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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!!, 13 Jan. 2011
This review is from: How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly - And the Stark Choices Ahead (Paperback)
How the West Was Lost provides a broad overview of the international economy. Moyo has moved on from the failures of western aid in her last book to some of the most controversial positions and choices of governments and electorates alike. It is incredibly factual and a great historical resource elucidating the last fifty years - the politics, the economics and the social implications. The author concludes with certain Western options to compete against rising Eastern states and inequality. How The West Was Lost is thought provoking and stimulating considering our current economic climate. A must read for anyone interested in the state of the world, the financial crisis and the future of the west - and the rest.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2011 22:36:01 GMT
This book is full of "elementary economic mistakes", please read the review (see link at the bottom) by The Economist from people that actually do have studied in this field:

The Economist says "these arguments need much better supporting material than the book provides" and suggested that no book published this season is likely to be "worse" than this book. (http://www.economist.com/node/17956741?story_id=17956741&fsrc=rss )

In more depth, The Economist also describes several elementary economic mistakes such as:

"In comparing America's economy with China's [...] measuring at purchasing-power parity makes the gap in GDP and living standards look narrower. This explains a great deal of the difference between two sets of figures that Ms Moyo cites. Yet she does not mention it."

Or "Governments usually manipulate exchange rates to make their currencies artificially weak, not strong."

Or "In the Keynesian national-income identity, G represents government spending, not the budget surplus."

As well as some "puzzling omissions":

"Ms Moyo rightly complains at the exclusion of big emerging economies (except Russia) from the G8.[...] Amazingly, she seems not to have noticed the prime manifestation of this: the rise of the G20"

As well as "some jaw-dropping factual errors" such as:

"General Motors, she writes, was bought by Fiat, "an event unimaginable just a couple [of] years earlier". Yes, and it still is: the Italian carmaker did not purchase GM, but a 20% stake in Chrysler, recently increased to 25%."

Or "France gets "almost 20% of its electricity from nuclear sources". The OECD says the figure is close to 80%."

And finally, "stylistic [flaws] that range from curious analogies to long phrases in parentheses. Endnotes are used almost at random" (http://www.economist.com/node/17956741?story_id=17956741&CFID=162856959&CFTOKEN=50393273)

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2011 09:00:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jul 2011 15:46:14 BDT
The Economist's readership consists in large part of the very 'financiers' whose short-sighted management has reduced the Western World to the parlous condition of ancient Rome in her last days, so it's not difficult to understand why Ms Moyo's book would be unpopular in such circles Mr Wilkinson.

Irrespective of the criticism's above however, you can only agree with Ms Moyo's central theme. IE:- The high price/low wage economy now prevailing throughout the Western World has inflicted terrible damage on our society over the last century. The unsustainably low wage levels created by mass immigration have artificially created/maintained mass unemployment which in turn, has reduced ever increasing millions of our fellow citizens to Third World/underclass levels of poverty and hopelessness.

I see little long-term future for a 'society' which permits crime/immorality and drug addiction to run rampant, a society in which young women are recruited/deployed to military combat whilst young men remain unemployed in their millions, a society in which the short-term profits of asset-stripping are valued more highly than genuine industrial strength. Worst of all, I see little rational about a society which kills vast numbers of it's own children for economic advantage, and since the 1960's Europe alone has massacred some 28,000,000 babies by 'legalized' abortion. The figures below illustrate the geo-political effects a century of economic instability, contraception and abortion have had upon a once dominant European 'civilization':-

Indian population in 1914, 360,000,000. In 2010, 1,200,000.
Chinese population in 1914, 400,000,000. In 2010, 1,400,000.
European population in 1914, 380,000,000. In 2010, 400,000.

As Gibbon's classic Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire: Vols 1-3: 3 Volume Set (Everyman's Library classics) clearly warns us; it was mismanagement by degenerate 'leaders' such as Caligula and Nero which caused Rome's once great Empire to collapse. On December 31st 406AD the Rhine froze and waves of starving heavily armed Germanic barbarians surged into Roman Gaul; neither the ineffective, poorly equipped legions or the disarmed 'citizenry' could resist the tide. The wealthy fled with what loot they could carry and by the time the dust had settled, the 'Eternal' Empire was gone. We can at present only speculate on what similarly trivial incident will trigger the 'Fall of the West'.
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