-Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, 2008, by Margaret Atwood
This book about debt and credit is packed with historical and literary refereces, such as references to Shylock and Ebeneezer Scrooge, which may entertain some, but was somewhat of a disappointment to me. In addition to an examination of how personal debts are acquired and paid back, Atwood discusses national debts and taxation to some extent.
Points relevant to the world sitiuation today include, on page 136:
Nevertehless, you can float a hefty tax scheme on the back of a righteous-sounding and energizing war... Scare them with the thought that they themselves may be looted and pillaged... and they'll fork over with remarkable docility.
On page 144 she says:
So it's still a case of debtor and creditor joined at the hip.
...America and China at the present moment...adding simply, as Machiavelli said, it's a terrible policy for a leader to plunge his country severely into debt. It results in a loss of power and influence --often the very things that the leader waged the expensive war to gain..
The book goes on for another 60 pages, but again it mostly literary references to Dickens, Marlowe, and others.