- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 7, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393248895
- ISBN-13: 978-0393248890
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 99 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World 1st Edition
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“How do you write a compelling book about which nations will rise and fall over the next five years? Probably not by suggesting that it’s mostly random, except for extreme policy mistakes. True, Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, offers much more than that in The Rise and Fall of Nations. He recounts his exhaustive global travel that has him meeting with Vladimir Putin on one page and listening to George W. Bush analyzing Vladimir Putin on the next, and he describes his massive research effort aimed at spotting “ten clear rules” to follow based on a huge database of many nations and many decades”
- William Easterly, The Wall Street Journal
“In this lively and informative book, Sharma explains his system of 10 rules for identifying economies with good potential. Among the striking conclusions is his bearishness about China, largely because of its huge and growing indebtedness.”
- Martin Wolf, Financial Times
“What determines whether countries succeed or fail? That’s the big question Ruchir Sharma sets out to answer in The Rise and Fall of Nations…Sharma’s mission is as ambitious as it is well-executed. A mix of humble pragmatism and daring decisiveness make his tips compelling and credible…The author backs up each of the rules with a combination of hard facts and colourful anecdotes gathered on his travels…Sharma’s tried and tested tenets and eloquent delivery will reward anyone hoping to understand what determines the fickle fortunes of nations.”
- Katrina Hamlin, Reuters
“Entertaining, acute and disarmingly honest. . . . [Sharma] has a knack for sharp comparisons between countries. Australia’s history of high immigration is contrasted with Japan’s insularity. . . . He is pithy, too. In countries with rotten financial systems, ‘a shake-up of banking is a shake-up of society.’ . . . Mr. Sharma’s book is a fine guide to the great emerging market boom and bust.”
- The Economist
“Compelling. . . a success. . . . The local insight adds color, while the data reassures us that his analysis is underpinned by more than a series of conversations with taxi drivers. . . . Much more than an investment primer. The issues he deals with, from growth to inequality, are of much broader interest. . . . This does not necessarily mean he will be right ―but it does mean his projections are more easily testable. . . . Sharma’s book provides a good guide for working out what will come next.”
- Duncan Weldon, Prospect magazine
“A vital guide to the new economic order. . . . Sharma has been one of the prescient seers of the Chinese debt crisis.”
- Rana Foroohar, Time Magazine
“If you have been wondering what’s happening to the world―why for example has England voted to commit economic suicide by leaving the European Union?. . . . The Americans have voted for Donald Trump. . . Donald Trump? What’s going on? Is there a rightwing, anti-immigrant backlash, or is it more complex? In fact much of what is happening is following a pattern, a pattern of global trends that this book has in great detail and mastery documented. . . . An amazing read, I learned a lot from it, and its out-of-the-box thinking.”
- Prannoy Roy, Indian TV news anchor and executive co-chair of NDTV group
“The book is so lively and wandering that it is possible to miss the 10 rules and enjoy it just as a record of Sharma’s learning them.”
- The Indian Express
“The most interesting question of all time is why countries are poor. . . . The Rise and Fall of Nations is a wonderful attempt to answer that question by asking 10 questions. . . . This book is a wonderful way to travel the world, understand the issues countries should care about.”
- Manish Sabharwal, India Today
From the Back Cover
Praise for Ruchir Sharma and Breakout Nations
One of Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People of 2015 and Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers of 2012.
“The best book on global economic trends I’ve read in a while.”―Fareed Zakaria
“Sharma’s wealth of knowledge … and ample experience on the ground are strong foundations for his exploration of what makes economies break out, or break down.”― Reuters
“For sheer readability and insight on the developing world drama, I dare say you won't find a better choice.”― Wall Street Journal
“Combines keen on-the-ground reporting and economic and investment analysis with lively, lucid prose.”― Forbes
“Smart geoeconomic insights.”― Foreign Policy
“I love this book. It really snuck up on me. It will sneak up on you too.”―Tom Keene, Bloomberg TV
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Two of Sharma's most important points were the "Circle of Life" and "Kiss of Debt" chapters. He very correctly points out that politicians who start out on a promising, reform driven path -- such as Putin in Russia, Edrogan in Turkey, and even Mugabe in Zimbabwe -- tend to become corrupt and terrible for economic growth after ten years. What's great now often turns rotten over the long term; this is a theme which recurs in his book.
The Kiss of Debt chapter is more relevant in the post-financial crisis environment. While it seems common sense, Sharma's research shows that countries in which debt grows at rates greatly exceeding GDP growth tend to experience a period of very low growth in subsequent years. The most pertinent example today: China. However, there are some other less-recognized examples including Turkey.
