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Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse [Kindle Edition]

Thomas E. Woods , Ron Paul
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If you are fed up with Washington boondoggles, and you like the small-government, politically-incorrect thinking of Ron Paul, then you'll love Tom Woods's Meltdown. In clear, no-nonsense terms, Woods explains what led up to this economic crisis, who's really to blame, and why government bailouts won't work. Woods will reveal:
* Which brave few economists predicted the economic fallout--and why nobody listened
* What really caused the collapse
* Why the Fed--not taxpayers--should have to answer for the current economic crisis
* Why bailouts are band-aids that will only provide temporary relief and ultimately make things worse
* What we should do instead, to put our economy on a healthy path to recovery

With a foreword from Ron Paul, Meltdown is the free-market answer to the Fed-created economic crisis. As the new Obama administration inevitably calls for more regulations, Woods argues that the only way to rebuild our economy is by returning to the fundamentals of capitalism and letting the free market work

Editorial Reviews


[Audio Review] Here, Woods offers a decidedly free-market, conservative approach to the worldwide financial collapse of 2008 09. He explains his take on what led up to the current economic crisis, who's really to blame (namely, the Federal Reserve System), and why government bailouts won't work. Woods's views will appeal to listeners concerned about how the financial crisis impacts them as well as to business leaders and investors wishing to be more enlightened about the crisis. Two-time Audie Award nominee Alan Sklar's (see Behind the Mike, LJ 3/1/09) solid, steady reading helps sustain interest. Dale Farris, Groves, TX --Library Journal

From the Inside Flap

Is Capitalism the Culprit?

The media tells us that "deregulation" and "unfettered free markets" have wrecked our economy and will continue to make things worse without a heavy dose of federal regulation. But the real blame lies elsewhere. In Meltdown, bestselling author Thomas E. Woods Jr. unearths the real causes behind the collapse of housing values and the stock market--and it turns out the culprits reside more in Washington than on Wall Street.

And the trillions of dollars in federal bailouts? Our politicians' ham-handed attempts to fix the problems they themselves created will only make things much worse.

Woods, a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and winner of the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Award, busts the media myths and government spin. He explains how government intervention in the economy--from the Democratic hobby horse called Fannie Mae to affirmative action programs like the Community Redevelopment Act--actually caused the housing bubble.

Most important, Woods, author of the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, traces this most recent boom-and-bust--and all such booms and busts of the past century--back to one of the most revered government institutions of all: the Federal Reserve System, which allows busy-body bureaucrats and ambitious politicians to pull the strings of our financial sector and manipulate the value of the very money we use.

Meltdown also provides a timely history lesson to counter the current clamor for a new New Deal. The Great Depression, Woods demonstrates, was only as deep and as long as it was because of the government interventions by Herbert Hoover (no free-market capitalist, despite what your high school history teacher may have taught you) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (no savior of the American economy, in spite of what the mainstream media says). If you want to understand what caused the financial meltdown--and why none of the big-government solutions being tried today will work--Meltdown explains it all.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1620 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001SES266
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,903 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
319 of 342 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Debate in our Lifetime February 9, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tom Woods has written a timely and timeless book - timely because it addresses the most pressing issue of our day, and timeless because he explains economic cycles and the nature of money in plain language.

It is curious that Congress is on the verge of passing an economic stimulus bill that is opposed by nearly two thirds of Americans. Mr. Woods provides the logic behind the intuition of this increasingly disenfranchised majority. Americans opposed to further government meddling should read this book to fully arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to win the debate. Well-intentioned Americans who support government intervention in the economy should read this book to understand the unintended consequences of their support.

Partisan readers beware: regardless of your political affiliation, you will discover that your party shares in the blame for the mess we're in. It is best to check your party affiliation at the door before you read this book. But read it!

The first chapter quickly identifies fractional reserve central banking as the main driver of the current and previous economic downturns. It's a long-overdue call to debate the necessity of our Federal Reserve system.

The second chapter addresses the housing bubble, and how the loudest voices on all sides of the debate are proposing solutions to the symptoms instead of recognizing the real problem.

The third chapter addresses the government's futile reactions to the financial and economic crisis in the last months of 2008. It's amazing to see such recent history covered so well in a book.

The fourth chapter alone is well worth the price of the book. Mr.
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348 of 378 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy a second copy to throw at the TV February 9, 2009
In discussions of today's economic meltdown and what to do about it, the Federal Reserve is a stealth helicopter: it never shows up on the radar. With the exception of a few esoteric specialists and those Ron Paul Revolutionaries who burst into chants of "Abolish the Fed!" during campus rallies last year, it's like something has been put in our water to cause our eyes to glaze over and our minds to wander off at the very mention of centralized banking.

