The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die

by Niall Ferguson

The Great Degeneration CoverIt feels like a long while since I’ve read a good non-fiction, so The Great Degeneration catching my eye really couldn’t have been more timely. And colour me impressed: Ferguson offers a brilliant insight into the decay of Western civilization. It comes with smug satisfaction that I now not only have a literary basis for many concepts in which I thoroughly believe, but also because I have been exposed to further theories to bolster those bleak beliefs.

Overall, Ferguson paints a very pessimistic view of the landscape we now find ourselves within, mainly from an economic perspective. Very clear issues of stagnating growth, ballooning debt, the degeneration of law, and needless complexity added to our institutions are all presented with little talk of solutions. However, The Great Degeneration is not bereft of optimism. The author does touch on historical similarities, in which recovery was possible. As well, Ferguson has somehow succeeded in convincing me to volunteer more of my time to better myself and my community.

Short, succinct, hugely informative, and highly enjoyable, I can’t recommend The Great Degeneration highly enough. The clearest thing I can say regarding this book is that my interest has definitely been sparked, and, due to many recommendations in the introduction and throughout the book, I now find myself with a much larger stack of reading to add to the pile.