An exploration of the post-2008 global economic crisis that’s not for the fainthearted.
Fonluce’s debut offers a fresh perspective on an economy that has shed millions of workers in recent years. He relies on lightly edited government fact sheets and textbook prose to summarize and explain the devastating effects that the Great Recession and the expansion of digital technologies and robotics have had on the economy. Among its many lingering aspects, the author writes, is the fact that banking institutions now choose to invest in speculative financial instruments instead of lending to businesses and customers at reasonable interest rates. Fonluce finds his voice when he speculates about a future economic model in which the real value of a new business venture might be judged in terms of how many opportunities for employment, investment, research and quality-of-life benefits it provides. He asks readers to imagine an economic model in which traditional notions of “cost” wouldn’t forestall investment in modernizing the U.S. electrical grid or replacing aging city and county water pipes. The author is at his best when he writes that traditional notions associated with market capitalism could change to reflect new notions of economic value. But it isn’t until the book’s final third that he shares his insights into how market-based economies might evolve into new forms that can sustain economic development and long-term prosperity for all. His humane, forward-looking perspectives are often undercut by awkward prose (“The paradigm shift of the proposed solution might be potentially equivalent to that faced by humanity”), and overall, the book reads like a series of blog posts instead of carefully crafted chapters. The author aims to give general readers “a different perspective” on the economy; however, general readers may prefer economist Paul Krugman’s similar exploration, End This Depression Now! (2013), which has 200 fewer pages. For the most part, this book is simply too technical for general readers and too general for technical readers.
An uneven economics treatise that gets off to a rocky start but ends with some thought-provoking ideas about the 21st-century global economy.