The Price of Prosperity

Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them
Narrated by: Todd G. Buchholz
Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this bold history and manifesto, a former White House director of economic policy under President George H. W. Bush exposes the economic, political, and cultural cracks that wealthy nations face and makes the case for transforming those same vulnerabilities into sources of strength - and the foundation of a national renewal

America and other developed countries, including Germany, Japan, France, and Great Britain are in desperate straits. The loss of community, a contracting jobs market, immigration fears, rising globalization, and poisonous partisanship - the adverse price of unprecedented prosperity - are pushing these nations to the brink.

Acclaimed author, economist, hedge fund manager, and presidential advisor Todd G. Buchholz argues that without a sense of common purpose and shared identity, nations can collapse. The signs are everywhere: Reckless financial markets encourage people to gamble with other people's money. A coddling educational culture removes the stigma of underachievement. Community traditions such as American Legion cookouts and patriotic parades are derided as corny or jingoistic. Newcomers are watched with suspicion and contempt.

As Buchholz makes clear, the United States is not the first country to suffer these fissures. In The Price of Prosperity he examines the fates of previous empires - those that have fallen as well as those extricated from near-collapse and the ruins of war thanks to the vision and efforts of strong leaders. He then identifies what great leaders do to fend off the forces that tear nations apart.

Is the loss of empire inevitable? No. Can a community spirit be restored in the U.S. and in Europe? The answer is a resounding yes. We cannot retrieve the jobs of our grandparents, but we can embrace uniquely American traditions, while building new foundations for growth and change. Buchholz offers a roadmap to recovery, and calls for a revival of national pride and patriotism to help us come together once again to protect the nation and ensure our future.

©2016 Todd G. Buchholz (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Produced by arrangement with Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

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A Readers Digest World History

A narrative presentation of a politically conservative vision, in which conformism rules (at least among the masses including immigrants), accomplished via pubic rituals like baseball and parades, with Ronald Reagan presiding. A naive and rather uninteresting perspective, national success is measured as if the march of history were a cheerleading competition between nations. That is with success defined as the state of group ego: pride, work ethic, purpose - we need only narrow it sufficiently & jazz that few to measure up.

Still, the condensed versions of world history provided include some good tales. The major valid points are that wealth tends to lower birthrate - elsewhere regarded as a good thing - necessitating immigration, which ought to be managed so as not to dilute the original cultural drivers of success.

But that culture to maintain is said to consist of the sort of convenient myths long celebrated in primary school: Columbus, the Pilgrims, Manifest Destiny, Emancipation - in one phrase "the white man's narrative." To keep a nation strong it's best to avoid truths inconsistent with them, like: how the vast majority of early southern "settlers" were brought in chains, the homicidal behaviour toward first peoples etc, and the often brutal exploitation of those oh so romantic waves of immigrants. Behaviours not far below the surface today.

Surely a nation can survive without lying to itself wholesale? Or if it can't, perhaps "nation" is indeed the wrong metaphor, nationality the wrong principle for humans to strive after.

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Past, present and future. An honest look at the United States through the lens of failed nations.

This book is enlightening and enlightened. It describes which features have led to continued success of nations, as well as the common features of unsuccessful one. As a result it is a cautionary tale. But Mr. Buchholz not only diagnoses the problem he also prescribes a cure. Leaders would be wise to listen.

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How the West Was Lost

This book hovers around excellent, but falls a bit flat. I believe this will be one of the great topics of the early 21st Century as we watch the most prosperous nations of the Western world struggle to maintain a high standard of living. Some of these great nations will reconstitute and find a way forward, but some will founder.

This book makes the case that prosperous nations are at great risk of collapse under certain conditions. The authors further explains why he believes those conditions have arisen in both Europe and the United States. Unchecked immigration, cultural diffusion and catastrophic debt are common themes in other books as well as this one. However Mr. Buchholz does touch on the newer phenomena of in the 21st Century. He discusses the Anti-Nationalist trend where holidays, heroes, and national myths are denounced in favor of political conformity. The book uses many very current examples.

The main downside to the book is a rather robust section in the middle. The author delves deep into a seemingly unrelated history of Alexander the Great and then Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. While somewhat interesting, the author does not strongly tie these lengthy biographies into the theme of his book very well. If readers want to hear about great exploits of men who defined a nation, then there are better books out there. I wanted this book to stay focused on the dangers of prosperity.

Still...the book is an interesting read and scratches the surface on what is likely to be a major topic for the next 25 years or more...