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Monday, October 28, 2013
Reading List: The Vintage Mencken
- Mencken, H. L.
The Vintage Mencken.
New York: Vintage,  1990.
Perhaps only once in a generation is born a person with the gift of
seeing things precisely as they are, without any prejudice or
filter of ideology, doctrine, or preconceived notions, who also
has the talent to rise to a position from which this
“fair witness” viewpoint can be effectively communicated
to a wide audience. In this category, one thinks immediately of
and, more recently and not yet as celebrated as
he deserves to be,
Karl Hess, but
without doubt one of the greatest exemplars of these observers
of their world to have lived in the 20th century was
H[enry] L[ouis] Mencken,
the “Sage of Baltimore” and one of the greatest
libertarian, sceptic, and satirical writers of his time, as well
as a scholar of the English language as used in the United
This book, originally published during Mencken's life (although he
lived until 1956, he ceased writing after suffering a stroke in 1948
which, despite his recovering substantially, left him
unable to compose text), collects his work, mostly drawn from essays
and newspaper columns across his writing career. We get reminiscences of
the Baltimore of his youth, reportage of the convention that
nominated Franklin Roosevelt, a celebration of Grover Cleveland,
an obituary of Coolidge, a taking down of
Lincoln the dictator, a report from the Progressive convention which
nominated Henry Wallace for president in 1948, and his final column
defending those who defied a segregation law to stage
an interracial tennis tournament in Baltimore in 1948.
Many of the articles are abridged, perhaps in the interest of
eliding contemporary references which modern readers may find
obscure. This collection provides an excellent taste of Mencken
across his career and will probably leave you hungry for more. Fortunately,
most of his œuvre remains in print.
In the contemporary media cornucopia and endless blogosphere we have,
every day, many times the number of words available to read as
Mencken wrote in his career. But who is the heir to Mencken in
seeing the folly behind the noise of ephemeral headlines and stands
the test of time when read almost a century later?
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Reading List: They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus
- Weil, Elizabeth.
They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus.
New York: Bantam Books, 2002.
For technologists and entrepreneurs, the latter half of the
1990s was a magical time. The explosive growth in computing
power available to individuals, the global interconnectivity
afforded by the Internet, and the emergence of broadband service with
the potential to make the marginal cost of entry as a radio
or video broadcaster next to zero created a vista of boundless
technological optimism. Companies with market valuations in the
billions sprang up like mushrooms despite having never turned
a profit (and in some cases, before delivering a product), and
stock-option paper millionaires were everywhere, some sporting
job titles which didn't exist three years before.
In this atmosphere enthusiasms of all kinds were difficult to
restrain, even those more venerable than Internet start-ups, and
among people who had previously been frustrated upon multiple
occasions. So it was that as the end of the decade approached,
veteran of three earlier unsuccessful commercial space projects,
Rotary Rocket, Inc.
with the goal of building a reusable
manned spacecraft which would reduce the cost of launching payloads
into low Earth orbit by a factor of ten compared to contemporary
expendable rockets (which, in turn, were less expensive than
NASA's Space Shuttle). Such a dramatic cost reduction was expected
to immediately generate substantial business from customers such as
Teledesic, which originally
planned to launch 840 satellites to provide global broadband Internet
service. Further, at one tenth the launch cost, space applications
which were not economically feasible before would become so, expanding
the space market just as the comparable collapse in the price of
computing and communications had done in their sectors.
Hudson assembled a team, a mix of veterans of his earlier
ventures, space enthusiasts hoping to make their dreams a
reality at last, hard-nosed engineers, and seasoned test pilots
hoping to go to space, and set to work. His vision became known
as Roton, and evolved to be an
structure including tanks for the liquid oxygen and kerosene
propellants, and a unique rotary engine at the base of the
conical structure which would spin to create the pressure to
inject propellants into 96 combustors arrayed around the
periphery, eliminating the need for heavy, complicated, and
prone-to-disintegrate turbopumps. The crew of two would fly the
Roton to orbit and release the payload into space, then make
a de-orbit burn. During re-entry, a water-cooled heat shield
on the base of the cone would protect the structure from heating,
and when atmospheric density was sufficient, helicopter-like
rotor blades would deploy from the top of the cone. These blades
would be spun up by
and then, shortly before touchdown, tip jets powered by hydrogen peroxide
would fire to allow a controlled powered approach and precision
landing. After a mission, one need only load the
next payload, refill the propellant tanks, and brief the crew for the
next flight. It was estimated one flight per day was achievable with
a total ground staff of fewer than twenty people.
