Review: The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning

January 17, 2024

This book, “The End Of The World..” by Peter Zeihan was quite interesting to read and share. Clearly, I had never heard of Zeihan, mainly because my political analysis has been way different, and it appears he mainly writes for the investor class.

With that said, I really liked reading this book. As I wrote, my views are somewhat different than Zeihan’s, but I admit I have a lot of room to grow and learn. From the beginning, Zeihan bragged about lecturing at “Langley”, one guess who that is.

I was so interested in reading Zeihan’s analysis that I gave two copies to investor friends, and contacted another about the book. One person said Zeihan’s writing was “oversimplified”, and the other two never responded about the book. Of those two, one was a big Wall Street guy who probably doesn’t like what Zeihan has to say, the other just bought an expensive electric vehicle and an array of solar panels, and at the very least probably doesn’t like to know he has been scammed. That guy is a “gadget-guy”, who always is in on the newest tech-trends.

But to the nuts and bolts of this book; Zeihan makes a strong case that the world is at an end of a prosperous era, one that likely will never return. Here in a nutshell, is his reasoning:
-Since World War 2, trade routes have expanded due largely to shipping protection of the US Navy. That appears to be coming to an end. Look at the shelling of ships in the Red Sea, and how the US has promised protection, but pulled back significantly.

Zeihan indicates a somewhat Nationalistic return of US Naval presence to our own coasts, or the protection of raw materials coming from our neighbors to the States. Zeihan does not spend any time on how previous military operations have resulted in wars and coups across the world, largely due to US actions. I give Zeihan a pass on that because it appears that he is telling things how they are, not how they should be. Zeihan even admits that near the end of the book.

Secondly, Zeihan correctly states that globally the baby-boomer generation is retiring, with no younger generation to do the work and pay the taxes to support the older generation. My speculation, not mentioned by Zeihan, is that the massive flooding of younger people at the US southern border as well as parts of Europe is being allowed to re-supply those areas with young worker/taxpayers. Just a thought.

Zeihan makes the case that (developed-world) urbanization forces people into city work, less kids, smaller living quarters – all making birth control inevitable. No replacement workers/taxpayers in the developed world. The developed world is in for a shock.

Zeihan also makes a good case that the US intentionally off-shored US “and developed-world” industry
to level the playing field, enrich the world through expanded trade, at the expense of the middle-class. Now it all starts to make sense, for better or worse.

For what it’s worth, Zeihan suggests that the US will fare much better than most of the world. The US has friendly neighbors to the north and south, and well defended coastlines. Manufacturing, on a lesser scale, will return. The US also has an extensive river system for transport. He suggests it will be somewhat of a return to how business was conducted 100 years ago.

However, the same can not be said about parts of Europe and Asia, which depend heavily on supply routes that likely will be targeted by states or pirates, or both. It’s gonna’ get ugly. Zeihan says it will never, ever return to the prosperous (for some) age from WW2 to around the year 2000.

Now you can probably see why my investor friends may not have liked to hear what Zeihan has to say. It could represent a huge lifestyle and financial loss to them. Meanwhile, people who live simply and close to “the land” may do just fine.

I have to say, this book really made me think. Yes, I mentally argued with the author at times, but that is how we learn to think.
Personally, I learned a lot and recommend the book, even if you don’t agree with all of the author’s conclusions.

-John Titus

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