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The New Depression: The Breakdown of the Paper Money Economy Hardcover – 15 May 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (15 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118157796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118157794
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

The book is well worth reading for its analysis. (The Economist, 7th July 2012)

′Contains a fascinating and powerful diagnosis of how we got to our current pass...he makes an astonishing proposal at the end that made my jaw drop.′ (Wealthbriefing.com, 14th August 2012)

From the Inside Flap

When the United States stopped backing dollars with gold in 1968, the nature of money changed. All previous constraints on money and credit creation were removed, and a new economic paradigm took shape. Economic growth was no longer driven by capital accumulation and investment as it had been since before the Industrial Revolution. Instead, credit creation and consumption began to drive the economic dynamic.

Over the following four decades, total debt in the United States expanded fiftyfold to $50 trillion. That explosion of paper money denominated debt transformed the world by generating unprecedented wealth, profits, jobs, and tax revenues. In 2008, however, that debt could not be repaid, and The New Depression began.

In The Dollar Crisis, Richard Duncan explained why a severe global economic crisis was inevitable given the flaws in the post Bretton Woods international monetary system. In The New Depression, he introduces an analytical framework, the Quantity Theory of Credit, that explains all aspects of the calamity now unfolding: its causes, the rationale for the government′s policy response to the crisis, what is likely to happen next, and how those developments will affect asset prices and investment portfolios.

The economic system that has emerged following the abandonment of sound money requires credit growth to survive. Yet the private sector can bear no additional debt and the government′s creditworthiness is deteriorating rapidly. Should total credit begin to contract significantly, this New Depression will become a New Great Depression, with disastrous economic and geopolitical consequences. That outcome is not inevitable. This book describes what must be done to prevent it.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book's exposition is a paragon of clarity, the concise text is incisive while the arguments presented are amply documented in a wide array of graphs, histograms and tables derived from impeccable sources.

The author expounds his original and profound 'Quantity Theory of Credit' which presently that is for the last forty years has replaced the 'Quantity Theory of Money'. The watershed occurred in 1968 when the United States removed the gold backing from the dollar and the nature of money changed. The result was a proliferation of credit that not only transformed the size and structure of the U.S economy but brought about a transformation of the economic system itself. The production process ceased to be driven by saving and investment as it had been since before the Industrial Revolution. Instead, borrowing and consumption began to drive the economic dynamic. Credit creation replaced capital accumulation as the vital force in the economic system. Credit expanded in the U.S. 50 times between 1964 and 2007 that is from $1 trillion to $52 trillion. So long as it expanded, prosperity increased;asset prices rose;jobs were created;profits proliferated.

Then, in 2008, credit began to contract. There is a grave danger that the credit-based economic paradigm that has shaped the global economy for more than a generation will now collapse. The inability of the private sector to bear any additional debt suggests that this paradigm has reached and exceeded its capacity to generate growth through further credit expansion. If credit contracts significantly and debt deflation takes hold, this economic system will break down in a scenario resembling the 1930s, a decade that began in economic disaster and ended in a geopolitical catastrophe.
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Format: Hardcover
I got sent two copies of this book by mistake. Great! Now I can send one to George Osborne to teach him why austerity is self-defeating and will drag us into worse trouble than we are. If I had a third copy I would send it to Angela Merkel. The first part of the book did not really tell much that has not been said already. The second part of the book however is gold. The author tries to project developments and trends to the future. This is a brave thing to do, as it will render the book quickly out of date, but I think the author felt that some things had to be said, and be said forcefully. The argument is that attempts at austerity will sink the system. He explains how maintaining credit expansion is necessary to prevent systemic and total financial collapse. How can this go on? He suggests deficit spending can go on for a while yet, but proposes a solution. A massive drive to invest, rather than subsidise consumption. What could we invest in? How about adapting production to green energy, solving the economic and the environmental crisis at the same time? If you think this is far fetched, think of the alternative: continuous crises of increasing severity for ever!
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There are a lot of books on the financial crisis, but this one delivers the most parctical insights with the least amount of pages. Really easy to read and well thought through, not to mention the author even makes a great case on how to help fix the situation. Who ever wins the election, lets hope they invest in our childerns future and not promote more consumption.
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Is it still worth reading this book written in 2011 about the events after 2008?

Yes I think it is although I have a couple of caveats:

1) Inevitably the book is America-centric with little consideration for the rest of the world accept for how it may impact on or exaggerate changes in America.
2) It's odd reading predictions for the future from 2012 onwards when you know that the worst was postponed.

The book presents an excellent argument for the idea that America (and the world) has enjoyed decades of growth on the back of an exception increase in overall debt levels (consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments). More frightening is perhaps that these incremental increases in debt have a lesser and lesser impact on growth.

It also rightly points out that globalisation has given us in the west short term gains but it has hollowed out our economies as manufacturing can't compete when labour costs are 90% or more cheaper elsewhere.

We have to run harder and harder just to virtually stand still.

It also makes it clear that policy options are limited unless we want a crushing depression. If we carry on as we are increasing debt levels, we build a bigger crisis in the future, if austerity is seriously undertaken then things crash quickly (all this talk about austerity in the UK is more talk than action)...

What's needed is better government spending, not less. By that the author means investment in resources that will deliver improvements in the future and he suggests solar power as an obvious choice.

I agree but I believe the future prospects are worse than the author suggests.
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