This would have been revolutionary, and there were many, some with
forbidding credentials and practical experience, who argued that it
couldn't possibly work, and certainly not on
Hudson's schedule and budget of US$ 150 million (which is closer
to the sum NASA or one of its contractors would require to
study such a concept, not to actually build and fly it).
There were many things to worry about. Nothing like the rotary
engine had ever been built, and its fluid mechanical and thermal
complexities were largely unknown. The heat shield was entirely
novel, and there was no experience as to how it would perform
in a real world environment in which pores and channels might clog.
Just getting to orbit in a single stage vehicle powered by LOX
and kerosene was considered impossible by many, requiring a structure
which was 95% propellant at launch. Even with composite construction,
nobody had achieved anything close to this mass fraction in a flight
Gary Hudson is not just a great visionary; he is nothing if not
persuasive. For example, here is a
video from 1998. He was able, over the history of the
project, to raise a total of US$ 30 million for the project from private
investors (disclosure: myself included), and built an initial atmospheric
test vehicle intended to validate the helicopter landing system.
In 1999, this vehicle made three successful test flights, including
hop up and down
flight down the runway.
By this point in 1999, the technology bubble was nearing the bursting point
and perspicacious investors were already backing away from risky
ventures. When it became clear there was no prospect
to raise sufficient funds to continue, even toward the next milestone,
Hudson had no option but to lay off staff and eventually entirely
shutter the company, selling off its remaining assets (but the Roton
ATV can be seen on display at the
There are any number of “business books” written about
successful ventures, often ghostwritten for founders to show how they
had a unique vision and marched from success to success to achieve
their dream. (These so irritated me that I strove, in my own
business book, to
demonstrate from contemporary documents, the extent to which those
in a technological start-up grope in the dark with insufficient
information and little idea of where it's going.) Much
rarer are accounts of big dreams which evoked indefatigable efforts
from talented people and, despite all, ended badly. This book is
a superb exemplar of that rare genre. There are a few errors of fact,
and from time to time the author's description of herself among
the strange world of the rocket nerds is a bit precious, but you
get an excellent sense of what it was like to dream big, how a
visionary can inspire people to accomplish extraordinary things, and
how an entrepreneur must not only have a sound technical foundation,
a vision of the future, but also have kissed the
stone to get the job done.
Oddly, the book contains no photographs of this unique and stunning
vehicle or the people who built it.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Reading List: Expatriates
- Rawles, James Wesley.
New York: Dutton, 2013.
This novel is the fourth in the series which began with
Patriots (December 2008),
then continued with
Survivors (January 2012)
Founders (October 2012).
These books are not a conventional multi-volume narrative, in
that all describe events in the lives of their characters in
roughly the same time period surrounding “the
Crunch”—a grid down societal collapse due to a debt
crisis and hyperinflation. While the first three books in the
series are best read in order, as there is substantial overlap
in characters and events, this book, while describing
contemporary events, works perfectly well as a stand-alone
thriller and does not contain substantial spoilers for
the first three novels.
The earlier books in the series were thrillers with a heavy
dose of survival tutorial, including extended litanies of
gear. The present volume leans more toward the thriller genre
and is, consequently, more of a page-turner.
Peter and Rihannon Jeffords are Christian missionaries
helping to run an orphanage in the Philippine Islands
wishing nothing more than to get on with their lives
and work when the withdrawal of U.S. forces in the
Pacific due the economic collapse of the U.S. opens
the way for a newly-installed jihadi government in
Indonesia to start flexing its imperialist ambitions,
looking enviously at Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the
Philippines, and ultimately the resource-rich and
lightly populated “Top End” of Australia
as their manifest destiny.
