The Price of Prosperity

Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them

Todd G. Buchholz

Book

“Nations are just as likely to unravel after periods of prosperity as after periods of depression.”

So argues acclaimed economist, hedge fund manager, and presidential adviser Todd G. Buchholz in this timely, bold book. Part history and part manifesto, The Price of Prosperity exposes the economic, political, and cultural cracks that wealthy nations face, and makes the case for transforming those same vulnerabilities into sources of strength—and the foundation for a national renewal.

To understand how great powers unravel, Buchholz identifies five potent and paradoxical forces that undermine nations after they achieve economic success. These include falling birthrates, globalized trade, rising debt loads, an eroding work ethic, and waning patriotism.

Is the loss of empire inevitable? No. Can a community spirit be restored in the United States and in Europe? The answer is a resounding yes. The Price of Prosperity presents inspiring stories of historical leaders who overcame national disarray, from Kemal Atatürk to Japan’s Meiji revolutionaries to Golda Meir. It is not too late to overcome the challenges we face now and to come together once again to protect the nation and to ensure our future.

Author

Todd G. Buchholz

Todd G. Buchholz

Todd G. Buchholz is a former White House director of economic policy, managing director of the legendary Tiger hedge fund, and winner of Harvard’s annual teaching prize in economics. He is the author of New Ideas from Dead Economists and New Ideas from Dead CEOs, and has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and Forbes. He regularly appears on PBS, NPR, Fox, and CNBC, and is a co-producer of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys. Buchholz has served as a fellow at Cambridge University and is the inventor of the Math Arrow Matrix. He lives in Southern California.

Reviews

A lively, well-documented and important book. For at least a century, intellectuals have been heralding the death of the nation state, and often applauding it. But Todd Buchholz thinks it would be a disaster. He explains that the economic successes of our nations in some ways undermine them from within. But rather than regretting the past or lamenting the present, this book suggests important things we can do - above all by strengthening the symbols and histories that create identity and help us face the future together —Robert Tombs, professor of history at Cambridge University and author of The English and Their History

In sum, this isn’t your typical economics tome. But it is typical of Buchholz. His books are always entertaining, often insightful, and sometimes downright scary. What they never are is boring. —Weekly Standard

A lively, well-documented and important book. For at least a century, intellectuals have been heralding the death of the nation state, and often applauding it. But Todd Buchholz thinks it would be a disaster. He explains that the economic successes of our nations in some ways undermine them from within. But rather than regretting the past or lamenting the present, this book suggests important things we can do - above all by strengthening the symbols and histories that create identity and help us face the future together —Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and President Emeritus of Harvard University

“highly entertaining, far-sighted, and enjoyably acerbic”. —Sunday Times (London)

... An interesting view on what makes-and breaks-a wealthy nation. Publishers Weekly

Buchholz is surely right that fostering a stronger sense of common identity is likely to be part of the answer to sustaining public support for open trade and borders. —Financial Times

Targeting a general audience with clarity and humor, Buchholz’s insights will interest readers concerned about sustaining national unity. Library Journal

A refreshing book that offers an alternative to the failing shibboleths of the day. Kirkus Reviews

Todd Buchholz’s The Price of Prosperity is loaded with witty and provocative insight into the vexing question of our era: where do the prosperous nations go from here? Inevitable collapse, perpetual stagnation, or renewed purpose and prosperity? —Michael J. Boskin, former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and professor of economics at Stanford University

A ‘must read’ for anyone searching for a path to American economic renewal. The elephant in the room in the 2016 presidential campaign is the question of whether America is in decline. In this powerful and provocative book, Todd Buchholz recalls stumbles of other rich nations in history, and he offers a clear roadmap for America to regain her footing today. —Glenn Hubbard, former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business

Sure, The Price of Prosperity is about economics--sort of. But that’s just a jumping-off point for this fascinating romp through sociology, anthropology, politics, and above all history. Buchholz’s big lesson is that prosperity is not enough to hold a country together; we need culture, community, patriotism--and babies! But he draws readers to that conclusion with a crackling good read--a tour de force that leaps through time and space and is as entertaining as it is educational. —Alan S. Blinder, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board and professor of economics at Princeton University