In How the West Was Lost, the New York Times best-selling author Dambisa Moyo offers a bold account of the decline of the economic supremacy of the West. She examines how the West's flawed financial decisions and blinkered political and military choices have resulted in an economic and geopolitical seesaw that is now poised to tip in favor of the emerging world. As Western economies hover on the brink of recession, emerging economies post double-digit growth rates. And whereas in the past, emerging economies lived and died by America's economic performance, now they look to other emerging countries to buy their goods and fuel their success.
Formerly a consultant for the World Bank and an investment banker specializing in emerging markets at Goldman Sachs, Moyo daringly claims that the West can no longer afford to simply regard the up-and-comers as menacing gate-crashers. How the West Was Lost reveals not only the economic myopia of the West but also the radical solutions that it needs to adopt in order to assert itself as a global economic power once again.
First of all I am extremely disappointed with this book. The author has impressive credentials and Dead Aid is on my reading list. However, this book is at best Fluffy Metaphor and seems at times to be the ramblings of someone who took a first year economics or MBA course and decided to impart the little they did learn In this rather brief book. The book does start out impressively looking at factors in both the US and China and then there is the slow slides down, down, down to her 5 scenarios.
Really, I don’t need a first year economics course. I was looking for a more topical discussion of the US and Chinese economies, and this was just not the book it was advertised to be. I expected more and got nothing In return.
Peter Navarro's Coming China War is much better. Skip this book.
30 of 35 people found this review helpful
This book was really disappointing. I bought it because I had seen Moyo speak quite intelligently on aid to Africa. However, this work aimlessly wanders from topic to topic, making poorly thought out arguments with only two common themes:
1. The West is wrong, and "The Rest" are right.
2. More state involvement is the answer.
The book pretty much ignores the overall historical trend, which has been that The West has gained more state involvement in everything and The East has rolled back its state involvement (most notably in recent times, China). It also doesn't bring any new ideas or information to the table. It just re-hashes the same tired statistics that Chinese students spend longer in school, graduate university in greater numbers, etc etc.
In addition to not addressing this stark problem with its main thesis (see two points above), the book makes a number of wacky and self-contradictory factual claims, which further supported the idea for me that the author just wasn't thinking when she wrote it. The book seems to claim that:
- Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic was caused by "the market running roughshod"
- Street lights in the US and UK are privately funded, unlike in continental Europe and Scandinavia
- No one could have predicted the 2008 financial crisis, despite mentioning that Ron Paul did a few pages later
- The 2008 financial crisis was caused by "the market running roughshod", despite spending a whole chapter explaining the bad government policies that caused it
2 of 3 people found this review helpful