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on February 3, 2013
Basically the book emphasizes the absurdity and inevitable collapse of all societies which live beyond their means. It shows the exponential increase of US government and private debt and stresses how the monies for the high standard of living in US and the other Western societies are borrowed from much poorer but hard working Asian countries. At the same time in order to control this huge debt the US just prints more and more monies without any cover in real wealth and without producing anything of real value. This of course cannot continue forever and the collapse (remember Weimar republic) will follow, sooner or later. However our politicians, Husein Obama included, do not seem to care and just do their best to postpone the inevitable by borrowing and printing even more monies; of course the longer the real "adjustment" is postponed, the greater the ensuing disaster for all of us. There are a lot of historical references and the parallels with past collapsed empires including the Roman and British empires are obvious. Unfortunately we are all too happy to close our eyes to the inevitable despite the fact that we all know that we are all paid a high wage by a economy which really produces nothing of real value: everything is made in much poorer asian countries, but its' citizens work much harder for lower pay and quickly learning, until they will suddenly refuse to support our parasitistic way of life.
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on August 31, 2010
Thought provoking insights into how empires have been financed since the Roman era, and how the American empire, by contrast, depends upon unsustainable debt financing to maintain its consumtion-based economy.
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on October 3, 2009
The authors have written not only a well researched and thoroughly documented treatise on economics, history and money -- but they did so in a most enjoyable way! I kept finding myself wanting to read out loud their many pithy and clever 'punch lines' but realized they were enjoyable, clever and funny to me because of the context and background the previous paragraphs (and pages) they had so nicely lofted into my mind! Ah well, some punch lines were SO good that I just couldn't resist sharing them with family and friends. In the end, if said friends didn't understand what I was talking about, I kept recommending they get their own copy of this book. Its an excellent read. Nicely done, gentlemen! You kept me amused while educating me. Plus I had a heck of a good time while reading!
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on October 22, 2009
The New Empire of Debit offers an interesting perspective that through sheer global influence the United States is practically an empire. And by being in empire, the rules that applied to previous empires apply to the United States. And, the mistakes that lead to the fall of empires somewhat applied to the United States. It is interesting that the problems the United States had were very similar to that of previous empires.

One of the interesting parts of the book is that it zeroes in the history of President Wilson. I was quite surprised about this because this book is not a political book; it is more of an economic book.

I did not agree with everything in the book but for the most part the book was a good read. The book is more historical than current event. If you know little about the history of empires and like a good primer, this is maybe the book for you. I would recommend this book for those who seek a good understanding of current economic events.
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on June 27, 2013
The New Empire of Debt is a fun read. It is like a Matt Taibbi article without the profanity and with a strong strain of Libertarianism. Liberal comparisons to past/collapsed empires should sober up even the wildest America-First zealot.
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on April 17, 2013
This is as good as I have read over greed, greed and more greed and also about crackpot incentives that catalysed collapse. The story is likely to anger practically everyone.
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on December 27, 2011
I first read this book immediately when the first edition was published in the fall of 2005. I have given 4 copies away, and own two hard copies and the Kindle version of this second edition. This book was the beginning of a very fundamental shift in my thinking, and that was at the age of 48 (I'm now 54), not when people generally change their ways. I had been raised a conservative, but was largely becoming totally disillusioned with the modern Republican way of thinking. Then, voila, I read this iconoclastic book and began to realize that I was not the only one thinking this way. It's ok to question what we have learned in the past (much of it in public schools) and this book will help you to do that in a very entertaining and deadly incisive manner. Also, I have read all of Bonner and Wiggin's books, and they are all very good, but in my opinion, this one is great.
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on November 11, 2009
I HAVE FOLLOWED THE AUTHORS FOR SEVERAL YEARS READING THEIR WEBSITE DAILY. SUBSEQUENTLY, I HAVE READ ALL THEIR BOOKS.

AS AN INVESTOR, I APPRECIATED THEIR EARLY WARNINGS REGARDING THE HOUSING/DEBT CRISIS. THEY HAVE HELPED ME FORMULTATE MY MACROECONOMIC POSITION.

I WISH THIS BOOK WAS REQUIRED READING FOR ALL AMERICANS. OUR IGNORANCE OF ECONOMIC HISTORY AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR MISGUDED POLICIES IS A SUBJECT TOO FEW AMERICANS ARE WILLING TO UNDERSTAND, ESPECIALLY OUR ELECTED LEADERS.

"NONE ARE SO BLIND AS THISE WHO REFUSE TO SEE". THIS BOOK SHOULD OPEN SOME EYES AND MINDS.

JIM MCCURRY
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on November 18, 2009
Good summary of the financial problems currently facing the USA and of the Imperial role that this country has assumed in the World since the end of WW2.

The statistics provided, however, seem a bit biased as they do not seem to be related to the growth of GDP.

A useful sequel would be a detailed review of the stakes of Japan and China in this situtation; OK they have lots of US financial assets and they can dump the US dollar, but if they do, won't they also dump their own export oriented economies?

Fundamentally,aren't current economic problems simply due to the fact that the share of labour income as a proportion of total production is constantly declining in the US and elsewhere? US consumers are too indebted to consume, Asian consumers are too poor to do so and The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubblenot used to do so.

The fatalism displayed in this book is also depressing; the nature of humankind is to try to improve its environment, not let a marketplace (institutional framework) which produces unsatisfactory results function as it usually does.
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on July 15, 2010
Given the gravity of the subject matter, this book's amateurish tone and style are extremely disappointing. Bonner and Wiggin wasted an opportunity to write seriously and cogently about a topic that merits a more honest effort.

The first 88 pages are almost entirely useless. The authors try to philosophize about cycles of history bringing down all past empires because of overconfidence and a false need to make the world a better place. This arguably is relevant to the United States sovereign debt problem, but the presentation of this "history" is riddled with poor jokes and sullen quips about George Bush and the Iraq War.

By Part II, the focus of the book is on the United States but the narrative does not become substantially relevant to our current problem until page 181 when the debt explosion during the 1980's is discussed. From here the book is largely on point economic-wise, but the authors still insist on bogging down the story with throwaway sentences and cheapshots toward elected officials and the "lumpen masses."

Example 1: "Economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics did to numbers what guards at Guantanamo did to prisoners. They roughed them up so badly, they were ready to say anything."

Example 2: "In the Spring of 2005, Grant's Interest Rate Observer paused to observe something unusual: Rarer even than a banker with a heart, it discovered one with a brain."

If a reader has the patience for that type of humor for 328 pages then this is a fascinating book. I think for most people it will be an unfortunate waste of time and money. For a preview of what this book contains, you can read Bonner's blog entries at Lew Rockwell. In fact, it is fair to say that this book reads like one long, pretentious blog post, rather than a thoughtful approach to an important topic.
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