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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 9 December 2013
Maybe never ending increases in economic prosperity are a good thing...
But it leads to democratic governments seducing voters with their eventually unaffordable largesse...
And those expectations are very hard to adjust...
The transition is going to be painful for the entire developed western world...
It will involve the overthrow of governments and bankruptcy of countries...
But which ones and when?
Can democratic governments retain power long enough to enact those changes or does effective or turbulent change transition the structures over several generations?
Persuasive analysis of the fault lines but quite reasonably only broad sweep generalisations about the future..
However that's the environment in which we have to place our bets about what to be invested in, where to live, etc!!
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on 9 November 2014
Interesting insight into today's economy. Most common sense and already known facts but written to bring it all together to create a simplistic view. Could have been written in about 2/3rds of book as referring back to previous info wasn't always needed and became repetitive.
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on 27 May 2014
Well written and engaging. Very accessible and plausible on the interactions of economics, politics and the social contract. Unfortunately the least convincing elements were the recommendations to start dealing with the challenges we in the UK and the wider world face.
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on 24 June 2013
I am really interested in the whole topic of international finance, but this book somehow didn't keep me spellbound, although it is a tough subject on which to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I think he could perhaps have talked about the dual threat of low growth and higher inflation on the West in more detail.
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on 2 July 2013
An excellent book which lays out in quite some detail both the economic and political turmoil that faces the global economy. It also unveils the deceit behind many of the recent platitudes uttered by politicians keen to maintain political survival in the teeth of what is a major turning point for western economies in particular. I would argue that students studying any meaningful degree programme at masters level and above in the areas of business and economics should have this book as a required read since the implications of what King spells out affect each and everyone of us now, and for some time to come.
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on 12 February 2014
This is a we-are-all-doomed narrative of the ongoing economic crisis. In King's view both Osborne and Balls are wrong when they claim that financial tinkering (of different kinds) can save us. What Osborne has given us is not recovery but stagnation, and Balls (if and when he gets the chance) will probably make things worse. Stagnation sounds ok for a rich country, but not for a society that has thoroughly mortgaged the future.

" …. stagnation has its own costs. By attempting to live life as if nothing had really changed, by arguing that there are abundant macroeconomic 'quick fixes', by resisting the unpleasant medicine that we may all, eventually, have to take, we may be sacrificing our long-term economic health. "

King thinks that what we need is political and social reform, not more financial regulation; and indeed he believes our current problems have been brought about more by foolish politicians and their financial experts, rather than by the greedy bankers the rest of us would like to see publicly eviscerated.

Why is he so forgiving of bankers? Why, what a surprise, he IS a banker, indeed he is chief economist to HSBC, and the truly terrifying aspect of his book is that he (presumably) believes his own Domesday scenario, and therefore so does HSBC, and so HSBC's suits will go on trying to protect themselves at the expense of the rest of us, instead of moving towards decentralisation, towards the training, empowerment and reward of local middle-managers, who might just offer some credit to people engaged in real economic activity.

And it’s the lack of real economic activity which is our problem, as King himself admits (while, characteristically blaming the politicians for it):

"… jobs were created only in three areas — financial services, construction and the public sector. When the bubble burst, the jobs market simply wasn't diverse enough to offer new opportunities …. can new jobs be easily created elsewhere simply as a result of broad macroeconomic stimulus [i.e. by government decision]? The answer, it turns out, is that they can't."

King describes the problems but has no serious answers to them. Perhaps no government can solve them; the best any minister could do would be to deflect his own jobsworths from their current tasks of nit-picking and excuse-making, towards more useful work, such as caring for the elderly and guarding the frontiers.

Meanwhile here is some completely free, disinterested financial advice:
1. Do not buy this book. Mr King makes quite enough money already.
2. Never borrow money, except for your mortgage (if you can get one), and if you have a mortgage make every effort to pay it off as fast as you can.
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on 6 February 2016
Reads like rantings of a guy who read an few newspaper stories and is trying to organize his thoughts, but failed to do so.
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on 1 August 2013
A copy should be given to everyone who attends the BBC's Questiontime. An antidote to those who think money grows on trees and the State should continue to spend money it does not have.
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on 12 September 2014
...for all ministers, policy makers and voters alike. Thought provoking and well researched it proposes a real challenge to we who depend on the economy for our daily needs and desires.
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on 25 June 2013
Sound explanation of contemporary economies of western societies. Set in an interesting historical perspective. Solutions to these problems not developed in the same way.
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