The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome by John F. Wasik


reviewed by Marc Schulman

The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome, is a slim book that is really two books in one. The first is an explanation of the financial crisis and the second is a prescription on what can be done to change American culture that was the underlying cause of the crisis. The author explains the crisis as the inevitable result of the American need to build ever larger homes that ultimately resulted in the building of Mac-mansions on Cul De Sac far from the inner city, thus the name the Cul-De-Sac Syndrome John Wasik believes that it has been part of the American ethos to strive for that ever larger home, and thus families over the last decades have stretched beyond their means to buy houses homes they could not afford, in areas that they could not afford to commute to especially once gas prices rose beyond their historic lows.

The resulting crisis according to Wasik was merely a natural result of a rubber band stretch too far and thus is finally snapped creating Americaís greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Too many Americans could no longer afford the homes they owned and the resulting defaults brought the American financial system to its knees. The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome also posits that the type of homes that Americans were building and their location are not sustainable environmentally.

The first half of the book does an excellent job of providing a coherent explanation of the causes of the meltdown, the second half of the book is more problematic. Here the author proposes the building of new environmentally friendly homes. By building in such a way the US can according to Wasik create a more sustainable economy. While I have no problems with any of the suggestions on how to build homes, the jump that the author makes that this will held lead an economic recovery is in itself unsustainable by the facts presented.

For a unique explanation of the causes of the crisis I recommend this book, it you are looking for a book that presents a roadmap of the future you may want to read this book, but I am not convinced that the authors prescription will lead to solutions to Americaís economic woes.

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