The last book is a comparison of the economic histories of the Spanish, Dutch, British & US empires, arguing that the last two were already doomed in the period of their greatest wealth. In both cases their economies had mostly converted to pure finance, hollowing out the industry and common weal within the nation and leaving it vulnerable to shock. Phillips certainly implies that the US is already in that stage. He has some lovely contemporaneous quotes identifying the beginnings of each nation's rise, e.g. from Charles Wilson's Holland and Britain
the Dutch technician was to the 17th century what the Scottish engineer was to the 19th century...to be found wherever profitable occupation offered and...wherever government or private enterprise was in need of technical or managerial skill.American engineers were that after WWI; right now I'd say India has the baton, or China.
The main argument of the book is an indictment of current US politics
for having been captured by the small interest group of people who have
enormous amounts of money. The history, US and elsewhere, shows how
such capture has played out before; his analysis of the last 20 years
of US fiscal politics suggests that it's playing us now.
So wrote clew in