Summary of The End of Normal

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The End of Normal book summary


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James K. Galbraith, a left-leaning economist like his famous father, John, paints a broad picture of the economic situation in 2014 and its lasting changes. He explains why many experts continue to wait for “normal” to reappear, while explaining why it will not and offering pointers on coping with an unknown future. He provides a critical survey of current economic debates, an interpretation of the financial crisis, an overview of the 1970s, and a discussion of the job-destroying aspects of the Internet and the digital technology wave. Drawing on the themes of raw material and energy, Galbraith challenges the accepted historical narrative. He elbows competing arguments aside while criticizing right-wing politics and free-market academia. Though he presents few revelations, Galbraith provides a wise, commonsense distillation and backs up the serious assertion of his book’s title. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Galbraith’s viewpoint – which may prove insightful over time – to students, policy makers, investors and anyone seeking greater understanding of the functioning of the US economy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many economists cling to the idea of a “normal” economy and wait for its return;
  • How oil and natural resources affected – and still affect – the US economy;
  • How digital technology and the Internet disrupt employment; and
  • Why fraud seems more acceptable in the financial world when earning a profit becomes more difficult.

About the Author

University of Texas professor James K. Galbraith is a senior scholar with the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. His books include The Predator State and Inequality and Instability.



“Normal” Economic Conditions
Although the recent financial crisis proved dramatic and destructive, most economists and other commentators have commonly framed their discussion of the recession around the return to what they consider normal, healthy, economic growth conditions.

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