Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Aftershock"

Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, 2nd Edition
By David Wiedemer, Robert Wiedemer and Cindy Spitzer
Copyright 2011
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Economic Non-Fiction

Well if this won't scare the crap out of you, I don't know what will.  Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown is an economic theory book focusing on the state of the U.S. economy with predictions for the next several years. 

The authors of this somewhat doomsday piece believe that there are several interlinking market bubbles (including real estate, stocks, dollar and government debt) that are in the process of popping.  The first of these, real estate, has obviously already begun.  The authors believe that a chain of events, including the current government policies of printing gobs of new dollars and taking on gobs of new debt (currently nearing $16 trillion), are going to lead to a major financial meltdown in the U.S., and even worse abroad, within the next few years. 

Boy, I hope they are wrong.  And as I was reading the book, I found it funny that the authors even talk about people like me hoping they are wrong.  The title of the book comes from the "aftershock" the authors expect after the popping of all these economic bubbles.  In a blatant oversimplification on my part, let me summarize.  The authors believe that at some point in the very near future, we will stop being able to take on new debt because other countries will stop loaning money to us. At the same time, the dollar is going to become so hyperinflated that it will be nearly worthless.  Do you remember the photos of post WWII Germany with the wheelbarrows of cash taken to the store to buy a loaf of bread?  Yeah.  And jobs will become even more scarce.  Discretionary spending will come to a grinding halt.  Real estate will suffer a dismal fate.  And Wall Street will lose most of its value. 

It's a fairly well-written book with logical arguments and plenty of detail.  There were a few places where they lost me, possibly due to my inexperience with the whole investment side of things.  Plus, the blatant plugs throughout the book for their financial services and investment opportunities were extremely self-serving and lessened the credibility of the book as a whole, in my opinion.  But it was an entertaining and educational read with a little bit of an unconventional theory behind it that really got me started thinking more in depth about the economy and what is going on with government fiscal policies.

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