In 2008, the world was hit by a banking crisis after enjoying a long period of economic growth. The crisis was followed by sudden stock market drops, bursting of the real estate bubble and an extensive financial crisis that spread to one country after another. Although politicians and economists periodically issue euphoric statements that normalcy is about to return and that the consumerist spree can resume with wild abandon, this has not happened. In fact, the longer the crisis lasts, the more people will ask, apprehensively, whether it will ever happen.

In Global Hangover (“Globaalpohmelus”) a work based on hundreds of studies, articles and books, Kaupo Vipp has provided as exhaustive an answer to this question as possible. The conclusions are not all that comforting. “The constant growth that has lasted over 200 years is ending and inevitable contraction is now beginning. The initial impetus – the dwindling of our resources – causes economic growth to cool off and financial systems to seize up, and sparks a general shift toward deglobalization. The diminishment of the well-being that nations and states were accustomed to has loosed social and political instability that is spreading like wildfire across the whole planet. (It is) seen in the form of strikes against the rise in the pension age, dissatisfaction with austerity programmes, Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring, food riots, waves of terrorism etc.”

Some readers will see Vipp’s work as too green-tinged or too anti-liberal (in the economic sense) but even the most critical will not be left ambivalent and the book will certainly stimulate the mind.

Vipp has provided epigraphs for each chapter from well-known scholars and thinkers. The one from Schopenhauer ably serves to describe the effect of the revelations in Global Hangover: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”