David McWilliams


David McWilliams
David McWilliams
Born 1966 (age 44–45)[1]
Education Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and College of Europe, Belgium
Occupation Journalist, broadcaster, economist [2]
Children 3
Nationality Irish
Official website

David McWilliams (born 1966)[1] is an Irish journalist and economist.[3] McWilliams has worked with as an economist with Central Bank of Ireland and as a banker with UBS bank and the Banque Nationale de Paris. More recently, he has become a broadcaster and documentary-maker with TV3 and RTÉ, as well as publishing three books, The Pope's Children, The Generation Game, and Follow the Money.

McWilliams has called for a radical change in currency, arguing that Ireland should abandon the Euro project and establish a new punt.[4] McWilliams has also called for a different approach to the current crisis in Ireland, including a demand for a more aggressive negotiating stance with the European Union, the creation of an alliance between Ireland, Greece, Portugal and other debtor nations, default on the Irish bank debts (€97 bn) held by the ECB and exploiting the deposits of multinational companies in the IFSC as a stimulus. He has also expressed a number of ideas about political reform, including extending the vote to the Irish diaspora.[5]

Contents

Biography

Early and Private life

McWilliams was born in Dun Laoghaire in 1966 and was raised in Windsor Park, Monkstown, Dublin. His father, of Scottish descent, worked in a Chemical and Paint factory but was unemployed for long periods while David was growing up. His Cork-born mother was a teacher in Bray. He is married to Sian Smyth, a former Corporate Lawyer, from near Belfast, Northern Ireland. McWilliams himself is a Roman Catholic. He lives in Dublin.

Education

McWilliams attended Blackrock College in Dublin. He then graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a degree in economics, as well as from the College of Europe, Belgium (late 1980s).

1990 through 2002

Between 1990 and 1993 he worked as an economist at the Central Bank of Ireland.[6] At 27, McWilliams moved to London to work at UBS in emerging markets analysis.[7] [8] At the ages of 30-31, still in London, McWilliams worked for Banque Nationale de Paris.[9] From 1999 to 2002, he was an emerging markets strategist with a New York-based hedge fund, Rockwest Capital.[10]

Writing and broadcasting

Since returning to work in Ireland in 2002, McWilliams has been mostly working in journalism and the media. He presented a current affairs programme called Agenda on TV3 and has also presented that station's coverage of the Irish General Election in 2002. He hosted the breakfast show on NewsTalk 106, a Dublin radio station, from the station's beginning in 2002 until the station replaced him by Eamon Dunphy in September 2004.[11] Soon after, McWilliams started presenting The Big Bite, a topical afternoon discussion programme on the television station RTÉ One. He is also a regular columnist in The Sunday Business Post and Irish Independent newspapers. Past articles from the paper are available from his website, as well as his monthly subscription newsletter, The David McWilliams Agenda.

In February 2006 he wrongly accused fans of Shamrock Rovers of instigating the 2006 Dublin riots.[citation needed]

In November 2006, RTÉ One broadcast In Search of the Pope's Children, a three-part series examining the economic and social landscape of modern Ireland. It was presented by David McWilliams and based on his book, The Pope's Children. The book has attracted controversy because of claims, published on 29 January 2006 by the newspaper Ireland on Sunday, that it is based on a book written in 2000 by David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise – The New Upper Class And How They Got There.

Publisher John Wiley & Sons picked up North American rights to The Pope's Children and published the new edition in the United States in February 2008 with a new foreword.

McWilliams' subsequent book The Generation Game was launched in mid-September 2007. It discussed many of Ireland’s ailments, including the predominance of property in the economy of the Republic of Ireland and the relation of Ireland to Europe and the world. The book is accompanied with a three-part television documentary series of the same name.

McWilliams has also hosted Leviathan: Political Cabaret, a live discussion and satire event which has featured at the Electric Picnic festival in 2006 and 2007.

