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The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash

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We are living in the most reckless financial environment in recent history. Arcane credit derivative bets are now well into the tens of trillions. According to Charles R. Morris, the astronomical leverage at investment banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets. The crash, when it comes, will have no firebreaks. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge ...

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Overview

We are living in the most reckless financial environment in recent history. Arcane credit derivative bets are now well into the tens of trillions. According to Charles R. Morris, the astronomical leverage at investment banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets. The crash, when it comes, will have no firebreaks. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy will come crashing down with it.

The Trillion Dollar Meltdown explains how we got here, and what is about to happen. After the crash our priorities will be quite different. But things are likely to get worse before they better. Whether you are an active investor, a homeowner, or a contributor to your 401(k) plan, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown will be indispensable to understanding the gross excess that has put the world economy on the brink—and what the new landscape will look like.

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  • Charles R. Morris
    Charles R. Morris  

Editorial Reviews

James Pressley
[A] shrewd primer. [Morris] writes with tight clarity and blistering pace.
Bloomberg News
USA Today
Charles Morris, author of The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, isn't one for sugarcoating. His analysis is dour and grim, but certainly not dull. And when read against a backdrop of an ever-weaker economy, increasingly anxious economists and a stream of gloomy predictions, it can be downright scary..Morris serves up a sharp, thought-provoking historical wrap-up of the U.S. economy and its markets, along with clear scrutiny of today's economic woes.
Watsonville (CA) Register-Pajaronian
Will provide some important background that will help decipher the meaning behind today's gloomy financial headlines. For those who wonder "Why?", here's a place to get some answers!
Publishers Weekly

Financial writer Morris explains the current sub-prime mortgage crisis that is affecting countless numbers of families in the United States and the economy as a whole. Morris details, in great length and description, where the market went wrong and the economic downfall that is soon to be ravaging the country and the global market. Nick Summers does his very best to make all of this sound as interesting as he can, but the material is overly depressing and incredibly monotonous. Summers spices things up a bit by offering a slight shift in tone and intention when reading quotes by the big business honchos responsible for the downfall, summoning a cutting sarcasm to portray them in a more comical and often realistic light. All in all, listeners will be hard-pressed to stay the course. A Public Affairs paperback. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The New York Times
Morris offers a persuasive diagnosis of the long-building credit crash . . . . An especially graceful writer, he accessibly explains Wall Street's arcane instruments . . . . This is a smart layperson's guide.
The New York Times Book Review
In his brief but brilliant book, Morris describes how we got into the mess we are in . . . . Few writers are as good as Morris at making financial arcana understandable and even fascinating.
—Floyd Norris
Tucson Citizen
There is good news and bad news about this book. The good news is that Morris has taken a complex subject and made it accessible for most readers. The bad news is that his analysis of our current economic mess will trigger restless nights and cold sweats . . . .To better understand how the world economy has been pushed to the brink and what the post-crash political/economic environment might eventually look like, this book provides both insight and a possible peek into our future.
—Larry Cox
USA Today
Charles Morris, author of The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, isn't one for sugarcoating. His analysis is dour and grim, but certainly not dull. And when read against a backdrop of an ever-weaker economy, increasingly anxious economists and a stream of gloomy predictions, it can be downright scary . . . .Morris serves up a sharp, thought-provoking historical wrap-up of the U.S. economy and its markets, along with clear scrutiny of today's economic woes.
Library Journal

Morris (Tycoons) explains the subprime mortgage crisis and discusses the sobering reality of how this financial debacle is only the beginning of even more profound economic and political restructuring expected toward the end of 2008 and into 2009. Narrating his second audiobook for Phoenix (after Everything You Know About God Is Wrong), Nick Summers delivers a solid, composed performance. Recommended for learned listeners savvy to the heady complexities of high finance; most relevant to university libraries supporting graduate-level finance and economics curricula. [The PublicAffairs hc, released in March, was a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]
—Dale Farris

From The Critics
IN 2005, while running a financial-software company, Charles Morris became convinced that credit markets were heading for a crash. He found a publisher who was willing to take a gamble and began tracing the roots of the yet-to-unfold crisis. However up to date it may seem, this book is no rush job. Mr Morris deftly joins the dots between the Keynesian liberalism of the 1960s, the crippling stagflation of the 1970s and the free-market experimentation of the 1980s and 1990s, before entering the world of ultra-cheap money and financial innovation gone mad.
—The Economist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586485634
  • Publisher: Perseus Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/4/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles R. Morris has written ten books, including The Cost of Good Intentions, one of the New York Times' Best Books of 1980, The Coming Global Boom, a New York Times Notable Book of 1990, and The Tycoons, a Barrons' Best Book of 2005. A lawyer and former banker, Mr. Morris's articles and reviews have appeared in many publications including The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

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Table of Contents

Foreword     ix
The Death of Liberalism     1
Wall Street Finds Religion     19
Bubble Land: Practice Runs     37
A Wall of Money     59
A Tsunami of Dollars     87
The Great Unwinding     107
Winners and Losers     137
Recovering Balance     159
Notes     171
Index     185
About the Author     195
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    WOW

    This book is a fantastic play by play of what happened in the credit markets. The only complaint on my part is that it does not go in to detail on how it can be solved or how the economic system will respond.<BR/><BR/>Good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    The truth about the current financial mess

    Traces the history of financial deregulation from Reagan to George W., and the repeated financial disasters which have resulted, beginning with the 1987 stock market crash (this one actually the result of failure to regulate) and the 1988 Savings and Loan collapse. And continuing through the early '90s junk bond bailout, the '94 CMO debacle, LTCM in '98, the stock market crash in 2000, to the current mess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    Over the hills and through the valleys...

    Morris does a fabulous job taking the reader over the hills and through the valleys of the buildup to the meltdown.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Very timely breakdown of the credit crisis.

    Although it was apparently some time in preparation, this book couldn't be more timely. The credit crisis (which extends well beyond the infamous subprime mortgage crisis) is explained in some detail. Some readers might be put off by the financial terminology, but for those who are willing to learn a few (well-explained) terms, this book tells you exactly how & why banks fell into the crisis and how poorly-rate debt such as subprime mortgages was transformed into - or disguised as - high-quality investment grade debt. Well-recommended for those trying to decipher the current financial news.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    discouraging future

    i agree with the previous reviewers that there are no solutions offered here. there won't be. ths book was written with the view of the doctor that diagnoses a cancer patient. it's not a solution, only a conclusion.so it is a good review of our economic train wreck. as the current administration is acting as if they have a geni in a bottle and do not know what to do, consider this book fair warning that the u.s.a is b-r-o-k-e.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Meltdown Blues...

    "We are accustomed to thinking of bubbles and crashes in terms of specific markets--like junk bonds, commercial real estate, and tech stocks," says Charles R. Morris, author of "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash." "Overpriced assets are like poison mushrooms. You eat them, you get sick, you learn to avoid them."

    "A credit bubble is different," he notes. "Credit is the air that financial markets breathe, and when the air is poisoned, there's no place to hide." The credit crash he leads us through is a worldwide phenomenon, although Wall Street is obviously an acceptable starting point.

    If "The Trillion Meltdown" isn't exactly book club fare, it is perfectly clear, free of economic jargon and pretense, and straight to the point (169 narrative pages). Morris is a lawyer, a former banker, and the writer of such notable books as "The Coming Global Boom" and "The Tycoons" (a Barrons' best book of 2005). His latest effort deserves an attentive read by those who wonder why they're poorer now than a year ago.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

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    Posted January 14, 2009

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted December 22, 2008

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    Posted May 9, 2009

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    Posted February 11, 2009

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