The Cost of Capitalism: Understanding Market Mayhem and Stabilizing our Economic Future [NOOK Book]


CNBC regular Robert J. Barbera offers a crystal clear explanation of the financial market crisis of 2008

While mainstream financial analysts are stringing together ad hoc explanations for the financial crisis of 2008, a relatively small group of economists saw this coming. In The Cost of Capitalism, Robert ...

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The Cost of Capitalism: Understanding Market Mayhem and Stabilizing our Economic Future

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CNBC regular Robert J. Barbera offers a crystal clear explanation of the financial market crisis of 2008

While mainstream financial analysts are stringing together ad hoc explanations for the financial crisis of 2008, a relatively small group of economists saw this coming. In The Cost of Capitalism, Robert J. Barbera explains why.

Barbera makes the case that investors and policy-makers can reduce the risk of truly gruesome outcomes if they better plan for the violent economic storms, which history confirms are always over the horizon.

Investors will learn how to gird themselves for the roller-coaster ride that is free market capitalism; policy makers will find out how to plan for crises they know will occur at some point; and academic economists will rethink their pursuit of ever more elaborate mathematical models that bear no resemblance to the real world.

The message is simple: Stop pretending that people are always rational and that markets are always efficient—and be prepared for market mayhem.

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What People Are Saying

The Cost of Capitalism is a must-read and a thoroughly enjoyable one -- for those who want to understand the Crisis of 2008 and hammer out a new framework for decision making. --Jared L. Cohon, President, Carnegie Mellon University

Readers who absorb the lessons of this book will be armed with more than mere technique; they will acquire an attitude that will make them better investors for the rest of their lives. --Paul DeRosa, Principal, Mt. Lucas Management Corp.

The Cost of Capitalism translates the economic diagnoses and theories of my father, Hyman Minsky. It captures the vivacity of a post-dinner conversation -- not coincidentally, my father's favorite forum for elaborating, educating, and entertaining. --Diana Minsky, Art Historian, Bard College

Lucid, intriguing, brilliant! Barbera combines the uncertainty and speculation of Keynes with Schumpeter's Creative Destruction and Hy Minsky's Deflationary Destruction into a tasty stew. --James R. Schlesinger, former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Long ago, Bob taught me that if you don't know Minsky, you don't know nothing. This work shows the path out of nothingness. --Paul A. McCulley, Chief Investment Officer, Pacific Investment Management Company

Barbera's recommendations are profound in their simplicity. Let us hope Wall Street, Main Street, Washington, and academia embrace them. --Jack Rivkin, former Chief Investment Officer, Neuberger Berman

This is truly an extraordinary book that should be of great interest to an extremely wide audience from Wall Street practitioners to economics and finance scholars. --Louis Maccini, Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071628457
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 3/6/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,077,492
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Robert J. Barbera, Ph.D., is executive vice

president and chief economist at ITG and

an Economics Department Fellow at Johns

Hopkins University. He has been a noted

Wall Street economist for over 25 years.

Before arriving on Wall Street, Barbera was

a staff economist for Senator Paul Tsongas

and an economist for the Congressional

Budget Offi ce.
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Table of Contents


Section I

1. The Market is the Message
2. How Much Risk Is Too Much Risk?
3. Hyman Minsky, A Lefty Who Had It Right
Section II: Asset Market Upheaval: The Cycle Driver for the Past 20 Years

4. Not Iraq and Tanks, Debt and Banks, the 1990 Recession
5: Tulips in Tokyo: The Asset Inflation/Deflation That Consigned Japan to a Lost Decade
6: The Asian Contagion: What Went Up Went Down, With a Vengeance!
7: The 2000 Recession, From Brave New World Boom to Wild Technology Share Price Bust
8: The Spectacular Slide For House Prices, Consumer Purchasing Power, the 2008 Recession

Section III: Concluding Observations

9: Mainstream Economics: A Slavish Devotion To Rational Market Theories
10: The Politics of Economics: Confusing Free Market Triumph with free market infallibility
11: The Punch Line: Embrace Capitalism but don’t forget the seat belts and the air bags
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 21, 2011


    I personally met the author at a lecture. The book was an entertaining read. The analogies that the author used were very illustrative. He does not agree strictly with Minsky's work, but Minsky does have a place in informing macroeconomics today.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A breath of fresh air in a stinky economy.

    Wouldn't you love to read a concise, entertaining explanation of the recent financial melt-down? Robert J. Barbera has written just such a book, an economic seminar that everyone will "get."
    Finance usually comes across as Dull (that's dull with a capital D), but The Cost of Capitalism is not boring. For example, Barbera uses hypothetical home-buying twins, Hanna and Hal, to explain why the mortgage bubble burst after a relatively small drop in property values and how the resulting pop disabled the banking industry-the case of "a small set back delivering cataclysmic consequences."
    Barbera believes that capitalism is the best economic system (no surprise there, he makes his living analyzing capitalism). He is also a disciple of Hyman Minsky. If you don't know who Minsky is, that's fine, because the book does a masterful job of placing Minsky in today's context, which lays the groundwork for a major theme of The Cost of Capitalism: Central financial planners must admit that players in the free market (from Main Street to Wall Street) make decisions based more on human nature than rational theory. The resulting behavior leads to booms and busts. The busts require government intervention-the cost of capitalism.
    The book uses historical analysis to focus on cause-and-effect relationships that have somehow been missed by the Federal Reserve. Barbera writes, "From 1945 to 1985 there was no recession caused by the instability of investment prompted by financial speculation-and since 1985 there has been no recession that has not been caused by these factors." Yet, as Barbera shows, the Fed behaved as if inflation were the economy's only enemy. He argues persuasively that American capitalism needs "a new paradigm," one that recognizes the wisdom of Minsky and extracts our proverbial head from the sand.
    The Cost of Capitalism is full of instructive charts and graphs, which simplify complex ideas as well as providing welcome visual breaks between analytical prose. My only complaint (any reviewer worth his/her salt has to have at least one) is that the notes and abbreviations with the graphs could have been better defined.

    (R.O. Palmer is the author of three novels, including his newest release, Darress Theatre)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

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    Posted April 28, 2009

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