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The End Game: The End of the Debt SuperCycle and How It Changes Everything [Hardcover]

John Mauldin , Jonathan Tepper
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Mar 2011
Greece isn′t the only country drowning in debt. The Debt Supercycle—when the easily managed, decades–long growth of debt results in a massive sovereign debt and credit crisis—is affecting developed countries around the world, including the United States. For these countries, there are only two options, and neither is good—restructure the debt or reduce it through austerity measures. Endgame details the Debt Supercycle and the sovereign debt crisis, and shows that, while there are no good choices, the worst choice would be to ignore the deleveraging resulting from the credit crisis. The book: Reveals why the world economy is in for an extended period of sluggish growth, high unemployment, and volatile markets punctuated by persistent recessions Reviews global markets, trends in population, government policies, and currencies Around the world, countries are faced with difficult choices. Endgame provides a framework for making those choices.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (25 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118004574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118004579
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


In Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle and How It Changes Everything, Mauldin and Tepper pull no punches and get directly the point. ... Endgame is a veritable trip around the world, as Mauldin lays out the uncomfortable choices facing nearly every major country. While Mauldin’s analysis of the American debt problem is sobering, his comments on Europe are downright frightening…Given the noise dominating the newswires, it is refreshing to find clear, coherent thinking. Our compliments to Messrs. Mauldin and Tepper on a job well done.” — Charles Sizemore , HS Dent Research Analyst and Editor of the Sizemore Investment Letter

′It′s the freshest one hot off the press.′ – Seeking Alpha, March 2011

From the Author

Q&A with John Mauldin

1. What is the debt supercycle?
Over a period of about sixty years, debt levels grew faster than incomes. This increase in debt became particularly pronounced in the 1980s, 90s and finally went parabolic after the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to 1% after the Nasdaq crash. The increase in debt was not just a US phenomenon. As interest rates fell structurally with the fall in inflation from 1982 onwards, people took on more debt because it became more manageable. However, by 2008 the burden of debt became too much to bear and the debt supercycle came to an end. People started deleveraging and banks started collapsing due to low levels of capital and large losses from loans people couldn't pay back.

2. How does the sovereign debt crisis play into this?
The rapid contraction in debt levels due to default and deleveraging lead to a fall in economic activity as people started saving and cutting spending. Governments immediately stepped in and backed bank debt with explicit guarantees. Governments also started borrowing and spending to transfer money to the private sector, for example via unemployment insurance. So in a very real sense, private borrowing was replaced with public borrowing. Debt was added onto more debt. Rather than itself of debt, the system now has more debt. The sovereign debt crisis is the recognition that most of this debt will not be paid back, and governments are making promises to pay debt and other obligations, for example general spending and pensions, that they simply lack the ability to fulfil.

3. What is the impact of the end of the debt supercycle?
The end of the debt supercycle and the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis present problems and challenges for investors and governments. Governments will need to either 1) inflate, 2) default or 3) devalue, which is similar to inflate. That is the way governments have historically dealt with too much debt. Some countries will experience deflation and others inflation, depending on what choices governments make. Currently governments have only bad and worse choices. Let's hope they can choose wisely.

4. What do you predict for the next ten years?
Central banks globally have shown a predisposition to print money to solve problems. We forsee rising inflation in many parts of the world, reductions in real income as people lose purchasing power due to higher food and fuel prices and more macroeconomic volatility. Some countries that do not control their own money supply or are running pegs may experience deflation as they are forced to delever and cannot increase the money supply to counteract the weight of deleveraging.

5. You cite the events in Greece as an example of a country continuing to run massive deficits. Is there an example of a country making a better choice?

The UK is making some of the right steps to control spending, but even the UK could be more draconian. In nominal and real terms, government spending in aggregate will not be cut in the UK. Also, Iceland has made positive steps by defaulting on its debt effectively. Default is a good way to cure too much debt.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Exhaustive analysis of the mess we are in, near everywhere in the world. In places it felt a bit rushed for a publishing deadline, & there is a lot of verbatim lifting from other works. But it is a good synopsis of the debt-burdened present, & it does, in a relatively balanced manner, seek to set out how things might pan out (deflation &/or inflation or elements of bad deflation combined with currency collapse). A cheery read it is not. And it is not a book holding out hope for, or indeed even considering, some sort of Sino-US-German agreed 'recalibration'.

I liked the country by country breakdown & assessment of relative ugliness, although there is, some would say not unreasonably, quite a lot of hedging in the analysis - Australia ready for bubble (actually they are very clear on that one), UK doomed but for having a lot of long term debt & not being locked into the German currency zone (so very high inflation looming), Japan doomed (so short the Yen & JGB, oh wait that's been the story my whole adult life & it hasn't worked), emerging markets going to be the place to be (but is that right given many are producers/commodity plays & in a crisis it will be 'go $') & US could go either way & might even muddle through because the producers have to vendor finance the US consumer. All good practical stuff in these parts of the book.

