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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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I have been a reader of The Daily Reckoning for some time. I didn't expect any new material in Empire of Debt, but I was interested to see how some of my favorite themes were tied together into a book as opposed to an e-letter.

The results are mildly amusing, unsurprising and about as deep as the water on my windshield during a mild drizzle.

The whole book could have been easily summarized into a brief article. But it wouldn't have been as funny.

Here are the key points:

1. Any leader with the power to act imperial will.

2. Most emperors were smart enough to make a profit from the empire.

3. The American empire loses lots of money and makes less economic sense than any other empire in recent memory.

4. American economic policies will lead to an astonishingly rapid decline in the value of the American dollar.

5. American assets are tremendously overpriced and will either fall in price or remain at current price levels for a long time.

6. Buy gold.

If any of those points are new to you, you will probably think this is a four or five star book. Clearly, the authors understand that they are looking at an economic disaster in the making. The book would have been greatly improved by providing more advice about how to improve matters or to profit from them.

I would say that you could skip this book if you already understand those lessons, but the humor is well done. It would be a shame to miss the sections praising "do-nothing" presidents.
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on June 4, 2006
The majority of people who will read this book are already concerned with the state of financial condition of this continent...but the vast majority of those of Canadians & Americans who need to know what Bonner imparts may never get the message. I read this book because of my worries about the highly leveraged nature of these nations.

A frightening number of articles in world business journals state lately that China does not consider America (or Canada)to be an economic factor in the period beyond 2016. That is only 10 years away!

Maybe we can still do something to stop the China steamroller.

This book repeats past other nations problems with debt. Bonner is trying to drive home a point; debt is toxic. I sort of wish he would show that everybody is responsible for the debt instead of blaming governments and outsourcing.

Speaking of outsourcing, I also highly recommend Brown & Wilson's THE BLACK BOOK OF OUTSOURCING: HOW TO MANAGE THE CHANGES, CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES (Wiley Publishers, 2005) as it teaches, enlightens and prepares you for the changing world economy. You'll be a better business person for knowing what most are blaming and therefore losing ground. Another 5 star book.
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on June 19, 2006
Great warning to a proud nation that now faces huge financial crises. Worth read. But its analysis is not that strong on new global development. For a more insightful book on a changing global economic map, I recommend: China's global reach: markets, multinationals, and globalization by a Chinese journalist George Zhibin Gu, which offers vast cutting-edge ideas about changing China in relation to global development.
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on March 16, 2006
It's nice to see a Libertarian book finally go mainstream....
Bonner and Wiggin do a delightful job of showing just how far the US has fallen from grace. From its humble beginnings as a republic focused on individual liberty, the authors progressively paint a picture of a country that slowly turned itself into an offensive juggernaut in the 20th century. The precarious position we now find ourselves is inescapable for anyone who values their financial situation and current standard of living.
They are equally proficient in historical analysis as they are in their financial musings. These guys are RUTHLESS in their criticisms of everyone from Roosevelt to Al "Printing Press" Greenspan.
Aside from the heavy and sometimes depressing material contained in this book, you will find yourself laughing frequently as these guys go no-holds-barred tangents - especially memorable is the 4 pages they dedicate to giving Thomas Friedman the lambasting he deserves.
"There is no subtler or surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debase the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which only one man in a million is able to diagnose."
- John Maynard Keynes
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 14, 2009
I read this back in 2006, before the you know what hit the fan. Bonner and Wiggin break down all the massive economic mismanagement into a readable form. They give many examples from past debt explosions, and what the results turned out to be. They spell out in detail, why having trillions of dollars in debt can lead to big problems. They also explain how earlier American borrowing was used to develop productive assets. Today people mortgage their house to buy a new plasma TV.
This book will help explain all the current economic problems. You will find answers to problems, that you will never see in the media. This book is not a dull economic textbook type of read. Its fun to read, and the information is extremely important.
I also highly recommend Mobs, Messiahs, And Markets, by Bonner and Rajiva.
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on November 21, 2007
I enjoyed the contents of the book. I found it interesting. Starting from the first chapter until the third one.
It's a well-written book with brilliant insights that can be entertaining and provoking.
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on December 3, 2006
I didn't quite finish the book. Mr. Bonner is a professional author and publisher of anything that is in vogue with the public. The subject matter plays on the fears of people. The contents is not unlike the language in the mass mailings by his Agora publishing company. There are too many books by this author with too many catchy tititles, which should make one suspicious of his real message: buy this book not for the substance but because of what you want to read ("got ye!")!

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