Previously published as The Trillion Dollar Meltdown

Now fully updated with the latest financial developments, this is the bestselling book that briefly and brilliantly explains how we got into the economic mess that is the Credit Crunch. With the housing markets unravelling daily and distress signals flying throughout the rest of the economy, there is little doubt that we are facing a fierce recession. In crisp, gripping prose, Charles R. Morris shows how got into this mess. He explains the arcane financial instruments, the chicanery, the policy misjudgments, the dogmas, and the delusions that created the greatest credit bubble in world history. Paul Volcker slew the inflation dragon in the early 1980s, and set the stage for the high performance economy of the 1980s and 1990s. But Wall Street's prosperity soon tilted into gross excess. The astronomical leverage at major banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients led to massive disruption in global markets. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy will go down in flames with it. Continued denial and concealment could cause the crisis to stretch out for years, but financial and government leaders are still downplaying the problem. The required restructuring will be at least as painful as the very difficult period of 1979-1983. The Two Trillion-Dollar Meltdown, updated to include the latest financial developments, is indispensable to understanding how the world economy has been put on the brink.

Charles R. Morris's The Trillion Dollar Meltdown (2008) was the first book to warn of the impending financial crash in all its horrific scale and speed. Now, with Comeback, Morris reveals that the United States is on the brink of a strong recovery that could last for twenty years or more.

The great economic boom times in American history have come because of fortuitous discoveries. Natural resources (coal first, then oil) fueled vast economic and industrial expansions, which in turn helped create and supply new markets. The last genuine economic game changer was the technology boom of the 1990s, which gave the U.S. a global competitive advantage for a while based on electronics and silicon. One of the first writers and analysts in the U.S. to predict that the tech boom would lead to a period of sustained economic growth was Charles Morris. In defiance of the recessionary times (in 1990), he saw the coming boom. Now, in 2013, he sees the threshold of another.

This time the gift is natural gas. The amount and distribution of gas in American shale is so vast that it has the potential to transform the manufacturing economy, creating jobs across the country, and requiring a new infrastructure that will benefit the nation as a whole. Because of fracking, jobs that once would have been outsourced abroad will return home, America can become a net exporter of energy, and cheap energy will provide the opportunity for innovation and competition.

In light of this new opportunity, and other complementary developments Morris explores in this book, the U.S. ought to be approaching the future with a robust self-confidence it has not experienced in a while. But we could fumble it away. The gold-rush style of shale boom companies does not make them good neighbors. A counter-reaction could put their industry, and the new era of national prosperity, at risk. We also have a political system that has the capacity to spoil the benefits of this huge boon. If the wealth locked in the continental shelf is not shared for the general economic good, but is instead exploited in short-term profiteering, then many of the opportunities that exist will be choked off by a few very rich corporations.

Managing the great bonus of the vast store of cheap energy is going to become a defining political challenge in the years ahead. At the threshold of a thrilling opportunity, Morris is a brilliantly perceptive guide.
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