Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 3.5
( 56 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A gripping description of the end of "too-big-to-fail"

    This intriguing study concludes that for all the talk of a new world order after the devastating 2007-2009 financial collapse, Wall Street looks remarkably the same. Money and power are concentrated in fewer hands, but the Street's fundamental philosophy, favoring light regulation and markets dominated by a few huge banks, survives. In this eye-opening account, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Simon Johnson and former McKinsey & Co. consultant James Kwak argue that Wall Street has gotten what it wants for too long, and that the time has come to break up big banks. While the authors cover oft-trod turf, their novel premise that the government must break up the big banks counters conventional wisdom. getAbstract recommends this book to taxpayers and policy makers seeking insight into how Wall Street works.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    Great reading

    This book is revealing and interesting If you want another viewpoint,read this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Mind Blowing!

    If you'd like to know the history of American finances, and what we can do about it for the future, you should seriously pick up this book. The cycles of politics, and the growth of the largest banks and the understanding that breaking up big banks and hard limits on size and regulation is a fight America has met before.

    Essential reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

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    Timely warning about the next crisis

    This is a very useful book on the causes of the current slump. Johnson and Kwak focus on the role played by the 13 leading bankers who dominate Wall Street. Between 1998 and 2008, Wall Street spent $1.7 billion on election campaigns and $3.4 billion on lobbying. Its people moved into Washington. Its ideology that a large finance sector was vital for the USA became all too widely accepted. As a US Senator said, "the banks . frankly own the place." Yet, as the authors point out, finance is a rent-seeking activity, shifting wealth, not creating it. Finance, at best, assists wealth creation, not destroys it. So in the crisis, the bankers blackmail us - pay up or we go under, dragging you all down with us. Their mantra is - socialise losses, privatise gains. The governments give the banks whatever they want, instead of writing down the banks' debts. So we the taxpayers have been made to give the bankers blank cheques, up to $23.7 trillion. The slogan is 'save the economy'; the reality is saving the banks, the bankers and the bankers' bonuses. These guarantees (subsidies) allow the biggest banks to borrow more cheaply than their rivals, so they grow even bigger. But this is to go the wrong way. As the authors state, "The right solution is obvious: do not allow financial institutions to be too big to fail; break up the ones that are." Even Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said, "If they're too big to fail, they're too big." And these bailouts allow the bankers to take ever-bigger risks, which will cause the next crisis. As Johnson and Kwak conclude, "With the same conditions in place that led to the last financial crisis, it would be folly to expect any other result." One sign of madness is to do the same thing and expect a different result. Are people going to allow yet another crunch, causing an even worse slump? We need to defeat this financial oligarchy before it ruins us all.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    Coherent stuff, readable even for me as non-native. Its historical connections and how it all developed since the beginning of 19's cent. And Jefferson spirit is the clue.

    It's all about a nice view what has happend and what should we be aware of. Nice book.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Makes you think

    If you want to know why the economy is in the dumpster these days, this book clarifies where the problems started. I found the book very easy to understand. I would like to see more people get their dander up as I did after reading this book.

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