"The Demographic Cliff" by Harry S. Dent, Jr. (2014)
"China now has a new up-the-ante plan for accelerating urbanization even faster, aiming to go from 53 percent to 72 percent in just twelve years by 2025. That means 250 million more people will be uprooted from their farms and moved into high-rises. However, such overinvestment by governments can only result in a bubble and a burst, as in Southeast Asia from 1997 to 2002. China has already seen the largest shift of people from rural to urban areas since 2000 with massive overinvestments in infrastructure at all levels. In addition, China's timing is poor, as it is upping the ante just as global growth is slowing and its own demographics are slowing."
What does the future hold for the world economy? Well, according to author Harry Dent, we're about to head straight off a cliff, and right into a "winter season" that may or may not make the Great Depression look like a minor mood swing.
And the reasons for this "Greater Depression?" - demographic trends within the "developed" nations, coupled with the specter of Quantitave Easing (QE), the cure-all that many countries have been using to keep their economies alfoat. Falling birthrates make future growth uncertain, and bad governmental policies are creating diseased economies.
But how to fix the problem? The answer, says the author, is to let the economy crash. In so doing we'll give our economies opportunity to reset themselves, and to promote innovation.
Yet on the other side of the author's predictions lies the fact that it's 2017, and his gloomy tidings haven't yet come to pass. He predicts a downturn around 2015 or 2016, and we haven't yet seen a downturn of the magnitude he describes.
And there's also this discussion of sunspots. The author goes on to link major economic upheavals to sunspot activity, and from there proceeds to a discussion of electromagnetism. Reading this, I almost expected astrological charts to start popping up, or a discussion of the Illuminati, or references to Atlantis.
Fortunately that didn't happen, and aside from this one weird detour I'd have to say that The Demographic Cliff is a very readable book, with some valid points to make about the world economy and how future events might unfold. I can't say which of its predictions will be proven true, but I won't be investing in Mainland Chinese real estate anytime soon.