For the past 40 years Western economies have splurged on debt. Now, as the reality dawns that many debts cannot be repaid, we find ourselves again in crisis. But the oncoming defaults have a time-worn place in our economic history. As with the crises in the 1930s and 1970s, governments will fall, currencies will lose their value, and new systems will emerge.
Just as Britain set the terms of the international system in the 19th century, and America in the 20th century, a new system will be set by today's creditors in China and the Middle East. In the process, rich will be pitted against poor, young against old, public sector workers against taxpayers, and one country against another.
In Paper Promises, Economist columnist Philip Coggan helps us to understand the origins of this mess and how it will affect the new global economy, by explaining how our attitudes toward debt have changed throughout history, and how they may be about to change again.
©2012 Phillip Coggan (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Anyone wanting an objective view on how the current economic crises came about - minus the political biases of course - this is a great book to start with. It's not an exhaustive study, but a good primer that will lead the curious truth seeker to other good research as well.
This book is well-organized, very clear, and very comprehensive on its subjects. It has 10 books' worth of stuff, as I have rummaged around through similar titles picking out scraps of what is all laid out here, a-b-c, 1-2-3: the terminology, the history, etc. It gives a very complete history of money and debt, without bogging down in incidental details (as some authors seem tempted to pack in, perhaps to give an impressively big book). This is one of the better-edited books I have read. The author has positions and opinions, but always gives plenty of room in the discussion, indicating various voices on the important topics of the world's handling debt imbalances going forward. The narrator has a fine voice and style that serves the material well. This is not a personal finance book. As the title suggests, it is about the big picture, but I find it very pertinent to my political thought, plans and expectations. I wish I read a book like this long ago.
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