Sharma does a great job of integrating historical examples, statistics, and his own personal ground-level observations into a relatively succinct book. This was a great sequel to his Breakout Nations book and I hope he continues to publish his thoughts.
The author relates a fascinating story, covering a hundred or more nations, over the last 50 years, and how almost all the countries have been buffeted by repeated and violent booms and busts, with little persistent increases in well-being--since 1970 there have been five worldwide recessions, he reports, and they have all started in the United States, and they have decimated the fortunes of most of the world’s poorer nations.
The author points a finger at the “easy money pouring out of Western banks” as fuel adding to a rapid expansion and a resulting bust. He describes how the lack of financial regulation on banks and the 2008 mortgage/financial melt-down on Wall Street ended the period of rapid worldwide growth and reversed the fortunes of all emerging economies. In a time when everyone wants to aid the Third World countries, it is useful to reflect on how the speculative and corrupt practices on Wall Street undid all the good that may have come from the foreign aid and assistance given to the undeveloped nations. Sharma explains, that if the boom had been moderated, and the bust avoided, the average incomes of the emerging nations would have soon caught up with those of the rich nations.
The ten factors that the author relies on to identify a growing economy are: Whether the size of the workforce is increasing; Is the geography favorable; Are there significant investment in factories; The amount of inflation; The Level of Debt; The number and nature of billionaires and corruption; whether the currency value is high or low; the degree of support vs interference by the government; the degree of income inequality; and the persistence of growth. Many of these factors are the same as measured each year by the various “Indices of Economic Freedom” published by the Heritage Society and the Fraser Institute. Thus, Sharma supports the conservative philosophy that a nation’s is largely dependent on a growing workforce, moderate debt, low inflation, minimal government regulation, and avoidance of high inequality. He lists the very few “miracle economies” that have managed to offer these supports over an extended period and thereby gain decades of sustained growth: Korea, Taiwan, China, and Singapore. The others usually fall victim to swings between reform and populism with its excess regulation, wild spending, low investment, and corruption. Indeed, America itself is becoming more subject to such destructive tendencies..
Sharma’s earlier book, “Break out Nations,” is very similar to this one, and also indicates that to be successful, a nation must maintain order, minimize debt, minimize corruption, balance the budget, and go easy on burdensome regulations that suppress business activity. A weakness in both books is that there is little attention given to the importance of the nature and attitude of a people or their culture. For an interesting example of how culture and the composition of a population impacts economic success, I recommend “Start-up Nation, The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” by Damon Senor and Saul Singer. Sharma mentions Israel in only two small paragraphs, acknowledging their transformation into a technical powerhouse over the last 40 years, but with no discussion of why that happened and persisted so long. It is likely that some populations and cultures are less prone to swing into orgies of populism and the uncontrolled spending that creates the boom and bust scenarios which preclude extended rises in prosperity.
The book provides much raw data on demographic trends and stresses the need for population growth. With birth rates down in most of the established economies, he seems to favor immigration as the answer but makes no mention of good vs bad immigration. There is no reference to immigration policies such as used in Norway, Israel, and Switzerland that restrict admission to desirable merit-based applicants. Similarly, the author stresses the need for a growing workforce but pays scant attention to the percentage of people in the workforce. The shortage of workers is not just caused by birth rates, but also by the number of people dropping out of the workforce. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the American labor force participation rate will decline from about 63 percent in 2017 to around 58 percent in 2046. The report indicates that if the participation rate is 61 percent in 2046, the resulting higher gross domestic product would lead to more revenues, higher interest rates, smaller budget deficits, and less federal debt. But if the participation rate drops to 55 percent in 2046, the resulting slower economic growth would create larger budget deficits and more debt. Consideration of these variables, and their causes, would have helped provide useful solutions to our economic problems.
That said, I've read several books of a similar genre and this is the best of them. Mr Sharma shares lots of interesting facts with us which you can get a good sense of from the review by Mr Loyd E.
The book has 11 chapters. Each of the first 10 discusses a subject of analysis that he performs on the various countries and he basically maps out how he thinks about each of these and gives some examples. The methods are not difficult to understand and are very full of fairly practical wisdom. The 11th chapter he basically summarizes his feeling about the prospects of various countries over the next 5 years. He is careful to note that he's only making projections for the next 5 years or so as things can change based upon world developments or leadership changes.
Although Ruchir's focus is on emerging market countries there are plenty of statements made relating to G7 or G20 countries. You get a pretty good feeling for which areas of the world are likely to make real economic progress and which ones are likely to slip.