21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Loking at the trees - not the forest,
This review is from: The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Debt Crisis of 2010 - 2012 (Paperback)
The title of the review refers to numerous critics who have nit-picked this book from several angles while ignoring its basic premise. Dent is a prognosticator - not an economist much less a prophet. He studies general trends and makes fairly reasonable (and timely) assertions and sometimes correct forecasts. It is silly yet fascinating to make specific predictions adn they should not be taken seriously. There are too many unknowns for long-term pinpointing.
Dent's thesis is that economic health is a function of demographics; innovation derives from a stream of young ideas; spending is primarily a function of age and nations that grow will thrive. This is the forest. The trees are things like war, depression, bubbles, commodities and markets.
I agree with the thrust of his assertion. It's obvious that nations like Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and others with declining populations will fare poorly in the future. They will lack not only young innovators but also the mindset required for innovation. With fewer workers and more on the dole the financial burden will become onerous. In many places it already has.
My major complaint is Dent's mixing apples and oranges. He correctly describes how the West has given the developing world a head start, compressing modern industrialization into decades rather than the centuries required by Europe. This phenomenon is a result of technological advances. Yet, he still maintains that other cycles will go on as before - 3,000 years, 500, 250, 8, 15, 10, etc. (He introduces so many cycles, charts, swings and growth curves that they become blurred.) What will happen when artificial intelligence,robotics, nanotech and bioengineering reach advanced stages of development? My guess is that all best are off.
Other uncertainties: Deflation (not inflation), a strengthening dollar, "resolution of federal debt" (not to mention solving the problem of Social Security and Medicare), a "Democratic trend" in the electorate and India as the eventual number one. My Grade: B-
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Initial post: Feb 13, 2011 11:39:42 PM PST
Very helpful review. With all those cycles going on, it'll be difficult to later evaluate how good Dent's prognostications were. Also, the uncertainties you listed are enormous. I also wonder whether he takes the state of education as a whole into consideration as an important demogaphic trend. Thanks, Avid Reader. John
Posted on Jul 20, 2011 9:57:12 PM PDT
Anshuman Arun says:
India will definitely regain its position as the world's largest economy in the next 35 years or so. Dent is right.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2013 7:35:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 21, 2013 7:36:13 PM PDT]
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