Sunday, November 7, 2010

Financial Crisis

I've spent the past month or so reading about the financial crisis, going through the following books:

Matt Taibbi: Griftopia
David Harvey: The Enigma of Capital
Danny Schecter: Plunder: the crime of our time
Yves Smith: ECONned
Joseph Stiglitz: Freefall
Robert Reich: Aftershock
Robert Scheer: The Great American Stick up

It's been pretty intense. But for anyone interested in better understanding the crisis. I recommend the above for the following reasons.

Taibbi and Scheer- well written, caustic, appropriately profane, and the best job of explaining to a lay audience, without condescending, how the crisis came to pass.

Harvey - still reading, excellent, from a distinctly Marxist perspective.

Schecter - conceives of the crisis as a pre-meditated crime. Not the first book to read on the subject, but a fine addtion.

Smith - Ive written about this before. Yves Smith brilliantly blames the crisis less on greed and corruption, and more on the actual study of economics, whose widely accepted (but clearly faulty) neo-classical models led inexorably to the sort of "innovation" in the financial markets that caused the collapse. Surprisingly dense at times.

Stiglitz - a "mainstream" economist's take. Like Krugman and Reich, Stiglitz is about as far to the left as you can be and still have a job in government.

Reich - provides "next steps" to not only fix the current calamity, but create a new sort of capitalism that does not allow for the level of abuse and economic redistribution to the rich that we have seen over the past 35 years.

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