David Mc Williams is one of Ireland’s leading economic commentators. He was the first economist to see that the Irish boom was nothing more than a credit bubble and one of the very few to accurately predict it would all end in a monumental crash with bank failures, negative equity and rising unemployment and emigration.
He is an economist, broadcaster, bestselling author, writing two weekly economics columns in the Sunday Business Post and the Irish Independent.
In 2012 David published The Good Room, the story of one woman, Olivia Vickers and her generation. More than anything else, it reinforces the point that economics is not about reams of figures such as GDP, inflation, or the current account. It is the business of real people’s lives. The central message is that conventional wisdom is never defeated by some great countervailing idea that persuades the elite to change direct. It is is blown away by the great march of events. And those events are only the agglomeration of thousands of small events happening everyday, in every town and village all over the country in ordinary people’s lives – people like Olivia Vickers.
David’s first book “The Pope’s Children” was the best selling Irish non-fiction book in 2006, spending 52 consecutive weeks in the top five of the bestsellers. Described by the Sunday Tribune as “the definitive guide to the Ireland we live in”. The Pope’s Children was the first in a trilogy and the related TV series “In search of the Pope’s Children” — written and presented by David won an IFTA in 2007. The Pope’s Children was followed by The Generation Game, which in 2007 predicted the 2008/09 crash and the fact that one generation would be left suffering negative equity for years. It also explored the redemptive economic power of the Irish Tribe scattered around the world. This book and subsequent TV series proved to be the catalyst to the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh in 2009. The final book in the trilogy “Follow the Money” was published in late 2009.
David also wrote and presented the documentary “Addicted to Money” for ABC Australia, which was aired in four continents in winter 2009. Between 2000 and 2006 David hosted the current affairs show “Agenda” on TV3, “The Breakfast Show” on Newstalk 106 and the topical chat show “The Big Bite” on RTE1. He has interviewed some of the most influential and thought provoking characters of our age, from Henry Kissinger to Mikhail Gorbachev and Hillary Clinton.
More recently David has brought economics to the national theatre with his one-man-show “Outsiders” – a unique partnership with the Abbey Theatre.
He was educated at Trinity College Dublin and the College of Europe Bruges, Belgium and before moving into writing and broadcasting he spent ten years in banking. First as an economist with the Irish Central Bank, then with the investment banks UBS and BNP.
These days I am on the road a lot, traveling through most of the continents, usually giving speeches and talks explaining how I see the world economy working. This is and has been a great experience, because the more I get out and about, the more I learn. Listening to new people with new ideas helps me challenge myself. Sometimes in Ireland things can get very parochial and we can delude ourselves into thinking the world is waiting for us to get our act together. It is not.
I try to do public events when I am travelling, so if I am going to be near where you live, and you think you’d like to come and listen or even organize a session for interested people you know locally, why not see whether we can make something happen. A good example of this is a speech I will be giving in Sydney on Monday November 12th with the Landsdowne Club for the Irish community down there, which is organized off the back of a talk I am doing the following night for the City of Sydney City Talks season. This is my diary for the months ahead both in Ireland and abroad. Have a gander and drop me a line to email@example.com. Hope to see you somewhere soon.