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Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told about the Economy Is Wrong MP3 CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

3.2 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Ed Conard has written a provocative and important book about the economy that challenges conventional wisdom about the financial crisis, the trade deficit, government policy, and the path to prosperity.'' --William A. Sahlman, senior associate dean, Harvard Business School

''Ed Conard provides a provocative interpretation of the causes of the global financial crisis and the policies needed to return to rapid growth. Whether you agree or not, this analysis is well worth reading.'' --Nouriel Roubini, chairman of Roubini Global Economics

''Ed Conard's book presents the most cogent and persuasive analysis of the financial crisis to date.'' --Andrei Shleifer, Bates Clark Medal winner, Harvard University

''There are an amazing number of good ideas and interesting points made in this book.'' --Steven Levitt, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Freakonomics

''Unintended Consequences will be the most talked-about economics book in 2012.'' --Kevin Hassett, senior fellow and director of economic policy, American Enterprise Institute

About the Author

EDWARD CONARD was a partner at Bain Capital from 1993 to 2007. He served as the head of Bain's New York office and led the firm's acquisitions of large industrial companies. He sits on several boards of directors, including the boards of Waters Corporation and Sensata Technologies. Prior to Bain, Conard worked for Wasserstein Perella, an investment bank, and Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, where he headed its industrial practice. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged MP3CD edition (June 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1470823594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1470823597
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,353,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Edward Conard has good ideas and themes. But, his thought process is scattered and he makes many unsubstantiated statements that do not come together to create a complete model of markets and applied economics. I liked the list facts/myths on the Financial Crisis (2007-9) that Mr. Conrad listed toward the end of his book.

THEME: Capital markets play an important role in underwriting of risk (equities) and distributing risk to risk takers (equity investors and sellers of insurance) that increases productivity and economic growth. Underwriting risk is easier in economies with large, liquid capital markets. Efficiently priced insurance reduces the risk of moral hazard and reduces the risk of panic-driven withdrawals of short-term deposits. Successful risk-taking creates equity which can be consumed or reinvested. Prudent risk-taking is a good for society. Risk properly priced in the market leads to higher employment and greater wealth creation than when risk is mispriced (asset bubbles) which wastes investment dollars and leads to inappropriate decision making on investment/consumption. Society as a whole captures 100% of the benefit of investments: 1) Investors capture about 30% of the total value. 2) Consumers capture 70% of the total value. 3) Government redistributes some of the benefits. As an economy becomes richer, it is willing to take more risks.
Commerce is the salvation of the poor. Prosperity of a society has the greatest impact on the plight of the poor.

THEME: Financial panics and capital withdrawals cannot be accurately predicted. Government guarantees provide effective counter-measures to these unforeseen events. Government guarantees (properly priced) is the cheapest way to insure against panic and financial crises.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most interesting are the range of comments here. I never realized the how much open animosity there to to free markets, capitalism and risk taking by successful entrepreneurs. Who would you rather have in control of your lives, a company and business that is accountable to customers every day.. or a government that is completely unaccountable and continually looks to justify taking of an ever greater percentage of the wealth that we create? Free markets function without governments.. this independence is what creates fear... it also creates the regulatory- patronage system that corrupt and destroys our economy. The US should not take its dominant position as a given.. we have tremendous potential.. but that ECONOMIC potential can NOT be untied by a government.. it creates nothing.. it just consumes... The social potential of a people (similarly) should not be tied to a government...

Isn't it odd that our modern technology and "contentedness" has enabled us to do so many more things locally... to simplify and create tremendous inefficiencies. Markets force performance, accountability and transparency. What part of the "progressive" machine resembles that? We can't even see what legislation looks like before it becomes law...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Conard put an impressive amount of research and intellectual effort into this book. In short, he argues that innovation underwritten by risk capital increases society's wealth available to the upper, middle and lower economic classes. Actions that inhibit risk and innovation inevitably reduce overall U.S. wealth. The Great Recession has caused the U. S. to dial back the use of risk capital, which slows innovation, inhibits employment and reduces prosperity. He examines the arguments on taxation and income redistribution from all sides of the political and economic spectrum. Those of a socialist or liberal political persuasion will probably find the author's arguments unpersuasive and perhaps troubling; political conservatives will probably be more persuaded. He argues, for instance, that much of the wealth that innovation and risk create flow to the middle and lower economic classes. He further argues that excess consumption feeds the egos that drive the risk-taking that leads to innovation that increases the wealth available to society. While I am certain that some political viewpoints will react adversely to these arguments, I think any reader will have to concede that the intellectual breadth of the author's effort deserves respect.

The sections of the book addressing the effects of technical regulatory changes and accounting interpretations on the Great Recession were enlightening. The author explains that these arcane regulatory and accounting matters had an unexpected influence on the market forces in the subprime loan debacle. He also discusses the political and market impulses that led to the Great Recession arising out of the misuse of subprime loans. His discussion of the political impulses behind these loans is fairly well known.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book written by a management consulting kind of guy. One key argument is that the wealthy class adds a lot of value to society because they invest money (as opposed to spend money). I think the author is half-right in this statement because risky equity capital is neither provided by the Fed, the banks nor small investors. However, it is only half-right, because the US economy is to some 70% driven by end-customer demand. If Americans lack purchasing power, new products will not be in much demand. Any thinking person would realise that total income inequality (one guy earning everything) or total income equality (everyone earning the same) would be pretty bad societies. The optimal level of inequality is not much discussed in this book. More seems better for the author. (Just as less seems better for economists Krugman and Stiglitz. It is a bit sad that we get just another book saying that more/less is better.)

The author wants to make an impact as a thought leader, but that will not happen for a couple of reasons:
- He is far too dogmatic in accepting market prices as unbiased. He seems to defend market prices in all situations, even when those markets are not very efficient. So while he rightly praises the highly paid IT or biotech entrepreneur, he also seems to praise all bankers. Somebody bought the subprime debt so some value must have been added, the author thinks. He does not take seriously the fact that some markets are seriously inefficient (e.g. banking salaries, CEO salaries, CDOs). Had he analysed the lack of efficiency in some markets, the book would have been much stronger.
- Sometimes it is more intelligent, both intellectually and impact-wise, to concede a few points.
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