Political and economic views

Generally, McWilliams is an admirer of the free-market ideas of monetarist school economist Milton Friedman, as "very much the kernel of most mainstream economic thinking these days", even if Friedman was "not always spot-on".[12] McWilliams also argues that Ireland's wealth is becoming more evenly distributed.[12] He cites Eurostat figures which indicate that Ireland is just above average in terms of equality by one type of measurement.[citation needed]

Ireland and the recession

McWilliams sees it possible that Ireland can default on its debt:

Could the unthinkable come to pass here? Could Ireland default on its sovereign debt? The answer is yes. Such a disaster is now quite possible. In the same way as a family can end up losing the house, the car, everything, a country, too, can fail to make its repayments.[13]

McWilliams favours radical regime change following the 2008 banking crisis in Ireland:[14]

In the banks at the very top, we have complicity, incompetence, cronyism and we have corruption. … A lot of people did nothing, while bankers took their fees. We have to be adult. We have to take responsibility for what we do. Nurses, policemen and schoolteachers are being asked to pay for second holidays in the Algarve. The average person must demand a new regime that has absolute no connection to the old regime. That is what we mean by being courageous. We have to be logical. We are part of the global world. Its standards have to be our standards.

Ireland and the European Union

McWilliams questions Ireland's continued participation in the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union in his books.[15] In an interview with Irish broadcaster Marian Finucane, on RTÉ (17 January 2009) and reported in the international press,[16] McWilliams argues:

What I am saying is, that in Europe, if Ireland continues hurtling down this road, which is close to default, the whole of Europe will be badly affected, the credibility of the euro will be badly affected. .. It is very essential that we go to Europe and say we have a serious problem. … the way we get out of this is either - there are two options – either, we default, or we pull out of the euro. Both of which are a disaster for us, but even a consequent disaster for the European project. We need to go to Europe and say we need more financial solidarity. If we have a single currency, there are obligations and responsibilities on both sides. The idea that France and Germany can just hang us out to dry - as has been the talk the past few days - should not be taken lying down.[14]

McWilliams suggests that Ireland could threaten its European Union partners in relation to the Treaty of Lisbon (2008):

This is a war. The best way to look at this is how do countries that are under attack defend themselves... The first thing we have to be is incredibly courageous. And that means doing things that are unthinkable on the economic front. No small country has ever got out of a debt crisis without changing its exchange rate. This is complete heresy at the moment in Ireland. People say that we are wedded to the euro and that the euro is absolutely essential. Now that was fine, as long as that we were able to pay our bills. Now that we can't pay our bills, there is an argument for being more aggressive in Europe. And when I say aggressive, we have a Lisbon vote coming up, and the Europeans are obsessed with us passing it. So therefore we have leverage in Europe.[14]

Bank Guarantee

McWilliams was initially supportive of the bank guarantee of September 2008, claiming that options such as a toxic bank or nationalization were the wrong option, stating that

The only option is to guarantee 100 per cent of all depositors/creditors in the Irish banking system. This guarantee does not extend to shareholders who will have to live with the losses they have suffered. However, it applies to everyone else. If the minister does this, he will not only staunch any funds outflow, he will show leadership and be seen as someone who is coming up with a solution that can be copied all over the world. Ireland in the past has done things that no other country has done, to great effect. Think of the zero tax rate on exporters in the 1970s and the 12.5 per cent tax rate on multinationals now. These were solo initiatives - we didn’t wait for them to work in other countries, and they worked perfectly well here. This proves that we can think for ourselves. Once more, and possibly even more crucially, we need to think for ourselves now.

[17]

However he has since claimed that the bank guarantee was a bad idea, saying:

Rescind the guarantee. It was due to expire last September and was always supposed to be temporary. It also should have been limited; it should not have covered subordinated debt, which always gets wiped out in a banking crisis. (Subordinated debt is buffer capital that never gets protected which is precisely why it offers higher interest rates in the first place.) The guarantee was required, 28 months ago, to prevent a total bank collapse. This guarantee should not have been open-ended and all-encompassing. It should have copied the Swiss and Swedish model, where those countries lent the credibility of the state to the banks. Unfortunately, our Government didn’t so much lend the State’s credibility to the banks as give it to them unconditionally.

