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The End of Progress. How Modern Economics Has Failed Us

  • ID: 2293108
  • Book
  • August 2011
  • Region: United States
  • 242 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
As Graeme Maxton’s important and entertaining book demonstrates, modern economic theory contains fundamental errors that any intelligent child could spot. This is not just an academic problem; we’ve left economists to run the world—and the planet is careening toward disaster as a result. Graeme Maxton is one of the first observers to note that world economic growth has reached hard limits. We ignore this shattering news at our peril. But if we can rid modern economic theory of a few fundamental and obvious errors, then a transition to a sustainable and satisfactory new economy is entirely feasible.
The End of Progress is a vitally important and highly readable book–read it and have your eyes opened!

Richard Heinberg
Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute
Peak Everything

Graeme Maxton’s panoramic view of economic history reaches back to Adam Smith and the moral and social philosophy that underpinned the Scotsman’s belief in free markets. That inspires Maxton’s timely and trenchant critique of modern capitalism and the drug of consumption, financed with debt, which led western countries to the financial crisis of 2008. Only by learning the true lessons, Maxton suggests, will they set themselves on a sustainable economic path.

John Gapper
Financial Times columnist

The End of Progress accuses economic thinking about markets of a failure that is leading us towards a dark future. Maxton says the financial meltdown and its aftermath, extremes of income inequality, and the looming crisis over resource availability, consumerism and climate change beckon solutions, for which we are ill–equipped. Maxton should be knocking on open doors in calling for change.

George Magnus
Author of Uprising
Senior Economic Adviser, UBS

Graeme Maxton has produced an important and timely book. It’s impossible to argue with his conclusion that the world has taken a wrong turning, and that much is set to change in the near future. The End of Progress should be read by as wide an audience as possible, most of whom will find themselves nodding in agreement as they read his analysis of what has gone wrong, and his suggestions for putting things right.

Giles Chance
Author, China and the Credit Crisis: The Emergence of a New World Order
Visiting Professor, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University

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Acknowledgments xiii

1 It’s About You—You Are Responsible Too 1

Part 1 Our Belief in The Free Market Failed Us 9

2 Too Much Choice, Too Little Restraint 11

Fetch the Tool Box 11

Economics Is Not Rocket Science: It Is Not Even Science 16

How Has Economics Failed Us? Let Me Count the Ways 17

A DVD Player Should Cost More than Lunch 19

For Richer and Poorer 20

3 A Broken Financial System 23

Consumption, Not Love, Was the Drug 23

How Far Is Down? 26

Consumer Debt 27

Bank Debt 32

Government Debt 39

4 Squandering Our World 47

Who Owns the World’s Resources? 47

You Don’t Like These Principles? I Have Others 50

We’ll Know What It’s Worth When It’s Gone 51

Our Rare Earth 52

Seven Billion into Water Won’t Go 54

Laissez–Faire, No Thanks 55

5 The Damaging Power of Me 61

Me, Myself, I 61

The Retreat of Conservatism 63

Kiasu. Bless You 64

Greed Is Not Good, Gordon 65

Part 2 Running Blind—We Are Poorly Equipped to Deal with These Challenges 69

6 Can You Read Kant? 71

Don’t Start from Here 71

Well, Duh! 74

Going My Way? 78

7 Who Is in Charge? 81

Someone Needs to Make Decisions 81

Nothing Is Terrible Except Fear Itself 83

Man Is Born Free but Everywhere Is in Chains 84

Who Is in Charge? 89

8 China’s Rising Influence Will Not Help 93

It Can Get Worse 93

The Dragon Is Awake 94

Of Privileges and Principles 96

There Is Anger Too 100

Be Careful What You Wish For 104

Playing for Power 106

Part 3 The Implications of These Failures Will Be Hard 117

9 We Will Become Financially Poorer 119

But Answers Are Easy, Aren’t They? 120

The Long Tail 121

All Comes Tumbling Down 123

Goodbye Stimulus Packages, Hello Savage State Cutbacks 125

More Air Will Not Work 128

You Need Another Hole in That Belt 129

10 Our Way of Life Will Change 133

In the Energy Battles, No One Will Play Nicely 134

When You Are in a Hole, Keep Digging 138

Shine Some Light on the Problem 146

11 We Will Become Less Healthy 151

How Much Oil Is in That Salad? 154

I’ll Give the Scalpel a Wipe Then 158

Was That a Cough? 159

The Buzz Has Gone 162

12 We Need to Diffuse the Threats of Conflict 169

We Do Things Differently, Don’t You See? 171

The Cupboard Will Soon Be Bare 174

But You Promised! 180

Climate Change Will Bring Threats of Confl ict Too 182

Part 4 Light in an Age of “Endarkenment” 185

13 We Need to Change 187

You Just Need a New Washer, Mate 188

14 Other Options Need Debate 203

From Progress to Poverty 203

Give the Flowers the Power 204

That Pip Squeak? 207

15 You. You Have a Role Now Too 219

Index 223

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Graeme Maxton
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