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Could dwindling resources instigate a socioeconomic war across America?

Doubleday, 2012.

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Aren’t there studies about what happens when rats run out of water, or food, or space – and turn on their fellow rats? What if that were to happen in the United States, the land of plenty? Could we be looking at a breakdown of everyday social services? Author Thomas Byrne Edsall poses these questions and investigates the answers in his book, “The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics.”

Edsall calculates that the grinding disputes between Republicans and Democrats about major issues such as long-term deficit reduction and cuts in defense spending, and Medicare/Medicaid funding, could also grind public services to a halt – ushering in an era of scarcity the likes of which Americans haven’t known for decades. Unless radical changes are made to the nation’s way of doing business and government, Edsall argues that the U.S. is in a downward spiral of stagnation and utter dysfunction.


Are Americans prepared to effectively slow down or compromise their consumption of resources? Can these prospects scare Americans into cooperating? Or are we going to argue our way to social collapse?


Thomas B. Edsall, author, “The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics”

Read an excerpt of Edsall's book below:

The Age of Austerity excerpt