It is from The New York Times Book Review, and it covers Michael J. Casey’s The Unfair Trade: How Our Broken Global Financial System destroys the Middle Class, and Daniel Gross’s Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline…and the Rise of a New Economy. My bottom line:
Each of these books illuminates one particular economic story very well, but fails to see the larger and more complex picture.
One excerpt on the Casey book:
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.
One excerpt on the Gross book:
The most probable American economic future is a lot of export success, fantastic wealth for the owners of thriving businesses and persistent productivity problems, and thus high prices, for some major items in consumer budgets. That means more stagnation of real wages at the middle of the income distribution.
Both books are already on the market.