"The Irish Question" ("Ирландский вопрос") — страница 3

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forward have necessarily limited attempts to test them concisely using empirical data. For example, aside from the theories such as religion and class which have been most widely canvassed, explanations as diverse as Freudian social psychology and caste have been put forward. Clearly it is impossible to attempt to test all these theories using survey data, and for the purposes of this analysis, only the major theories are examined. There is a fundamental dichotomy in these theories between those, which are economic in nature and non-economic. Each has particular implications for the future and for the possibility of solving the conflict. From the economic interpretation it logically follows that the conflict is essentially bargainable, and that a change in socioeconomic

conditions will after the intensity of the conflict. Better living conditions, more jobs and material affluence will make people less interested in an atomistic conflict centering on religion. By contrast, most non-economic theories imply that it is a non-bargainable, zero- sum conflict: the gains of one side will always be proportional to the losses of the other. These theories are summarized in the words: « the problem is that there is no solution». The Irish, according to popular account are an intensely historically minded people. Present day problems they explain by what seems to others an unnecessary long and involved recital of event so distant as to shade into the gloom of prehistory. History indeed lies at the basis as to shade into propagandist issue of contemporary

Ireland: one nation or to? To many radicals, this issue is already an archaism in a world increasingly dominated by transnational capitalism. They prefer to substitute an analysis of « divided class» for an outdated propagandist device adopted to split the workers. The idea of « two nations» occupying the same territory has a long provenance throughout the world. Catholics tend to have lower status jobs than Protestants but once we take differences in family backgrounds and education into account the disadvantage disappears. There is no evidence of occupational discrimination. In terms of the financial returns of work, Catholics receive a lower wage than Protestants, and this persists even after family background, education and occupation are held constant. There are a

variety of explanations, which could account for this pattern, none of which, unfortunately, can be tested by the data to hand. Protestants tend to predominate in well paid, capital intensive industries, such as engineering and shipbuilding, while Catholics are concentrated in more marginal and competitive industries, such as building and contrasting, with generally lower wage rates. Consequently, it is possible for a Protestant to receive a high wage for performing the same task as a Catholic working in another industry. Since most of these capital-intensive industries are more extensively unionized than their counter parts, it could be argued that Protestant bargaining power, and hence wage levels, are greater than similar non-unionized Catholic workers. Finally, these

differences in incomes could be interpreted as the direct result of religious discrimination against Catholics, with Catholics simply being paid less than Protestants in the same jobs. There is, therefore, not much of an economic basis for the Ulster conflict—actual differences between the two communities can be explained by family background and inherited privilege. There remains, however, the possibility that it is less the objective economic differences that cause the conflict than individual subjective perceptions of those differences. It is often argued that economic deprivation is a major cause of violence, rioting with Catholics feeling economically deprived compared to Protestants, becoming frustrated, and venting their frustration through aggression: much of the

British government’s policy for Northern Ireland has focused on alleviating the economic deprivation of the Catholic minority. But in fact, socioeconomic considerations have little to do with rioting either for the population as a whole, or among Catholics and Protestants considered separately. The combined effect of all socioeconomic variables, is a negligible. Only one of the five socioeconomic variables has a statistically significant effect. Unemployment has no significant effect, in spite of the prominent role it plays in official thinking. On this evidence, it seems unlikely that economic changes will reduce conflict in Northern Ireland. It is, however, possible that economic improvements for the Catholic community would effect the climate of opinion among Catholics as a