Overall, I did not find the book a 'wow', in that the de- versus in-flation debate in the face of global debt & inbalances versus 'don't fight the Fed' is well established but I did feel this book was perhaps slightly closer to the heartbeat of what is going on than Shilling's similarly-themed but differently-concluded book (The Age of Deleveraging).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly gripping! 20 May 2011
I though this might be hard going but it turned out to be a real page-turner! It's a fascinating look at the trouble our hunger for debt has landed us in, and the difficult decisions we face to get us out.

It's also a deeply thought-provoking look at the way the capitalist system we live in works - or, in some respects, fails to work.

It's pitched at a level that won't be out of reach from beginners in finance and economics. But even for those who deal with it every day, this pulls together all kinds of themes and thoughts in a way that really helps to bring the big picture into focus.

It has to be said that this has a certain political agenda. But at least the author is refreshingly up-front about his political affiliations. And I for one found his arguments very compelling, partisan or not!

I must admit, I found the investment tips at the end a little too vague to be useful. But in fact that only reaffirms my respect for Mauldin and Tepper. When things are as uncertain as they are now, an honest 'don't know' is a lot more valuable than any amount of phoney certainty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Endgame 1 Jun 2012
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Amid all the postmortems of the 2008 recession, this might be the bleakest. Financial gurus John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper argue persuasively that no quick recovery is on the horizon. Instead, the world's economies face years, perhaps decades, of tepid growth, roller-coaster markets and high unemployment. The authors combine their analysis with research from a variety of economists to reach the conclusion that deficits will continue to grow and politicians will continue to avoid making hard decisions. While their rambling reasoning is sometimes disjointed and their analysis presents nothing startlingly new, Mauldin and Tepper make an informed case that investors, consumers, managers and policy makers need to prepare for a rocky future that's nothing like the comparatively easy years of the recent past. getAbstract recommends this sobering look at the future as important reading for those who want to follow the full spectrum of analysis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 13 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great read detailing how politicians have been bribing voters for years with our grandchildrens future tax on earnings & they haven't even been born yet! The Author argues that this is about to change, & given the information presented in this book, it is nearly impossible to disagree.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the scariest book I have ever read 3 Sep 2011
First off I declare I have been a fan of John Mauldin's e-mail newsletters for several years now. He carries his highly accessible converstational but fabulously well informed style across into this book. Many of the themes he has been writing about for some time are developed in depth in this superb work. I am no investor but am keenly interested in understanding the bigger picture of what is going on around me. While the newsletters can be shocking in their perspicacity this book left me feelling very scared about what the future may hold for those of us in the developed western economies, the UK in particular. That said, the chapters on the eurozone, especially regarding the financial status of Greece had me laughing out loud in incredulity.
Mauldin does not appear to be persuing any party agenda though I suspect if he is inclined to vote it would be republican. He reserves his criticism for big government per se and the amazing position our latest generation of politicians have landed us in. The capacity of our leaders to delude themselves that this time they have engineered a new solution to the old issue of spend and borrow is made out in the other book I bought 'This time is different' by Reinhart and Rogoff. Mauldin takes this very well made spring board and uses it to launch into his own thesis.
Thankfully the last chapter, as with all good horrors, ends on an optimistic note. The amazing geo political advantages and vibrancy of the USA will doubtless revive once the smothering blanket of big government is lifted from it sufficiently. This can only be good for all of us. Where Europe is likely to be when my kids are entering the job market is left a little more hazy.
In short this is not an economics book that closes anyone out by being overly noodly with figures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars John Mauldin has something to say, but he needs to work on his...
I know John Mauldin from his `Thoughts From the Frontline' newsletter (and one or two others), which I have been subscribing to for a number of years and which I find rather... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Thomas Koetzsch
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most frightening work on the state of the global economy
Endgame is a politicians nightmare. It tells the reader what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. J. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate
In this book the author has given an excellent explanation of how the world uses GDP to measure economic performance of the world's leading countries and then tables these... Read more
Published 17 months ago by DVC
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking any new material or insight.
Don't waste your money - especially at the currently outrageous Kindle version price (3.00 would seem about fair value considering the content). Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dr Bob
3.0 out of 5 stars "Moneymavericks92@Gmail.com" Decent Teachings On The landscape Of The...
As i'm sure everyone here reading this knows, there has been allot of pessimist running around preaching their "End of the world" sermons. Read more
Published on 3 July 2012 by Mr. K. James
1.0 out of 5 stars Not serious
I do not know who is expected to be the audience for this book. It was written in a way you would talk to your small children. Read more
Published on 28 Mar 2012 by jukka
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
fast delivery like always from Amazon, great site, great book, also meant to give to relations, must spread the word ! Happy, many thanks !
Published on 2 Dec 2011 by Marc Haagen
5.0 out of 5 stars A penetrating analysis
Well worth the read for its penetrating analysis of extensively researched data which lays bare the hole into which the western economies have dug themselves. Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by D L
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written boring and jumping on the band wagon
The best book on this subject is 'The Crash Course' by Chris Martenson. The end game is poorly written and just a bore and obvioulsy standing on the shoulders of much better... Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by J. Black
4.0 out of 5 stars Endgame will be played out soon.
This is a most informative book. It is full of detailed economic information but explains the jargon so that a newcomer is not left bewildered. Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2011 by writeon
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