[5]

David McWilliams
Born 1966 (age 44–45)[1]
Education Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and College of Europe, Belgium
Occupation Journalist, broadcaster, economist [18]
Children 3
Nationality Irish
Official website

David McWilliams (born 1966)[1] is an Irish journalist and economist.[19] McWilliams has worked with as an economist with Central Bank of Ireland and as a banker with UBS bank and the Banque Nationale de Paris. More recently, he has become a broadcaster and documentary-maker with TV3 and RTÉ, as well as publishing three books, The Pope's Children, The Generation Game, and Follow the Money.

McWilliams has called for a radical change in currency, arguing that Ireland should abandon the Euro project and establish a new punt.[20] McWilliams has also called for a different approach to the current crisis in Ireland, including a demand for a more aggressive negotiating stance with the European Union, the creation of an alliance between Ireland, Greece, Portugal and other debtor nations, default on the Irish bank debts (€97 bn) held by the ECB and exploiting the deposits of multinational companies in the IFSC as a stimulus. He has also expressed a number of ideas about political reform, including extending the vote to the Irish diaspora.[5]

Biography

Early and Private life

McWilliams was born in Dun Laoghaire in 1966 and was raised in Windsor Park, Monkstown, Dublin. His father, of Scottish descent, worked in a Chemical and Paint factory but was unemployed for long periods while David was growing up. His Cork-born mother was a teacher in Bray. He is married to Sian Smyth, a former Corporate Lawyer, from near Belfast, Northern Ireland. McWilliams himself is a Roman Catholic. He lives in Dublin.

Education

McWilliams attended Blackrock College in Dublin. He then graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a degree in economics, as well as from the College of Europe, Belgium (late 1980s).

1990 through 2002

Between 1990 and 1993 he worked as an economist at the Central Bank of Ireland.[21] At 27, McWilliams moved to London to work at UBS in emerging markets analysis.[22] [8] At the ages of 30-31, still in London, McWilliams worked for Banque Nationale de Paris.[23] From 1999 to 2002, he was an emerging markets strategist with a New York-based hedge fund, Rockwest Capital.[24]

Writing and broadcasting

Since returning to work in Ireland in 2002, McWilliams has been mostly working in journalism and the media. He presented a current affairs programme called Agenda on TV3 and has also presented that station's coverage of the Irish General Election in 2002. He hosted the breakfast show on NewsTalk 106, a Dublin radio station, from the station's beginning in 2002 until the station replaced him by Eamon Dunphy in September 2004.[25] Soon after, McWilliams started presenting The Big Bite, a topical afternoon discussion programme on the television station RTÉ One. He is also a regular columnist in The Sunday Business Post and Irish Independent newspapers. Past articles from the paper are available from his website, as well as his monthly subscription newsletter, The David McWilliams Agenda.

In February 2006 he wrongly accused fans of Shamrock Rovers of instigating the 2006 Dublin riots.[citation needed]

In November 2006, RTÉ One broadcast In Search of the Pope's Children, a three-part series examining the economic and social landscape of modern Ireland. It was presented by David McWilliams and based on his book, The Pope's Children. The book has attracted controversy because of claims, published on 29 January 2006 by the newspaper Ireland on Sunday, that it is based on a book written in 2000 by David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise – The New Upper Class And How They Got There.

Publisher John Wiley & Sons picked up North American rights to The Pope's Children and published the new edition in the United States in February 2008 with a new foreword.

McWilliams' subsequent book The Generation Game was launched in mid-September 2007. It discussed many of Ireland’s ailments, including the predominance of property in the economy of the Republic of Ireland and the relation of Ireland to Europe and the world. The book is accompanied with a three-part television documentary series of the same name.

McWilliams has also hosted Leviathan: Political Cabaret, a live discussion and satire event which has featured at the Electric Picnic festival in 2006 and 2007.

