A drumbeat is sounding among the global elites. The signs of a worldwide financial meltdown are unmistakable. This time, the elites have an audacious plan to protect themselves from the fallout: hoarding cash now and locking down the global financial system when a crisis hits.
Since 2014, international monetary agencies have been issuing warnings to a small group of finance ministers, banks, and private equity funds: the U.S. government’s cowardly choices not to prosecute J.P. Morgan and its ilk, and to bloat the economy with a $4 trillion injection of easy credit, are driving us headlong toward a cliff.
As Rickards shows in this frightening, meticulously researched book, governments around the world have no compunction about conspiring against their citizens. They will have stockpiled hard assets when stock exchanges are closed, ATMs shut down, money market funds frozen, asset managers instructed not to sell securities, negative interest rates imposed, and cash withdrawals denied.
If you want to plan for the risks ahead, you will need Rickards’s cutting-edge synthesis of behavioral economics, history, and complexity theory. It’s a guidebook to thinking smarter, acting faster, and living with the comforting knowledge that your wealth is secure.
The global elites don’t want this book to exist. Their plan to herd us like sheep to the slaughter when a global crisis erupts—and, of course, to maintain their wealth—works only if we remain complacent and unaware. Thanks to The Road to Ruin, we don’t need to be.
"If you are curious about what the financial Götterdämmerung might look like you’ve certainly come to the right place... Rickards believes -- and provides tantalizing snippets of private conversations with those who dwell in the very eye-in-the-pyramid -- that the current world monetary and financial system is on the verge of insolvency and that the world financial elites already have a successor system for which they are laying the groundwork."
--Ralph Benko, Forbes
Unlike many economists, who present only one view of their discipline, Chang introduces a wide range of economic theories, from classical to Keynesian, revealing how each has its strengths and weaknesses, and why there is no one way to explain economic behavior. Instead, by ignoring the received wisdom and exposing the myriad forces that shape our financial world, Chang gives us the tools we need to understand our increasingly global and interconnected world often driven by economics. From the future of the Euro, inequality in China, or the condition of the American manufacturing industry here in the United States-Economics: The User's Guide is a concise and expertly crafted guide to economic fundamentals that offers a clear and accurate picture of the global economy and how and why it affects our daily lives.
800-CEO-Read “Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs”
Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.
Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.
That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.
Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.
Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?
Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.
But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In What Then Must We Do? Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like—and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer's darkroom, already taking shape.
He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.
Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.
For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
An Economist Best Book of the Year, 2015
A Bloomberg Best Book of the Year, 2015
The finance sector of Western economies is too large and attracts too many of the smartest college graduates. Financialization over the past three decades has created a structure that lacks resilience and supports absurd volumes of trading. The finance sector devotes too little attention to the search for new investment opportunities and the stewardship of existing ones, and far too much to secondary-market dealing in existing assets. Regulation has contributed more to the problems than the solutions.
Why? What is finance for? John Kay, with wide practical and academic experience in the world of finance, understands the operation of the financial sector better than most. He believes in good banks and effective asset managers, but good banks and effective asset managers are not what he sees.
In a dazzling and revelatory tour of the financial world as it has emerged from the wreckage of the 2008 crisis, Kay does not flinch in his criticism: we do need some of the things that Citigroup and Goldman Sachs do, but we do not need Citigroup and Goldman to do them. And many of the things done by Citigroup and Goldman do not need to be done at all. The finance sector needs to be reminded of its primary purpose: to manage other people's money for the benefit of businesses and households. It is an aberration when the some of the finest mathematical and scientific minds are tasked with devising algorithms for the sole purpose of exploiting the weakness of other algorithms for computerized trading in securities. To travel further down that road leads to ruin.
