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How to Cope with the Developing Financial Crisis

By (author) Ashby Bladen
Format: Paperback
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education - Europe, New York, United States
Imprint: McGraw-Hill Inc.,US
Published: 1st Sep 1979
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0070055475
ISBN-13: 9780070055476
Barcode No: 9780070055476

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Kirkus US
Yet another treatise on the economics of profligacy, partially redeemed by some offbeat viewpoints, a calm tone, and the author's reluctance to offer how-to palliatives. Short of fundamental reforms in the domestic/international financial system, Bladen contends, there's precious little individuals can do to safeguard their private interests against inflation. An insurance-company exec, he admits to a conservative bias. But he departs from conventional back-to-the-gold-standard wisdom in attributing the persistence of the upward price spiral to dislocations caused by galloping growth in purchasing power and vanishing gains in productivity. Before World War II, Bladen asserts, credit was extended largely to "responsible borrowers," i.e., those who would use the money for productive purposes. Now, he observes, credit cards and personal loans are routinely used to underwrite consumption of all kinds, while government transfer payments (e.g., welfare, Social Security, and housing subsidy programs) add more uncompensated debits to a financial system that's already deep in the red. Further, he classifies homes as non-productive, rather than capital, assets, noting that mortgage obligations currently account for roughly half of all consumer installment debt. Sooner or later, he believes, this bubble will burst, with swollen ownership equities plunging to levels that reflect values, not inflationary expectations. In the meantime, Bladen borrows an idea from the Old World, recommending a value-added tax - a sort of national sales levy imposed at virtually every stage of consumption - as a replacement for the "unfair" progressive income tax, which has a "disincentive" effect on productivity. The author also advises voting for close-fisted politicians willing to warn the public that life and finance are risky businesses. A consistently interesting if not quite essential addition to the literature of inflation economics. (Kirkus Reviews)