Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong

( 7 )

Overview

Was our country’s economic success before the Crash of ‘08 built on false pretenses? Did we simply borrow and spend too much, or was something else really going on?
 
The conventional wisdom now accuses Wall Street and the mortgage industry of using predatory tactics to seduce homeowners. Meanwhile, average Americans are blamed for increasing consumption to unsustainable...

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Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong

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Overview

Was our country’s economic success before the Crash of ‘08 built on false pretenses? Did we simply borrow and spend too much, or was something else really going on?
 
The conventional wisdom now accuses Wall Street and the mortgage industry of using predatory tactics to seduce homeowners. Meanwhile, average Americans are blamed for increasing consumption to unsustainable levels by borrowing recklessly. And the tax policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations are blamed for encouraging reckless risk-taking.
 
Edward Conard disagrees. In an attempt to set the record straight he presents a fascinating new case for how the economy really works, why the U.S. has outperformed other countries, what caused the financial crisis, and what improvements might better protect our economy without damaging growth.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“The most cogent and persuasive analysis of the financial crisis to date.”
—Andrei Shleifer, Harvard

“A full-throated defense of economic dynamism…refreshing at a time when so many take the failure of capitalism for granted.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Deep and well-argued analyses on almost every issue.”
The New York Times

“Should be read by anyone who takes for granted the superiority of progressive taxation and has not thought carefully about the trade-offs involved.”
The New Republic

“The economics class you ought to have had.”
The Washington Times

“Reveals the author’s intelligence and skill at elucidating economics.”
Bloomberg Businessweek

“Deserves the attention of policymakers in Washington.”
Publishers Weekly

“An amazing number of good ideas and interesting points…very impressive.”
—Steven Levitt, Univ. of Chicago, coauthor of Freakonomics

From the Publisher
"Refreshing, at a time when so many take the failure of capitalism for granted, to read a bravado defense of the greatest force for wealth creation that the world has ever known."
—BRIAN CARNEY The Wall Street Journal


“Edward Conard’s book presents the most cogent and persuasive analysis of the financial crisis to date. It is deeper and likely more accurate than what we have seen so far from journalists, academics, and particularly former government officials.”
—ANDREI SHLEIFER, 1999 John Bates Clark Medal winner; Former Editor, Quarterly Journal of Economics; Professor of Economics, Harvard University

“Edward Conard’s keen business insight and sharp eye on economic forces explain structural strengths and weaknesses of the American economy. While some of his proposed solutions are controversial, the U.S. economy can recover its mojo if policy makers understand Conard’s diagnosis.”
—GLENN HUBBARD, Dean, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University; Former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers

“Edward Conard provides a provocative interpretation of the causes of the global financial crisis and the policies needed to return to rapid growth. Whether you agree or not, this analysis is well worth reading.”
—NOURIEL ROUBINI, Chairman, Roubini Global Economics

Unintended Consequences will be the most talked about economic book in 2012. When Ed Conard points the spotlight at recent economic history, his uncanny ability to cut through the confusion provides something totally unexpected: a fresh, nonpartisan perspective on what is right and wrong with America.”
—KEVIN HASSETT, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy, American Enterprise Institute

“Edward Conard has written a provocative and important book about the economy that challenges conventional wisdom about the financial crisis, the trade deficit, government policy, and the path to prosperity. I hope policy makers and business leaders will pay close attention to Conard’s framework.”
—WILLIAM A. SAHLMAN, Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School

“Virtually everyone who reads Unintended Consequences will feel the pain of knowing that we may never get EVERYONE to read it. The clarity of Edward Conard’s explana­tion of where we are, how we got here, and what we do now is profound.”
—BILL BAIN, Founder, Bain & Company

“There are an amazing number of good ideas and interesting points made in this book. The thinking underlying it, and the obvious depth of understanding of the author, are very impressive.”
—STEVEN LEVITT, Coauthor of Freakonomics; 2004 John Bates Clark Medal Winner

“This is a wonderful book, filled with wisdom by a guy who really knows what he’s talking bout. It is a must reading for both businessmen and politicians.”
—JOHN C. WHITEHEAD, Former Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co.; Former Deputy Secretary of State