"Richard Wolff's constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times."—Noam Chomsky
"Richard Wolff is the leading socialist economist in the country. This book is required reading for anyone concerned about a fundamental transformation of the ailing capitalist economy!"—Cornel West
"Bold, thoughtful, transformative-a powerful and challenging vision that takes us beyond both corporate capitalism and state socialism. Richard Wolff at his best!"—Gar Alperovitz
While most mainstream commentators view the crisis that provoked the Great Recession as having passed, these essays from Richard Wolff paint a far less rosy picture. Drawing attention to the extreme downturn in most of capitalism's old centers, the unequal growth in its new centers, and the resurgence of a global speculative bubble, Wolff—in his uniquely accessible style—makes the case that the crisis should be grasped not as a passing moment, but as an evolving stage in capitalism's history.
Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Visiting Professor at the New School in New York. Wolff's recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the global economic crisis. His groundbreaking book Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism inspired the creation of Democracy at Work, a nonprofit organization dedicated to showing how and why to make democratic workplaces real.
The Dollar Crisis is divided into five parts:
Part One describes how the US trade deficits, which now exceed US$1 million a minute, have destabilized the global economy by creating a worldwide credit bubble.
Part Two explains why these giant deficits cannot persist and why a US recession and a collapse in the value of the Dollar are unavoidable.
Part Three analyzes the extraordinarily harmful impact that the US recession and the collapse of the Dollar will have on the rest of the world.
Part Four offers original recommendations that, if implemented, would help mitigate the damage of the coming worldwide downturn and put in place the foundations for balanced and sustainable economic growth in the decades ahead.
Part Five, which has been newly added to the second edition, describes the extraordinary evolution of this crisis since the first edition was completed in September 2002. It also considers how the Dollar Crisis is likely to unfold over the years immediately ahead, the likely policy response to the crisis, and why that response cannot succeed.
The Dollar Standard is inherently flawed and increasingly unstable. Its collapse will be the most important economic event of the 21st Century.
Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them.
Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. In a new preface, they describe why our economic troubles may linger for some time--unless we are prepared to take further, decisive action.
In this explosive book, Steve Keen, one of the very few economists who anticipated the crash, shows why the self-declared experts were wrong and how ever–rising levels of private debt make another financial crisis almost inevitable unless politicians tackle the real dynamics causing financial instability. He also identifies the economies that have become 'The Walking Dead of Debt', and those that are next in line – including Australia, Belgium, China, Canada and South Korea.
A major intervention by a fearlessly iconoclastic figure, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the true nature of the global economic system.
A distinctive feature of Card and Krueger's research is the use of empirical methods borrowed from the natural sciences, including comparisons between the "treatment" and "control" groups formed when the minimum wage rises for some workers but not for others. In addition, the authors critically reexamine the previous literature on the minimum wage and find that it, too, lacks support for the claim that a higher minimum wage cuts jobs. Finally, the effects of the minimum wage on family earnings, poverty outcomes, and the stock market valuation of low-wage employers are documented. Overall, this book calls into question the standard model of the labor market that has dominated economists' thinking on the minimum wage. In addition, it will shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage in Washington and in state legislatures throughout the country.
With a new preface discussing new data, Myth and Measurement continues to shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage.
Our current economic path is coming to an end. The signposts are all around us: sluggish growth, rising inequality, stubbornly high pockets of unemployment, and jittery financial markets, to name a few. Soon we will reach a fork in the road: One path leads to renewed growth, prosperity, and financial stability, the other to recession and market disorder.
In The Only Game in Town, El-Erian casts his gaze toward the future of the global economy and markets, outlining the choices we face both individually and collectively in an era of economic uncertainty and financial insecurity. Beginning with their response to the 2008 global crisis, El-Erian explains how and why our central banks became the critical policy actors—and, most important, why they cannot continue is this role alone. They saved the financial system from collapse in 2008 and a multiyear economic depression, but lack the tools to enable a return to high inclusive growth and durable financial stability. The time has come for a policy handoff, from a prolonged period of monetary policy experimentation to a strategy that better targets what ails economies and distorts the financial sector—before we stumble into another crisis.
