Reuben Finighan reviews 'A Banquet of Consequences: Have we consumed our own future?' by Satyajit Das

Reuben Finighan reviews 'A Banquet of Consequences: Have we consumed our own future?' by Satyajit Das

A Banquet of Consequences: Have we consumed our own future?

by Satyajit Das

Viking $34.99 pb, 352 pp, 9780670079056

Reuben Finighan

Reuben Finighan

Reuben Finighan is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar and Frank Knox Fellow. He is


Visions of the future are always forged within a present. The Great Depression led sober economists to wonder whether capitalism and economic growth had come to an end. Golden Era economists of the 1950s and 1960s, confident they knew better, promised that the formula for permanent growth had been discovered. In the 1970s a combination of high inflation and unemployment – known as 'stagflation' – brought a painful end to such hopes, and the pessimists once again argued that this was the new normal. Instead came the giddy exuberance of the 1980s and 1990s. This spawned books like Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (1992), which declared that Western democratic capitalism had won and would be the 'final form of human government'.

Today, gloom is back in fashion. Fukuyama's hopes for democracy have been toppled by the meteoric rise of China and the return of an authoritarian Russia, and for capitalism by the largest crisis since the Great Depression. These times call for a different kind of book – one like Satyajit Das's A Banquet of Consequences. Will pessimism prove prescient this time around?

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in May 2016, no. 381

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.