The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy, and the Future of American Power

Michael Moran and Foreword By Nouriel Roubini

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

A leading forecaster of economic and political trends takes a sharp look at the decline of American influence in the world, and how it can prepare for the new reality.

The age of American global dominance is ending. Today, a host of forces are converging to challenge its cherished notion of exceptionalism, and risky economic and foreign policies have steadily eroded the power structure in place since the Cold War. Staggering under a huge burden of debt, the country must make some tough choices—or cede sovereignty to its creditors. In The Reckoning, Michael Moran, geostrategy analyst explores the challenges ahead -- and what, if anything, can be prevent chaos as America loses its perch at the top of the mountain.

Covering developments like unprecedented information technologies, the growing prosperity of China, India, Brazil, and Turkey, and the diminished importance of Wall Street in the face of global markets, Moran warns that the coming shift will  have serious consequences not just for the United States, but for the wider world. Countries that have traditionally depended on the United States for protection and global stability will have to fend for themselves. Moran describes how, with a bit of wise leadership, America can transition to this new world order gracefully—by managing entitlements, reigniting sustainable growth, reforming immigration policy, launching new regional dialogues that bring friend and rival together in cooperative multinational structures, and breaking the poisonous deadlock in Washington. If not, he warns, history won’t wait.


Praise for The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy, and the Future of American Power

“An engaging, if chilling read… Moran's point of view is valuable, particularly in the context of the U.S.' November elections.”—USA Today

"The Reckoning is a smart, sober and clear-eyed primer on the Post-American Century. Read it, and then demand equally straight answers from those who seek your vote."--The Seattle Times

"A grim but hopeful analysis of the global position of the U.S. and the dire need for change."--Booklist

"For policy and financial wonks, a smart, bracing and sobering read; for voters, fair warning about possible outcomes of the looming November elections."--Kirkus Reviews


“This solemn examination of the severe problems facing the U.S. today...offers a practical, useful roadmap for change if politicians will follow.”—Publishers Weekly


"The Reckoning is a chilling survey of the state of the world and American global leadership. Michael Moran sees the real problems and argues that things will go from bad to worse unless Washington can somehow manage to change its ways and embrace major reforms. I hope he's wrong--but I fear he may be right."--Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs and author of How Wars End


"Mike Moran is a sharp thinker and a fine storyteller, and The Reckoning is a terrifically engaging read. America's role in the world is a subject that demands clarity and nuance, and this book delivers both."--Ian Bremmer, author of The End of the Free Market


“With the clarity and style of someone used to communicating complicated stuff to a general audience, Moran draws on his decades of experience to lay out for readers all the factors in the bill that has come due for America and how we can pay it off.  The choices are hard but Moran is not a "declinist;" he is a realistic optimist. The Reckoning is a book that frames the choices facing America's citizens better than any I have read.”--Michael Goldarb, Senior Correspondent, GlobalPost.com and author of Emancipation: How Liberating Europe's Jews From the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance


"Moran comprehensively and bluntly catalogs the political, economic, and foreign policy errors that have drained the Treasury and diminished global opinion of American leadership.  His views will irritate many current stakeholders.  They do however contribute to a needed debate on American’s future role in global security and Moran believes that role, while, requiring changes in style and substance, remains vital."--Dr. William Turcotte, Chairman Emeritus, Naval War College

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Michael Moran and Foreword By Nouriel Roubini

  • Michael Moran is Editor-in-Chief of Renaissance Insight, the though-leadership arm of the global investment bank Renaissance Capital. Based in London and New York, Moran writes on and forecasts geopolitical and economic trends for the bank's clients and is author of "The Reckoning" blog on Slate. Moran worked directly with renowned economist Nouriel Roubini during the 2008-2009 economic crisis and, over the past 25 years, he has reported and analyzed major events for the world’s leading intellectual and newsgathering institutions, winning numerous awards for his work on behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations, the BBC, MSNBC.com, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.



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The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy, and the Future of American Power

Michael Moran and Foreword By Nouriel Roubini