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The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade Paperback – October 17, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
As an economic adviser to President Clinton and a World Bank official, Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz (Globalization and Its Discontents) had a front-row seat for the financial boom of the 1990s. He discusses how, contrary to all theory, reducing the national deficit led to the economic upswing, but his interest lies not in how the bubble happened but in those qualities that eventually led to its collapse. One of his chief arguments is that although efficient markets depend upon the free flow of information, deregulation enabled corporations like Enron to present distorted financial data, "stealing money from their unwary shareholders" in the process. Financial analysts also withheld frank assessments from investors to maintain their insider status, and the "conflicts of interest gone out of control" inevitably led to disaster. The book suggests Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan could have slowed things down, but failed to back up tentative public remarks with firm action. The Clinton administration also comes in for some of the blame for pressuring foreign countries to adopt policies it wouldn't apply to its own economy. But the largest portion of the blame is doled out to George W. Bush for mishandling the initial stages of the recession, allowing it to spiral dangerously in the name of free markets. Instead, Stiglitz calls for just enough regulation to promote what he dubs "Democratic Idealism," a fairly standard liberal platform of social justice and economic reform. Whatever one thinks of his long-term goals, the straightforward and well-reasoned summation of the last decade's market trends has a convincing ring of truth.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and academic who served in the Clinton administration, reflects on his experiences in Washington and what he learned there. Among his many themes, he declares his beliefs that government should play a major (if limited) oversight role in the markets and that it should be an advocate for social justice. He feels that the rule of finance in the 1990s was supreme and government deferred too much to Wall Street; the prosperity and growth of that decade laid the foundation for today's economic problems, including too much deregulation, inadequate accounting standards, and pandering to corporate greed. Issues of globalization concern him greatly, and he analyzes the current situation in America and other developed countries and suggests future action. Although critical of Clinton-era policies, he reserves much harsher analysis for both Bush administrations. Stiglitz believes that citizens must understand the basic issues confronting our society and the way their government works; this book^B is an excellent primer. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
While the ideas Stiglitz explores are complex, the book is nothing near an impossible or dry read - to the contrary. Stiglitz's premise is clear: While there will probably always be cycles of boom and bust, and bubbles like those of the 90s will burst, policies still matter and are important. It is policies that can help lengthen expansions and shorten recessions, and help us through cycles of boom and bust.
This book is a fascinating read. It's especially terrific if you're looking for a book that links economics and policies in a cohesive, understandable way, and doesn't just speak about one at a time. Stiglitz does an excellent job of showing how the two are intimately intertwined.
Stiglitz's well written book examines the process of creation and the decay and corruption that can help undo these bursts of economic activity. Stiglitz doesn't point the finger at any one group of individuals more than another--he feels comfortable doling out the blame where it belongs and Washington is just as much a target as corporate America. Without the political stilts to support economic circus we all participate in, it would never happen. As a reflection on what's wrong (and occasionally right) with America's political and economic system, The Roaring Nineties is unstinting look at the harshness and ugliness underneath the system. It's also a book that argues for reform in a way to keep the economy moving without allowing criminal profiteering.
During the 90's growth reached levels not seen for a generation; the problem of paying the national debt was replaced by the problem of how to spend the mounting surplus; unemployment fell to record lows; the rise in home values was vertiginous; the stock market soared. The cause of the unprecedented prosperity? The `New Economy.' The New Economy, in the view of many experts, had revolutionized the way business was done. It would usher in technological breakthroughs which could exponentially increase the rate of productivity. New information systems would allow for better control of inventories, rendering the problem of excessive supply a thing of the past. The most Pollyannaish stood prepared to ring the death knell of the business cycle.
Is Stiglitz going to say that the roar of the nineties was a whole lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing? It's worse. Stiglitz starts by recounting the new set of records set in the wake of the nineties--this time nothing to brag about. The seeds of this major recession that arrived in March 2001, according to Stiglitz, were planted and lavishly nourished a decade earlier during the exuberant 90's. From the vantage point of the new millennium, it had become evident that something had gone terribly wrong.
Stiglitz points to two principal reasons for the failures that occurred during the 90's. First, he argues that we lost sight of the balanced role of government.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first few chapters are very engaging. As a finance student, I particularly enjoyed the first chapter on Clinton's budget cut policy and how it helped recover the economy. Read morePublished 17 months ago by K
This book is particularly important to understand part of the financial situation the world is living under nowadays. Read morePublished on May 16, 2014 by Wolver
The main (and very important critique) of this book is its lack of an explanation as to how and why the economy of the nineties evolved and how and why it eventually led to a... Read morePublished on March 2, 2009 by Yoda
Joseph Stiglitz, formerly Chief Economist at the World Bank, has written a fierce attack on finance capital. Read morePublished on January 15, 2009 by William Podmore
A nice critique of Rubinomics from the worlds best liberal economist. A little dated now, but as a history of Bill Clinton's economic policy, it works well. Read morePublished on February 17, 2008 by Dave G
That is what the 90's was all about according to this book; specifically easy money that came about due to speculation, easy credit laws, and loosened federal regulations of the... Read morePublished on July 8, 2006 by Newton Ooi
Joseph Stiglitz's analysis of the national and international social and economic policies of the Bush II governments is devastating. Read morePublished on February 23, 2006 by Luc REYNAERT
Stiglitz's book is delighful and easy reading. He has a boyish, if not at times a child-like, self-absorbed style which entertains but also becomes too often repetitive. Read morePublished on January 18, 2006 by Siegfried Sutterlin
All together an absolutely riveting book put together by someone who's seen it all and been there. Few academics, indeed very few, have had the ringside view as Joseph Stiglitz... Read morePublished on January 5, 2006 by Sutirtha Bagchi