Time to Start Thinking – Book Review

In ‘Time to Start Thinking, America in the Age of Descent’ author Edward Luce, the Washington bureau chief for the British Financial Times, attempts to explain the economic and geopolitical decline of America.

Luce is pretty pessimistic about our future and while critical of both parties he is obviously most critical of Republicans and especially the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.  He is prone to blame conservatives for failure to support Obama’s policy.

With his obvious bias favoring liberal/progressive thinking he invariably (in my view) comes to the wrong conclusion while doing an excellent job of reviewing the facts.

While recognizing the impact of global competition and unionism on production costs by noting that Wal-Mart would either be destroyed economically if forced to raise pay and provide health insurance or that Apple would be destroyed if forced to pay union wages for assembly of their products he sees this as proof of America’s ultimate decline.

He correctly sees the ‘government’ as the culprit and is quick to blame the Tea Party and Republicans for ‘stagnation’.

It is pretty obvious that his bias prevents him from recognizing that the ‘government’ is a major problem because of exploding regulation and repressive tax policy that is preventing the free market from performing as it should.

He seems to favor big government and tends to blame the conservatives from allowing big government from solving our problems.

If you can ignore his bias and read this book to obtain insight into the many examples he highlights from his interviews, it may have value.  Unfortunately, his bias is over powering and it is very hard to profit from his insights or even to separate the wheat from the chaff.

If you do read this book, try to concentrate on his examples and not on his analysis.  Ask yourself what is the ’cause’ of the issues presented in those examples and what is the possible ‘solution’.  Then imagine how his analysis fits.  You will almost certainly realize that his analysis is the same old liberal/progressive bias suggesting that more government is the ‘solution’ and it typically addresses ‘symptoms’ rather than ’cause’.

This is the problem with political solutions.  Whether Democrat or Republican they invariably look at ‘symptoms’ and create regulations to address that symptom rather than doing the much more difficult task of identifying the ’cause’ of those symptoms and working on eliminating that ’cause’.

I believe that most of our economic problems are ‘symptoms’ of the a deeper problem.  That problem is that regulations, laws and tax policy have placed limits on the ‘free market’ and most of these limits have been imposed in an effort to address ‘symptoms’ while ignoring the ’cause’ of those symptoms.


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