Decline and Fall by John Michael Greer [EPUB]
28 June 2014, 13:14
2014 | EPUB | 464.36KB
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
Although he was writing nearly a century ago, William Butler Yeats could just as easily be describing the United States today. The decline and fall of America's global empire is the central feature of today's geopolitical landscape, and the nature of our response to it will determine much of our future trajectory, with implications that reach far beyond the limits of one nation's borders.
Decline and Fall: The End of Empire and the Future of Democracy in 21st Century America challenges the conventional wisdom of empire. Using a wealth of historical examples combined with groundbreaking original analysis, author John Michael Greer:
- Shows how the United States has backed itself into a blind corner in the pursuit of political and economic power
- Explores the inevitable consequences of imperial collapse
- Proposes a renewal of democratic institutions as the only constructive way forward
By shifting the conversation from whether today's American empire should survive to whether it can survive, and arguing persuasively that the answer to the latter question is "no," Decline and Fall makes an invaluable contribution to the body of speculative post-industrial literature. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the state of the Union, or who believes that the time has come to reinvent the American Dream.
House of Debt [EPUB]
28 June 2014, 11:01
2014 | EPUB | 585.87KB
The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.
Though the banking crisis captured the public’s attention, Mian and Sufi argue strongly with actual data that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors. Increasing the flow of credit, they show, is disastrously counterproductive when the fundamental problem is too much debt. As their research shows, excessive household debt leads to foreclosures, causing individuals to spend less and save more. Less spending means less demand for goods, followed by declines in production and huge job losses. How do we end such a cycle? With a direct attack on debt, say Mian and Sufi. More aggressive debt forgiveness after the crash helps, but as they illustrate, we can be rid of painful bubble-and-bust episodes only if the financial system moves away from its reliance on inflexible debt contracts. As an example, they propose new mortgage contracts that are built on the principle of risk-sharing, a concept that would have prevented the housing bubble from emerging in the first place.
Thoroughly grounded in compelling economic evidence, House of Debt offers convincing answers to some of the most important questions facing the modern economy today: Why do severe recessions happen? Could we have prevented the Great Recession and its consequences? And what actions are needed to prevent such crises going forward?
Unhappy Union [EPUB]
28 June 2014, 10:50
2014 | EPUB | 2.08MB
The euro was supposed to create an unbreakable bond between the nations and people of Europe. But when the debt crisis struck, the flaws of the half-built currency has brought the EU close to breaking point after decades of post-war integration.
Deep fault-lines have opened up between European institutions and the nation-states, and often between the rulers and the ruled, raising profound questions about Europe's democratic deficit. Belief in European institutions and national governments alike is waning, while radicals of both the left and the right are gaining power and influence.
Europe's leaders have so far proved the doomsayers wrong and prevented the currency from breaking up. "If the euro fails, Europe fails," says Angela Merkel. Yet the euro, and the European project as a whole, is far from safe. If it is to survive and thrive, leaders will finally have to confront difficult decisions. How much national sovereignty are they willing to give up to create a more lasting and credible currency? How much of the debt burden and banking risk will they share? Is Britain prepared to walk away from the EU? And will other countries follow? In their astute analysis of the crisis, the authors describe America's behind-the-scenes lobbying to salvage the euro, economists' bitter debates over austerity, the unseen manoeuvres of the European Central Bank and the tortuous negotiations over banking union. In the final chapter, they set out the stark choices confronting Europe's leaders and citizens.