Joseph Quinlan takes the reader on a journey through recent financial history leading to the financial catastrophe of 2008, with a focus on current shifts and power struggles between countries and regions. The recent historical observations would be enough for some books, but Quinlan goes beyond that to express the current give and takes, and dilemma facing todays economic powers.
Later in the book Quinlan takes a harsh view of various negative consequences that could befall the world - should the power nations deviate from the globalization path, to become isolationist economic states. He does an excellent job of painting a depressing world of considerable angst, tension, destabilization of our existing power regime, and generally a step back from the progress the world has made in the past decades.
Fortunately, Quinlan uses this serious, and frightful scenario as a contrast to a more optimistic view and choice. Quinlan leaves the reader with the better choices the world, and U.S. (current economic superpower) must make to result in a world with a progressive economic trade system, and reduction of xenophobia, political tensions and protectionism.
Quinlan provides a fascinating view of possible futures, with a strong element of hope that the right choices will prevail, that will result in many new POSITIVE changes to the economic and political world. Good review of current economic politics, written in an appealing way that makes you want to continue reading through to the end.
This is one of the better economic studies done in 2010, if only because it succeeds in moving forward in its analysis of the world economies rather than continue to fixate on the global recession of 2008-2009. Quinlan's forecasts as to what a future world economy might look like after things begin to stabilize are based on a number of conclusions from critical trends that he identifies as developing over this past decade. In this book, he determines that the present world order cannot survive in its present state because of some glaring financial imbalances that need correcting in short order. America and Europe's dominance of the world's markets is no longer realistic. For instance, globalization, as conceived two decades ago, where nations would come together around these two geopolitical polarities to establish new harmonized trading agreements for the greater benefit of all, isn't working. The problem is that the world does not know how to dispense with the old economic order to make way for a new one. Continued heavy reliance on the American, European and Japanese models of heavy consumption, high debt, and declining competitiveness is holding up the show. As Quinlan points out in a number of places in the book, China, India and other emerging nations are bursting at the seams, eagerly anticipating the time when their respective economies can experience their day in the sun. As America's economy gradually comes back to the pack, through gradual shifting of key economic factors, an economic cold war could very well ensue where Asian and Middle-East nations consolidate their own trading interests. On issues such as oil dependency, wage competitiveness and debt accumulation, the US and the EU cannot compete like they did in the past. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a longer-term view of where we might be going with respect to the global economy. There are some very solemn reminders that the status quo no longer works, and that Washington no longer calls the shots when it comes to determining the future course of world history. The chapter on China's concerns about buying American securities is most interesting. This is a nation that has an army of highly-trainable workers hoping to improve their standard of living. Unless moderation prevails, this workforce and others from emerging markets are poised to replace North Americans as jobs become even more globally competitive and nations increasingly nationalize their precious commodity reserves like oil, grain, and potash.