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Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends That Will Reshape the Global Economy Paperback – January 3, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Informative and accessible, penetrating and provocative, his book is a first-rate guide to global trends... Readers of Outrageous Fortunes are likely to conclude that they have learned some important things about a global economy that will have an ever-more profound impact on their lives.” ―NPR.org
“Bold... Interesting.” ―The Economist
“Amid all the handwringing on the downward trajectory of the global economy comes this cool, collected, and sensible view of forthcoming economic trends... Altman delivers more than mere analysis or foreshadowing: this is revelatory reading for even the most casual observer of economics, and an invaluable tool for reconsidering how the world makes money.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Interesting thought experiments.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“If the past two years have taught us anything, it is the importance of counterintuitive thinking. Daniel Altman boldly ventures into the deep drivers of global change to uncover the unintended consequences of our current policies-regarding China, global trade, American jobs, and much more. Anyone who wants to get smart on globalization's fate must read this book.” ―Parag Khanna, author of The Second World and How to Run the World
“With so many new books offering autopsies of the financial crisis and the deepest recession since World War II, it's a blessing that Daniel Altman has his eyes firmly fixed on risks and opportunities in the road ahead. He brings together a series of compelling predictions, and though readers may not agree with every element of his forecasts, all will be better informed for having read his book.” ―Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and author of The End of the Free Market and The J Curve
“With all the attention being lavished on the short-run gyrations of the economy, it is refreshing to see a book that focuses on the long run. Daniel Altman is brave enough to make predictions about what will happen to the world economy twenty or thirty years from now. His analysis is thoughtful and compelling and should be required reading for those interested in creating a better world for our offspring.” ―Hal R. Varian, chief economist at Google and professor of business, economics, and information management at the University of California, Berkeley
“Daniel Altman has something to tell you: the world may not turn out the way Thomas Friedman expects. Outrageous Fortunes is provocative, fast-moving, authoritative, and imaginative. Expect the unexpected.” ―Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life
More About the Author
I hope you'll enjoy my books and feel free to interact with me via my Twitter feed (@altmandaniel), Facebook page, and personal web page (danielaltman.com). I find that what I learn from my readers can take my own thinking and research in unexpected directions, which is often the most exciting part of what I do. Best regards, and thanks for reading!
Top Customer Reviews
Outrageous Fortunes works on two levels. First, for the self-interested investor, it's good to be aware of the long-run influences on productivity and power that Altman outlines. His discussion of the new colonialism demonstrates both the short term profits and incredible long-term risks that arise when countries like China and Saudi Arabia start buying rights to agricultural land and other resources in poorer places. He also challenges conventional wisdom on disintermediation, making a compelling case that certain middlemen and arbitrageurs can only gain from market integration.
Outrageous Fortunes also succeeds as a work for wonks, taking its place in the grand genre dubbed by David Brin the self-preventing prophecy. As Altman puts it, "a frequent goal of prediction is to alter the future - to warn of impending danger so that it can be avoided." The book describes many impending dangers, including increasing inequality driven by global warming, accelerating brain drains, and an enormous financial black market that is developing outside of traditional financial centers. Altman's description of that black market is particularly acute, and worth discussing in some detail.
Altman observes that "the last two decades witnessed the greatest expansion in financial markets the world has ever seen. At the heart of this expansion was the proliferation of derivatives.Read more ›
While this is clearly a book about the global economy, Altman casts a wide net in describing factors that will influence the shape of different country's economies. For example, while he describes the common economic indicators that point to China's ascendance as the top economic power, he urges the reader to consider deeper factors that may inhibit China's growth. These deep factors include the hierarchical nature of China's economy, and of China's culture. Altman suggests that the Confucianism that pervades Chinese culture stands as an obstacle to entrepreneurship, and will hinder its ability to maintain its spectacular growth. Similarly, he suggests that the United States will become the world's sales force, in part because of the cultural dominance of English, and the world-wide cultural impact of the "American Dream," which has resulted in a uniquely American expertise in salesmanship.Read more ›
I found the views offered in the book to be interesting, but often not especially well argued or supported. For example, Altman's contention that China will ultimately fail to become the world's most important economy is based on the same nebulous forecasts of future economic growth data that support the more conventional view. Altman simply makes slightly different assumptions and relies on the principle of "convergence." There is no deep discussion of the underlying causes that might result in such an outcome.
Likewise, Altman's suggestion that jobs in the United States will be heavily geared toward sales in the future seems speculative. Abundant evidence suggests that many sales-oriented positions (such as travel agents) are being destroyed by internet-based technologies, and there seems little doubt that other areas will be similarly impacted. Additionally, some of the book's predictions -- for example that climate change will make poorer countries dirtier and poorer and that the EU (or at least the currency union) may someday collapse are not particularly unconventional and have be widely discussed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Altman has a uncanny perspective of the global economical future. Some of his opinions are happening just as he envisioned. Great Read.Published 21 months ago by Hawk
This book is so simpleminded and derivative that it offers nothing to a regular reader of newspapers. Very frequently, what it offers is outdated or absurdly inane. Read morePublished on January 18, 2013 by Zhao Huang
A terrific read. Whether you agree with everything the author says or not, it makes you think about the various topics in a different light. Read morePublished on October 29, 2012 by EThomlinson
NYU Professor, Daniel Altman offers up 12 'surprising' trends that will reshape the global economy in mostly, very easy to understand hypothesis and rationalization. Read morePublished on August 12, 2012 by Sibelius
I started getting excited about the book at the very beginning with the chapter "China will get richer, and then it will get poorer again. Read morePublished on July 14, 2012 by Glenn Corey
This book is thought provoking, bold and well written. The feel for history and the future it gives is realistic and the arguments logical and not polemic. Read morePublished on April 18, 2012 by Rob Julian
I listened to the audio version of this book.
This might be a book that is worthy of your time if this is your first foray into this area of study. Read more
Daniel Altman received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University and teaches at the New York University Stern School of Business. Read morePublished on August 16, 2011 by Laurence J. Stybel