How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly—and the Stark Choices Ahead

Feb 22, 2011

Dambisa Moyo, the former World Bank economist who caused quite a stink with her critique of American aid to Africa and reliance on celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Bono as self-proclaimed ambassadors to the African content, is back with a thesis that’s sure to shake things up again. Her new book chronicles what Moyo characterizes as a slow decline of the west as the world’s most prominent economic and political powerhouse. How did it happen? Through a series of economic and foreign policy foibles she recounts in detail. With U.S. interest payments on debt to newer world powers like China about to explode to the tune of $2,500 a year for every man, woman and child, Moyo’s could not be a more timely conversation. By 2014, net interest payments will surpass almost all discretionary, non-defense spending; by 2018, we’ll be spending more on interest payments than on Medicare. How will Uncle Sam pay down such massive interest and is it possible that things get so bad that the U.S. defaults on some loans? Moyo addresses those questions and more as she ruffles feathers left and right.

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