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Casino Capitalism: How the Financial Crisis Came About and What Needs to be Done Now Hardcover – September 30, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sinn's analysis is the most readable and best (popular science) account of the financial crisis that has yet appeared."--Sebastian Dullien, Financial Times


About the Author


Hans-Werner Sinn is Chair of Economics and Public Finance at the University of Munich and President of the combined Institute for Economic Research and Center for Economic Studies (CES-ifo). He has published numerous scholarly journals and books but is also a leading commentator on contemporary economic affairs in Germany and has published a number of best selling books.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199588279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199588275
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Markus Meyer on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing! If you think, you understand the financial crisis, read this book. You will get the comprehension: Before the book, I know nothing (or too little). A "must-read" for all economists (or people who are interested in the financial crisis). Experts (see first pages) love it... I love it too :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Toche on April 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Written by an excellent (well-published) and influential (in policy-making in Germany and Europe) economist. This is a concise but detailed account. Plenty of data: tables and graphs, all carefully selected. Enough chronology to be reminded of basic facts. No aside on the personalities involved (as you might get in other, more colorful accounts). A careful analysis of the role of Basel and other banking regulations and de-regulations, together with simple numerical examples to illustrate the risk (mis-)calculation involved. Just enough rigour to explain basic principles, but highly readable. Doesn't get lost in the technicalities of CDOS, etc., provides just about what you need to understand a financial crisis if you know nothing about finance to begin with. Written by a European and therefore providing a less US-centric account than other books out there. Occasionally opinionated but (almost) always carefully argues his points.

This would be an excellent text for a course on the financial crisis of 2008 (graduate or undergraduate). I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the mechanisms at work. Other great books, by the way: the Roubini-Mihm book, Rajan's Fault Lines. Robert Shiller's and Joseph Stiglitz's books are also excellent.

An Aside: I did disagree with the author, at one point: he writes, without explaining, (something to the effect) that banks' systemic failures necessarily call for bailouts, while (say) the auto industry's non-systemic failures do not. But the way I see it is that the banks were guilty perpetrators while the autos were innocent victims. The way I see it is you bailout every-one or you bailout no-one. I don't see what kind of moral philosophy can lead one to save the chosen and let the rest die... On that, of course, I'm with Robert Shiller and Joseph Stiglitz for whom "too big to fail" is "too big to be."
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By RJS on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Actually, of all the stuff written on 2008, this must count as one of the better books. So why not Five Stars? Well, the argument is a tad underdone and verges into uninformed dogmatism from place to place, but that's no reason not to read it. After a thoughtful account of just how bad 2008 really was (I think only Alan Blinder has managed to make the point with equal force), Casino Capitalism gets right to the point. Forget the tales of thieving bankers, snoozing regulators, and hot chicks who design exotic financial instruments and the men who love them: economics is about incentives and so was 2008. Incentives seemingly designed to encourage excessive risk-taking on the part of the public, financial institutions, Lord, everyone. And those incentives led to disaster when the unexpected (or unmodelled) happened, and supposedly independent events turned out to be not-so-independent, and the international financial system virtually seized up. It would have taken much more aggressive regulation and a stronger supervisory state authority to prevent what happened: casino capitalism brought to you by cowboys in expensive suits. Nearly 2 trillion dollars in losses later, and with ill designed, inefficient, and quite possibly crony-capitalist schemes (see Geithner, Tim and Paulson, Hank) to restore the financial sector to "health," i.e. the status quo ante, what have we learned. The big lesson seems to be that if you get to play with other people's money (leverage) and it costs you nothing to lose it (no equity), you will have no compunction in behaving in ways guaranteed to lose it (the losses being social, and the profits, Heaven knows, sacredly private) and the "market" with its "invisible hand" will only produce more speculation, not less. Do not read on an empty stomach.Read more ›
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By Carlos F on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents an European view of the origin, causes and development of the still ongoing financial crisis. While one may disagree on some details, the analysis is very good and objective, and summarizes all of the factors that went into making this a crisis like no other since the '30s. Unlike other more US-centered analyses, one finds here a lot of information on the European aspects of the crisis. Not an easy read for the uninitiated, but well worth the effort.
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