Meanwhile, Chuck Nolan, a Texan petroleum geologist specialising
in explosive seismic exploration, working in the
Northern Territory of Australia, is adjusting, along
with native Australians, to the consequences of the
Crunch. While not directly affected by the U.S.
economic collapse, Australia's highly export-driven economy
has been severely damaged by the contraction in world
trade, and being dependent upon imported food and
pharmaceuticals, hardships are everywhere and tragedies
Back in the United States, Rihannon Jeffords' family, the
Altmillers, are trying to carry on their independent hardware
store business in Florida, coping with the collapse of the
currency; the emergence of a barter economy and
use of pre-1965 silver coins as a medium of
exchange; the need for extraordinary security precautions
at work and at home as the rule of law and civil society
erode; and escalating worries about feral mobs of
looters raiding ever wider from the chaos which
As the story develops, we exerience a harrowing sea voyage
through hostile waters, asymmetrical warfare against a first
world regional power, irregular resistance against an invader,
and local communities self-organising defence against an urban
“golden horde” ravaging the countryside. You will
learn a great deal about partisan resistance strategies,
decapitation of opposition forces, and why it is most unwise
for effete urban populations to disarm those uncouth and
disdained denizens of the boonies who, when an invader
threatens, are both the first and ultimate lines of defence.
This book is meticulously researched with a wealth of local
and technical details and only a few goofs and copy-editing
errors. Like the earlier novels, the author dispels, often
with spare prose or oblique references, the romantic notion
that some “preppers” seem to have that the
collapse of civilisation will be something like a camping trip
they'll enjoy because they're “ready”. These
happy would-be campers overlook the great die-off, the consequences
of masses of people suddenly withdrawing from mood-altering
drugs, roving bands of looters, the emergence of war-lords,
and all of the other manifestations of the normal state of
humanity over millennia which are suppressed only by our
ever-so-fragile just in time technological society.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Reading List: The Goliath Stone
- Niven, Larry and Matthew Joseph Harrington.
The Goliath Stone.
New York: Tor Books, 2013.
This novel is a tremendous hoot which the authors undoubtedly had
great fun writing and readers who know what's going on may
thoroughly enjoy while others who don't get it may be disappointed.
This story, which spans a period from 5 billion years before the
present to A.D. 2052 chronicles the
expansion of sentient life beyond the Earth and humankind's first
encounter with nonhuman beings. Dr. Toby Glyer, pioneer in
nanotechnology, arranges with a commercial space launch company
to send a technologically opaque payload into space. After
launch, it devours the orbital stage which launched it
and disappears. Twenty-five years later, a near-Earth asteroid is
detected as manoeuvring itself onto what may be a collision
course with Earth, and fears spread of Glyer's asteroid retrieval mission,
believed to involve nanotechnology, having gone horribly wrong.
Meanwhile, distinctly odd things are happening on Earth: the
birth rate is falling dramatically, violent crime is way down
while suicides have increased, terrorism seems to have come
to an end, and test scores are rising everywhere. Athletes
are shattering long-established records with wild abandon,
and a disproportionate number of them appear to be
American Indians. Glyer and space launch entrepreneur May
Wyndham sense that eccentric polymath William Connors,
who they last knew as a near-invalid a quarter century
earlier, may be behind all of this, and soon find themselves
inside Connors' secretive lair.
This is an homage to golden age science fiction where an
eccentric and prickly genius decides to remake the world
and undertakes to do so without asking permission from anybody.
The story bristles with dozens if not hundreds of references
to science fiction and fandom, many of which I'm sure I missed.
For example, “CNN cut to a feed with Dr. Wade Curtis,
self-exiled to Perth when he'd exceeded the federal age limit
on health care.” Gentle readers, start your search engines!
If you're looking for “hard” science fiction like
this is not your book. For a romp through the near future which
with lots of fannish goodies and humourous repartee among the
characters, it's a treat.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Reading List: Shady Characters
- Houston, Keith.
New York: W. W. Norton, 2013.
¶ The earliest written
languages seem mostly to have been mnemonic tools for recording
and reciting spoken text. As such, they had little need for
punctuation and many managed to get along withoutevenspacesbetweenwords.
If you read it out loud, it's pretty easy to sound out (although
words written without spaces can be used to create deliciously
As the written language evolved to encompass scholarly and
sacred texts, commentaries upon other texts, fiction,
drama, and law, the structural complexity of the text grew
apace, and it became increasingly difficult to express this in
words alone. Punctuation was born.
In the third century B.C.
Aristophanes of Byzantium
(not to be confused with
the other fellow),
librarian at Alexandria,
invented a system of dots to denote logical breaks in
Greek texts of classical rhetoric, which were placed
after units called the komma, kolon,
and periodos. In a different graphical form, they are
with us still.
Until the introduction of movable type printing in Europe in the
15th century, books were hand-copied by scribes, each of whom was
free, within the constraints of their institutions, to innovate
in the presentation of the texts they copied. In the interest of
conserving rare and expensive writing materials such as papyrus and
parchment, abbreviations came into common use. The humble ampersand
(the derivation of whose English name is delightfully presented
here) dates to the shorthand invented by Cicero's personal
secretary/slave Tiro, who invented a mark to quickly write
“et” as his master
Other punctuation marks co-evolved with textual criticism: quotation
marks allowed writers to distinguish text from other sources
included within their works, and asterisks, daggers, and other
symbols were introduced to denote commentary upon text. Once
with wide margins became common, readers would annotate them as
they read, often ☛ pointing out key
passages. Even a symbol as with-it as the now-ubiquitous “@”
(which I recall around 1997 being called “the Internet logo”)
is documented as having been used in 1536 as an abbreviation for
amphorae of wine. And the ever-more-trending symbol prefixing #hashtags?
Isaac Newton used it in the 17th century, and the story of how it came
to be called an “octothorpe” is worthy of modern myth.
This is much more than a history of obscure punctuation. It traces how
we communicate in writing over the millennia, and how technologies such
as movable type printing, mechanical type composition, typewriting, phototypesetting,
and computer text composition have both enriched and impoverished our written
language. Impoverished? Indeed—I compose this on a computer able
to display in excess of 64,000 characters from the written languages used
by most people since the dawn of civilisation. And yet, thanks to the poisonous
legacy of the typewriter, only a few people seem to be aware of the distinction,
known to everybody setting type in the 19th century, among the em-dash—used
to set off a phrase; the en-dash, denoting “to” in constructions
like “1914–1918”; the hyphen, separating compound words such as
“anarcho-libertarian” or words split at the end of a line; the minus
sign, as in −4.221; and the figure dash, with the same width as numbers
in a font where all numbers have the same width, which permits setting tables
of numbers separated by dashes in even columns. People who appreciate typography
are acutely aware of this and grind their teeth when reading documents
produced by demotic software tools such as Microsoft Word or reading postings
on the Web which, although they could be so much better, would have made
Mencken storm the Linotype floor of the Sunpapers had any of his writing been
so poorly set.
Pilcrows, octothorpes, interrobangs, manicules, and the centuries-long quest
for a typographical mark for irony (Like, we really need that¡)—this
is a pure typographical delight: enjoy!
In the Kindle edition end of chapter notes
are bidirectionally linked (albeit with inconsistent
and duplicate reference marks), but end notes are not linked to their
references in the text—you must manually flip to the notes
and find the number. The end notes contain many references to Web
URLs, but these are not active links, just text: to follow them you
must copy and paste them into a browser address bar. The index is just
a list of terms, not linked to references in the text. There is no
way to distinguish examples of typographic symbols which are set in
red type from chapter note reference links set in an identical red
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Reading List: The Battle of Bretton Woods
- Steil, Benn.
The Battle of Bretton Woods.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
As the Allies advanced toward victory against the Axis powers
on all fronts in 1944, in Allied capitals thoughts increasingly
turned to the postwar world and the institutions which would define
it. Plans were already underway to expand the “United
Nations” (at the time used as a synonym for the Allied
powers) into a postwar collective security organisation which
would culminate in the
1945 conference to draft the charter of that
regrettable institution. Equally clamant was the need to
define monetary mechanisms which would facilitate free trade.
which was not designed but evolved
organically in the 19th century as international trade burgeoned,
had been destroyed by World War I. Attempts by some countries
to reestablish the gold standard after the end of the war
led to economic dislocation (particularly in Great Britain),
currency wars (competitive devaluations in an attempt
to gain a competitive advantage in international trade), and
trade wars (erecting tariff or other barriers to trade to
protect domestic or imperial markets against foreign competition).
World War II left all of the major industrial nations with the
sole exception of the United States devastated and effectively
bankrupt. Despite there being respected and influential advocates
for re-establishing the classical gold standard (in which national
currencies were defined as a quantity of gold, with
central banks issuing them willing to buy gold
with their currency or exchange their currency for gold at
the pegged rate), this was widely believed impossible.
