I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes.
This is an amazing book. It begins like a spy novel and then takes you through the history of the demise of the gold standard and the rise of central banking. Rickards then explains why the complexity of the current world makes Bernanke's social experiment in trying to reflate the economy by printing money extremely dangerous. This book will make you think. It will make you scared. It will make you understand why we are on an unsustainable path and must break up the financial world into smaller and more understandable pieces with currency backed by a real asset.
Peter Schiff offers a detailed and devastating criticism of the Fed and the federal government. He makes a compelling argument that the federal government has expanded far beyond the Constitutional limits. He also makes a convincing case that the fiscal path our country is on is unsustainable and may lead to a financial crash more devastating than 2008.
Schiff also lays out an alternative path for the country; a path in which a far smaller federal government stays out of our lives, and where individuals have the freedom to lead their own lives and to take responsibility for their future. The responsibility for taking care of the poor and infirm is returned, as it had existed for centuries, to local governments and churches and charitable institutions. As Schiff points out, this alternative vision for America is not new; it is what the country was before the Fed, the New Deal, and the ever increasing expansion of the federal government.
Schiff also offers compromise proposals, which he deems more politically achievable. The alternative vision would, in general, decrease the size of the federal government and gradually phase out government transfer programs, using means testing as an interim measure.
Essentially, Schiff presents a Libertarian view of what the country should be. Libertarian philosophy generally offends Democrats (because it would shrink the federal government substantially) and certain elements of the Republican Party (less government interference means legalizing drugs and a less aggressive military). However, it has the virtue of at least being consistent (less government in every aspect of our lives) while the current parties each support an expanding federal government (and greater intrusion) one way or the other.
Schiff's book lays out the Libertarian case in detail. The book is important because many people really do not understand Libertarian philosophy, although many clearly agree with at least substantial parts of it.
One cautionary note: The book does NOT lay out in any detail how to invest for or protect yourself from the crash Schiff is certain is coming. He summarizes his views in one chapter. Those looking for investment advice should read Schiff's other books. The title is misleading in this respect.
I had been meaning to read this book for a long time. It really makes some very fascinating connections and allows one to see the world in a different light.
One thing that bothered me is that the book rather uncritically suggests that my hometown of Atlanta was a hotbed of Klan activity. Although there was Klan activity in Atlanta and most of the South (and in other parts of the country), the book does not mention that Atlanta (birthplace of Dr. King) also boasts a long history of African-American entrepreneurship. Further, the City of Atlanta has had African-American mayors since the 1970s. At another point, the book suggests the crime rate here is very high. Yes, Atlanta has crime, but the City of Atlanta is a small part (about 500,000 people) of a 5.5 million metropolitan community. Crime stats focusing only on the City can be misleading.
These observations should not detract anyone from reading the book, but since the authors focus on discovering the truth about connections others do not make, I felt it important to make these points.
OK, I do not have an economics background, so the level of this discussion was perfect for me. I thought this was one of the most interesting and gripping books I have listened to. The narrator has a great voice which actually sounds a little like Greenspan.
but on to the content. Having been a casual, but not formal, student of economics since the Reagan years, it was great to relook at the last 25 years through the eyes of someone who played a key role in decisions made through the years. Furthermore, the economic insights were the insightful, considered, logical, and unemotional thoughts you might expect from Greenspan. As a non-economist but who has a great interest in human psychology and sociology, the level this book was written at was perfect. The interplay between psychology, economics, social structures, and politics is great great reading. i do not think this was targetted at people who are economics professors, and the book should not be criticized for this: it's targetted at the general readership.
sometimes you listen to books and you find that your mind has wandered for a few minutes and you have lost the train of thought. That never happened to me during this read. I found it rivetting.