Customer Reviews for

ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bravely Tackled, a must read

    Yves Smith has the creds to back up her assertions about the Great Recession. She has worked in the financial markets, and writes with a commanding voice on both current economic conditions as well as the history of thought and debate which has brought us to this point in 2010. This is not a gossipy work on who-did-what-when, nor is it narrowly concerned with a single topic, but a high altitude tour over a landscape of shortsighted greed. Specifically, Smith takes on the prevailing economics orthodoxy that free markets work best and that free markets bring about the greatest social good. She illustrates exactly how this thinking was distorted and sold, how contrary thinking was at times suppressed, as well as documenting how policymakers have adopted this and brought about the current financial crisis.

    To date, this is probably the most useful discussion on economic policy in the US.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Econned

    Neoclassical economists contend that the economy naturally seeks equilibrium, an optimal point where the supply of goods and services equals the demand. This intellectual view has encouraged politicians to deregulate markets to make them more competitive and efficient. But deregulation of financial markets has been a failed experiment in freeing banks and investment firms, says financial writer Yves Smith. She argues, convincingly, that the global financial crisis that began in 2007 has provided ample justification for greater regulation of banks and other related institutions. This book went to press in late 2009, prior to the 2010 passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, a sweeping reform of the US financial services industry that embodies some of the author’s proposed changes. getAbstract suggests Smith’s book to all those affected by the 2008 meltdown for its incisive description of the symptoms, causes of and cures for the financial crisis.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Interesting thesis, well demonstrated, but too bloggy

    I'm coming at this book largely from Smith's worldview. That said, I'll start with the positive: she proves her thesis - that neoclassical ideas in economics, deployed to prevent government intervention, were behind many of the seemingly "stupid" actions of the Masters of the Universe and the people who were supposed to throw them in prison at various moments - and proves it well. The ideological component of the crisis has often gone ignored because a small group of people think there's still money to be made in it (and they're probably right).

    The other positive is the amount of detail provided. I'm a finance neophyte, so some sections were hard to follow, but otherwise I appreciated some of the longer explanations.

    The big negative was how bloggy the book ended up being. There were some campy exaggerations, like how Smith repeatedly refers to economists (generally) thinking something stupid and being, as a group, unable to produce anything of importance, and the evidence she uses to criticize economists (generally) comes from quotes from... economists. We're supposed to distrust the entire profession but certain economists are fine? Not that there's anything intrinsically impossible in that idea, but the movement from "some" or "most" to "all" has become a staple of internet discourse and finds a good home here.

    The blogginess appears in the structure of some chapters as well, that jump backwards and forwards, not just temporally but in terms of argumentative structure. The finance and financial-ese was already hard to follow sometimes, and these leaps don't help much.

    But those are small critiques in comparison to what Smith is offering: a unique perspective from her years of experience in the finance industry on the uncertainty inherent in the economy. She's bringing back Keynes to smack the neo-Keynesians, and focuses on the concrete details of how these ideas came to rob us.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Mystery Mint

    Hmm, intresting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Let The Pain Die: Part One

    Rainbow Dash sneezed. The summer Feather Flu was catching on. And Windigo's punishment was no better. The ice around her was spouting little snowflakes. The black ice was spreading in the indigo filly's eyes as the numb pegasus froze. A wicked grin spread across her face. She thought she had a good reason, Rainbow Dash had crushed her snow igloo. Rainbow Dash shivered and huddled with her mane wrapped aroud herself. No luck. Her wings ached with frostbite, her stomach rumbled, and the snowflakes cut her coat like ninja stars. She could just curl up and die here. But no, she thought, there's no backing down! Consider your friends! She imagined them, one by one. Twilight would never be able to sleep. Rarity would close up shop. Applejack would sell her favorite napping tree. Pinkie Pie would be straight-maned forever and live in complete darkness. Fluttershy would bawl her head off. Stay strong! she thought. Equestria needs you! Ponyville needs you! Your friends need you! You need you! She thouhght this strongly, emitting one single sneeze. A little tiny snowflake rushed through the air.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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