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Red Alert: How China's Growing Prosperity Threatens the American Way of Life Hardcover – October 19, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The U.S. was galvanized by the terrorist attacks of September 11 , but according to economist Leeb, what we should have been worrying about was the contemporaneous emergence of China's enormous impact on commodity conservation and use. By 2012, the Chinese will hold a leading position in every aspect of renewable energy. Leeb argues that we as a nation are not paying enough attention to the threat of China's growing influence; he paints a picture of our government as fundamentally scattered and shortsighted, though his ire isn't aimed at any particular administration. Our political and economic systems don't lend themselves to tackling major problems until they reach crisis proportions, whereas the Chinese are relentlessly longterm thinkers (furthermore, their leaders don't have to answer to a fickle electorate). While we have no plan as to how to secure or develop our resources, China does, and its drive for growth means that its leaders will leave carbon reduction (and other initiatives) to the free market.
Though he does touch upon the potential problems China will face, his main purpose is to provoke Americans to wake up to a situation that threatens to destroy our economy and our environment. Terse, well-reasoned, and comprehensive, this is a much-needed shot in the arm for American complacency.

Publisher's Weekly

Economist Leeb (Game Over: How You Can Prosper in a Shattered Economy) argues that while U.S. officials and politicians engage in short-term myopic planning, endless legal maneuvering, scandals, and wartime investing that are crippling American economic viability, China's government is run by visionary scholars with backgrounds in such fields as chemistry and engineering who are carefully analyzing the long-term, big picture. China is gaining ground as a superpower and attaining competitive advantage over other countries, especially the United States, by using its profits to invest in and control mineral commodities such as coal, oil, zinc, silver, and gold. These resources are becoming scarce, and the author argues that access to them will determine the standard of living for future generations. According to Leeb, the Chinese government recognizes the importance of these resources to key industries such as renewable energy and electronics and views the ability to accumulate them as proof of the country's strength. He also discusses the global demand and supply of key resources such as water. VERDICT Because it is useful for understanding current world politics and finances, this book is recommended for all adult readers.―
Caroline Geck, Library Journal

About the Author

Regarded as one of the nation's experts on global economic trends, Stephen Leeb has written several bestselling books for us, including THE OIL FACTOR, THE COMING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, and GAME OVER.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; 1 edition (October 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446576239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446576239
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Dr. Leeb for a long time now, and I can think of no greater guide to world events and my investment portfolio than his books and financial newsletter. In his previous books (The Oil Factor, The Coming Economic Collapse, and Game Over), Dr. Leeb predicted, with chilling foresight, the sustained upturn in commodity prices that we are witnessing today, which has served as the major drag on US economic growth. Leeb continues his analysis in Red Alert, focusing on the primary culprit behind these skyrocketing commodity prices: China.

Leeb's thesis is extremely well thought out and multi-faceted, and I will do my best to sketch his arguments here. First, the increased demand that China places on basic commodities -- oil, copper, silver, rare earths, iron ore, etc. -- is creating a genuine scarcity of these goods, leading not only to higher commodity prices, but to the threat of our civilization running out of these commodities altogether. Of course, "running out" doesn't necessarily mean there won't be any copper or oil left in the ground; rather, it means we reach a point where there is a net resource loss from new extraction -- that is, any new resources will require more resource inputs than the resources we obtain.

If we had, by some magical means, access to unlimited, cheap energy, many of the other resource problems would be solved, and indeed, many of our current economic ills would be made far easier to deal with; low energy costs would make extracting other basic resources infinitely easier, in turn making production costs cheaper for almost all the goods we currently use, allowing companies to charge less and still turn a profit, creating jobs, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
China's long-term-focused state-directed capitalism is running rings around America's short-term focused private-sector capitalism. It now is implementing a new dimension of its efforts to leapfrog America's eocnomic power. China's new strategy is based on taking advantage of the fact that the world is rapidly incurring resource constraints. China has been on a global buying spree to gain access to many commodities - the most obvious examples being oil, copper, and iron ore; in 'Red Alert,' author Stephen Leeb's focus is on 17 heavy rare earth materials, referred to as 'industrial vitamins' in China. China already possesses more of than any other nation - 93% of the world's total, and more than 99% of some of the most prized ones that already sell for several hundred dollars/lb. Elements like indium, antimony, beryllisum gallium, germanisum, cobalt, etc. are some of the rare earths.

Leeb believes OPEC's control of oil is dwarfed in comparison to China's control of rare earths, a commodity just as vital. Recently China has alternately banned and limited shipments of these raw materials used for super-strong magnets in products like wind turbine generators (as much as 560 lbs/generator) and lightweight electric motors for hybrid cars, as well as the manufacture of glass, batteries, catalytic converters, CFLs, cell phones, solar panels, toughening tank armor, powering night-vision goggles, and computer display screens. Common to many of these applications is rare earth's enabling smaller electronic products.

China extracts much of its rare earths from iron-ore tailings, giving it unbeatable low-costs. It has also discovered cheaper refining processes that provide higher purity than in the U.S. A 2010 GAO report estimated it could take 15 years to develop alternative supplies.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Chinese American very much raised in a traditional household, I was questioned by my peers on whether or not the aptly titled book would be marred by a defensive political slant. While Dr. Leeb provides some very articulate, well researched, and compelling insight on the how Chinese leadership domestic and foreign policy will force the world to cope with the China's inevitable rise, it is not at all offensive or biased against China or its people. A lot of insight into the communist party's policies, some which would certainly be censored if this book is released in China, is treated with the up most delicacy by Dr. Leeb, reflective of how America needs to navigate its foreign policy decisions with its biggest creditor and potential competitor.

What is worrying is the lack of action and clear discourse from our nation's leaders and the frightening ramifications that will arise if nothing is changed soon.

In addition to the focus on past macro-oriented trends that Dr. Leeb has been so successful in predicting, the book builds on his obvious passion and experience in commodities and resources and adds a critical foreign affairs viewpoint that enables the reader to really understand the gravity of the situation that we will face. As the influence of the US wanes and that of China waxes, care must be taken to ensure that our competitor does not become our enemy.
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Format: Hardcover
"China's aggressive actions in Africa and elsewhere to secure long-term supplies of increasingly scarce natural resources have implications well beyond what Americans pay for their gasoline, cell phones, and other electronic devices. In the long term, China's control of key resources from Africa could make us hostage to our greatest adversary--a situation no American should be content to let stand." pp. 96-97

Wake up America! Most of the available evidence would indicate that our politicians are clueless and that the American people are blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking just around the bend. Americans have long taken for granted that when it comes to solving our impending energy, precious metals (gold, silver, copper etc.) and rare earth mineral shortages that "technology" would somehow magically save the day. But according to the noted economist and author Dr. Stephen Leeb the problems confronting the United States in the near and long terms are far more complex and ultimately much more difficult to resolve than any we have seen in the past. His new book "Red Alert: How China's Growing Prosperity Threatens the American Way of Life" is a clarion call for all Americans to wake up to the stark realities that are almost certain to result in substantially reduced lifestyles for all of us in the years to come. In his book Dr. Leeb warns that while our leaders in Washington continue to procrastinate and focus on the short term the powers-that-be in China have been quietly and systematically sewing up vast quantities of the world's remaining fossil fuels, precious metals and rare earth minerals at an alarming rate. The implications for countries like the United States, Canada and most of Europe are frightening to say the least.
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