Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong (2010), The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money (New York: Basic Books: 9780465018765).
When you have the money--and "you" are a big, economically and culturally vital nation--you get more than just a higher standard of living for your citizens. You get power and influence, and a much-enhanced ability to act out. When the money drains out, you can maintain the edge in living standards of your citizens for a considerable time (as long as others are willing to hold your growing debts and pile interest payments on top). But you lose power, especially the power to ignore others, quite quickly--though, hopefully, in quiet, nonconfrontational ways. An you lose influence--the ability to have your wishes, ideas, and folkways willingly accepted, eagerly copied, and absorbed into daily life by others. As with good parenting, you hope that by the time this happens those ideas and ways have been so thoroughly integrated that they have become part of what is normal and regular abroad as well as at home; sometimes, of course, they don't. In either case, the end is inevitable: you must become, recognize that you have become, and act like a normal country. For America, this will be a shock: American has not been a normal country for a long, long time.
Comment: Share Buybacks in the mid-2000s and Leveraging Up
Ken Houghton of Angry Bear directs us to Floyd Norris:
>Shareholder Value: Floyd Norris Blog: Three numbers, courtesy of Howard Silverblatt of Standard & Poor’s, shed some light on what companies did with their cash during boom times: Over the last four years, since the buyback boom began, from the fourth quarter of 2004 through the third quarter of 2008, companies in the S.&P. 500 showed:
>* Reported earnings: $2.42 trillion
>* Stock buybacks: $1.73 trillion
>* Dividends: $0.91 trillion
>As a group, every dime they made, and more, went to shareholders. Roughly $2 went to shareholders who sold out for every $1 that was paid in dividends to shareholders who held on to their shares.