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Publishers WeeklyLatest in the parade of where-were-they-a-year-ago expert financial authors are economics editors Elliott (of the Guardian) and Atkinson (of Britain's Mail on Sunday). Likening Wall Street professionals to "New Olympians" who opened a "Pandora's Box" of financial evils, the two are less than skilled with their analogies, but possess great knowledge and a perspective encompassing London, Wall Street and Washington DC. While it's true that free-market philosophies have been increasingly adopted, even by the left (Jimmy Carter's deregulation of airlines and telecommunications, Bill Clinton's NAFTA), the authors blame the current mess, somewhat fantastically, on an international group of 38 economic theorists (including Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper and Milton Friedman) who, meeting in Switzerland in 1947, set the course for "classical liberalism" to fight back against "what was seen as the tyranny of the collective." Aside from this, the authors provide an excellent, witty explanation for the past few years of economic boom and bust, with a broad approach that makes clear the multiple forces working to sink the economy (rather than focusing exclusively on, say, Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve). Though it's not impartial, this is a well-written, well-informed guide to today's crisis and a sharp critique of free market philosophies.
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