Political and economic views

Generally, McWilliams is an admirer of the free-market ideas of monetarist school economist Milton Friedman, as "very much the kernel of most mainstream economic thinking these days", even if Friedman was "not always spot-on".[12] McWilliams also argues that Ireland's wealth is becoming more evenly distributed.[12] He cites Eurostat figures which indicate that Ireland is just above average in terms of equality by one type of measurement.[citation needed]

Ireland and the recession

McWilliams sees it possible that Ireland can default on its debt:

Could the unthinkable come to pass here? Could Ireland default on its sovereign debt? The answer is yes. Such a disaster is now quite possible. In the same way as a family can end up losing the house, the car, everything, a country, too, can fail to make its repayments.[26]

McWilliams favours radical regime change following the 2008 banking crisis in Ireland:[14]

In the banks at the very top, we have complicity, incompetence, cronyism and we have corruption. … A lot of people did nothing, while bankers took their fees. We have to be adult. We have to take responsibility for what we do. Nurses, policemen and schoolteachers are being asked to pay for second holidays in the Algarve. The average person must demand a new regime that has absolute no connection to the old regime. That is what we mean by being courageous. We have to be logical. We are part of the global world. Its standards have to be our standards.

Ireland and the European Union

McWilliams questions Ireland's continued participation in the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union in his books.[27] In an interview with Irish broadcaster Marian Finucane, on RTÉ (17 January 2009) and reported in the international press,[28] McWilliams argues:

What I am saying is, that in Europe, if Ireland continues hurtling down this road, which is close to default, the whole of Europe will be badly affected, the credibility of the euro will be badly affected. .. It is very essential that we go to Europe and say we have a serious problem. … the way we get out of this is either - there are two options – either, we default, or we pull out of the euro. Both of which are a disaster for us, but even a consequent disaster for the European project. We need to go to Europe and say we need more financial solidarity. If we have a single currency, there are obligations and responsibilities on both sides. The idea that France and Germany can just hang us out to dry - as has been the talk the past few days - should not be taken lying down.[14]

McWilliams suggests that Ireland could threaten its European Union partners in relation to the Treaty of Lisbon (2008):

This is a war. The best way to look at this is how do countries that are under attack defend themselves... The first thing we have to be is incredibly courageous. And that means doing things that are unthinkable on the economic front. No small country has ever got out of a debt crisis without changing its exchange rate. This is complete heresy at the moment in Ireland. People say that we are wedded to the euro and that the euro is absolutely essential. Now that was fine, as long as that we were able to pay our bills. Now that we can't pay our bills, there is an argument for being more aggressive in Europe. And when I say aggressive, we have a Lisbon vote coming up, and the Europeans are obsessed with us passing it. So therefore we have leverage in Europe.[14]

Bank Guarantee

McWilliams was initially supportive of the bank guarantee of September 2008, claiming that options such as a toxic bank or nationalization were the wrong option, stating that

The only option is to guarantee 100 per cent of all depositors/creditors in the Irish banking system. This guarantee does not extend to shareholders who will have to live with the losses they have suffered. However, it applies to everyone else. If the minister does this, he will not only staunch any funds outflow, he will show leadership and be seen as someone who is coming up with a solution that can be copied all over the world. Ireland in the past has done things that no other country has done, to great effect. Think of the zero tax rate on exporters in the 1970s and the 12.5 per cent tax rate on multinationals now. These were solo initiatives - we didn’t wait for them to work in other countries, and they worked perfectly well here. This proves that we can think for ourselves. Once more, and possibly even more crucially, we need to think for ourselves now.

[29]

However he has since claimed that the bank guarantee was a bad idea, saying:

Rescind the guarantee. It was due to expire last September and was always supposed to be temporary. It also should have been limited; it should not have covered subordinated debt, which always gets wiped out in a banking crisis. (Subordinated debt is buffer capital that never gets protected which is precisely why it offers higher interest rates in the first place.) The guarantee was required, 28 months ago, to prevent a total bank collapse. This guarantee should not have been open-ended and all-encompassing. It should have copied the Swiss and Swedish model, where those countries lent the credibility of the state to the banks. Unfortunately, our Government didn’t so much lend the State’s credibility to the banks as give it to them unconditionally.

