ assessment of the Beatles, Whitaker dismissed the nascent Credit Union movement thus: “History affords no support for the belief that co-operative credit societies could be successfully established. . .”
One lasting effect of that official disdain would be that, when it did emerge, fully fledged ( marked by the passage of the Credit Union Act 1966) , the Irish Credit Union movement could have applied to itself Kevin O’Higgins’ famous description of the first Free State government, ‘the most conservative-minded revolutionaries that ever put through a successful revolution’”