13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

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In spite of its key role in creating the ruinous financial crisis of 2008, the American banking industry has grown bigger, more profitable, and more resistant to regulation than ever. Anchored by six megabanks whose assets amount to more than 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, this oligarchy proved it could first hold the global economy hostage and then use its political muscle to fight off meaningful reform. 13 Bankers brilliantly charts the rise to power of the financial sector and forcefully argues that we must break up the big banks if we want to avoid future financial catastrophes.
 
Updated, with additional analysis of the government’s recent attempt to reform the banking industry, this is a timely and expert account of our troubled political economy.
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About the author

Simon Johnson is Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He is coauthor, with James Kwak, of The Baseline Scenario, a leading economic blog, described by Paul Krugman as “a must-read” and by Bill Moyers as “one of the most informative news sites in the blogosphere.”
 
James Kwak is an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. He previously co-founded Guidewire Software.
 
Visit the authors' blog at baselinescenario.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Mar 30, 2010
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780307379221
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Banks & Banking
Business & Economics / Economic History
Political Science / Political Economy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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America is mired in debt—more than $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. Bitter fighting over deficits, taxes, and spending bedevils Washington, D.C., even as partisan gridlock has brought the government to the brink of default. Yet the more politicians on both sides of the aisle rant and the citizenry fumes, the more things seem to remain the same.
 
In White House Burning, Simon Johnson and James Kwak—authors of the national best seller 13 Bankers and cofounders of The Baseline Scenario, a widely cited blog on economics and public policy—demystify the national debt, explaining whence it came and, even more important, what it means to you and to future generations. They tell the story of the Founding Fathers’ divisive struggles over taxes and spending. They chart the rise of the almighty dollar, which makes it easy for the United States to borrow money. They account for the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s, which produced today’s dysfunctional and impotent Congress. And they show how, if we persist on our current course, the national debt will harm ordinary Americans by reducing the number of jobs, lowering living standards, increasing inequality, and forcing a sudden and drastic reduction in the government services we now take for granted.
 
But Johnson and Kwak also provide a clear and compelling vision for how our debt crisis can be solved while strengthening our economy and preserving the essential functions of government. They debunk the myth that such crucial programs as Social Security and Medicare must be slashed to the bone. White House Burning looks squarely at the burgeoning national debt and proposes to defuse its threat to our well-being without forcing struggling middle-class families and the elderly into poverty.
 
Carefully researched and informed by the same compelling storytelling and lucid analysis as 13 Bankers, White House Burning is an invaluable guide to the central political and economic issue of our time. It is certain to provoke vigorous debate.
"Hell is empty, and
all the devils are here."
-Shakespeare, The Tempest

As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?

According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together.

All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human nature.

Among the devils you'll meet in vivid detail:

• Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest subprime lending.

• Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat, who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices.

• Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all the bodies were buried.

• Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who suffered from "Goldman envy" and drove a proud old firm into the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest lieutenants.

• Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a culture that famously put clients first to one that made clients secondary to its own bottom line.

• Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors) bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift away from its original, noble mission.

• Brian Clarkson of Moody's, who aggressively pushed to increase his rating agency's market share and stock price, at the cost of its integrity.

• Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous pain on the country.

Just as McLean's The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of the meltdown and its consequences.

An incisive look at the global economic crisis, our flawed response, and the implications for the world’s future prosperity. The Great Recession, as it has come to be called, has impacted more people worldwide than any crisis since the Great Depression. Flawed government policy and unscrupulous personal and corporate behavior in the United States created the current financial meltdown, which was exported across the globe with devastating consequences. The crisis has sparked an essential debate about America’s economic missteps, the soundness of this country’s economy, and even the appropriate shape of a capitalist system.

Few are more qualified to comment during this turbulent time than Joseph E. Stiglitz. Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, Stiglitz is “an insanely great economist, in ways you can’t really appreciate unless you’re deep into the field” (Paul Krugman, New York Times). In Freefall, Stiglitz traces the origins of the Great Recession, eschewing easy answers and demolishing the contention that America needs more billion-dollar bailouts and free passes to those “too big to fail,” while also outlining the alternatives and revealing that even now there are choices ahead that can make a difference. The system is broken, and we can only fix it by examining the underlying theories that have led us into this new “bubble capitalism.”

Ranging across a host of topics that bear on the crisis, Stiglitz argues convincingly for a restoration of the balance between government and markets. America as a nation faces huge challenges—in health care, energy, the environment, education, and manufacturing—and Stiglitz penetratingly addresses each in light of the newly emerging global economic order. An ongoing war of ideas over the most effective type of capitalist system, as well as a rebalancing of global economic power, is shaping that order. The battle may finally give the lie to theories of a “rational” market or to the view that America’s global economic dominance is inevitable and unassailable.

For anyone watching with indignation while a reckless Wall Street destroyed homes, educations, and jobs; while the government took half-steps hoping for a “just-enough” recovery; and while bankers fell all over themselves claiming not to have seen what was coming, then sought government bailouts while resisting regulation that would make future crises less likely, Freefall offers a clear accounting of why so many Americans feel disillusioned today and how we can realize a prosperous economy and a moral society for the future.
The stock-investing classic--UPDATED TO HELP YOU WIN IN TODAY'S CHAOTIC GLOBAL ECONOMY

Much has changed since the last edition of Stocks for the Long Run. The financial crisis, the deepest bear market since the Great Depression, and the continued growth of the emerging markets are just some of the contingencies directly affecting every portfolio in the world.

To help you navigate markets and make the best investment decisions, Jeremy Siegel has updated his bestselling guide to stock market investing.

This new edition of Stocks for the Long Run answers all the important questions of today: How did the crisis alter the fi nancial markets and the future of stock returns? What are the sources of long-term economic growth? How does the Fed really impact investing decisions? Should you hedge against currency instability?

Stocks for the Long Run, Fifth Edition, includes brand-new coverage of:

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
Siegel provides an expert’s analysis of the most important factors behind the crisis; the state of current stability/instability of the financial system and where the stock market fits in; and the viability of value investing as a long-term strategy.

CHINA AND INDIA
The economies of these nations are more than one-third larger than they were before the 2008 financial crisis; you'll get the information you need to earn long-term profits in this new environment.

GLOBAL MARKETS
Learn all there is to know about the nature, size, and role of diversifi cation in today’s global economy; Siegel extends his projections of the global economy until the end of this century.

MARKET VALUATION
Can stocks still provide 6 to 7 percent per year after inflation? This edition forecasts future stock returns and shows how to determine whether the market is overvalued or not.

Essential reading for every investor and advisor who wants to fully understand the forces that move today's markets, Stocks for the Long Run provides the most complete summary available of historical trends that will help you develop a sound and profitable long-term portfolio.

PRAISE FOR STOCKS FOR THE LONG RUN:

“Jeremy Siegel is one of the great ones.” —JIM CRAMER, CNBC’s Mad Money

“[Jeremy Siegel’s] contributions to finance and investing are of such signifi cance as to change the direction of the profession.” —THE FINANCIAL ANALYST INSTITUTE

“A simply great book.” —FORBES

“One of the top ten business books of the year.” —BUSINESSWEEK

“Should command a central place on the desk of any ‘amateur’ investor or beginning professional.” —BARRON’S

“Siegel’s case for stocks is unbridled and compelling.” —USA TODAY

“A clearly written, neatly organized, highly persuasive exposition that lifts the veil of mystery from investing.” —JOHN C. BOGLE, founder and former Chairman, The Vanguard Group

"A book that all investors—nervous Nellies in particular—should read." —Investing.com

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