Wednesday 17 January 2018

This debt bubble will burst too: David McWilliams

David McWilliams with wife Sian Smyth at the launch of his
new book 'The Good Room'
David McWilliams with wife Sian Smyth at the launch of his new book 'The Good Room'
Comedians Barry Murphy and Gary Cooke
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

IRISH Independent columnist David McWilliams chose an unlikely heroine for his latest book on the Irish economy -- a pregnant, young teacher mired in negative equity.

The economist, broadcaster and author created the character of Olivia Vickers -- a 32-year-old unmarried mother of one who is pregnant with her second child and struggling to pay her mortgage -- to illustrate the plight of the average Irish citizen caught out by the collapse of the economy.

But while her case is no different than hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to keep the wolf from the door, the central, hopeful message in 'The Good Room' is that life still goes on, regardless of the economic gloom and doom.

"I think that for all of the Olivia Vickers out there -- all of the hundreds of thousands of women like her -- they will ultimately succeed," said McWilliams at the launch of his fourth work of non-fiction in Dublin last night.

"The same way that a housing bubble bursts, a debt bubble bursts too, you just can't pay it."

He predicts that the troika, consisting of the IMF, the European Union and the ECB, will ultimately forgive Ireland's debt.

And he argues that the Government's austerity plans will eventually be abandoned because they won't work.

"Austerity in a weak economy is like putting an anorexic on a diet and expecting her to get strong. It simply doesn't work," he said.

He chose the book's title based on the concept of the parlour room that is reserved for special guests.

He argues that Ireland's leaders have "succumbed to a "good room" mentality in which our ruling class has debased our interests by trying to appease the "special guests" -- the troika.

"It's all about pretenses and I think the new "good room" is in Brussels and we don't feel as good about ourselves as the French or Germans and we don't argue our case strongly. But I think we'll get out eventually," he said.

'The Good Room' is published by Penguin Ireland and retails at €16.99.

Squeezed middle class need banks to shoulder bad debt blame

Irish Independent

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