April 05 , 2009


The Breakdown of the Social Contract and the Rise of Geopolitics


Signals is the story of the world economy, told in the language of everyday objects and events - from magazine covers and grocery stores to military action.

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The rising price but shrinking size of a steak, a bar of chocolate and an apartment not only cause pain at home, they also propel some nations to deploy their militaries to secure resources and protect their citizens from higher prices. Malmgren argues that by being alert to the many signals around us, anyone can start to navigate the turbulent world economy instead of being overwhelmed by it.

Philippa Malmgren reveals how our daily lives are informed and affected by the on-going battle, created by central bankers, between inflation and deflation. As the cost of living for consumers continues to rise, while their income still falls, a pattern is created that breaks the vital social contracts between citizens and their governments. This sets in motion many seemingly unrelated outcomes: social unrest in emerging markets, the movement of manufacturing jobs back to the US and the West, and ultimately, higher food and energy prices. If growth and innovation presents the only solutions, the key question becomes whether governments are hostile or hospitable to these efforts.

With its wonderful range of signals, from a Vogue magazine cover to a protest by a Tibetan monk, Signals is not only hugely relevant but also exceptionally readable.

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