Book launch – The Age of Menace by David Buckham, Robyn Wilkinson and Christiaan Straeuli

 ·3 Nov 2022

When the lead author of The End of Money, David Buckham, the founder and CEO of Monocle, a respected management consulting firm specialising in banking and insurance, reached out for a meeting shortly after we spoke on air about the book – which was written along with professional writers and financial researchers, Robyn Wilkinson, and Christiaan Straeuli – I was intrigued by his tone.

“I’m working on another project,” I recall him saying before adding wryly, “and this one mainly aimed at the total disconnect between the formal markets and the man on the street and monstrous inequality.”

Having piqued my interest and after a brief breakfast at Croft in Tyrone Avenue, Parkview, I knew Buckham and his fellow authors were tapping into the zeitgeist of our age.

The Age of Menace, as it turns out – with the authors settling on a title that fully conveyed the sense of unease growing around the world.

An insightful weaving together of the tapestry of seemingly disparate threads from how tech moguls gamed the capitalist system for personal gain, how western liberal ideals have given way to rising populism while billionaires fly around in phallic rockets, and the role of rampant money printing in driving inflation and its fallout as we are experiencing it today.

I had the pleasure of hosting the Johannesburg book launch at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park recently.

Publisher Tim Richman greeted me before proceedings with a few unnecessary flatteries as a large crowd filled the seats assembled outside the bookshop to lean into what the authors had to say.

The fantastic turnout was hardly surprising given the book touches on so many of the themes that are shaping the world today, for better or worse, including the US Fed’s unbridled money printing since the global financial crisis, but at a much more fundamental and existential level, how unbridled capitalism since the 1970s has served to alienate the majority of the western world from the very democratic system that is vital for capitalism to thrive and create the conditions for generally increasing prosperity.

Buckham shared how the creative approach to The Age of Menace had been influenced by a book I suggested to him last December, The New Map, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and energy savant Daniel Yergin.

Shorter chapters, each telling different stories, which, viewed in isolation, are interesting, but when finally viewed in totality, reveal a disturbing and thought-provoking picture of the world or ‘new map’ of the world.

The fact that all three authors hold master’s degrees in English literature and are regular financial industry commentary writers lends the book to the sort of easy read that is rare when covering such vast ground as global geopolitics, global monetary and fiscal policy and dense subject matter as the broader social ontology of democracy.

And I found this treatment, as a follow-up to The End of Money, their first book published in 2021, carrying through some of the critical themes that were perhaps left a little open-ended.

Is there a trilogy in the making here? All three authors agree a third book is in the offing, and this time, they are training their sights on the climate change narrative that Buckham argues has become polluted with cognitive dissonance and is causing more harm than good.

As world-renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama, whom the authors lean on heavily in the book, says, Liberalism as a doctrine seeks to control violence by lowering the sights of politics.

The Age of Menace reminds us that around the world, those sights are being aimed once again at the freedoms supposedly cherished in western democracies. And it’s up to us to lower them once again if we are to avoid a bloody social revolution.

Get your copy of The Age of Menace at any good bookstore or purchase it from Takealot.

Michael Avery is the host of Business Talk on BusinessTech. He is the anchor of the HOT Business show on HOT1027, and also the host of Business Watch on BDTV.

The Age of Menace book launch – Watch now

Read: Book review: The End of Money by David Buckham, Robyn Wilkinson and Christiaan Straeuli

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