Michiko Kakutani reviews new Book: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy

A professor at Columbia University, Mr. Stiglitz uses his experience teaching to give the lay reader a lucid account of how overleveraged banks, a shoddy mortgage industry, predatory lending and unregulated trading contributed to the meltdown, and how, in his opinion, ill-conceived rescue efforts may have halted the freefall but have failed to grapple with more fundamental problems.

He is eloquent on how the American economy was sustained before the crisis by “a debt-financed consumption binge supported by a housing bubble” and impassioned in describing what he sees as the government’s failure to make substantial reforms to the economic system: though “excesses of leverage will be curbed,” he writes, “the too-big-to-fail banks will be allowed to continue much as before, over-the-counter derivatives that cost taxpayers so much will continue almost unabated, and finance executives will continue to receive outsized bonuses.” In each case, he writes, “something cosmetic will be done, but it will fall far short of what is needed.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner