John L. King, an economic historian with teaching experience at several California universities and the author of a monthly investors’ newsletter, adds his voice to what has become a chorus of prophets of doom. Convinced that the staggering double debt the United States has incurred will drive the industrialized world into an inevitable forty-five to sixty-year economic collapse, King decries the traditional economists and the myths which they have perpetuated about the safety of federally insured bank deposits, the ability of the government to prevent economic hardship, and the importance of the Federal Reserve’s control over the money supply.
In the economic apocalypse which is coming soon, although one knows neither the day nor the hour, the traditional recipients of the money of investors--banks and savings-and-loan associations, the stock market, and mutual funds and money management funds--will no longer be safe. Investors should instead invest in United States Treasury bills or savings bonds, both of which will hold up after the rest of the economy has disintegrated. They should buy gold and silver, which retain constant purchasing power. They should set aside funds for investment in real estate after it has lost much of its value. Or, finally, they should preserve capital outside the traditional deposit and savings institutions.
Although much of King’s thesis is worthy of serious consideration, his account suffers from a variety of faults which vitiate it. This book is badly organized, poorly written, repetitious, and nearly hysterical in its tone. The author’s oft-repeated emphasis on his credentials as a historian is negated by his thesis of historical inevitability. In addition, in the world of social and economic anarchy he envisions, one would hardly want to survive to profit from it.