The future, critically, is not predestined. It is up to us to decide where we will go from here as households, investors, companies, and governments. Using a mix of insights from economics, finance, and behavioral science, this book gives us the tools we need to properly understand this turning point, prepare for it, and come out of it stronger. A comprehensive, controversial look at the realities of our global economy and markets, The Only Game in Town is required reading for investors, policymakers, and anyone interested in the future.
Praise for The Only Game in Town
“The one economic book you must read now . . . If you want to understand [our] bifurcated world and where it’s headed, there is no better interpreter than Mohamed El-Erian.”–Time
“A grand tour of the challenges we face, along with ideal solutions and more likely outcomes . . . We desperately need a system in which the central banks are no longer the only game in town.”—Steven Rattner, The New York Times Book Review
“A must-read from one of the most astute financial analysts of our time.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
“El-Erian’s gift for clarity and his use of compelling examples make important economic issues accessible.”—Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO, New America
“[A] highly intelligent analysis.”—Fareed Zakaria, CNN (book of the week)
Get the question-and-answer practice you need with McGraw-Hill's 500 Macroeconomics Questions. Organized for easy reference and intensive practice, the questions cover all essential macroeconomics topics and include detailed answer explanations.
The 500 practice questions are similar to course exam questions so you will know what to expect on test day. Each question includes a fully detailed answer that puts the subject in context. This additional practice helps you build your knowledge, strengthen test-taking skills, and build confidence. From supply and demand to market models, this book covers the key topics in macroeconomics.
Prepare for exam day with:500 essential macroeconomics questions and answers organized by subject Detailed answers that provide important context for studying Content that follows the current college 101 course curriculum
The authors detail strategies for solving dynamic structural models and present the full range of methods for characterizing and evaluating empirical implications, including calibration exercises, method-of-moment procedures, and likelihood-based procedures, both classical and Bayesian. The authors look at recent strides that have been made to enhance numerical efficiency, consider the expanded applicability of dynamic factor models, and examine the use of alternative assumptions involving learning and rational inattention on the part of decision makers. The treatment of methodologies for obtaining nonlinear model representations has been expanded, and linear and nonlinear model representations are integrated throughout the text. The book offers a rich array of implementation algorithms, sample empirical applications, and supporting computer code.
Structural Macroeconometrics is the ideal textbook for graduate students seeking an introduction to macroeconomics and econometrics, and for advanced students pursuing applied research in macroeconomics. The book's historical perspective, along with its broad presentation of alternative methodologies, makes it an indispensable resource for academics and professionals.
Too often, textbooks turn the noteworthy details of economics into tedious discourse that would put even Joseph Stiglitz to sleep. Economics 101 cuts out the boring explanations, and instead provides a hands-on lesson that keeps you engaged as you explore how societies allocate their resources for maximum benefit.
From quantitative easing to marginal utility, this primer is packed with hundreds of entertaining tidbits and concepts that you won't be able to get anywhere else.
So whether you're looking to master the major principles of finance, or just want to learn more about why money matters, Economics 101 has all the answers--even the ones you didn't know you were looking for.
A powerful sequel to Benjamin R. Barber's best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld, Consumed offers a vivid portrait of an overproducing global economy that targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers and where the primary goal is no longer to manufacture goods but needs. To explain how and why this has come about, Barber brings together extensive empirical research with an original theoretical framework for understanding our contemporary predicament. He asserts that in place of the Protestant ethic once associated with capitalism—encouraging self-restraint, preparing for the future, protecting and self-sacrificing for children and community, and other characteristics of adulthood—we are constantly being seduced into an "infantilist" ethic of consumption.
This manual has been compiled to provide time frames, labor crews and equipment spreads to assist the estimator in capsulizing an estimate for the installation of cross-country pipelines, marshland pipelines, nearshore and surf zone pipelines, submerged pipelines, wharfs, jetties, dock facilities, single-point morring terminals, offshore drilling and production platforms and equipment and appurtenances installed thereon.
