The Evolution of a Collective Response to RuralUnderdevelopment
The downturn in the Irish economy coupled with high levels of unemployment has focused attention on the need to promote economic development throughout the economy. This paper provides case study evidence on one successful approach to rural economic development by outlining the evolution, outcomes and key capabilities involved in a collective action response to the challenge of rural underdevelopment in North West Connemara. Reviewing a fifty year period, the case study shows that collective action in the region has not only been a series of events, but more crucially from a development perspective, it is embedded as an institution and a process. Therefore, as a result of learning by this community over a fifty year period, a collective action response has evolved as a key strategy to overcome government and market failure in relation to rural development. This case provides a good example to other communities of how locality can be drawn upon and used as an advantage in an increasingly globalised environment and how a local community can seek to ameliorate the negative aspects of globalisation by harnessing its local resources. In broad policy terms, the implication is that there are public good benefits to be gained from assisting and encouraging local communities through the provision of finance and capability building support, to deliver collective action responses to their particular challenges.
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