Review: ‘Failed’ by Mark Weisbrot


Published by: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 1st October 2015
ISBN: 9780195170184


Why did the Eurozone end up with an unemployment rate more than twice than that of the United States and six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers? Was crisis in the Eurozone inevitable? What caused the prolonged economic failure experienced by the majority of the world’s low- and middle-income countries at the end of the 20th century?

Failed analyzes and ties together some of the most important economic developments of recent years with the common theme that they have been widely misunderstood and in some cases almost completely ignored. A central argument of Failed is that there are always viable alternatives to prolonged economic failure. Author Mark Weisbrot shows that political agendas are often the root cause of avoidable financial crises and drawing on lessons learned from previous crises, recessions, and subsequent recovers can prevent further failures in the future.

My Review

Interesting yet frustrating information is presented in this book.

The author’s main argument is that the recent recession and current difficulties in the Eurozone have been exacerbated by international financial organisations – the IMF, ECB and EC – in order to force the implementation of policies that would never be accepted by the electorate.

The author then expands the argument to cover historical recessions internationally, such as the Asian recession in the late nineties, and South and Central American financial crises in the first decade of the 21st century. He maintains that the IMF, directed by Washington, could have prevented these problems but chose not to, again in order to force through political changes that couldn’t be made at the ballot box.

If you’ve never considered the role of the IMF et al in politics, this book will be of interest, and an eye opener. If you are aware of the political machinations of the financial sector then it may prove frustratingly basic. The author presents adequate evidence for his claims, but it feels a though the whole book is an extended article, with repeated information padding out the chapters. It could also do with some formatting work. Things didn’t always flow correctly.



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