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The David McWilliams Podcast

The aim of this weekly podcast is to make economics easy, uncomplicated and accessible. With the world at a political, technological and financial tipping point, economics has never been so important to all of us and yet, it’s made inaccessible and com...


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  • 44. Independence Day for the UK, again?

    31:25
    Is Rishi Sunak's announcement of a snap UK election the answer or a political gamble? Joining us to unpack this is Robert Shrimsley of the Financial Times. Can the Tories pull this one out of the bag? And, away from the political drama, on the economic side, we examine the UK's persistent productivity issues, its triple inequalities and the lack of novel macro-economic or strategic model from the major parties. This election, the absence of one old friend is conspicuous - Brexit, no on wants to talk about it. The UK is a house divided, could this election offer the solutions the UK desperately needs, or will it deepen the existing fractures and uncertainties? 

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  • 43. Recognise Palestine, Now What?

    36:05
    The Irish government stands with the Palestinians, as does most of the country. A moral foreign policy is a sign of what the country believes in but where does it take us beyond that? Will Ireland sanction Israel ? Many doubt it given the more than 5 billion euros in trade between both economies. Both economies are tied together by the global multinational tech industry, umbilically linked by corporate America. We paint the likely end-game in the Middle East, and conclude there are two broad ways forward. The first is the South Africa model where a pariah Israel changes tack and Ireland's gets first mover advantage - moral and ahead of the game. The second is the Jihad/Settler dystopia, where an ongoing jihad/settler war mutates constantly with no peace and Palestine becomes a ward of Hamas. This scenario means Irish foreign policy gets bogged down with consequences way beyond our control.
  • 42. The Price is Wrong with Brett Christophers

    40:40
    This week, we delve into the economics of climate change with acclaimed author Brett Christophers - who has previously illuminated the pervasive influence of investment funds in our daily lives through books like "Our Lives in Their Portfolios". This time, he turns his analytical lens to the urgent issue of climate change. We'll explore why economic incentives alone may not be the solution we envision. Christophers critically examines the low investibility of wind and solar industries, questioning why big companies would pivot to renewables if they aren't profitable. So what can be done? Tune in for a compelling conversation that challenges conventional wisdom and seeks alternative strategies for effective climate action.
  • 41. Can the Premier League Teach Us About the Future of the UK Economy?

    30:33
    The British are down on themselves, yet one thing they do well is repackage popular culture and the Premier League is a great example of this. Last year, its commercial revenues hit £4.4 billion, with TV rights increasing by 30%. Despite high revenues, 80% goes to player wages, highlighting a unique financial model where the 'workers' benefit most. This global phenomenon mirrors the 'Wimbledon model' where hosting top-tier events doesn't require domestic dominance. It underscores the UK's talent for repackaging and exporting culture as they have always done with entertainment. The UK economy could thrive by embracing globalisation, attracting global talent, and focusing on innovation and cultural export.
  • 40. 2024:40 The Opium Wars

    31:59
    In this episode, we dive into the harrowing impact of the opioid epidemic in North America, recounting firsthand observations of addiction's toll in cities like Ottawa, Quebec, and Vancouver. How did a nation like Canada, with its extensive welfare and health systems, become engulfed in such a crisis? We explore the roots of the crisis, attributing it to the aggressive marketing and misinformation by pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma, driven by unchecked greed and profit motives. Poverty and homelessness exacerbate addiction, creating a sobering reflection on the complex interplay of corporate malfeasance, regulatory failures, and social vulnerabilities that fuel this devastating epidemic. Is Ireland next in line for an opioid epidemic?
  • 39. 2024:39 Letter from America with Evan Solomon

    38:52
    As we delve into America in this pivotal election year, grappling with its geopolitical challenges, culture wars, and internal conflicts, Evan Solomon makes a crucial point: discussing America as a monolith is a common mistake—it's simply too vast and diverse. In today's infotainment era, narratives are no longer neatly collected but instead compete and diverge. This week, we're exploring the connections between nativism in the 1850s, the ongoing religious and cultural struggles, and the current display of nativism within the Republican Party. Tad Homer Dixon's definition of culture as a set of instructions passed from one generation to the next resonates strongly here. Once, those in power dictated cultural norms, but today, the power to shape discourse and culture is distributed among everyone. This dynamic shift is palpable in America, where we've moved from a uniform cultural landscape to one defined by diverse narratives. We're witnessing this shift firsthand with the rise of Christian Nationalism, which is being imported from Russia and fusing with nativism. The question now is whether this represents a new force in the US or merely a passing trend. Let's watch closely to see where this leads.
  • 38. 2024:38 Rich in Poor Houses

    30:05
    Why do wealthy people live in houses originally built for the less affluent? Despite vast improvements in living standards over the years — lower infant mortality rates, faster access to life-saving drugs, and increased life expectancy — today, even modest homes are un-affordable for many. Consequently, wealthy individuals find themselves competing for properties originally intended for lower-income families. This trend not only highlights the scarcity of suitable housing but also deepens social stratification, as the affluent outbid others, driving up prices and displacing those with fewer resources. Is there an easy fix?