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How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly---and the Stark Choices Ahead Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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In How the West Was Lost, the New York Times bestselling author Dambisa Moyo offers a bold account of the decline of the economic supremacy of the West. She examines how the West's flawed financial decisions and blinkered political and military choices have resulted in an economic and geopolitical seesaw that is now poised to tip in favor of the emerging world. As Western economies hover on the brink of recession, emerging economies post double-digit growth rates. And whereas in the past, emerging economies lived and died by America's economic performance, now they look to other emerging countries to buy their goods and fuel their success. Formerly a consultant for the World Bank and an investment banker specializing in emerging markets at Goldman Sachs, Moyo daringly claims that the West can no longer afford to simply regard the up-and-comers as menacing gate-crashers. How the West Was Lost reveals not only the economic myopia of the West but also the radical solutions that it needs to adopt in order to assert itself as a global economic power once again.
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The first half of this book kind of does basic economics, explaining things like why the crash of 2008 occurred. This is not exactly new territory. But then, she moves on to discuss the overall failure of US economic policy, and the lack of strategic planning.
It's the latter half of the book that I enjoyed the most, where she discusses the 3 types of capitalism. There's unfettered greed, like in the US. There's quasi-socialism, where the state takes care of infrastructure, like Europe. Both of these are poised to fail with the change in demographics. Then there's state-run capitalism, like China or Singapore, where the state plays a very active role in the economy. The good thing, the author says, is that in the latter, there may not be as much freedom, but there is a group will that permits long-range thinking. In this way, China is investing in resources in Africa, and other places, in order to secure its 50 - 100 year security. Moyo stresses that this puts them at a huge competitive advantage, especially when they are able to steal technology from the West.
"How the West Was Lost" is a very unsettling book, challenging America's blindness and inability to put the common cause over individual desires. I wish more people would read this book, especially people with a better background in economics than I have, in order to talk about it with me.
Moyo gives an albeit feeble solution to this problem, specifically for the USA, a solution that is most likely to be politically difficult if not impossible to implement, and as a result is likely to be much too late.
The book concentrates particularly on the positions of the USA visa vie Chine, although there are references to the UK and Europe. It also deals to some extent with China's foray into securing her urgent and longer term need for soft and hard commodities, which she is able to do with her large cash reserves.
Overall, the book has a journalistic approach with many bibliographic references, and will appeal to readers interested in world economics without needing to have the know-how, as the author explains everything quite clearly in layman's terms.
Moyo clearly and succinctly describes the folly of short term vision by politicians which will be the downfall of western economic domination. Nikita Krushchev, when he visited the U.S. in 1959, said "We will bury you". He was misinterpreted as saying this literally, what he meant was that the Soviet technological effort would smother the U.S. As history proved, he was wrong but China will most likely fulfill the prophesy.
This book should be required reading for every western politician, bureaucrat and university president.
At times,this work can be somewhat frightening, but like any worthwhile explanations, it makes the reader think and relate to what he or she sees occurring in the world today, regardless of the reader's world-view.
Economics is probably one of the more boring subjects for the average person; Moyo's work makes it interesting and relevant. So read this book, and take from it the essence of what Dr. Moyo writes. And read it before you read Winner Take All.