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Empire of Debt: The Rise of An Epic Financial Crisis (Agora Series) Paperback – 31 Oct 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; New edition edition (31 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047198048X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471980483
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.7 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,510,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


" The doom mongering is leavened with some waspishly witty writing" ("Daily Telegraph," 6th December 2005)

From the Inside Flap

There was a time when being a "conservative" meant you were a stodgy old curmudgeon; an isolationist, closed to new ideas. Now, the conservatives are leading the charge promising to make the entire world "safe for democracy!" Never has such a bold plan been put into action that is, not since the "liberal" democrat Woodrow Wilson coined the phrase nearly a century ago!

How could such a shift in the politics and economy of the United States have come about in a span of less than 100 years?

In Empire of Debt, maverick financial writers Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin the team that brought you the international bestseller Financial Reckoning Day reunite to provide you with the first in–depth look at how the American character has shifted to accommodate its new imperial role; how we have abandoned the private virtues of personal liberty, economic freedom, and fiscal restraint; and how the "guv′mint" has gained control of public life and the economy. The result has been, among other horrors, unfettered deficit spending, gluttonous consumption, and fearless military adventurism. All the while, the nation slouches ever more precipitously towards bankruptcy.

Empire of Debt is a wry, witty, and erudite look at the state of the empire. To the delight of many, Bonner and Wiggin do not spare the political icons of either national political party. Casting a wide–angle lens through history and into the next century, the authors suggest a "great empire" is to the world of geopolitics what a great bubble is to the world of economics it is attractive at first but will eventually end in catastrophe.

Unfortunately for some, the Empire of Debt will be received like an unwelcome guest who intends to spend the night. But for those who open the door to the often uproarious, but always sensible, wisdom within these pages, the future will be bright, indeed.

"They′ve done it again!" says financial commentator Eric Fry, "Once more, Bonner and Wiggin have weaved together the disparate worlds of politics, economics, and personal finance to produce an enormously entertaining snapshot of modern American life." We entreat you to sit back, relax, and drink in the splendor that is America′s Empire of Debt.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been a reader of The Daily Reckoning for some time. I didn't expect any new material in Empire of Debt, but I was interested to see how some of my favorite themes were tied together into a book as opposed to an e-letter.
The results are mildly amusing, unsurprising and about as deep as the water on my windshield during a mild drizzle.
The whole book could have been easily summarized into a brief article. But it wouldn't have been as funny.
Here are the key points:
1. Any leader with the power to act imperial will.
2. Most emperors were smart enough to make a profit from the empire.
3. The American empire loses lots of money and makes less economic sense than any other empire in recent memory.
4. American economic policies will lead to an astonishingly rapid decline in the value of the American dollar.
5. American assets are tremendously overpriced and will either fall in price or remain at current price levels for a long time.
6. Buy gold.
If any of those points are new to you, you will probably think this is a four or five star book. Clearly, the authors understand that they are looking at an economic disaster in the making. The book would have been greatly improved by providing more advice about how to improve matters or to profit from them.
I would say that you could skip this book if you already understand those lessons, but the humor is well done. It would be a shame to miss the sections praising "do-nothing" presidents.
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Format: Hardcover
The main thrust of this book is that america is the dominant world power with by far the largest military expenditure and yet as a country it is losing money. The rest of the world is lending them protection money and money to buy goods from abroad and the whole thing is going to come crashing down when the chinese take over as top dog as they are prepared to work for 17 cents an hour and all the rice they can eat. This book could have been condensed into a fifth of its size, oh and buy gold.
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Format: Paperback
I am reading Bill Bonner's books backwards, but like with Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, anybody interested in the contents should skim through the first half of the book.

I do recommend it, but the first half of the book is dead boring and full of cynical notes that could be summarised in a few chapters, not 150 pages.
The second half is where the meat is and makes Empire of Debt worth reading, but well, you first have to go through the not-that-short story of incompetent US presidents.

Only patient readers will get the best of what the book really is, a good and interesting read. I wonder how many non-avid readers would stop before reaching the point where everything clicks together.

With the hindsight of time, and the coming of the subprime debacle and the credit crunch I see how valuable the opinions and warnings in the book are.
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