HOW THE WEST WAS LOST!!
AN EYE-OPENING BOOK THAT GETS TO THE NITTY-GRITTY AND FRANK
TALK ABOUT HOW THE WEST HAS AND IS LOOSING ITS MIGHTY ECONOMICAL
POWER - A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ - Keith Hunt
Inside Jacket front:
Amid the hype of China's rise to global power, the most important
story of our generation is being pushed aside: how America's
rapidly growing population of the unskilled, unemployed, and
disaffected threatens the nation's wealth and stature.
In How the West Was Lost, the New York Times bestselling author
and economist Dambisa Moyo sheds light on how a host of short
sighted policy decisions have left the economic seesaw poised to
tip away from America and toward the emerging world. Faced with
this impending calamity, the United States can choose either to
remain open to the international economy or to close itself off,
adopting protectionist policies that will give the country time
and space to redress these pervasive structural problems.
Incisive and illuminating, "How the West Was Lost" not only
exposes the policy myopia of the West that has led it onto a path
of eco nomic decline but also reveals the crucial-and
radical-policy actions that must be taken to stem this tide.
Inside Jacket back:
Born and raised in Zambia, DAMBISA MOYO received a Ph.D. in
economics from Oxford University and a master's degree from
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. A
former consultant for the World Bank and an investment banker
specializing in emerging markets at Goldman Sachs, she is the
author of the New York Times bestseller "Dead Aid."
On 9 July zoo8 the Chrysler Building, one of the best-loved icons
of the New York skyline, was bought for US$800m by a foreign
government. Thus one of America's most emblematic buildings,
symbolizing its power, its industry, passed into the hands of
outsiders. It was not just any foreign government; not Britain,
not Germany, not France; indeed not any economic power from the
West. The buyer came from the new power bloc of rapidly emerging
countries, which are today threatening the more than
500-year-long economic reign of the West. It was the investment
arm of the Abu Dhabi government. The Chrysler acquisition was a
part of the estimated US$1.8bn spent on commercial property in
the US by Middle Eastern investors in just the first six months
of 2008. It was not the first such purchase; nor will it be the
last. Indeed, after the zoo8 financial debacle, and the collapse
in asset prices that it brought with it, such purchases are only
likely to accelerate.
How the West was Lost is the story of how the world's most
economically powerful nations have seen their wealth and dominant
political position decline to the point where, today, they are
about to forfeit all they have strived for - economic, military
and political global supremacy. There are three main reasons why
the West has seen its substantial advantage erode; an erosion
whose pace is accelerating with every passing year.
First, through blinkered political and military choices, the West
(principally the US) has successfully managed to alienate the
very emerging countries with whom it now competes. Although these
countries continue to trade with their Western counterparts, it
is often done through gritted teeth and with an underlying sense
of mutual mistrust. Naturally, the net effect has been to
encourage polarization, rather than foment credible alliances.
Were it not for a profit motive, the real risk is that come the
day when the emerging nations don't have to trade with the West,
Second is what Thomas Friedman describes as the `flatness of the
world' - the lowering of transport, communication and
manufacturing costs, which has made the transfer of technology
easier. Indeed, the technological and economic advantages of the
West have made this possible, and as a natural consequence
encouraged the worldwide adoption of best-practice technology and
governance standards. However, these advantages once held in
Western monopoly have, over time, dissipated, and will certainly
continue to do so.
However, it is the third cause which is the prime focus of this
book. How the West was Lost charts how, over the last fifty
years, the most advanced and advantaged countries of the world
have squandered their once impregnable position through a
sustained catalogue of fundamentally flawed economic policies.
