Top critical review
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Thought-provoking and educational, but occasionally sloppy
on 11 July 2007
This book contains many interesting facts and arguments which will give the reader much to cogitate over on politics well before the Blair decade, as well as during it. The discussions of personal debt, the Private Finance Initiative and how Gordon Brown made successive redefinitions of the economic cycle in order to meet his `Golden Rule' are particularly educational and thought-provoking, and made me long for more serious coverage of such issues in the mainstream media.
However, journalists' desire to play Cassandra often compromises any serious message they are trying to convey, and at times the book lapses into a hysteria which reduces its credibility. For example, having pinpointed the origins of the 1973 oil crisis in the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and a resulting `vast upswing in inflation across all economies', the authors later describe this episode to have been an `environmental-economic catastrophe' simply to tie in with their closing arguments on limits to economic growth. If it was genuinely an `environmental-economic' catastrophe, this should have been mentioned in their earlier exposition. Such occasional sloppy thinking does make one wonder how much of the book's stronger arguments are well-founded.