A wake-up call for middle class Americans who feel trapped in a post-crisis economic slump, The Unfair Trade is a riveting exposé of the vast global financial system whose flaws are the source of our economic malaise. Our livelihoods are now, more than ever, beholden to the workings of its imbalances and inequities.
The trillions of dollars that make up the flow of international finance—money that is often steered away from the people who deserve it the most—have not just undermined the lives of working and middle class Americans. It is a world-wide phenomenon that is changing the culture of Argentina; destroying the factory system in Northern Mexico, enabling drug cartels to recruit thousands of young men into their gangs; that has taken down the economies of Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Greece, and possibly Italy; and is driving American companies such as a 60-year-old family owned manufacturer of printed circuit boards to shutter all but one of its factories.
Veteran journalist Michael Casey has traveled the world—from China to Iceland, Spain to Argentina, Indonesia to Australia—recounting extraordinary stories about ordinary people from one continent to another whose lives are inextricably linked. By tracing the flow of money and goods across the world, he illustrates how an American homeowner’s life is shaped by the same economic and social policies that determine those of a low wage migrant worker on an assembly line in China. This combination of financial acumen, narrative-driven reporting, and compelling story-telling gives The Unfair Trade a unique human angle.
Casey shows that our economic problems are largely caused by political agendas that prevent the free market from encouraging fair competition and impeding the allocation of resources. Until governments work together to make this global system more efficient—until China removes incentives for its citizens to save excessively, for example, or the U.S. ends the de facto subsidies enjoyed by politically powerful banks—the global playing field will remain lopsided, job creation will lag, and our economies will be vulnerable to new crises.
About Michael Casey
MICHAEL J. CASEY is a managing editor and columnist covering global financial markets at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. He is a regular commentator on the Wall Street Journal’s News Hub and a frequent guest on Fox Business. Previously he was the Dow Jones bureau chief and principal correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Argentina. He lives in Pelham, NY.
Reversal of Fortunes - Books by Michael J. Casey and Daniel Gross
The New York Times Book Review – August 10, 2012 (Excerpt)
Each of these books illuminates one particular economic story very well, but fails to see the larger and more complex picture.
For Michael J. Casey, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, our economic problems stem from rapid financial globalization, floods of destabilizing liquidity, the rise of China, excessive risk-taking in finance and the unholy alliance between bankers and government in the United States. The core narrative of “The Unfair Trade” describes how Asia produced more, saved more and then recycled those savings to pump up global credit. America responded by borrowing more money to pay for a consumption binge rather than buckling down and investing for greater productivity. Our debt proved unsustainable and the financial crisis was a comeuppance for favoring present goodies over planning for the future.
But does China deserve so much attention (5 chapters out of the book’s 10)? Casey writes that China “provided the cheap goods needed to sustain the American way of life, as well as the finance to pay for it.” Yet the numbers tell a less dramatic story. Currently, imports from China are measured at about 2.7 percent of consumer spending in America. Furthermore, for each dollar of imports from China, a lot of that money was spent in the United States preparing the import; imagine an iPad designed and marketed from Cupertino, Calif., but counted as an import from China. That leaves Chinese imports, measured in terms of true net impact, at about 1.2 percent of American consumer spending. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.