When the Money Runs Out The End of Western Affluence Stephen D. King

Publication date:
15 May 2013
Yale University Press
304 pages: 235 x 156mm

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The Western world has experienced extraordinary economic progress throughout the last six decades, a prosperous period so extended that continuous economic growth has come to seem normal. But such an era of constantly rising living standards is an historical anomaly, economist Stephen D. King warns, and the current stagnation of Western economies threatens to reach crisis proportions in the not-so-distant future.
Praised for the ‘dose of realism’ he provided in the much-praised Losing Control, King follows up in this volume with a plain-spoken assessment of where the West stands today. It’s not just the end of an age of affluence, he shows. We have made promises to ourselves that are only achievable through ongoing economic expansion. The future benefits we expect – pensions, healthcare and social security, for example – may be larger than tomorrow’s resources. And if we reach that point, which promises will be broken and who will lose out? Drawing on historical parallels from the French Revolution to the disastrous 1931 austerity budget, King demonstrates the links between economic stagnation and political and social upheaval, asking whether the West has the courage to take the painful but necessary steps towards a fairer and more stable future.

Stephen D. King is Group Chief Economist and Global Head of Economics and Asset Allocation research at HSBC. He is a member of the UK government's Asia Task Force and writes regularly for the Financial Times and The Times.

'[King's] clear-eyed assessment of the problems ahead makes the book essential reading.' The Economist

'King has set up what will be the next, and most interesting, period of our recovery from the crisis.' Dominic O’Connell, Sunday Times

'[This is a] top political title because of the strength of Stephen D King’s writing, as well as his clarity of explanation and reasoned arguments. We face stark choices, with the author guiding us through the tangled state of finance to show just what should be done to attain prosperity.' The Bookseller

'King’s clear sighted and highly readable book is a timely reminder of just how challenging Britain’s problems still are.' Philip Aldrick, The Sunday Telegraph

'King argues that unless we learn from the past, the West is doomed to a long period of very low growth and rising mistrust. Globalisation goes into reverse'. Hamish McRae, Independent

'A must-read for all UK policymakers, if only to show them the consequences of prolonged economic stagnation.' Ryan Bourne, Centre for Policy Studies

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