Which is, of course, a Problem, since as historian Thomas Woods notes in this important book, the Federal Reserve bears a large part of the blame for the mess we're in. In the first part of "Meltdown," Woods shows how both in theory (the Austrian School, to be precise) and in practice, Fed policy fueled an artificial boom and instead of allowing the necessary, if unpleasant, short-term bust that will lead to recovery, is pursuing policies guaranteed to drive us deeper into the abyss. Little of this finds its way into the popular or business press, suggesting that the people who know the truth aren't talking, and the people who are talking either don't know or are deliberately trying to keep the helicopter hidden. As Woods writes, "critics of the market who ignore the arguments raised in this chapter are, to say the least, not being honest" (p. 86).

But to paraphrase Will Rogers (no relation), it's not so much the things we don't know that are a problem, it's the things we DO know that aren't really true. That's why every bit as important as Woods' explanation of the role of the Federal Reserve in the unnecessary cycle of boom and bust is his taking down of decades' worth of myths about the government's role in the economy.
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111 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Austrian Weighs In February 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If one is to believe the mainstream print media, the current economic crisis is all about a lack of regulation in the financial markets and we need massive government spending to "stimulate" the economy. Keynesian ideas, which have in fact guided US monetary policy for decades, are suddenly receiving a public revival despite the 1970s stagflation debacle, their failure to bring the US out of the Great Depression, and their dramatic failure in turning around the Japanese economy over the last two decades. Indeed, just today (Feb 21) President Obama announced middle class tax "refunds" will quickly find their way into consumer hands so they can "spend" more. He is also planning a massive increase in public works spending while commentators like economist Paul Krugman are suggesting he should augment these totals with 50% more spending yet. And still, the markets, which had recovered slightly in January, continue to drop. If there were any validity to Keynesian thought at all, the US would be beginning the greatest economic revival in history. But it appears instead that we are beginning the long process of turning a housing recession into a full blown depression, with hardly a whisper of alternative analysis. Still, for those with ears to hear, as it were, Thomas Woods offers here an alternative "free market" appraisal of the current economic crisis. However, in doing so he has violated one of the cardinal rules of history by writing a quick analysis of events. As an example of immediate historical anaysis, I think this one is pretty good, but the book does have a few deficiencies.

In brief, Wood's argument is that "conservatives" do in fact share a significant portion of the blame for the present crisis. This is not because, as the cannard goes, they "deregulated" the economy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ... book written right after the meltdown the analysis is great,...
For a book written right after the meltdown the analysis is great, however it gives an incomplete picture
Published 1 day ago by Arnaud Boucheron
5.0 out of 5 stars What happened in the Markets? Read this book
This book has really enlightened my thoughts on our economy and the monetary and fiscal policy that has been steering this economy into unknown chartered territory. A must read!
Published 5 days ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Logical, Straightfoward, and Efficient.
If you've delved into the Austrian School of thinking prior to this book - this read is a breeze. You'll be walked through some very basic economic fallacies within mainstream... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jerrod
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read.
Published 1 month ago by Patrick McCurry
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting read.
Published 2 months ago by K.A.Rasmussen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Should be read by all.
Published 3 months ago by David Koch
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the truth
Excellent book
Published 4 months ago by John DeMeo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Clear and concise and an easy read.
Published 5 months ago by Michael Naaden
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I bet the general public has a lot of misunderstanding about subjects of money, wealth, and economy. Read more
Published 5 months ago by WONG, Bun Raymond
5.0 out of 5 stars Austrian School alone can explain business cycles
The Austrian school is the only school of economic thought that has a reasonable explanation for business cycles. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Read
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More About the Author

I hold my master's, M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and my bachelor's from Harvard. I've written numerous books, including The Church Confronts Modernity (Columbia University Press) and two New York Times bestsellers -- Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. My two latest books are Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse and Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.

My wife and I have four young daughters and live in Topeka, Kansas.

My full biography can be found at My upcoming appearances, in addition to plenty of free audio, video, and articles, are also available at my website.

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Topic From this Discussion
True - but there's still more blame to go around
Woods' reply on 'herd mentality' would simply be that in a true free market, the mentatlity couldn't take on a life of its own. Sure, you might see the earliest stage of house-flipperism, or some other phenomenon, but as the irrationality grew, and more people sought loans to buy houses,... Read More
Aug 18, 2009 by Jerry L. Mackey |  See all 3 posts
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