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313 of 336 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Debate in our Lifetime, February 9, 2009
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This review is from: Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse (Hardcover)
Tom Woods has written a timely and timeless book - timely because it addresses the most pressing issue of our day, and timeless because he explains economic cycles and the nature of money in plain language.

It is curious that Congress is on the verge of passing an economic stimulus bill that is opposed by nearly two thirds of Americans. Mr. Woods provides the logic behind the intuition of this increasingly disenfranchised majority. Americans opposed to further government meddling should read this book to fully arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to win the debate. Well-intentioned Americans who support government intervention in the economy should read this book to understand the unintended consequences of their support.

Partisan readers beware: regardless of your political affiliation, you will discover that your party shares in the blame for the mess we're in. It is best to check your party affiliation at the door before you read this book. But read it!

The first chapter quickly identifies fractional reserve central banking as the main driver of the current and previous economic downturns. It's a long-overdue call to debate the necessity of our Federal Reserve system.

The second chapter addresses the housing bubble, and how the loudest voices on all sides of the debate are proposing solutions to the symptoms instead of recognizing the real problem.

The third chapter addresses the government's futile reactions to the financial and economic crisis in the last months of 2008. It's amazing to see such recent history covered so well in a book.

The fourth chapter alone is well worth the price of the book. Mr. Woods explains in plain language that economic cycles are not natural phenomenon, but are caused by artificial manipulation of the money supply. The business cycle theory of Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek is explained in a manner easily understood by the layman reader.

Chapter five covers myths of the Great Depression. Understanding this time in our history has never been so important as it appears we are on the verge of repeating the same mistakes. Mr. Woods gleans lessons by comparing previous market busts and subsequent government reactions to them.

Again, the sixth chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Mr. Woods explains the nature of money. It's hard to believe how something we use every day can be such a mystery to us. It's impossible to effectively engage in the debate about fractional reserve central banking without understanding the nature of money. We learn in this chapter how money is a creation of the free market and not a government invention.

The book ends with a chapter that instructs us on what courses of action (or inaction) that we should take in order to restore a lasting prosperity. It is vastly different than the choices being proposed by our government and the media.

Whether you are a liberal, conservative, or something else, I implore you to read this concise, well-reasoned book. In the most important debate in our lifetimes, this book represents a side that is ignored by the media. Ignore it at your peril.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2009 4:58:55 PM PDT
Too bad most of the population isn't showing up for the debate :)

Posted on Feb 11, 2010 7:08:49 AM PST
Good review, though a bit long. "Good," because you name the parts of the book which you recommend, with specifics, and this puts you in the minority who actually show reasons for buying (or not) the book. By the number of "yes votes" you got, I suspect most people didn't mind the text length of your review!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2010 10:34:22 AM PST
Thanks, G.
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