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A Banquet of Consequences by Satyajit Das

The full title of this book by Satyajit Das is

A Banquet of Consequences: The reality of our unusually uncertain economic future“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I consider it to be good.

Here is my book review.

We’ve had the good times and it’s now time to pay

This is an important book which pulls together many of today’s issues to argue that we are at an economic and social turning point (2016 to 2020) and things will never be as good again.

Several years ago I became extremely concerned at the way a host of problems all seem to be coming to the surface:

  • – the financial crisis,
  • – massive debt overhang where the only policy seemed to be to borrow more to solve the problem of borrowing too much,
  • – growing inequalities of income and wealth,
  • – globalisation is bringing poverty to the developed countries while the developing countries are abused,
  • – clear signs that the warnings of climate change were real and getting worse,
  • – overconsumption of the earth’s natural resources that will inevitably lead to critical shortages,
  • – technology innovations and advances have slowed and no longer create the step changes seen in the Industrial revolution and the development of electricity and the internal combustion engine,
  • – the hollowing out of the middle class and the loss of proper jobs to be replaced by the gig economy and zero hours contracts,
  • – massive growth in population in many of the poorer parts of the world,
  • – the adverse demographics of the developed countries as the ratio of young people to support old people shrinks alarmingly,
  • – politicians who fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation and who only worry about their chances in the next election,
  • – rising geopolitical stresses,
  • – increasing use of propaganda to hide the true situation from the masses,
  • – dysfunctional political systems that fail to hold politicians accountable so that the elite can carry on protecting their own.

This book does exactly what I was trying to do in my mind. By stacking one problem on top of another, it is a depressing read but one that I fear has a large element of reality in it. Yes you may disagree with elements of the author’s argument but it’s hard to dispute the fact that the negatives don’t severely outweigh the positives.

It seems that the boom we’ve experienced since World War 2 has been extraordinary in terms of the history of the world. We’ve been lulled into a false sense of security where economies should grow by 2 or 3% every year. It’s lead us to believe that we can spend, spend, spend and everything will be OK because the economy will grow to allow us to pay for everything.

The view of the future world suggested is bleak compared to the way we live today in terms of material possessions driven by the consumer society but it may be a world where people are happier.

The book presents the case very well although it is so wide ranging that I can understand why some readers may feel it jumps around too much and have a sense of being overwhelmed by all the issues.

My criticism is that it presents the problems and comes to the conclusion that there is no solution to continue the way we live in 2016 but it doesn’t highlight what we can do as individuals to prepare for the banquet of consequences.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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