A Banquet of Consequences: The Reality of Our Unusually Uncertain Economic Future
by Satyajit DasPublished by FT Publishing (£16.99)(Buy at Amazon)
The biggest surprise of the Great Recession wasn't the depth of the downturn, but the slow pace of the subsequent recovery. Eight years on, the eurozone is still struggling to bring debt and unemployment under control. Even in Britain and America, many families feel that the recovery has passed them by. In his new book, A Banquet of Consequences, Satyajit Das argues that this isn't just a passing phase, but a permanent change.
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Das isn't the only author making this claim, but he goes further than most in setting out the case that "the globe is reaching the limits of achievable growth", says Paul Vigna in The Wall Street Journal. "Rather than facing up to those realities, the global economy has been force-fed more and more debt as a way of pushing off the eventual reckoning." The result is "a miasma of saturated debt, stagnant growth, social upheaval, and the specter of demagoguery".
Steven Rattner, writing in The New York Times, is impressed by the "blizzard of facts, some stretching back to the Roman Empire", although he takes issue with the argument that austerity would have been a better alternative to monetary expansion. "Slashing debt when the free-fall recession of 2008 hit, as he believes every sector of the economy should have done, could well have meantdepression."
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Even readers who don't necessarily agree that things are quite as bleak as he suggests can't deny that serious problems remain with the level of debt in the world economy. At the very least, Das is more interesting and provocative than other writers who have attempted to diagnose what is wrong with the recovery. This book is well worth reading.
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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