The time frames and labor and equipment spreads which appear throughout this manual are the result of many time and method studies conducted under varied conditions and at locations throughout the world; these time frames and labor and equipment spreads reflect a complete, unbiased view of all operations involved.
When one is engaged in compiling an estimate from any information furnished by others, as is the case with this manual, he should view it in an objective light, giving due consideration to the nature of the project at hand and evaluating all items that may affect the productivity of labor and all other elements involved.
There have been many books that have sought to explain the causes and courses of the financial and economic crisis that began in 2007. The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis but is the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us about modern economies and economics. Written with all the intellectual command and trenchant judgment that have made Martin Wolf one of the world’s most influential economic commentators, The Shifts and the Shocks matches impressive analysis with no-holds-barred criticism and persuasive prescription for a more stable future. It is a book no one with an interest in global affairs will want to neglect.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Macroeconomics is kind of a big deal. Without it, we wouldn't have the ability to study the economy as a whole—which is something that affects almost every aspect of your life, whether you realize it or not. From your employment status to how much you earn and pay in taxes, macroeconomics really matters. Breaking down this complicated and fascinating topic into manageable pieces, Macroeconomics For Dummies gives you fast and easy access to a subject that has a tendency to stump the masses.
With the help of this plain-English guide, you'll quickly find out how to gather data about economies to inform hypotheses on everything from the impact of cutting government spending to the underlying causes of recessions and high inflation. Analyze business cycles for overall economic health Study economic indicators such as unemployment Understand financial trends on the international market Score higher in your macroeconomics class
Filled with step-by-step instruction and enlightening real-world examples, this is the only book you need to slay the beast and make macroeconomics your minion!
'Mr. Connolly's longstanding proposition that the foisting of a common currency upon so many disparate nations would end in ruin is getting a much wider hearing...' New York Times, 17 November 2011
When first published in 1995, The Rotten Heart of Europe caused outrage and delight - here was a Brussels insider, a senior EU economist, daring to talk openly about the likely pitfalls of European monetary union.
Bernard Connolly lost his job at the Commission, but his book was greeted as a profound and persuasive expose of the would-be 'monetary masters of the world.' His brave act of defiance became headline news - and his book a major international bestseller.
In a substantial new introduction, Connolly returns to his prophetic account of the double-talk surrounding the efforts of politicians, bankers and bureaucrats to force Europe into a crippling monetary straitjacket. Hidden agendas are laid bare, skulduggery exposed and economic fallacies are skewered, producing a horrifying conclusion. No one who wants to understand the workings of the EU, past, present and future can afford to miss this enthralling and deeply disturbing book.
Professor Lindauer’s previous works include books such as Land Taxation and Indian Economic Development (with Sarjit Singh); various editions of his Macroeconomics series; and his ground-breaking journal articles such as “Stabilization Inflation and the Inflation-Unemployment Trade-off.”A non-technical explanation of the theories and policies described herein is available as Inflations, Unemployment, and Government Deficits: End Them. It is suitable for journalists, laymen, and lawyers attempting to serve as Federal Reserve governors.
A related explanation of those theories and policies is available as The General Theories of Inflation, Unemployment, and Government Deficits. It is suitable for professional economists and graduate students.Lindauer’s books have been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Hindi, Urdu, Chinese, and Portuguese and his policy suggestions implemented by central banks around the world. In addition to serving as Professor of Economics and Chairman at Claremont, he has served as a visiting professor of economics at Sussex University and the University of California; and as a Distinguished Senior Fulbright Professor at the University of Punjab.
Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally beyond the reach of any government or jurisdiction. The bank is untouchable. Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of 1.17 billion in 2011–2012.
Since its creation, the bank has been at the heart of global events but has often gone unnoticed. Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank's American president from 1940–1946, the BIS was open for business throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank, and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open.
