David McWilliams

The Good Room

The Good Room

Why we ended up in a debtors' prison – and how we can break free


Ireland is deeply in debt, beholden to the IMF, the EU and the bond markets. Its economy is frozen, and years of austerity are ahead.

It didn't have to be this way - and it doesn't have to be this way. In The Good Room, David McWilliams - who spotted the Irish property bubble and warned of imbalances within the eurozone at a time when other commentators were cheerleading the boom - explains the bizarre economics and peculiar psychology behind Ireland's predicament. He brings us on a tour of his granny's 'good room' - a shrine of respectability, reserved for important visitors - and shows how our ruling class has succumbed to a perverse 'good room' mentality, seeking always to appease our supposed betters. He explains why austerity can't work and shows that history offers numerous useful models for Irish recovery. And, through the character of Olivia Vickers - a young woman struggling to repay her mortgage - he illustrates the consequences of debt and austerity for ordinary Irish people.

Economics is about people like you. The Pope's Children was the book that connected the dots between economics and daily life in Ireland during the boom years. The Good Room does the same for the Ireland of today, and is - in its call for a completely different approach - an even more urgent and necessary book.