14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, but not for the squeamish,
This review is from: False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (Paperback)
The vast majority of people I know or have spoken to about the financial crisis don't know what they're talking about. They're picking up snippets and sound-bites from the media, then passing them on as facts to others which subsequently causes complete confusion. I was one of those people too.
Economics is boring. Just the word itself makes people groan because it's all math and confusing jargon, however this book gives a glorious history of how the capitalism we use has descended into chaos and will ultimately fail. The confusion is the word "capitalism" itself, and Gray explains how there are different kinds of capitalism such as that based on debt (which we in the West use) and that based on savings which is still used by the Chinese and Japanese (how else can they buy our Government debt?).
I have learned so much from this book it quite literally changed my life and I know that's an awful cliché. It goes against everything I've been taught and expected from the financial paradigm I've grown up with but has given me an understanding how I might just be able to protect myself and my children from a future of perpetual debt. I can't change Governments or stop bankers getting bonuses, but I can educate those around me in simple terms to look forward, know what to expect and to prepare for the ultimate endgame which happens with all financial systems based on fiat currency; thanks to this book.
Be warned though... it's no easy read. It's long, thorough and at times you find yourself drifting, but stick with it, you'll walk away with a knowledge that only a few people have.
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Initial post: 27 Apr 2012 17:56:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2012 17:59:22 BDT
D. Frost says:
Tell you what mate, I found also found this book highly illuminating in terms of the leftist critique of Free Market capitalism (which I've tried to educate myself in over the last few years by reading Hutton, Bakan, Monbiot and other people like that) - but I've no idea how you managed to derive from it a positive outlook with regard to your future ability to 'protect myself and my children' from the free market, especially not if you're here in post-credit crunch, double-dip recession, neo-Tory Britain. The guy flat out says, over and over, that extreme free market capitalism is too relentlessly destructive and destabilising, of everything a cohesive humanist society would wish to keep stable and enduring, for there to even be a possibility of a return to Social Democracy. Will Hutton's position in 1996, on the other hand, was to propose a return to strong government and a manufacturing-based economy, with less 'soft' finance, as a means of restoring social cohesion - what he didn't provide, as my friend in the Foreign Office tartly pointed out to me when I tried putting this argument forward to him, was any suggestions as to how we would actually go about implementing such a new dawn from our current, straight-jacketed starting point. I find Grey's hopelessness, I am depressed to say, far more convincing.
Posted on 29 Jul 2012 23:39:16 BDT
Post enlightenment says:
I was stimulated by your review to get Gray's book and read it. I agree with your comments and consider Gray to be on the evidence one of the several Cassandra's (true prophets of doom) who clearly foresaw and predicted the economic cataclysm of 2007/8. His pessimistic outlook seems entirely justified to me and I see no way to protect myself and my grandchildren from a future of declining prosperity as the juggernaut of global capitalism grinds not just the poor but most of the middle class into the dust. If there is a way to get out of a cycle of perpetual debt short of becoming a self sufficiency guru and living in a yurt, would 'Troubled Times' kindly tell us what it is please?
I have one small bone to pick with Gray, which is to defend Enlightenment economics from the blame he lays at its door for the current mess we are in. Enlightenment philosophy is a far cry from global economics of today. True, some of the enlightenment thinkers were Utopian economists but the enlightenment project of releasing man from superstition and despotic government still has a very long way to go and if some of its ideas about economics were too optimistic that is hardly a fault.
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