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Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover Paperback – January 9, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Wall Street is no better than a criminal conspiracy against the American people. As Steve Fraser writes, "Wall Street, after all, had been convicted in the court of public opinion of reckless, incompetent, self-interested, even felonious behavior, with consequences so devastating for the rest of the country that government was licensed to make sure it didn't happen again."
But the government has failed to make sure it won't happen again. Its spending cuts will only deepen the slump. The IMF said that balancing the US budget would cut its current account deficit only slightly, but would cut output by more than $300 billion over five years.
The ruling class wants slow or no growth, high unemployment and low inflation, because these bring high profits. Trade unions in the USA are calling this the `job-loss recovery'. Laws protecting capital are mandatory; laws protecting labour are nugatory. Low inflation boosts the prices of financial assets, pumping up the financial bubble.
Faced with static or falling wages, price rises and job cuts, too many workers have chosen not to fight for wages and for jobs but instead to run up debts, dig into their savings and pensions, and remortgage their homes. So they have become dependent on building societies and banks.Read more ›
Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse
"A new New Deal?" Jesse Jackson is a credible economist now? (Civil rights activist sure, but no, not an economist.) Please, give us a break from this insanity. Even if you read this terrible book (which simply rehashes all the fuzzy economics on the TV news anyway), at least read Thomas Woods' "Meltdown" book as well to get the competing view.
It wasn't simply "greed"--the Fed and the government caused the so called "meltdown".
Contributors are convinced that the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, allowing the merger of closely regulated commercial banks with unregulated investment houses was a major contributor to this crisis. It was precipitated by the 1998 merger of Citigroup and Travelers Insurance (Soloman, Smith, Barney Brokerage was later also added). The merger was a violation of laws separating banks and insurance companies, but the two exploited loopholes giving the merger a temporary exemption.
Days after the deal Citigroup hired recently departed Treasury Secretary Rubin to its three-person Chairman's Office, and then began lobbying for permanent approval while donating hundreds of millions to Congressmen. Success came the following year.
"Meltdown" offers no evidence that the repeal of Glass-Steagall added to the current crisis, nor does it mention that most other advanced nations do not have such a prohibition. It was interesting, however, to read that the 1993 FASB proposed counting the value of stock options issued as an expense (eg. would have turned Cisco's 1998 $1.35 billion profit into a $4.9 billion loss), and that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's 1997 efforts to regulate derivatives was blocked by key advisers to Clinton and Obama.
Bottom Line: The material was somewhat interesting, but did not make solid points; lacking that, its' prescriptions for the future are suspect, at best.
Some of my observations from the book;
Thomas Frank points out that "market populism" isn't really populism at all. On page 41 he suggests that the "New Economy" has exalted the rich and forgotten the rest with a decisiveness we haven't seen since the twenties.
Bobbi Murray observes that one of the incentives for the expansion of sub-prime mortgages was the direct transfer of money to Wall Street in the form of mortgage-backed securities.
In the essay "Show Me The Money" contributed by Walter Mosley, he differentiates between "middle class" and "working class". An interesting essay!
On page 249 Howard Zinn points out that government has always intervened in the market. "Let's face a historical truth:we never have had a free market."
Among the potential solutions worth noting were those given by William Greider and Howard Zinn on taxation.
Sarah Anderson and Sam Pzzigati's "Victory Over Terror" tax was an idea I haven't heard before.
The only negative mark from me is the lack of documentation or notes on sources.
Still a better book than it gets credit for being.
This book is worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book. Books of this nature should be regularly published, to maintain "Checks and Balances" in our system. Don't wait for a crisis to happen and write. Read morePublished on November 11, 2009 by Samuel J. Duplessis
I am reading this book in October 2009 and unfortunately, none of these essays reveal or expound upon anything that hasn't been said or explained in great detail on almost every... Read morePublished on November 2, 2009 by Environmentally Conscious Bargain Shopper
This is a compilation of articles written between 1999 and 2008 - approximately. The most interesting are those that predicted the government bailouts for companies "too big to... Read morePublished on September 10, 2009 by David M. Ramirez
Because clearly anyone can write a book about anything these days, as evidenced by this book. The author is just dead wrong.Published on April 12, 2009 by IA
While bubbles were caused by government, Fed and corporations in bed with the government through monopolistic protections given by the regulations and bail outs, it is preposterous... Read morePublished on March 19, 2009 by HLMenken
This is a collection of opinion articles, (as opposed to facts) from your typical anti-freedom mouth organs in this country.
OK, so people were greedy. Read more
This is the book you are looking for: Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things WorsePublished on March 19, 2009 by jdc965841
Great collection of articles on WHY the "meltdown" in our economy happened. Scary, thoughtful, interesting, and optimistic all at once time. Well worth the read.Published on March 1, 2009 by Amazon Customer