The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do about It (Google eBook)

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Jun 2, 2009 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
4 Reviews

How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it?

In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance.

He also asks some tough questions:

  • Why did Americans let the gap between workers' wages and executive compensation grow so large?
  • Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives' pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes?
  • Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America's new, postindustrial economy?
  • How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again?
  • And what can we do to get our money back?

In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street's exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by "innovative" products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They'll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again.

As the country teeters on the brink of what could be the next Great Depression, we should be especially wary of the so-called financial experts who got us here, and then conveniently got themselves out. So far, it appears they've won the battle, but The Looting of America refuses to let them write the history--or plan its aftermath.

  

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Review: The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do about It

User Review  - Steve - Goodreads

I'd probably rate it higher if the subject matter didn't make me so crazy. It's a very good description of what happened to our economy, including understandable explanations of CDOs, synthetic CDOs, and all the other crap that got us into this mess. Infuriating, but a good read. Read full review

Review: The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do about It

User Review  - Ryan Olson - Goodreads

This was a very quick read that takes the maze of finances and economics and "dumbs" it down for the layperson. If you're like me and get confused about all the economic terms that describe the ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Hooking of Whitefish Bay
1
The Iron Law of Fantasy Finance
13
Is There a dimes Bit of difference between Wall streets Innovation and Gambling?
21
Learning and Unlearning the Lessons of the Great depression
39
The oracle Blesses derivatives the Newest Game in the Casino
52
Getting the story Backwards
73
Financial Weapons of Mass destruction
92
Fantasy Finance Meets Reality The Great Crash of 2008
115
The end of Fantasy Finance?
134
proposals Wall street Wont Like
151
proposals Wall street Really Wont Like
165
Glossary
191
Notes
199
Index
212
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

After attending Oberlin College and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (MPA 1975), Les cofounded and currently directs two non-profit educational organizations: The Labor Institute (1976) and the Public Health Institute (1986). He designs research and educational programs on occupational safety and health, the environment and economics. He is now helping to form an alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club. He is the author of The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor (2007), and The Looting of America (2009).


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