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The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 393 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Stockman, veteran of the Reagan White House and Wall Street, offers his self-described polemic, a wide-ranging indictment of the American government-economic complex; free markets and democracy have been under long-term attack, and the author explains why we have myriad problems, perhaps intractable. He indicates the book “contains much original interpretation of financial and public policy events and trends of the last century, even a revisionist framework.” Stockman concludes his lengthy controversial argument with: “the cure . . . is to return to sound money and fiscal rectitude and to correct the great error initiated during the New Deal . . . . In pursuing humanitarian purposes the state cannot and need not attempt to manage the business cycle or goose the free market with stimulants for more growth and jobs; nor can it afford the universal entitlements of social insurance. Its job is to be a trustee for citizens left behind, maintaining a sturdy, fair and efficient safety net.” This thought-provoking book will contribute to important debates on these issues. --Mary Whaley


Kirkus Reviews
“Stockman performs a real service when he debunks the myths that have been associated with Reagan's conservatism and promotes Eisenhower's fiscal and military conservatism…. Stockman forcefully conveys enormous amounts of knowledge.”

“In The Great Deformation, David Stockman – former US congressman and budget director under Ronald Reagan – tells the story of the recent crisis, and takes direct aim at the conventional wisdom that credits government policy and Ben Bernanke with rescuing Americans from another Great Depression. In this he has made a seminal contribution. But he does much more than this. He offers a sweeping, revisionist account of US economic history from the New Deal to the present. He refutes widely held myths about the Reagan years and the demise of the Soviet Union. He covers the growth and expansion of the warfare state. He shows precisely how the Fed enriches the powerful and shelters them from free markets. He demonstrates the flimsiness of the present so-called recovery. Above all, he shows that attempts to blame our economic problems on "capitalism" are preposterous, and reveal a complete lack of understanding of how the economy has been deformed over the past several decades…Thanks to The Great Deformation, not a shred of the regime’s propaganda is left standing. This is truly the book we have been waiting for, and we owe David Stockman a great debt.”

“This thought-provoking book will contribute to important debates on these issues.”

Washington Post
“Stockman produces a persuasive and deeply relevant indictment of a system dangerously akilter…. What Stockman has written is a book that makes clear we are that future generation of the past, inheritors of all the wishful thinking, simple illogic and flawed compromises that produced the near-term benefits our parents and grandparents worried about but ultimately wanted. And now it’s payback time.”

Steve Weinberg, USA Today
“Stockman devotes some of the book to the past five years, joining multiple previous authors who have presented their nominations for the villains and heroes of the 2008 economic collapse. As a book critic and investigative reporter, I have absorbed a dozen of those previous books. Stockman's is my favorite because of his original research, the context he presents (starting with the economic depression of the 1930s), his former insider status, and his apparent political non-partisanship during the endeavor.”

David Weigel, Slate
“I’d read this book 10 times before I read another possible presidential candidate’s memoir of how his Real American Story schooled him in the Audacity of Hope. …a coherent vision of a World Without the Fed.”

Paul B. Farrell, Marketwatch
“His rhetoric in a recent New York Times op-ed piece ignites like Seal Team Six coming at you, flash grenades exploding, assault weapons blazing. No wonder he triggers wild angry, hatred and revenge. Yes, he’s a truth-teller. And truth hurts, flushing out his enemies. Why? They’re sucking trillions from Americans. So you hate him. Counterattack. Big mistake. Don’t dismiss David Stockman. He’s no Kim Jong-Un blow-hard.”

Bruce Krasting
“This is a history book. It’s a detailed account of the key events since the Depression that have shaped modern finance. I love history, and I’m familiar with those events. Stockman’s spin on financial history makes for a very good read. There’s something for everyone.”

Reuters Breakingviews
“For anyone whose economics are Austrian, and who agrees with Stockman that crony capitalism and corruption have led both fiscal and monetary policies into a cycle of ever-increasing stimulus and ziggurats of debt, ‘The Great Deformation’ is gloomily persuasive – and bodes ill for the future.”

“Agree with Stockman or not, one can’t deny that he’s a colorful writer!”

Rick Santelli, CNBC “Squawk on the Street”
“What a title…what a book… what a dude!”