[5]

On NAMA, Ireland's "bad bank"

McWilliams has also held slightly differing views on whether a "bad bank" should be set up to deal with Irish banks' non-performing loans. The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) was set up in 2009. In late 2008 he had said that, providing the banks were reformed:

One idea is to divide our banks into good and bad banks. We could set up one or two bad banks, which would be “financial skips” into which we throw all our bad loans. These could then be restructured and traded by the State, using specialist, restructuring experts. The huge land banks, sites and commercial developments that are now worthless could be traded at, let’s say, 20 cent in the euro.[30]

In 2009 McWilliams criticised NAMA as proposed, and was in turn criticised by Brian Lenihan.[31][32] By October 2009 he reported approvingly in an interview with Joseph Stiglitz:

When asked whether he would implement a Nama-style bailout for the banks, he responded: ‘‘No, this is the kind of highway robbery which we see happening all over the world, with guns pointing at the heads of the political leaders and the bankers claiming the sky will fall down and the economy will be devastated unless they get this money."[33]

Popular culture

  • McWilliams' style and accent, and reputation from Trinity College student days have led some commentators to believe he is the archetypal role model for Paul Howard's Ross O'Carroll-Kelly series of books.[34] He is also frequently lampooned in the satire magazine The Phoenix.
  • However in radio interviews, McWilliams has emphasised his humble origins, notably that his father was unemployed.[14][35]
  • Comments are occasionally made on McWillams' capacity for self-publicity, describing him as the David Beckham of Irish media.[36]
  • McWilliams has been 'twinned' with David Caruso by some elements of the Irish media, mostly in reference to Caruso's CSI: Miami character.[37]

Awards

In January 2007, McWilliams was selected as one of 250 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum.[38]

