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Publisher Description

One of our wisest and most clear-eyed economic thinkers offers a masterful narrative of the crisis and its lessons Many fine books on the financial crisis were first drafts of history—books written to fill the need for immediate understanding. Alan S. Blinder, esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, held off, taking the time to understand the crisis and to think his way through to a truly comprehensive and coherent narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what we can do from here—mired as we still are in its wreckage. With bracing clarity, Blinder shows us how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good—and too unregulated for the public good—experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. Things started unraveling when the much-chronicled housing bubble burst, but the ensuing implosion of what Blinder calls the “bond bubble” was larger and more devastating. Some people think of the financial industry as a sideshow with little relevance to the real economy—where the jobs, factories, and shops are. But finance is more like the circulatory system of the economic body: if the blood stops flowing, the body goes into cardiac arrest. When America’s financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover, to its horror, just how truly interconnected—and fragile—the global financial system is. Some observers argue that large global forces were the major culprits of the crisis. Blinder disagrees, arguing that the problem started in the U.S. and was pushed abroad, as complex, opaque, and overrated investment products were exported to a hungry world, which was nearly poisoned by them. The second part of the story explains how American and international government intervention kept us from a total meltdown....

Business & Personal Finance
January 24
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

Sir.McAwesome ,

Complexity simplified.

Alan does a magnificent job at explaining the origins of the financial crisis without assigning blame to any one party, which allows for a detailed analysis of what all went wrong at each stage.

He manages to take a very complex issue and translate it into simpler terms, you don't need an MBA to understand the key points.

His recommendations for the future are, in my opinion, spot on. Bankers will hate them, but the working person will love them.

Rdfaleph ,

Policy, not journalism

But with a clarity and wit that few journalists have.

Opinionated, insightful and comprehensive--the policy focus allows for completeness without excessive length.

bestwine ,

Biased; therefore inaccurate

What the hell was "Clinton Boom"? Is that the same as the Republican controlled House and Senate Boom? No mention among causes of government pressure on banks to give loans to the poor.

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