{short description of image}  


Kevin Phillips


Sub title: Feckless Finance, Failed Politics, and The Global Crisis of American Capitalism - Viking, NY., 2008, 239 pgs., index, end notes


Reviewer Comment - This is a highly tendentious polemic that continues Phillips' long campaign against religion in politics and Republican administrations. It appears that he had a serious 'falling out' with Republicans years ago, when he was an insider. Nevertheless, his descriptions of the financial industry, debt bombs, securities manipulation and political crony capitgalism are correct, well stated and backed with extensive data. He is right also to note the serious condition of the American dollar in international currency wars. But the book was written in early 2008 prior to the huge shift in world wide crude oil and natural gas exploration and production due to 'fracking'.Thus his diatribe about 'peak oil' has been completely overtaken by real events and can be skipped. The author, however, is right about the then coming financial collapse and its real causes. He cites many other authors and also investment leaders who also knew and in some cases made millions from their knowledge. Thus he disputes those such as Greenspan and Bernanke who claim 'no one knew' in their efforts to justify their own failures


Chapter 1 - Introduction: The Panic of August - A valuable chapter on the financial, economic, political situation in August 2007 as the coming crisis began to expand.


Chapter 2 - Finance: The New Real Economy? The expansion of the 'financial industry' has long been one of my major concerns and objections. Banks and others in finance make nothing such as the output of agriculture and manufacturing companies. But they create money and take a cut of the new money off the top for themselves. Mr. Philips describes this process in detail with extensive data. He shows the close connection between the finance industry and government. He also provides statistics on the massive growth of debt that fuels the finance/government expansion of power.


Chapter 3 - Bullnomics: Its Favoritism and Fictions - The main point of this chapter, and a very important one, is to show the falsity of government statistics on inflation designed to conceal from the public what is really going on. He blames both Democrat and Republican political machines for this. It is through manipulation of statistics on the nation's economic situation to claim continual expansion and 'good times' that politicians maintain their jobs.


Chapter 4 - Securitization: The Insecurity of It All - In this chapter the author gets into the details of how the financial industry operates and how it has expanded the real money supply to an incredible size while raking off its profits and claiming 'good times' The chapter explains the processes behind the picture he describes in Chapters 1 and 2.


Chapter 5 - Peak Oil: A Potential Pivot of the 2010's - There are some valuable issues described in this chapter relating to the inter relationship of Amerian dollars and oil production, especially since the mid 1970'. But the author's expectations of circa 2007 simply did not come to pass by 2010, due to the huge expansion of oil and NG production in the United States. |


Chapter 6 - The Politics of Evasion: Debt, Finance and Oil - The chapter is about what the political establishment has been doing relevant to the topics of the previous chapters, especially with respect to the belief in 'peak oil'. While the oil issue is no longer relevant, the debt and financial issues are more critical than ever. Mr. Phillips cites cogently the examples of Dutch, Spanish and British empires and economic leadershhip each being superceeded due to changing economic, and especially energy, conditions. He believes the U.S. is headed in the same direction.


Chapter 7 - The Global Crisis of American Capitalism -The chapter is a summary of the arguments presented in the others. The economic/political status at his time of writing is late 2007 and early 2008. I can give him credit for not expecting the vast change that has taken place in the oil, NG, energy situation and focus on his excellent analysis of the financial situation.


Appendix: Global Public Opinion and the Loss of Respect for the United States, 2003 - 7


Return to Xenophon.