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When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era 1st Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470310434
ISBN-10: 047031043X
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Panzner is a 25-year veteran of the global stock, bond, and currency markets and has worked for leading financial companies such as HSBC and JPMorgan Chase. He sees the current financial crisis as a watershed event in our nation’s history that will lead to unprecedented, possibly devastating changes in our economy and lifestyle. Just as other empires have done in the past, he asserts, we have stretched ourselves too thin both militarily and economically, and we are rapidly running out of the resources and global goodwill that will sustain our dominance. Our massive national deficit means we are at the mercy of foreign interests such as China, which holds a large proportion of our bonds, while enormous government bailout and “stimulus” spending programs create black holes of debt that threaten to create hyperinflation. Thankfully, Panzner lays out a road map to navigate these turbulent waters, and he argues convincingly that following his plan will help individuals to maintain wealth and security during the troubled times ahead. Recommended for all those trying to make sense of the economy. --David Siegfried

From the Inside Flap

Once the embodiment of prosperity, the United States now finds itself in a precarious position. With its financial system in shambles and global standing on the wane, many believe we are witnessing the end of the American era. In When Giants Fall, author Michael Panzner puts the coming age of post-American dominance in perspective, and addresses the far-reaching effects it will have on our lives, as well as the economic opportunities that will arise from it.

With this timely guide, Panzner describes how widespread economic changes—the product of growing conflict and wars, shortages, logistical disruptions, and a breakdown of the established political and monetary order—will impact businesses as well as investors, and discusses why individuals will be forced to rethink livelihoods, lifestyles, and living arrangements. He makes the case that for many people this will be nothing short of a modern Dark Ages, where each day brings fresh anxieties, unfamiliar risks, and a sense of foreboding.

However, for those enlightened few who understand what is really going on and what will likely happen next, the chaotic years ahead may well represent a singular opportunity—a time when you can realize goals you never thought possible and achieve a level of wealth and security that leaves you head-and-shoulders above everyone else. But to do this, you will have to understand how things got to where they are today and, more importantly, how they will play out in the future. When Giants Fall answers these and many other essential questions. From an examination of key economic, political, geopolitical, and social issues to the realities of earning a living, protecting and preserving wealth, running a business, and looking after loved ones, this practical guide provides a straightforward and comprehensive game plan for surviving—and thriving—in the uniquely unsettling years ahead.

The road ahead will be fraught with challenges that will be impossible for anyone to ignore or avoid—regardless of their current circumstances. But if you understand what's going on, set out a viable plan, and remain focused, you can get through these troubled times unscathed. Engaging and informative, When Giants Fall offers cutting-edge strategies and much-needed direction that will allow you to achieve financial security and stability in an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047031043X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470310434
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Befragt VINE VOICE on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The gist of this book is that the US is suffering from declining respect and financial and military strength, and that the world is beginning to suffer from overdue Malthusian shortages of critical resources. Because the US is in decline, the consequence will be international chaos as various actors (state and non-state, such as terrorists and international corporations) step into the void and inevitably begin to collide with the US and one another. The result of this will be global shortages of food, water and energy, increased protectionism, military conflagration, increased income disparity, and any other number of woes.

To support the inevitability of this dire future, Panzer cites Malthus, Paul Kennedy's book "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers," various fairly current news accounts, and less frequently, historic events. However, his rather strident argument of inevitable decline and collapse appears conclusory at best, and a critic might argue that the book itself represents a cynical attempt to capitalize upon the prevalent dour sentiments concerning the economy and America's position in the world.

Moreover, at times the tone of the book risks falling into condescending tongue clucking of the elite who, of course, saw this coming and are shocked, shocked, that we could ever allow this to happen. Take this quote from page 9, drawing parallels between the US and Rome as it was collapsing: "Instead of bread lines and circuses, we have NASCAR, video games and reality TV." 45 years ago, many Americans may have told you how the US was collapsing because of its softness in the face of communism, the Beatles, etc.

On the plus side, Panzner is well read, and he recounts a string of recent and several more remote historical events in great detail.
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Format: Hardcover
In Financial Armageddon, Panzner detailed a frightening but, as it turns out, prescient vision of a nation in the throes of an economic cancer. In his latest book, he expands on that earlier theme and writes about, among other things, how the world will change as the disease progresses through the terminal phase. The book covers a lot of ground, including oil, water, and food-related concerns, the future of NAFTA and the European Union, the potential for social unrest and world war, and what to own in world gone mad (hint: its the shiny stuff). It's probably not the sort of book that you crack open on a rainy Sunday afternoon, but once you get started, it's a powerful eye-opener that's hard to put down.
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Format: Hardcover
This follow up to Panzer's earlier book Financial Armageddon is exhaustively researched, well written and very sobering. When Giants Fall can really be described as one book in three parts. In the first, Panzer lays the historical basis for the unraveling of the American empire - the missteps that led our nation down the same past as many previous world powers.

The second phase of the book is a very well thought out hypothesis of what America and the world, will be facing next. The reader will dismiss Panzer's forecast of coming events at their own peril. Those who have read Financial Armageddon will know already that Panzer is among the very few (including Peter Schiff) who had predicted our current events well before they had come to pass.

The final part of the book is the bibliography. Granted, few people ever spend much time reading any bibliography, especially one that is over fifty pages long. I point this out only to emphasize the exhaustive research Panzer performed in writing this. While no one can predict the future, it is possible to make logical assumptions as to what the future may hold based on past events and current data. If past is prologue, we are in for quite a bumpy ride
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Format: Hardcover
Panzner begins by summarizing the evidence and events that have harmed American prosperity and leadership. These include our $65.9 trillion in unfunded pension and health care liabilities, allowing our infrastructure to deteriorate (estimated $2.5 trillion required), the trillions of dollars held by China, Japan, and mid-East nations, our current financial crisis, loss of much of our vaunted manufacturing base, vulnerability to foreign energy sources, loss of respect in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the mid-East, military overstretch (estimated $1.1 trillion in expenditures/year - with locations in 130 nations, and consuming 8% of our GDP), a need to borrow an additional $2 billion/day, a net deficit of assets held by foreigners - totaling 20% of our GDP, and continual poor ranking on international comparisons of pupil achievement - 29th in science, 35th in math, in 2006.

Another problem is that our very expensive military has become vulnerable to asymmetric warfare - eg. much cheaper Chinese submarines and missiles, and cyber-warfare.

Panzner could also have added that our health care, education, and military expenditures are at least double (as a percentage of GDP) those of other modern nations - totaling a significant waste of resources.

The REAL problem is that we now face a world with growing alliances involving nations that aren't interested in American hegemony (eg. China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran), increasing demand for shrinking resources - especially energy.
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