Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk

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Overview

The human race created money and finance. But our inventions re-create us. Mankind mistook money—a lubricant of society and human well-being—for an end in itself. Finance, the monetary shadow of real things, came to dominate human reality. Extreme Money tells the story of how this happened—and, in so doing, it tells the story of the modern world.

Bestselling author Satyajit Das draws on 33 years of personal experience at the heart of modern global finance to narrate this story. ...

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Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk

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Overview

The human race created money and finance. But our inventions re-create us. Mankind mistook money—a lubricant of society and human well-being—for an end in itself. Finance, the monetary shadow of real things, came to dominate human reality. Extreme Money tells the story of how this happened—and, in so doing, it tells the story of the modern world.

Bestselling author Satyajit Das draws on 33 years of personal experience at the heart of modern global finance to narrate this story. Das reveals the spectacular, dangerous money games that have generated increasingly massive bubbles of fake growth, Ponzi prosperity, sophistication, and wealth—while endangering the jobs, possessions, and futures of virtually everyone outside the financial industry.

You’ll learn how everything from home mortgages to climate change has become financialized, as vast fortunes are generated by individuals who build nothing of lasting value. Das shows how “extreme money” has become ever more unreal; how “voodoo banking” continues to generate massive phony profits even now; and how a new generation of “Masters of the Universe”
has come to dominate the world.

The new financial fundamentalism: false gods, false prophets

Faith in money, faith in risk, faith in shadows

The cult of risk and the growth engine that isn’t

How financial engineering replaced real engineering and illusions replaced reality

Financial alchemy and the “Doomsday Debt Machine”

The rise of the global financial machine we cannot escape

The new global oligarchy—and the nihilistic games they play

Too smart, too fast, too greedy, too self-absorbed—and far too dangerous

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132790079
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,382,297
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Satyajit Das is an international specialist in the area of financial derivatives, risk management, and capital markets, with a global reputation.

Das presciently anticipated many aspects of the Global Financial Crisis in his 2006 book Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives. In a speech that year—“The Coming Credit Crash”—he argued that: “an informed analysis of the structured credit markets shows that risk is not better spread but more leveraged and (arguably) more concentrated amongst hedge funds and a small group of dealers. This does not improve the overall stability and security of the financial system but exposes it to increased risk of a ‘crash’ during a credit downturn.” He has continued to be a respected commentator on subsequent developments in the crisis.

He was featured in Charles Ferguson’s 2010 Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job and a 2009 BBC TV documentary Tricks with Risk. He has appeared on TV and radio—ABC and SBS (Australia); BBC (UK); Bloomberg (USA); CNBC (UK and Asia); SABC, Summit TV and e-TV (South Africa); Canadian Broadcasting and Business New Network (Canada); and NZ Radio. He is a frequent interviewee and widely quoted in the financial press in the United States, Canada, UK/ Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Between 1988 and 1994, Das was the Treasurer of the TNT Group, an international transport and logistics company with responsibility for the Global Treasury function. Between 1977 and 1987, he worked in banking with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Citicorp Investment Bank, and Merrill Lynch.

Since 1994, Das has acted as a consultant to financial institutions and corporations in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. He provides advice on trading, pricing/valuation, and risk management of derivative transactions/financial products. He also presents advanced seminars on financial derivatives/ risk management and capital markets for derivatives and finance professionals throughout the world. Between 2000 and 2007, he was a consultant to and Director of Rand Merchant Bank, a division of First Rand Group of South Africa.

He is the author of Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives—Revised Edition (2006 and 2010), an insider’s account of derivatives trading and the financial products business filled with black humor and satire. The book has been described by the Financial Times, London as “fascinating reading…explaining not only the high-minded theory behind the business and its various products but the sometimes sordid reality of the industry.” James Pressley at Bloomberg included the revised edition of the book in his list of 50 top business titles published since January 1, 2009.

Das is also the author of a number of key reference works on derivatives and risk management including Swaps/ Financial Derivatives Library—Third Edition (2005) (a four-volume, 4,200-page reference work for practitioners on derivatives) and Credit Derivatives, CDOs and Structured Credit ProductsThird Edition (2005).

He has published widely on financial issues in professional journals and newspapers.

His blogs can be found on a number of online financial sites, including www.nakedcapitalism.com, www.roubini.com, www.minyanville.com, www.eurointelligence.com and www.prudentbear.com.

Das is also the author (with Jade Novakovic) of In Search of the Pangolin: The Accidental Eco-Tourist (2006, New Holland), a travel narrative on eco-tourism.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Hubris 1

Part I: Faith

Chapter 1: Mirror of the Times 21

Chapter 2: Money Changes Everything 38

Chapter 3: Business of Business 52

Chapter 4: Money for Sale 65

Chapter 5: Yellow Brick Road 78

Chapter 6: Money Honey 89

Part II: Fundamentalism

Chapter 7: Los Cee-Ca-Go Boys 101

Chapter 8: False Gods, Fake Prophecies 116

Part III: Alchemy

Chapter 9: Learning to Love Debt 133

Chapter 10: Private Vices 153

Chapter 11: Dice with Debt 168

Chapter 12: The Doomsday Debt Machine 188

Chapter 13: Risk Supermarkets 208

Chapter 14: Financial Arms Race 226

Chapter 15: Woodstock for Hedge Funds 239

Chapter 16: Minsky Machines 253

Part IV: Oligarchy

Chapter 17: War Games 264

Chapter 18: Shell Games 279

Chapter 19: Cult of Risk 294

Chapter 20: Masters of the Universe 307

Chapter 21: Financial Nihilism 321

Part V: Cracks

Chapter 22: Financial Gravity 337

Chapter 23: Unusually Uncertain 348

Epilogue: Nemesis 367

Notes 384

Select Bibliography 420

Index 429

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2012

    I enjoyed reading this book,,,,,at times it does flop around fro

    I enjoyed reading this book,,,,,at times it does flop around from subject to subject but each topic is covered extensively

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    Detailed review of financial practices

    I'm on the fence about this book. I think the narrative style is a bit disorderly, and the content comes off as repetitive. However, I appreciate the diagrams that show the complexity of the financial arrangements, and show how credit was created through leverage and more leverage. And to a certain extent, the repetitive nature serves to drive home the message effectively.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 16, 2012

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    Posted May 9, 2013

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    Posted February 14, 2012

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    Posted May 11, 2013

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    Posted April 25, 2014

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    Posted December 7, 2011

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