After 1945 the BIS—still behind the scenes—for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002. It now stands at the center of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture, once again proving that it has the power to shape the financial rules of our world. Yet despite its pivotal role in the financial and political history of the last century and during the economic current crisis, the BIS has remained largely unknown—until now.
After covering the necessary background on dynamic general equilibrium and dynamic optimization, the book presents the basic workhorse models of growth and takes students to the frontier areas of growth theory, including models of human capital, endogenous technological change, technology transfer, international trade, economic development, and political economy. The book integrates these theories with data and shows how theoretical approaches can lead to better perspectives on the fundamental causes of economic growth and the wealth of nations.
Innovative and authoritative, this book is likely to shape how economic growth is taught and learned for years to come.Introduces all the foundations for understanding economic growth and dynamic macroeconomic analysis Focuses on the big-picture questions of economic growth Provides mathematical foundations Presents dynamic general equilibrium Covers models such as basic Solow, neoclassical growth, and overlapping generations, as well as models of endogenous technology and international linkages Addresses frontier research areas such as international linkages, international trade, political economy, and economic development and structural change An accompanying Student Solutions Manual containing the answers to selected exercises is available (978-0-691-14163-3/$24.95). See: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8970.html. For Professors only: To access a complete solutions manual online, email us at: email@example.com
Unstoppable shows these managers how to look deep within their organizations to find undervalued, unrecognized, or underutilized assets that can serve as new platforms for sustainable growth. Drawing on more than thirty interviews with CEOs from companies such as De Beers, American Express, and Samsung, it shows readers how to recognize when the core needs reinvention and how to deploy the "hidden assets" that can be the basis for tomorrow's growth.
Building on the author's previous books, Profit from the Core and Beyond the Core, this book shows how any company in crisis can transform itself to become truly unstoppable.
For a decade, the vision of Canada's future as an energy superpower has driven the country's political agenda, as well as the fast-paced development of Alberta's oil sands and the push for more pipelines like Keystone XL across the continent to bring that bitumen to market. Anyone who objects to pipelines and tanker-train traffic, north or south of the US border, is labeled a dreamer, or worse--an environmentalist: someone who puts the health of the planet ahead of the economic survival of their neighbours.
In The Carbon Bubble, Jeff Rubin compellingly shows how an economic vision that rests on oil is dead wrong. Changes in energy markets in the US--where domestic production is booming while demand for oil is shrinking--are quickly turning the oil dream into an economic nightmare. Like U.S. coal stocks, the share values of oil-sands producers have been drastically reduced by falling fuel prices and are increasingly exposed to the world's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Rubin argues that there is a lifeline to a better future. The very climate change that will leave much of the country's carbon unburnable could at the same time make some of Canada's other resource assets more valuable: its water and its land. In tomorrow's economy, he argues, Canada won't be an energy superpower, but it has the makings of one of the world's great breadbaskets, as everything from the corn belt to viniculture heads to higher latitudes. And in the global climate that the world's carbon emissions are inexorably creating, growing food will soon be a lot more valuable than mining bitumen.
The latest in the NBER’s influential Studies in Income and Wealth series, which has played a key role in the development of national account statistics in the United States and other nations, this volume explores collaborative solutions between academics, policy researchers, and official statisticians to some of today’s most important economic measurement challenges. Contributors to this volume extend past research on the integration and extension of national accounts to establish an even more comprehensive understanding of the distribution of economic growth and its impact on well-being, including health, human capital, and the environment. The research contributions assess, among other topics, specific conceptual and empirical proposals for extending national accounts.
A provocative and lively exploration of the increasingly important world of macroeconomics, by the author of the bestselling The Undercover Economist.
Thanks to the worldwide financial upheaval, economics is no longer a topic we can ignore. From politicians to hedge fund managers to middle-class IRA holders, everyone must pay attention to how and why the global economy works the way it does.
Enter Financial Times columnist and bestselling author Tim Harford. In this new book that demystifies macroeconomics, Harford strips away the spin, the hype, and the jargon to reveal the truth about how the world’s economy actually works. With the wit of a raconteur and the clear grasp of an expert, Harford explains what’s really happening beyond today’s headlines, why all of us should care, and what we can do about it to understand it better.