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ a b c d Who's Who gives a date of birth in 1968, but the Sunday Independent newspaper gives a year of 1966 in an article McWilliams is a real self-made man - he invented himself. Published on 12-11-06. Retrieved on 18-11-09.
  2. ^ Speaker Biography PersonallySpeaking.ie. Retrieved on 13-12-07.
  3. ^ The Generation Game review Metro Éireann. Retrieved on 17-01-09.
  4. ^ http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/ditching-the-euro-could-boost-our-failing-economy-1729557.html
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2011/01/08/if-i-was-taoiseach-what-i-would-do-to-save-ireland
  6. ^ McWilliams has described the debilitating nature of the work that he found he was asked to do as a civil servant in an interview with Marion Finucane on RTÉ.ie. Published on 17-01-09. Retrieved on 17-01-09.
  7. ^ McWilliams, in his past biographies, hints that he first coined the phrase "Celtic Tiger". In Conversations With Eamon Dunphy, 24 November 2007 (retrieved on 18-12-08), McWilliams skirted the question. However the first recorded use of the phrase is in a 1994 Morgan Stanley report by Kevin Gardiner. See e.g. "Ireland: Ireland and EMU: A Tiger by the Tail". http://www.msdw.org/GEFdata/digests/19971208-mon.html#xtocid78081. Retrieved November 2, 2006. 
  8. ^ a b McWilliams is a real self-made man - he invented himself Irish Independent. Published on 12-11-06. Retrieved on 18-11-09. Also see Conversations With Eamon Dunphy, 24 November 2007 : David McWilliams. Retrieved on 18-12-08
  9. ^ McWilliams, in biographies on his publisher websites, credits himself as head of Emerging Markets Research for Banque Nationale de Paris at the ages of 30-31. Moreover, McWilliams claims that during his time there, "the Emerging markets team was the most profitable unit of the Banque Nationale de Paris world-wide", according to McWilliams' website.
  10. ^ Biography Politics.ie. Retrieved on 13-12-07. Also see McWilliams is a real self-made man - he invented himself Irish Independent. Published on 12-11-06. Retrieved on 18-11-09.
  11. ^ The circumstances of his firing are discussed in Conversations With Eamon Dunphy, 24 November 2007. Retrieved on 18-12-08
  12. ^ a b c d On DavidMcWilliams.ie. Published on 19-11-06. Retrieved on 22-01-09.
  13. ^ Cold facts of how we could be ‘Iceland inside the euro, Published on 14-01-09, Retrieved on 14-01-09”
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "Listen to an interview with Irish broadcaster Marion Finucane on RTÉ". RTÉ. 17 January 2009. http://www.rte.ie/radio1/marianfinucane/1249917.html. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  Available at rte.ie as an mp3.
  15. ^ The Generation Game, 2007, particularly pages 220-223
  16. ^ Help Ireland or it will exit euro, economist warns Daily Telegraph. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Published on 19-01-09. Retrieved on 21-01-09.
  17. ^ http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=DAVID+McWilliams-qqqs=commentandanalysis-qqqid=36245-qqqx=1.asp
  18. ^ Speaker Biography PersonallySpeaking.ie. Retrieved on 13-12-07.
  19. ^ The Generation Game review Metro Éireann. Retrieved on 17-01-09.
  20. ^ http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/ditching-the-euro-could-boost-our-failing-economy-1729557.html
  21. ^ McWilliams has described the debilitating nature of the work that he found he was asked to do as a civil servant in an interview with Marion Finucane on RTÉ.ie. Published on 17-01-09. Retrieved on 17-01-09.
  22. ^ McWilliams, in his past biographies, hints that he first coined the phrase "Celtic Tiger". In Conversations With Eamon Dunphy, 24 November 2007 (retrieved on 18-12-08), McWilliams skirted the question. However the first recorded use of the phrase is in a 1994 Morgan Stanley report by Kevin Gardiner. See e.g. "Ireland: Ireland and EMU: A Tiger by the Tail". http://www.msdw.org/GEFdata/digests/19971208-mon.html#xtocid78081. Retrieved November 2, 2006. 
  23. ^ McWilliams, in biographies on his publisher websites, credits himself as head of Emerging Markets Research for Banque Nationale de Paris at the ages of 30-31. Moreover, McWilliams claims that during his time there, "the Emerging markets team was the most profitable unit of the Banque Nationale de Paris world-wide", according to McWilliams' website.
  24. ^ Biography Politics.ie. Retrieved on 13-12-07. Also see McWilliams is a real self-made man - he invented himself Irish Independent. Published on 12-11-06. Retrieved on 18-11-09.
  25. ^ The circumstances of his firing are discussed in Conversations With Eamon Dunphy, 24 November 2007. Retrieved on 18-12-08
  26. ^ Cold facts of how we could be ‘Iceland inside the euro, Published on 14-01-09, Retrieved on 14-01-09”
  27. ^ The Generation Game, 2007, particularly pages 220-223
  28. ^ Help Ireland or it will exit euro, economist warns Daily Telegraph. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Published on 19-01-09. Retrieved on 21-01-09.
  29. ^ http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=DAVID+McWilliams-qqqs=commentandanalysis-qqqid=36245-qqqx=1.asp
  30. ^ McWilliams, 17 December 2008
  31. ^ Irish Independent, 23 April 2009; (text here)
  32. ^ Bruce Arnold, 25 April 2009, article online
  33. ^ Sunday Business Post, 11 October 2009
  34. ^ HiCo silver, away! Sunday Tribune. Anne-Marie Hourihane. Published on 05-11-06.
  35. ^ "Interview with Eamon Dunphy on RTÉ.ie."]. 2007-11-23. http://www.rte.ie/arts/2007/1124/conversationswitheamondunphy.html. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  36. ^ Phoenix Magazine. 25. January 25-Feb 8, 2007. http://www.phoenix-magazine.com. 
  37. ^ Phoenix Magazine Vol 24, No 3-5
  38. ^ World Economic Forum Announces Young Global Leaders for 2007 Young Global Leaders. Retrieved on 21-01-09.

External links


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