Although the gold standard had worked well
when in effect prior to World War I, and provided
feedback which tended to bring the balance of payments
among trading partners back into equilibrium and provided a
mechanism for countries in economic hard times to face
reality and recover by devaluing their currencies
against gold, there was one overwhelming practical difficulty
in re-instituting the gold standard: the United States had
almost all of the gold. In fact, by 1944 it was estimated that the
U.S. Treasury held around 78% of all of the world's central
bank reserve gold. It is essentially impossible to operate
under a gold standard when a single creditor nation, especially one
with its industry and agriculture untouched by the war and
consequently sure to be the predominant exporter in the years after
it ended, has almost all of the world's gold in its vaults
already. Proposals to somehow reset the system by having the
U.S. transfer its gold to other nations in exchange for their
currencies was a non-starter in Washington, especially since
many of those nations already owed large dollar-denominated
debts to the U.S.
The hybrid gold-exchange standard put into place after World
War I had largely collapsed by 1934, with Britain forced off
the standard by 1931, followed quickly by 25 other nations.
The 1930s were a period of economic depression, collapsing
international trade, competitive currency devaluations, and
protectionism, hardly a model for a postwar
Also in contention as the war drew to its close was the
location of the world's financial centre and which currency
would dominate international trade. Before World War I,
the vast majority of trade cleared through London
and was denominated in sterling. In the interwar period,
London and New York vied for preeminence, but while Wall
Street prospered financing the booming domestic market
in the 1920s, London remained dominant for trade between
other nations and maintained a monopoly within the British
Empire. Within the U.S., while all factions within the
financial community wished for the U.S. to displace Britain
as the world's financial hub, many New Dealers in Roosevelt's
administration were deeply sceptical of Wall Street and
“New York bankers” and wished to move decision
making to Washington and keep it firmly under government
While ambitious plans were being drafted for a global monetary
system, in reality there were effectively only two nations at the
negotiating table when it came time to create one: Britain
and the U.S.
John Maynard Keynes,
leader of the British delegation, referred to U.S. plans for a
broad-based international conference on postwar monetary
policy as “a major monkey-house”, with
non-Anglo-Saxon delegations as the monkeys. On the U.S. side,
there was a three way power struggle among the Treasury
Department, the State Department, and the nominally
independent Federal Reserve to take the lead in international
All of this came to a head when delegates from 44 countries
arrived at a New Hampshire resort hotel in July 1944 for the
Woods Conference. The run-up to the conference had seen
intensive back-and-forth negotiation between the U.S. and
British delegations, both of whom arrived with their own
plans, each drafted to give their side the maximum advantage.
For the U.S., Treasury secretary
Henry Morgenthau, Jr.
was the nominal head of the delegation, but having no head for
nor interest in details, deferred almost entirely to his
energetic and outspoken subordinate
Harry Dexter White.
The conference became a battle of wits between Keynes and
White. While White was dwarfed by Keynes's intellect and
reputation (even those who disagreed with his unorthodox economic
theories were impressed with his wizardry in financing the
British war efforts in both world wars), it was White who
held all the good cards. Not only did the U.S. have most
of the gold, Britain was entirely dependent upon
aid from the U.S., which might come to an abrupt end when the
war was won, and owed huge debts which it could never repay
without some concessions from the U.S. or further loans
on attractive terms.
Morgenthau and White, with Roosevelt's enthusiastic backing,
pressed their case relentlessly. Not only did Roosevelt
concur that the world's financial centre should be Washington,
he saw an opportunity to break the British
Empire, which he detested. Roosevelt remarked to Morgenthau
after a briefing, “I had no idea that England was
broke. I will go over there and make a couple of talks
and take over the British Empire.”
Keynes described an early U.S. negotiating position as a
desire by the U.S. to make Britain “lose face altogether
and appear to capitulate completely to dollar diplomacy.”
