Anne Flosnik reads an ear-opening look at the follies of American finance, and the decline of the West in the face of a record breaking debt. Can America forestall catastrophe, or is it already too late? In HOW THE WEST WAS LOST Dambisa Moyo outlines the breathtaking ignorance of politicians and regulators in allowing industrial bases to erode while housing bubbles inflated and Americans moved from using cash to using credit cards to sustain their illusions. With pension funds facing collapse, is the dollar itself next? One thing is certain: America has been falling for over a decade in its rankings in science and engineering education compared to the rest of the world. While our culture encourages competition in sports and non-productive pursuits such as song and dance, and while we discourage any identification or progression of the best performing academic students, emerging countries like China do the exact opposite. There, students are in intense competition, spending more time in school, and with science and engineering related careers and education a more realistic goal than the far less likely chance of winning game show fame. So the future now favors emerging markets, while a relative lowering of living standards is inevitable for the Western world.