"Conard's contrarian chapter on the benefits of low taxation for the rich is powerfully written. It should be read by anyone who takes for granted the superiority of progressive taxation and has not thought carefully about the trade-offs involved." —The New Republic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846307
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 686,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWARD CONARD was a partner at Bain Capital from 1993 to 2007. He served as head of Bain’s New york office and led the firm’s acquisitions of large industrial companies. He sits on several boards of directors including the boards of Waters Corporation and Sensata Technologies. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
 
Visit www.edwardconard.com
www.facebook.com/edwardconard @EdwardConard

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I What Went Right

1 A Brief History of the U.S. Economy 11

2 The Role of Investment 30

3 The Role of the Trade Deficit 52

4 The Role of Incentives 72

Part II What Went Wrong

5 The Role of Banks, Credit Rating Agencies, and Regulators 113

6 The Role of Short-Term Debt and Government Policy 158

Part III What Comes Next

7 Preventing Another Bank Run 195

8 Reducing Unemployment 219

9 Redistributing Income 254

Conclusion 275

Acknowledgments 287

Notes 289

Illustration Sources 301

Index 305

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    To be honest I have not read this book yet. But based on the se

    To be honest I have not read this book yet. But based on the second bullet point I question either his knowledge of the circumstances of the housing bubble or his desire to discuss it accurately. Most of the "predatory lenders" took mortgages with little or no down payment because the days of the originating lender keeping the loans had passed. Instead, they quickly sold the mortgage to a Wall Street firm to be packaged as a bond and sold for profits to investors. There was no risk to the original lender, all he had to do is make the deal, sell it to someone else and make a nice commission.This is precisely why there was such a huge jump in sub-prime, Alt-A, low-doc and ninja mortgages that made the housing bubble grow and then pop. I question the credibility of anyone writing authoritatively on this subject. who appears not to be aware of this fact.

    8 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 12, 2012

    What caused the financial crisis? How do we speed up recovery? A

    What caused the financial crisis? How do we speed up recovery? And how do we, as a nation, avoid getting ourselves stuck in the traps we landed in during the 2008 financial crisis? Unintended Consequences is a fresh and different look at the U.S.'s economic woes. This is a great gift for anyone interested in the economy, growth and innovation, and best practices for helping the middle class and working poor.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    Should be required reading for high level federal government off

    Should be required reading for high level federal government officials. I gave it 4 stars only because, quite frankly: I didn't understand all of it. I'm sure Milton Friedman, if he were alive today, would highly recommend this book. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about economic reality as opposed to economic policy spin from Washington DC

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    I tried: I really tried to read Mr. Conard's book, but I was una

    I tried: I really tried to read Mr. Conard's book, but I was unable to follow his logic. I suppose as a Ph.D. I am more accustomed to reading research papers that provide cites for fact statements or emphirical evidence to justify a conclusion. However, Mr. Conard wrote in a style I would attribute more to Rush Limbaugh and I found his arguments less than convincing. I really am trying to understand the Republican positions on the economy, but this book only muddied the water in my opinion.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    If you would like to understand the context of Mitt Romney's &qu

    If you would like to understand the context of Mitt Romney's "47%" statements this is the book for you.  It describes a set of beliefs that argues why wealthy capitalists should be richly rewarded for their accomplishments, and honored and supported by the remaining 99% for their  wealth. The book consists of 285 pages extolling the virtue and worth of wealthy capitalists/investors, explaining how any government "interference" is well-meaning but misguided, and extolling the benefits the "little people" would receive from supporting the wealthy.  

    I went "tilt" quite a bit. I found many of his examples/analysis misleading (companies are grand because they spend 70% of their take on labor, leaving only 30% for the capitalists; unfortunately, the cited labor percentage includes the massive renumeration for the top executives who, after all, are "labor" as much as any minimum-wage front-line employee in this accounting.) The book is full of such statements which are open to challenge.

    An example of the author's mindset from page 276 "A shortage of talent exists, in part, because a large number of college graduates refuse to take the risk and responsibility necessary to bring unrealized investment opportunities to fruition. Art history and Elizabethan poetry don't employ workers; the arduous and tedious application of businesses sciences such as computer programming and accounting does. ..For the sake of those less fortunate, we must persuade our vast supply of underutilized talent that they have amoral obligation to lead and innovate." Pretty much sums up the tone of the book.I was hoping for a conservative view of  our economy's performance over the past decade or so. Instead I read an apologia for a second Gilded Age.  Don't waste your time with this book; buy/read something from a conservative economist such as Thomas Sowell instead.

    And I write this review as a staunch capitalist. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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