It is these decisions that, along the way, have resulted in an
economic and geopolitical see-saw, which is now poised to tip in
favour of the emerging world.' Unless radical policy changes are
made over the next decade the controlling hand of who owns what
will quickly belong to China, India, Russia or the Middle East,
and today's industrialized West is assured a savage economic
In September 2008, the world witnessed an unprecedented assault
on the financial structure that the West had taken for granted
for the previous fifty years. Shockwave after shockwave battered
the system. Every day seemed to bring a new calamity. In just
three weeks, Lehman Brothers, a stalwart of the US banking
system, collapsed; the prime US mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac, had to be nationalized; AIG, the world's largest
insurer, was brought to its knees and its very existence called
into question (the company would receive a hefty US$85bn
life-line from the American government to keep it afloat). And,
in Britain, the bailout of banking giants Lloyds TSB and the
Royal Bank of Scotland was running well above US$ 1.4tn (ú850bn)
in 2009. Through it all, trillions were wiped off stock exchanges
from New York, to London, to Reykjavik, and most places in
between, placing millions of people's pensions and savings in
But however extraordinary and cataclysmic these events were, How
the West was Lost is not about the immediate whys and wherefores
of this shattering and unexpected financial disaster. It is
undeniable that the crash overwhelmed the world but just like a
tsunami that appears seemingly out of nowhere and leaves death
and destruction in its wake, the events of 2008 were the
inevitable consequence of fault lines and shifts in economic
tectonic plates that lay undetected under the seemingly calm
financial waters upon which Western economies had sailed smoothly
for the last half-century.
However, unlike the plates beneath the sea, had these economic
faults been detected and dealt with, the financial crisis of 2008
might never have happened; certainly not to the degree and with
the ferocity with which it did occur. The collapse was the
culmination of a catalogue of policy errors and mistakes that had
been gathering momentum over the last fifty years, erupting into
the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Extraordinarily now, as if blind to the real causes of the
turmoil of 2008, many governments have kept these flawed policies
But there is a bigger story to be told. It is a mistake to view
what happened as an isolated and relatively contained episode. In
fact, what happened in zoo8 marked yet another step in a
fundamental transition from one economic power to another; from
the West, to the Rising Rest.
For many a political scientist, this shift has troubling
hegemonic consequences. To them, whether we live in a uni-polar
world (for example, where the US dominates), a bi-polar world of,
say, the Cold War era, or a multi-polar world governed by a
multiplicity of states with differing political ideologies, is a
matter of supreme importance.
But viewed through the narrow utilitarian prism of an economist,
what matters most is economic prosperity (for the West, coupled
with freedoms), rather than who ultimately rules the world.
Economics and economists are guilty of viewing the world,
economies and countries as if on a league table with only one
winner, although it is undeniable that it is the global financier
who decides who wields military and political might.
Should it really matter if some other country is richer and more
militarily powerful? Who cares whether a country has economic
supremacy, as long as your country is prosperous and can manage
its own internal affairs? For example, the societies of Denmark,
Sweden and Norway, each economically advanced, seem to have no
qualms about who rules the world as long as they are left alone
to be prosperous and peaceful, though their attitude might well
change were whoever held the purse strings to start to curb their
freedoms and encroach upon their way of life. But until that
happens, whether the global financier is China, Russia or America
seems, for them, largely irrelevant.
Obviously, the political-economic dichotomy is a false one. In
reality, politics and economics are bound together, and even
inextricably linked. That noted, however, in How the West was
Lost I will focus on the economic shifts and how they are certain
to transform the world in which we and future generations will
Time is running out. Unless the West adopts radical solutions,
many of them offered in this book, and adopts them quickly, it
will be too late. Not because China will necessarily become so
much richer, but rather because of America's own folly in
policymaking. How did the West give its undeniable lead away?
THIS IS QUITE THE BOOK THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT THE DIRTY UNDERCOVER
GREEDY CARELESS PEOPLE (AS LONG AS THEY WERE GETTING RICH THEY
DID NOT CARE), AND THE DUMB MIND-SET OF SO-CALLED "EDUCATED"
PEOPLE WHO WERE RUNNING THE COUNTRIES OF THE WEST OVER THE LAST
50 YEARS, UNTIL THEIR EDUCATION OR LACK THEREOF, BROUGHT THE WEST
TO A CRASHING FALL IN 2008, A CRASH THAT MAY TAKE A WHILE FOR
EUROPE AND THE USA TO DIG THEMSELVES OUT OF.
A BOOK WELL WORTH THE READ