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Bubbles, Booms, and Busts: The Rise and Fall of Financial Assets Hardcover – June 2, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2009 edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387876294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387876290
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,027,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This book deals at some length with the question: Since there are many more poor than rich, why don’t the poor just tax the rich heavily and reduce the inequality? In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the topic of inequality was discussed widely. Ending or reducing inequality was a prime motivating factor in the emergence of communism and socialism. The book discusses why later in the 20th century, inequality has faded out as an issue. Extensive tables and graphs of data are presented showing the extent of inequality in America, as well as globally. It is shown that a combination of low taxes on capital gains contributed to a series of real estate and stock bubbles that provided great wealth to the top tiers, while real income for average workers stagnated. Improved commercial efficiency due to computers, electronics, the Internet and fast transport allowed production and distribution with fewer workers, just as the advent of electrification, mechanization, production lines, vehicles and trains in the 1920s and 1930s produced the same stagnating effect.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

This book provides a thorough explanation of the nature and history of booms, bubbles and busts in financial markets. The first part of the book deals with financial booms and bubbles and how they emerge, develop and collapse. It describes the distribution of wealth, inflation, rationality of bankers, monetary and fiscal policy, the role of central banks, tax policies, social security, US federal, state, municipal and personal debt, and valuation of common stocks.

The book describes historical boom/bust cycles including bubbles of the 1720s, the Florida land boom and the stock market in the 1920s, the depression of the 1930s, the S&L scandal of the 1980s, the great bull market of 1982-1995, the crash of 1987, the dot.com mania of 1995-2000, corporate swindles of the 1990s and 2000s, the sub-prime fiasco of the 2000s, and Japan in the late 20th century.

Most of the recent wealth generation has derived from increased debt and appreciation of paper assets. The architects of the new economics were Ronald Reagan and Arthur Greenspan. Inevitably, the US Government’s cure for excessive spending and inadequate revenues is to increase spending and cut revenues. American voters must choose between "tax and spend" Democrats and "spend and borrow" Republicans. The theme of American finance was uttered by VP Cheney: "Deficits don’t matter."


More About the Author

Donald Rapp has a Ph.D from the University of California and over 50 years of technical research experience. He was a full professor at the University of Texas and spent over 30 years at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In his early career he worked in chemical physics, producing two citation classics with over 500 citations, and textbooks on quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. Later, he worked on spacecraft technology leading to his book "Human Missions to Mars". Since about 2006 he has worked mainly on climate change and also ice ages. His positions on many key issues are contrary to mainstream trends. In particular, he is highly doubtful that life ever existed on Mars and thinks the NASA Mars Program is a boondoggle. He is also skeptical of alarmist claims regarding the dangers of global warming but he is concerned about rising CO2. At age 78, he is still going strong with a new book coming out in November 2012 and he still plays an active game of tennis.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Irvine on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book does exactly what the author claims: it provides a thorough explanation of the nature and history of booms, bubbles and busts in financial markets. The first part of the book deals with financial booms and bubbles and how they emerge, develop, and collapse. It traces the history of past bubbles dating back to the 17th Century, and shows the connection and relationship to more recent bubbles, such as the bubbles of the 1720's, the Florida land boom and the stock market of the 1920's, the depression of the 1930's, the S&L scandal of the 1980's, the great bull market of 1982-1995, the crash of 1987, the dot.com mania of 1995-2000, the corporate swindles of the 1990's and 2000's, the sub-prime fiasco of the 2000's, and Japan in the late 20th Century.

It also describes the distribution of wealth in the U.S., inflation, rationality of bankers, monetary and fiscal policy, the role of central banks in promoting bubbles, tax policies that favor the rich, social security, the magnitude and impact of U.S. federal, state and municipal and personal debt, and the subjective valuation of common stocks. One must agree with the author the we have a government of, by, and for the rich.

This is the best book I have ever read on real world economics, bar none.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Leland C. Wilkins on December 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find the title extremely misleading.
The first half of the book is dedicated to a rant about modern financial problems.
These problems are well documented and have been thoroughly discussed in modern media.
I didn't buy this book to read about the housing bubble and how low interest rate policies and favorable tax policy encouraged such a bubble. Unfortunately, that is the sum of what this book has to offer.

Not worth reading for anyone who is looking for anything close to a scholarly review of bubbles and busts.

Good for folks that read People magazine and don't have a clue about what happened in the past decade.

I'd recommend a Theory of Money and Credit by Ludvig von Mises for a much better understanding of bubbles and busts.
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By Ralph Rapp on August 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very informative but not like reading a good novel.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By infolode on August 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Donald Rapp presents a multidimensional framework, that enables us to see the on going phenomena of human psychology, repeated in cyclic fashion, regardless of time or circumstance.

Mr. Rapp provides much more than mere snapshots of these events yet makes no attempt to weave a theory of bias for the reader to employ.

I am left with but one conclusion that questions the foundations of free will.

The future, is but a repetition of the past, for most, if not all.
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