And in the end, this is essentially what happened. Morgenthau
remarked, “Now the advantage is ours here, and I
personally think we should take it,” then later
expanded, “If the advantage was theirs, they would
The system crafted at the conference was formidably complex:
only a few delegates completely understood it, and,
foreshadowing present-day politics in the U.S., most of
the delegations which signed it at the conclusion of
the conference had not read the final draft which was
thrown together at the last minute. The
Woods system which emerged prescribed fixed exchange
rates, not against gold, but rather the U.S. dollar, which
was, in turn, fixed to gold. Central banks would hold
their reserves primarily in dollars, and could exchange
excess dollars for gold upon demand. A new
Monetary Fund (IMF) would provide short-term financing to
countries with trade imbalances to allow them to maintain
their currency's exchange rate against the dollar, and
a World Bank
was created to provide loans to support reconstruction after the war
and development in poor countries. Finally a
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was adopted to reduce
trade barriers and promote free trade.
The Bretton Woods system was adopted at a time when the
reputation of experts and technocrats was near its peak.
Keynes believed that central banking should
“be regarded as a kind of beneficent technique of
scientific control such as electricity and other branches
of science are.” Decades of experience with
the ever more centralised and intrusive administrative
state has given people today a more realistic view of the
capabilities of experts and intellectuals of all kinds.
Thus it should be no surprise that the Bretton Woods
system began to fall apart almost as soon as it was
put in place. The IMF began operations in 1947, and within
months a crisis broke out in the peg of sterling to
the dollar. In 1949, Britain was forced to devalue
the pound 30% against the dollar, and in short order
thirty other countries also devalued. The
Not many people in this country believe the Communist
thesis that it is the deliberate and conscious aim
of American policy to ruin Britain and everything
Britain stands for in the world. But the evidence
can certainly be read that way. And if every time
aid is extended, conditions are attached which make
it impossible for Britain to ever escape the
necessity of going back for still more aid, to be
obtained with still more self-abasement and on still
more crippling terms, then the result will certainly
be what the Communists predict.
Dollar diplomacy had triumphed completely.
The Bretton Woods system lurched from crisis to crisis
and began to unravel in the 1960s when the U.S.,
exploiting its position of issuing the world's reserve
currency, began to flood the world with dollars to
fund its budget and trade deficits. Central banks,
increasingly nervous about their large dollar positions,
began to exchange their dollars for gold, causing large
gold outflows from the U.S. Treasury which were clearly
unsustainable. In 1971, Nixon “closed the gold
window”. Dollars could no longer be redeemed
in gold, and the central underpinning of Bretton Woods
was swept away. The U.S. dollar was soon devalued against
gold (although it hardly mattered, since it was no
longer convertible), and before long all of the major
currencies were floating against one another,
introducing uncertainty in trade and spawning the
enormous global casino which is the foreign exchange
A bizarre back-story to the creation of the postwar
monetary system is that its principal architect, Harry
Dexter White, was, during the entire period of its
construction, a Soviet agent working undercover in his
U.S. government positions, placing and promoting other
agents in positions of influence, and providing a steady
stream of confidential government documents to Soviet
spies who forwarded them to Moscow. This was suspected
since the 1930s, and White was identified by Communist
Party USA defectors
as a spy and agent of influence. While White was defended by the
usual apologists, and many historical accounts try to blur
the issue, mentions of White in the now-declassified
decrypts prove the issue beyond a shadow of a doubt. Still,
it must be said that White was a fierce and effective advocate
at Bretton Woods for the U.S. position as articulated by
Morgenthau and Roosevelt. Whatever other damage his espionage
may have done, his pro-Soviet sympathies did not detract from his
forcefulness in advancing the U.S. cause.
This book provides an in-depth view of the protracted
negotiations between Britain and the U.S., Lend-Lease
and other war financing, and the competing visions for
the postwar world which were decided at Bretton Woods.
There is a tremendous amount of detail, and while some
readers may find it difficult to assimilate, the economic
concepts which underlie them are explained clearly and
are accessible to the non-specialist. The demise of
the Bretton Woods system is described, and a brief sketch
of monetary history after its ultimate collapse is
Whenever a currency crisis erupts into the news, you can
count on one or more pundits or politicians to proclaim that
what we need is a “new Bretton Woods”. Before
prescribing that medicine, they would be well advised to
learn just how the original Bretton Woods came to be, and how
the seeds of its collapse were built in from the start.
U.S. advocates of such an approach might ponder the parallels
between the U.S. debt situation today and Britain's in 1944 and
consider that should a new conference be held, they may find
themselves sitting the seats occupied by the British the last
time around, with the Chinese across the table.
In the Kindle edition the table of contents,
end notes, and index are all properly cross-linked to the text.