Monday, April 13, 2009

Just Finished Reading "When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap For The End Of The American Era" by Michael J. Panzner (Book Review)

Until now, I haven't read a book cover to cover since 1995. Usually, I gaze chapters and selectively read sections of books. I typically have been a Newspaper, Journal and online connoisseur of information.

About two months ago I noticed Michael Panzner's book "When Giants Fall." I've been a bear on the U.S. Economy since around 2005 and noticed that the extended title was "An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era." This extended title was enough for this Bear to put his book mark back into use.

I found "When Giants Fall" an enlightening book. Any prognosticator who attempts to tell the future must carefully set up their thesis or risk losing readers who may have contradictory views. Even if I wasn't a Bear on the U.S. Economy, I would still respect the research put into this book. Panzner thoughtfully uses a bibliography of about 1100 references to generate his thesis and present his Economic Roadmap.

Part I of his book is titled "Fault Lines of a Fading Empire." In it, he gives us a lesson in Economics & Politics. For those readers interested in International Relations and Economics, Panzner gives you an interesting case highlighting the undercurrents which are acting to drag the U.S. from its hegemonic (aka "top dog") socio-economic superpower paradigm to what I perceive to be a co(co...) superpower format and trending to simply a national "player" format years into the future if our politicians don't act now to stem our Economy's slide.

Part II of his book is titled "Opportunities and Threats." This section transitions from thesis building to road map presentation. A short attention span reader like me is well served reading this section in total to quickly access Panzner's views about the future. In an opportunity knocks section he states:

More broadly speaking, other developments, including demographic trends, also darken the outlook for many asset classes. In the United States, Japan, Russia, and most countries in Europe, populations are aging, some at much faster rates than others. This has several implications. For one thing, it suggests that productive capacity in these countries will wane; real estate, stocks, and other financial assets will increasingly be sold or exchanged for safer alternatives; and social costs will rise, whether they are affordable or not. In the United States, where savings rates have been too low for too long, retirement-related portfolios could be liquidated en masse as a matter of survival. There will also be intense pressure for higher taxes, increased borrowing, and inflationary money creation. Needless to say, all of this has negative implications for profits, economies, markets-and investment returns. (p153, When Giants Fall)

Panzner goes on to create a personal roadmap on page 172 of the book which I found interesting. If this peaks your interest, you may want to buy this book.

Below is an Amazon book carousel. Included in it are books that I have read and recommend ("When Giants Fall," "Complete Tightwad Gazette" and "Exchange Up.") and books on my Reading List ("The Bull Inside the Bear," "After the Fall" and "48 Laws of Power").


feminizedwesternmale said...

I haven't read a book cover to cover since 1995. Usually, I gaze chapters and selectively read sections of books. I typically have been a Newspaper, Journal and online connoisseur of information.If you haven't read a book since 1995, you're not really a "connoisseur" of anything.

Finance Junkie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Finance Junkie said...

Thanks for the comment, but you miss the mark. I'm a short attention span reader who focuses on journals, newspapers (WSJ) and magazines out of preference.

As upper management, I don't find the time to frequently sit idle too long.