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Leverage: How Cheap Money Will Destroy the World Hardcover – November 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118122844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118122846
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Leverage is an essential part of the financial system, and when used properly it allows businesses to borrow funds to invest in growth and expansion, offers opportunities for reasonably priced housing, and much more. But current imbalances in the ways in which leverage is being used by the rich and powerful in the United States and abroad have led to an alarming situation that threatens to shake the global economy to its core.

In Leverage: How Cheap Money Will Destroy the World, well-known market commentator Karl Denninger literally follows the money, tracing the path it has taken through history and discovers a shocking truth—the power to control a nation's purse strings is addictive, and when that power falls into the hands of only a select few, they will pull the levers of government and policy to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. History is littered with the stories of collapsed monetary systems, and in every case the debasement of the currency in question, and the disasters that followed, can be directly blamed on excessive leverage, deployed in ill-intentioned and fraudulent ways by the elite.

The current Great Recession is no exception to this rule. It was no accident, and the politicians and monied interests responsible knew that it was coming. Special interests and other influential individuals have always used leverage to enrich themselves while looting the population at large. Eventually the bill always comes due and then we all have to pay.

With Leverage in hand, we can avoid this disaster, and Denninger shows how. With practical, realistic ideas for fixing the financial system, devising sound energy policies, and more, the book stands between us and a debt we simply can't afford.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Leverage

"Karl Denninger is a brilliant economist and someone whose opinions I respect and highly value.Leverage is a remarkable work that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to truly grasp the principles that drive our current economy and the breakdowns that occur when the fundamental mathematical laws governing economies are ignored or obfuscated. Karl has taken a complex macroeconomic system and masterfully pared it down to its essence. Leverage presents this information in an elegantly simple manner that the average high school student would understand, and provides a realistic plan for eliminating the mechanisms that have caused the 'boom and bust' cycles and over-leveraging that have plagued our economy for decades."—Adrian Wyllie, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and syndicated talk radio host

"Karl is something of a rarity in our politics—a Tea Party conservative who believes in strong and effective regulation as a mechanism towards reducing excessive leverage in our economy. He spares no one in this discussion of a financial services industry that colluded with the government to rip off Americans by convincing them that home prices could never decline and that home equity was an ATM. Undergirding all of this was leverage, a useful tool that can become a poison if ingested wrongly or in unwise amounts. Leverage infects our medical system, educational system, and government. I don't agree with everything Karl says. I am after all a liberal, and he is not. But he provides a clear explanation of what is wrong with our economic and political order, and how to fix it."—Matt Stoller, American political activist and writer

"Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker® has been a prophetic voice crying in the wilderness, repeatedly warning the world of the dangers of excessive debt. In Leverage, he provides a cogent analysis of the current economic crisis as well as a set of drastic policy prescriptions that may be the U.S. economy's only chance for eventual recovery."—Vox Day, author of The Return of the Great Depression

"In 2007, our once lucrative business was collapsing. The harder we worked, the more difficult it became to afford even a modest standard of living. Out of a desperate need for answers, I started researching and that research led me to Karl Denninger's Market Ticker. As a quintessential Jane Six Pack, I knew only the basics of economics and the financial sense my accountant father had instilled in me. What I have learned from Karl over the past four years has changed my family's life, and I credit Karl for saving us from the financial ruin that has devastated many of our friends and extended family. Thankfully, Karl has simplified and condensed all this knowledge and information into one, easy-to-read book; so it won't take you as long as it took me to understand the scope of what we face and how to protect yourself and the people you love. Leverage is both frightening in its reality and hopeful in that it gives us the tools to change our future. Leverage should be in every classroom in America."—Stephanie Jasky, founder, FedUpUSA.org

More About the Author

Mr. Denninger is the former CEO of MCSNet, a regional Chicago area networking and Internet company that operated from 1987 to 1998. MCSNet was proud to offer several "firsts" in the Internet Service space, including integral customer-specified spam filtering for all customers and the first virtual web server available to the general public. Mr. Denninger's other accomplishments include the design and construction of regional and national IP-based networks and development of electronic conferencing software reaching back to the 1980s.

He has been a full-time trader since 1998, author of The Market Ticker (http://market-ticker.org), a daily market commentary, and operator of TickerForum, an online trading community, both since 2007.

Mr. Denninger received the 2008 Reed Irvine Accuracy In Media Award for Grassroots Journalism for his coverage of the 2008 market meltdown.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
On the very last page of the book I learn that the author received the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award for Grassroots Journalism, for his coverage of the 2008 market meltdown. This confirms my own already formed very high estimation of the author and his work. In fact, although I normally do links at the end of the review, let me open with some other books that are world-class and within which I place this work as comparable:

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy
Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY: Latin America in the Third Millennium
Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (New in Paper)

Here is the author's three-line conclusion to the longer chapter that ends the book (my own notes in parenthesis):

01 Federal and state governments KNEW what was going on, and are COMPLICIT.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Caelius Spinator on October 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Karl Denninger, the profane and eloquent author of the Market Ticker blog, has distilled his high-quality Internet ranting into a simple, intelligible diagnosis of the state of our economy and, to some extent, our polity. For those familiar with Denninger's blog, you will notice a concerted effort to make an argument that is as inoffensive as possible. It is mostly free of the global warming skepticism and religiosity that likely would dismay the typical American leftist; those on the right will enjoys his condemnations of class warfare and illegal immigration.

The book itself is an indictment of the abusive borrowing and lending by banks, governments, corporations, and consumers over the last three decades; while this borrowing has driven an illusory prosperity, it will be the eventual cause of a moderately or horribly painful reckoning. The first half of the book discusses key concepts of compound interest and the debt circle, which you probably should have learned in school, and then explained how these basic principles have been intentionally or unintentionally ignored. The most cogent argument Denninger makes is that lending must always be backed with tangible assets equivalent to the value of the loan or else charge interest rates sufficient to compensate the risk bondholders and stockholders take when they provide necessary additional capital to back the loan. The message is clear: lenders keep trying to sell money they don't have.

The second half of the book takes an important turn. Noting that most books of this type advise how to avoid the catastrophe, Denninger makes a clear and haunting point. There are no shelters. There are no safe havens.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Picturesque Music on July 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The very title of this book is a prediction from the author, K Denninger, to his readers. The problem is: In my opinion, you should never listen to Karl Denninger when he makes an economic prediction. He has some fans, some detractors; I don't want to get mired in the muck of subjective arguments, so here are objective ones instead:

As the stock market has more than doubled in the past five years Denninger has repeatedly predicted it would get worse. He has also continually expressed negativity about the employment picture in the US, meanwhile we're down now to 6.3% unemployment nationally.

Mr. Denninger has been making economic predictions for years, and it is under the shadow of these failings I urge caution in accepting his views on economics as relevant.

When reading the following, keep in context the fact that in March 2009 the stock market had crashed (DOW under 7k, today ~17k). Unemployment was in the 9's. It peaked a touch higher--still in the 9's--in 2010. As mentioned, today unemployment is in the low 6's.

Every year Denninger makes a prediction about the following year, covering economic to political. Most of the links to these predictions, on his personal blog, are either dead or inaccessible without an account, but google knows all, so I was able to find most of them elsewhere. I'll concentrate only on the stock market and unemployment because both are among the very best indicators of economic standing.

Denninger says the stock market will end lower; on the contrary it ended around ~10% higher. Says housing prices will go down 20%; nope it was basically dead-on flat. Says Unemployment over 10%; never happened. Called for double-dip by end of year; never happened.
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