David McWilliams, Irish economist (#335)
Irish economist and author David McWilliams discusses Ireland’s success—and its perils.
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McWilliams, a popular broadcaster and documentary filmmaker, discusses the rapid growth in the Irish economy that has taken place in recent years, a phenomenon known as the Celtic Tiger.
He talks about the poverty and isolation that existed in Ireland during his childhood and early adulthood, when the only job he could get with his math degree from Trinity University was as a dishwasher in New York. Then, in less than a decade, the average yearly income in Ireland jumped from $7,000 to $50,000, people began to immigrate to Ireland en masse instead of leaving Ireland to find work, and the country went from isolated to cosmopolitan.
As his books and programs point out, Ireland’s transformation is not without its problems, and McWilliams expresses concerns about the excessive consumption and crushing debt that has accompanied the economic success.
McWilliams also discusses the similarities between Kentucky and Ireland, the importance of investing in education, and why the U.S. should embrace its immigrants.