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Broken Markets: A User's Guide to the Post-Finance Economy Paperback – June 14, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Mellyn is a management consultant, author, and former international banker residing in Bronxville, New York. He has more than 30 years of experience in almost every aspect of global finance and banking. Mellyn is the author of Financial Market Meltdown (Praeger, 2009) required reading for new recruits in a leading global financial-services firm a short history and explanation of financial markets, manias, and panics to help the general reader understand and cope with the calamity of 2008. He has been widely published and quoted in financial publications in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Mellyn holds AB and AM degrees in history from Harvard University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2012 edition (June 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430242213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430242215
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as informative or insightful as I thought it would be. I was looking for analysis as to how we got in the pickle we did, and Mellyn was not much help. The Sorkin book was better, and the McLean/Nocera book (All the Devils are here) are much better. Michael Lewis's the Big Short is also much better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mellyn begins his latest book with a scene by scene synopsis of the "movie we've seen before". It's not a movie for date night but instead much like the best Ken Burns documentaries.

Like Mellyn's previous book there are the comic anecdotes (congressmen responding with "bovine incomprehension" toward all financial matters which Mellyn admits is "unfair to cows") and the quirks of history (OPEC as a byproduct of US abandoning Bretton Woods; UK clearing system a function of seeing the Bank of England as a competitor). The humor and historic quirks are the trademarks of any Mellyn exposition and make Broken Markets worth the read on the merits of these alone.

The book's central thesis, that we're entering a phase of "financial repression" is hard to argue - mainly due to the ample evidence that repression is well underway (think interest rates approaching zero, mounting financial regulation). By the time we reach the last scene, there are no surprises and unfortunately no joy either. Life in an era of financial repression is not interesting for anyone and unless you're one of the lucky third to be an "insider" on the right side of highly regulated society, be prepared for a long and tenuous life of unrewarding toil.

But the good news is that this movie runs on a continuous loop and after a bleak ending, there is always a happy beginning. After reading Broken Markets, you'll know what to look for. Definitely worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
Mellyn starts with a good case that CEOs are taking too large a share of corporate wealth. He cites consumer debt as a major problem. His history cites the Great Moderation of 1985-2008 with attendant influence in checking the rise in asset prices as a prelude to the great panic. Economic consequences of regulation are all bad as as lawyers, not financiers, draft rules. The Dodd-Frank 848 page monstrosity won't make financial regulation more effective. The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was instrumental in financing activism that eventually led to the housing bubble.
High debt is affordable as a massive redistribution from public to government. The rich can't make a dent in the debt. Chevy Volt and Solyndra are evidence of crony capitalism. The difference between private and public finance - government can take it's citizen's money. It's impoverishing the thrifty to feed the government.
There are no safe havens for keeping money. Mellyn's investment advise, in contravention of public incentives, is to save your money. Don't invest in stocks, bonds or money market funds. What does that leave? The book ends with the question will we ever again have prudent banks?
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Format: Paperback
Kevin Mellyn's Broken Markets is an extremely useful, and enjoyable, book for anyone interested in gaining a greater understanding of the broad forces at play that are shaping the financial sector. Other books have been written about the 2008 financial crises and related topics, but this one in particular has the distinction of framing the crisis within a broader historical context in a way that is easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, insightful and even witty. Through this historical context, the reader is better able to develop a meaningful understanding of why modern financial institutions look the way they do, and in doing so, the reader gains a more trustworthy roadmap of where they might be headed. This book will appeal both to lay readers who might not be as familiar with the topics, as well as experienced bankers and policy makers who will appreciate Mellyn's spot-on root cause analysis on a deeper level. Mellyn covers enormous territory in this book, exploring forces and phenomena such as financial repression, inflation, the fundamental role of banks as financial intermediaries, the trend from spread income to fee income, the swinging pendulum of financial regulation and so on. Mellyn's achievement with this book is to do so while making the reader feel like he or she is chatting with an industry expert. In sum, a very worthwhile read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the few books to put all of the pieces together in straight forward language to explain the underlying forces moving the economy. Kevin's unique historical perspective on the origins of money, banking, and finance are invaluable in helping non-bankers understand how the financial market "movie" we are seeing and living through is likely to play out. This book is not an attempt to narrowly assign blame (as too often is the case of our politicians and popular media) but instead puts into plain light the unintended consequences of poorly designed financial regulation. Until we have an electorate with a basic understanding of the concepts laid out in this book, many of our fundamental economic problems will go unaddressed by those in power regardless of which side of the isle they sit. An important book to read and share.
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