Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy

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"For the second time this decade, the U.S. economy is sinking into a recession due to the collapse of a financial bubble. The most recent calamity will lead to a downturn deeper and longer than the stock market crash of 2001." Dean Baker's Plunder and Blunder chronicles the growth and collapse of the stock and housing bubbles and explains how policy blunders and greed led to the catastrophic - but completely predictable - market meltdowns. An expert guide to recent economic history, Baker offers policy prescriptions to help prevent similar financial disasters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981576992
  • Publisher: PoliPointPress, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Baker has more than 25 years of research experience in occupational and environmental epidemiology. The primary emphasis of his research has been on community-based epidemiological studies. During the past several years, he has focused on developmental toxicity and children's environmental health. He has conducted several epidemiological research studies examining chronic health effects of gestational and early childhood exposure to heavy metals and organochlorine chemicals. His other area of research has been on the health effects of psychosocial stressors in the workplace and in communities exposed to environmental hazards. In both of these areas, Dr. Baker has made contributions to the epidemiological study design and methods. He was elected 3 times as Secretary-Treasurer of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, and was a founding member. He is an active teacher at the university, directing an occupational medicine residency program and supervising graduate students. Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen has been involved in various environmental exposure assessment, epidemiology, and health risk assessment studies in the Netherlands, the UK, Eastern Europe and the US. His interests include the health effects of chlorination by-products in water, traffic related air pollution and metals, specifically in relation to reproductive, respiratory, renal and cancer effects. He has published over a hundred papers. He graduated from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and went to do a PhD at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, UK. For his post doc he went to the University of California, Davis, USA after which he took up a faculty position atImperial College London, UK. In January 2007 he joined the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona, Spain as a Research Professor. He is associate editor on the journals 'Occupational and Environmental Medicine' and the 'Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology'.

Thomas Frank is the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas? "and "One Market Under God," The founding editor of "The Baffler "and a contributing editor at "Harper's," Frank has received a Lannan award and been a guest columnist for "The New York Times," He lives, of course, in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 How We Got Here 5

2 The Clinton Era and the Origins of the Stock Bubble 19

3 The Collapse of the Stock Bubble 43

4 The Beginnings of the Housing Bubble 67

5 The Final Collapse 91

6 Beyond the Bubble Economy 119

7 Learning from the Bubbles 139

Notes 147

Glossary 155

Acknowledgments 162

Index 163

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 1 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fine study of capitalism's failure

    Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC. He shows how Clinton's high-dollar policy blew up the $10 trillion stock bubble and also started the $8 trillion housing bubble. The government pushed people to build assets, as if you could buy yourself rich.

    The bankers banked on the bubble, governments and media pushed it, regulators didn't regulate it, and economists denied that it existed. The bull markets were a huge con. And it's really still all bull. For example, the Washington Post editorialised on 11 January 2008, "Nor is there any consensus that a recession, if one comes, will be severe; Goldman Sachs thinks it's likely to be short and mild."

    By October 2008, the crash had cost US families $5 trillion, $70,000 per homeowner. This is the first postwar recession caused by a fall in investment: nominal investment fell by $50 billion in 2000-01. This slump, unlike earlier ones, is not curable by lower interest rates.

    Clinton, to get elected, talked for two opposing policies - public investment and budget deficit cuts (just as Cameron and Brown do now). When elected, he did the latter, as the ruling class demanded. As Baker notes, "There has been extensive research on the economic impacts of reducing the federal budget deficit. The overall conclusion is that deficit reduction provides only a modest boost to economic growth." It would do nothing to increase demand: wages would rise by just 2% in total over the next ten years.

    Finance is supposed to steer money from savers to borrowers - which it fails to do - it is not an end in itself. We may want many things, but we don't want yet more financial deals. In the 1960s, the financial sector got less than 10% of all corporate profits, by 2004, more than 30%. But Baker notes, "The fewer people and resources we need to do our banking, to provide insurance, and to meet our other financial needs, the better off we are."

    What to do? Baker proposes - cut the value of the dollar, cut the incompetent and corrupt financial sector, hold the incompetents accountable, tax gambling in financial assets, stop the evictions, and increase government investment in industry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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