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How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds Paperback – March 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Craig Roberts is a former editor and columnist for both the Wall Street Journal and Business Week. He worked as the Assistant Secretary to the Treasury under the Reagan administration, but has since disavowed both the Republicans and Democrats. He is author of a number of books including the Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849350078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849350075
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This compact little book is densely packed with the missing explanation of why the
American economy is in such a mess. I use the term missing to indicate the almost non-existence of mention in the Main Stream Media.

First it is important to understand who Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Virginia and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. He was formally an editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, etc. and has written several books on a wide range of topics.

Given his conservative background, his harsh criticism of corporate greed and outright lies pushed by Big Business (and it's shills and apologists in academia and government) lends added credibility to his words.

This book is an organized collection of his columns (Part 1) that deal with the American Economic Crisis we find ourselves in and how we got there. While some of his earlier columns (going back about 5 years) may appear slightly dated, it's interesting to watch his predictions (particularly those about Unregulated Derivatives as a disaster just waiting to happen) come true.

And by the way Derivatives are STILL unregulated! Talk about corruption and malfeasances in high places. I don't think they have even re-instituted the uptick rule on short sellers (this was a rule passed after the crash of 1929 to force traders to wait for the stock to go up a little before they could short it again)

Like many of the other post 1929 laws and regulations, quietly tossed aside as "antiquated and unnecessary".

Later in the book, Part 2 is devoted to an explanation in ordinary language of why free trade doesn't actually always create the win-win scenario that it's boosters insist on.
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Format: Paperback
Roberts' "How The Economy Was Lost" is a collection of short, sensible columns on the American economy - most previously posted on '[...].' The material is well-written, free of jargon, and backed by credible data. It's only shortcoming is that material written as long as five years ago, in this case, quickly becomes vulnerable to charges of 'dated.' Thus, readers impressed with the author's logic have to laboriously update and re-document Roberts' data. Nonetheless, the newly-released book is well worth reading - his conclusions are probably still valid, and his documentation of errors in others' analyses helps readers see how economic data are often misinterpreted.

Roberts' overall thesis is that free market zealots have already hollowed-out America's former middle-class manufacturing sector, and have begun doing the same with our service sector. Results include rising personal credit-card and home-equity loan debt, a federal deficit and unfunded liabilities totaling nearly $60 trillion, and trillions more in accumulative trade deficits. Manufacturing job losses total (when written) about 4 million, a University of California study estimates 14 million service jobs will follow, and Alan Blinder (former Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman) estimates that 40-50 million jobs are vulnerable. McDonald's drive-thru order-taking as already occurred. Obviously, none of this bodes well for tax revenues, long-term trends in real-incomes or home values.

America's cherished 'upward mobility' is also fast fading. Roberts points out by outsourcing manufacturing jobs, we unwittingly largely eliminated the rationale for associated high-paying management, engineering, and R&D jobs.
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I like to read Paul Craig Roberts's columns, because he is a true conservative, not a "Republican." Since the Republican party has been taken over by certain notions that have led us astray in recent decades, there is nothing better than being able to stay on course with Roberts' informed opinions. I put Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips and maybe Ron Paul into the same category.

The fact that this book is mainly a collection of columns published elsewhere by Roberts in recent years, is both the strength and the weakness of this volume. Roberts' columns are so full of information that the average person would not have access to otherwise, that it is great they have been preserved between the covers of a book. On the other hand, since the author follows certain themes in his work, the reader is faced with a lot of repetition, rather than an argument where one chapter builds upon the last. However, this could be a good thing, as it reinforces in the reader's mind the view he holds about the global economy, so-called "free trade," the prospects of the middle class under these politicians and bureaucrats who have hi-jacked our economy, and related matters that affect our lives every day.

Roberts also has well-defended dissenting views on the foreign policy of our nation, similar to those held by Buchanan, Phillips, and Ron Paul. I have learned to regard the mainstream news through the lens of these writers' opinions, and I think this volume of Paul Craig Roberts' collected columns is well worth buying. It is great for showing to friends to clarify where we stand, and why. It is also great for quick reference purposes. Definitely a good title to own.
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