Examines how the economic power of Britain and the US limits the opportunities for small states to develop. Follows the history of the Atlantic economy since the sixteenth century and shows how Ireland's repeated attempts to industrialise were transformed by British and American power. Explains the problems of economic growth and industrialisation from the perspectives of both the developed and developing countries. Addresses the most important question in developmental politics - how can a developing country emerge from a historical cycle of underdevelopment?. Ends with a radical critique of the Irish 'Celtic Tiger' phenomenon of the 1990s and argues that Ireland's recent economic success is not a decisive break with past patterns because economic growth is concentrated in a limited area.