Top critical review
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Propaganda Not Information
on March 7, 2011
I am the head of a small but successful international funds management operation and I also teach a post grad course in Market and Risk Analysis. When I saw this title I was hopeful of learning something or at the very least being able to point my students to the book to explain basic concepts. Unfortunately I couldn't recommend this book to anyone. It has no insight into economics, financial systems or market cycles. It does have a whole lot of unsubstantiated opinion about the benefits of unregulated markets, most of it so simplistic that it's almost embarrassing. You also get a lot of folksy homilies that take the place of thought and analysis. And just to round things out the author promotes his prejudices as fact. Well to be fair, he does quote other people who share his prejudices, but none of them provide any substance to his point of view either.
To quote one howler: "The bailout of Fannie and Freddie illustrates a law of government behavior: When government financial officers - such as Treasury secretaries, finance ministers and central-bank chairmen - stand at the edge of the cliff of market panic and stare down into the abyss of potential financial chaos, they always decide upon government intervention. This is true of all governments in all countries in all times." (From the opening para's of Chapter VIII).
Ignorance of other countries is so prevalent among right wing American commentators that we almost expect stupid comments about "foreign markets" so we'll let the last sentence pass. So lets take an example the author should have been aware of. After watching the US financial system melt down from June 2007 (when amongst other market developments Bear Stearns suspended redemptions in one of its high profile funds) Hank Paulson finally placed Fannie and Freddie into "conservatorship" in September 2008, by which time the contagion of poor financial oversight had spread to markets around the world. The author never lets facts stand in the way of a good rant. Of course it's a "common sense" rant, with no connection to the behaviour of real markets.
This book is short but it has nothing to say. Save your money. Buy a real economics textbook, or just go see a movie. This dribble is worse than reading nothing at all.