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This review is not about whether I personally agree or disagree with the statements in the book.
The authors of this book do a great job of making a highly convincing and insightful case for their viewpoint on the future of our global economy. It is a well-written, highly informative and eye-opening explanation of the authors' expectations, based on their macroeconomic analyses.
The overall experience of listening to this audiobook was enjoyable. The narrator was easy to listen to, and his cadence was just right to get the point across, as he read with a consistent, persuasive tone.
The thing that truly sours the book, in my opinion, is that it contains advertisements for their investment and retirement planning services. The end of the second and sixth chapters are blatant advertisements for their services, urging readers to call in or visit their website. Furthermore, the book, in a variety of places, urges its readers to visit their website, which is oriented toward getting people to pay for their services.
39 of 41 people found this review helpful
The basic premise of the book is that the American and global economies have largely been the creation of a series of government induced "bubbles", which, due to their unsustainability, are destined to pop, leading to an economic collapse.
Once that very valid point has been made, the authors careen off into lala-land.
For starters, the reader is forced over and over again, to listen to the authors:
A. Tell them how they are sage prophets of our economic future, and how right they were in a previous book which, you probably haven't bought yet, but should so you can see how brilliant they are.
B. Rant about tenured economics professors, and how they are going to show them all up by eventually unveiling their brilliant theory of "economic evolution" in later books, newsletters, and expensive investor services. Buy them so you won't be consumed by the zombie hords!
There are so many problems with this book, its hard to know where to start. I won't cover them all here, but offer a few choice examples.
1. "Numerical models will revolutionize economics and save the world."
Sorry guys. I spent 20 years of my career running numerical models. These are TOOLS not crystal balls. The authors mistakenly claim that by calibrating one of their models to past known events, they can accurately predict the future. THIS IS FALSE. Calibration is only the FIRST step in producing a reliable model. VALIDATION is where the rubber really meets the road. That is, after calibrating your model, you challenge it by running predictive simulations into the future, and then observe (in the future) whether your model was right. Do that a half dozen or more times (tweaking the parameters and metrics along the way) and you may have something that is half-way decent at prediction under a given set of economic (or other scientific) boundary conditions.
If economists want to be less "voodoo" and more "empirical", here's a bit of friendly advice: learn from other scientific disciplines that have been doing this type of thing a lot longer than you have!
2. "When the crash comes, everything will be really, really expensive - except of course FOOD, and we will all continue to become even fatter and lazier."
Uh, really? Do I even need to cover this? Why in the world would food be "cheap" when the costs of energy, equipment, seed, fertilizers, and chemicals will skyrocket?
3. "Marx was wrong, but hey, he deserves a lot of credit for "advancing" economic theory (an A for effort!). He saw that economies "evolve" and that humans can be perfected, he just based his theory on an outdated economic model, other than that, he was teh awesome!"
Yeah, really? Human beings are flawed. Biological evolution is one thing. Human character evolution is something else entirely. Humans have repeated the same cycles of behavior over and over again for millennia. Sorry guys, I don't think we are going to evolve into gods any time soon. And that hat tip to Karl the Killer, didn't up your currency in my book. He was a self-hating Jew who was pissed off at a world he didn't think was fair to him. Kinda like someone else we know...
4. "We won't tell you anything really useful in this book, because we want to sucker you into buying the next (where we won't tell you anything either). But we just want to drop a tantalizing little hint: "targeted stimulus"!!"
Awesome. Now the hat tips to Marx and Keynes make sense. You think these douche nozzles were on the right track, but you're gonna fix it with a few tweaks, eh? (probably with one of those fancy numerical models that haven't been validated, no doubt).
5. "Wegner's theory of Continental Drift was revolutionary. He was scoffed at just like untenured geniuses like us. But Wegner was right, so are we, we are all so smart. Believe everything we say. Buy our crud and make us rich."
Uh, OK, so this is not strictly an economic point of contention, but one of sloppiness. Wegner FYI, was WRONG. The continents do not "drift" - they do not float across the oceans. Wegner got lucky about the coasts looking like they fit together. Wegner was totally wrong about the drivers of continental movement; didn't understand what true continental margins were; didn't get that the oceans themselves are "plates" in and of themselves; and missed the significance of mountain building, earthquakes, and other "tectonic" theory, and how those relate to continental movement, which is far, far from random drift. Like the old saying goes - even a broken clock is right twice a day. So it is for astronomers like Wegner. (Astronomers have historically shown they understand less about planetary geology than your average bus driver)
In the end, the authors start with a kernel of believable truth that most average people already "get" - i.e. that our economy is ready to go "pop". Then use that as a launch pad for selling a bunch of half-a$$ed crud that they will publish in the future. Probably dribs and drabs of nothingness, all the while promising "if you just buy our newsletter, we'll give you the real scoop".
Don't get me wrong; I don't have a lot of love for academic tenured economists either. But using your obvious grudge against these people is not the basis for making the world a better place (see Marx above).
Meh. Save your credits. This is not the book you are looking for.
Oh, the narrator on the other hand, was excellent.
58 of 62 people found this review helpful
These guys predicted the bursting of the last housing bubble while most people were blissfully unaware of the horrors ahead and continued to spend like the good times would never end. This book is a must read for anyone who genuinely cares about the years ahead. Alternatively you could continue to believe the intricate web of misinformation spun by the political leaders worldwide.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The predictions in this book may well come to fruition but the book is padded out to the extreme which makes it incredibly boring. After reading “Fools Gold” which was excellent this was very disappointing.