Michael Levin,  Huffington Post
“‘Required reading’ is an overused term. In fact, proof of reading The Great Deformation should become a requirement for voting. Bring your dog-eared copy to the polls or stay home. The self-confessed smartest guy in the room has written a compelling, intensely readable book that exhumes aspects of economic history that both Democrats and Republicans likely wish would have stayed hidden. The Great Deformation is the book that everyone in Washington, at the White House on both sides of the aisle in Congress, at the Treasury, and in the lobbyists' offices on K Street, fervently prays that you never read.”

Brett Joshpe, Forbes
“One of the most comprehensive narratives of the financial system’s history in years.”

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586489127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586489120
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Drew Bruckner on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David Stockman believes that our economy is almost past the point of no return. With a staggering federal debt and a deficit that keeps rising, he considers our economy to be a "setting sun" economy- our best days are behind us. But there's still hope, it's not too late to turn it around.

The book starts off with details on how, in the past, the banks leveraged capital and how their methods of investment were contingent on a constant upward spiral of success. He goes on to talk about how the fed propped Wall Street up with hopes of creating wealth through the stock market and that he believes they have overstepped their bounds. He criticizes Greenspan for his fiscal policies and compares that bubble to the one we are in today. Most of the book talks about the past and how we can relate it to the present and what we can learn from the mistakes made by our predecessors.

The facts and statistics he presents show that the "too big to fail" ideology adopted by the government was incorrect and in fact, many of the companies that received bailouts had sufficient assets to fend for themselves. Using AIG as an example, he outlines the overall sector's strengths and weakness during the crash of 2008. He asserts that during times of financial crisis, such as the crash of 2000, companies would inaccurately portray sales in order to make their company appear more valuable.

Highly critical of the Fed, many of his opinions are based around failures of the federal government to correctly manage the economy. Most of the time, he believes that their attempts to bolster the economy stem from pressure from business, rich people, or other government entities.
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Format: Hardcover
Disclosure: I've been a fan of David Stockman ever since he got in trouble for speaking the truth as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan in 1981. As part of the Reagan Revolution, he'd had the audacity to disparage certain aspects of its supply-side policies! Last May, I posted an interview of him on my website where it was read 25,000 times. So I was thrilled when he told me that he has been reading my site. And then one day, I received an advance copy of his latest book, "The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America."

What an awesome romp through the economic, financial, and monetary shenanigans that culminated in the financial crisis of 2008, and its aftermath! It hones in on the Fed, Wall Street, corporate America, and the bog of "crony capitalism" and "central planning." He is consistently bipartisan: when he bashes Mitt Romney in one chapter, he'll bash President Obama in the next--because financial and economic principles matter, not party affiliation. An attitude that got him in trouble with the White House back in the day. And he does it in a pungent voice, kicking shins left and right, and knocking out a few teeth too, while vacillating in the gray area between rage and humor.

In Part I, "The Blackberry Panic of 2008," Chapter 1, "Paulson's Folly: The Needless Rescue of AIG and Wall Street"--the titles are part of the pleasure of the book--sets the tone with its bloodcurdling analysis of AIG's bailout and who benefited from it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Stockman has the professional and life experience to accurately portray the road the United States has publicly and privately taken for the last several decades. Noting major historical points in history supported by data, Stockman now reinforces the facts we are now faced with with sound arguments. We are living the result of decades of myopic and self-destructive economic and public policy. What makes "Deformation" so important and powerful is the amount of information covered. This book can be read quickly, which should allow it to have some impact. The benefit to some readers of this book are to those that are afflicted with the partisan 'illusion of choice' in current election cycles.

Stockman first went to Washington almost 40 years ago as a Representative. He's a former Supply-Side advocate and was Reagan's Budget Chief in the 1980s. In addition to Stockman's factually based critiques of the current Obama/Bernanke Monetary policy, he also criticizes the economically destructive path the Reagan administration took. The Great Depression and other eras are also focused on in "Deformation," as they do relate to our present-day situation. The facts speak for themselves.

The government and Wall Street are intertwined with Wall St. having the upper-hand: the stick. Stockman details the main reasons for TARP and the subsequent stimuli: lobbying, pressure, and scare tactics by a very small number of extremely wealthy and powerful people on Wall street. As for the corruption angle in "Deformation," Stockman specifically focuses on the TBTF (too big to fail) mainstream media campaign, and and in particular on the AIG bailout. He provides numerous stats, actions and quotations to reveal the fraud involved in this.
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