Economics is no longer the “dismal science” dreaded by college freshmen. In recent years, a band of economists has broken away from the charts and graphs of college textbooks, and begun to explain ordinary behavior in plain and often entertaining English. Steve Landsburg was one of the first of the new breed, in his book The Armchair Economist and long-running “Everyday Economics” column in Slate magazine. Now he is back, and more provocative than ever.
In More Sex Is Safer Sex, Landsburg shows how the rational behavior of each one of us—when combined together—produces the often bizarre, seemingly irrational behavior of crowds. We all stand up at the ballpark, so none of us can see. We avoid casual sex, from fear of disease, and we thereby make sex more dangerous. Things really get interesting when Landsburg suggests ways to change the rules, and game the system. Why not charge juries if a convicted felon is exonerated? Why not have each member of Congress represent a national subset of voters, chosen alphabetically? Why not solve the “overpopulation” problem by having more children, who will help think of ways to improve our use of resources?
More Sex Is Safer Sex will make you laugh and argue—and it will make you think about the world around you in new and unforgettable ways.
With one notable exception, the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred, insular culture that most people only vaguely understand. The exception was Merrill Lynch, a firm that revolutionized the stock market by bringing Wall Street to Main Street, setting up offices in far-flung cities and towns long ignored by the giants of finance. With its “thundering herd” of financial advisers, perhaps no other business, whether in financial services or elsewhere, so epitomized the American spirit. Merrill Lynch was not only “bullish on America,” it was a big reason why so many average Americans were able to grow wealthy by investing in the stock market.
Merrill Lynch was an icon. Its sudden decline, collapse, and sale to Bank of America was a shock. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what does this story of greed, hubris, and incompetence tell us about the culture of Wall Street that continues to this day even though it came close to destroying the American economy? A culture in which the CEO of a firm losing $28 billion pushes hard to be paid a $25 million bonus. A culture in which two Merrill Lynch executives are guaranteed bonuses of $30 million and $40 million for four months’ work, even while the firm is struggling to reduce its losses by firing thousands of employees.
Based on unparalleled sources at both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, Greg Farrell’s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of three flawed masters of the universe. E. Stanley O’Neal, whose inspiring rise from the segregated South to the corner office of Merrill Lynch—where he engineered a successful turnaround—was undone by his belief that a smooth-talking salesman could handle one of the most difficult jobs on Wall Street. Because he enjoyed O’Neal’s support, this executive was allowed to build up an astonishing $30 billion position in CDOs on the firm’s balance sheet, at a time when all other Wall Street firms were desperately trying to exit the business. After O’Neal comes John Thain, the cerebral, MIT-educated technocrat whose rescue of the New York Stock Exchange earned him the nickname “Super Thain.” He was hired to save Merrill Lynch in late 2007, but his belief that the markets would rebound led him to underestimate the depth of Merrill’s problems. Finally, we meet Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, a street fighter raised barely above the poverty line in rural Georgia, whose “my way or the highway” management style suffers fools more easily than potential rivals, and who made a $50 billion commitment over a September weekend to buy a business he really didn’t understand, thus jeopardizing his own institution.
The merger itself turns out to be a bizarre combination of cultures that blend like oil and water, where slick Wall Street bankers suddenly find themselves reporting to a cast of characters straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies. BofA’s inbred culture, which perceived New York banks its enemies, was based on loyalty and a good-ol’-boy network in which competence played second fiddle to blind obedience.
Crash of the Titans is a financial thriller that puts you in the theater as the historic events of the financial crisis unfold and people responsible for billion of dollars of other people’s money gamble recklessly to enhance their power and their paychecks or to save their own skins. Its wealth of never-before-revealed information and focus on two icons of corporate America make it the book that puts together all the pieces of the Wall Street disaster.