Balance: The economics of great powers from ancient Rome to modern America
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Event Summary

The large fiscal imbalances currently plaguing the United States are significant cause for concern. At an AEI event on Thursday, AEI's own Glenn Hubbard and the Hudson Institute's Tim Kane argued that sizeable imbalances have historically led to the collapse of world powers, the topic of their new book "Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America" (Simon & Schuster, May 2013).

The authors' presentation examined America's future through the lens of the decline of powers such as the Spanish and Ottoman Empires, and was followed by comments from three discussants. Matt Miller of The Washington Post was intrigued by the authors' call for a greater competition of ideas in the political sphere and their apparent willingness to witness the rise of a third, fourth, or even fifth political party.

AEI's Michael Barone, however, defended America's two-party system, which in recent decades has led to split governments with Democrats holding the presidency and Republicans controlling the Congress. According to Barone, this is evidence of a strong competition between the two parties.

Jared Bernstein concluded by stressing the need for fiscal policy to optimize economic growth; however, he disagreed with Hubbard and Kane that smarter fiscal policy should come in the form of a balanced budget amendment.
--Veronika Polakova

Event Description

Please join us for an event celebrating the release of Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane’s “Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America” (Simon & Schuster, May 2013).  Hubbard and Kane will introduce the book, which examines how economic imbalances have induced the collapse of world powers such as the Roman Empire, Ming Dynasty, and Ottoman Empire. The authors conclude that America will face inevitable demise if it does not solve its dysfunctional fiscal balance.  

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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Kevin A.
Hassett

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