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Adults in the Room
by Yanis Varoufakis
A Number One Sunday Times Bestseller
What happens when you take on the establishment? In Adults in the Room, the renowned economist and former finance minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis gives the full, blistering account of his momentous clash with the mightiest economic and political forces on earth.
After being swept into power with the left-wing Syriza party, Varoufakis attempts to renegotiate Greece’s relationship with the EU—and sparks a spectacular battle with global implications. Varoufakis’s new position sends him ricocheting between mass demonstrations in Athens, closed-door negotiations in drab EU and IMF offices, and furtive meetings with power brokers in Washington, D.C. He consults and quarrels with Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, Christine Lagarde, the economists Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs, and others, as he struggles to resolve Greece’s debt crisis without resorting to punishing austerity measures. But despite the mass support of the Greek people and the simple logic of Varoufakis’s arguments, he succeeds only in provoking the fury of Europe’s elite.
Varoufakis’s unvarnished memoir is an urgent warning that the economic policies once embraced by the EU and the White House have failed—and spawned authoritarianism, populist revolt, and instability throughout the Western world. Adults in the Room is an extraordinary tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion, and betrayal that will shake the global establishment to its foundations.
The Power of Inaction
by Cornelia Woll
Bank bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the Great Recession brought into sharp relief the power that the global financial sector holds over national politics, and provoked widespread public outrage. In The Power of Inaction, Cornelia Woll details the varying relationships between financial institutions and national governments by comparing national bank rescue schemes in the United States and Europe. Woll starts with a broad overview of bank bailouts in more than twenty countries. Using extensive interviews conducted with bankers, lawmakers, and other key players, she then examines three pairs of countries where similar outcomes might be expected: the United States and United Kingdom, France and Germany, Ireland and Denmark. She finds, however, substantial variation within these pairs. In some cases the financial sector is intimately involved in the design of bailout packages; elsewhere it chooses to remain at arm’s length.Such differences are often ascribed to one of two conditions: either the state is strong and can impose terms, or the state is weak and corrupted by industry lobbying. Woll presents a third option, where the inaction of the financial sector critically shapes the design of bailout packages in favor of the industry. She demonstrates that financial institutions were most powerful in those settings where they could avoid a joint response and force national policymakers to deal with banks on a piecemeal basis. The power to remain collectively inactive, she argues, has had important consequences for bailout arrangements and ultimately affected how the public and private sectors have shared the cost burden of these massive policy decisions.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (movie tie-in)
by Michael Lewis
The #1 New York Times bestseller—Now a Major Motion Picture from Paramount Pictures
From the author of The Blind Side and Moneyball, The Big Short tells the story of four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predict the credit and housing bubble collapse before anyone else. The film adaptation by Adam McKay (Anchorman I and II, The Other Guys) features Academy Award® winners Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo and Marisa Tomei; Academy Award® nominees Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling.
When the crash of the U.S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread. Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? In this fitting sequel to Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis answers that question in a narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor.
Wall Street and the Financial Crisis
by Senate Subcommittee on Investigations
The Poker Face of Wall Street
by Aaron Brown
Governance of International Banking
by Dirk Schoenmaker
The Future of Banking
by Henry Engler, James Essinger
The Global Financial Crisis
by Mark P. Taylor, Richard Clarida
The volume includes an exploration of the impact of the crisis on capital markets, and how corporate stakeholders need to be more aware of the decision-making processes followed by corporate executives, as well as an analysis of the policy changes instituted by the Fed and their effects. Other issues covered include research into the approach of solvent banks to toxic assets, the determinants of US interest rate swap spreads during the crisis, a new approach for estimating Value-at-Risk, how distress and lack of active trading can result in systemic panic attacks, and the dynamic interactions between real house prices, consumption expenditure and output. Highlighting the global reach of the crisis, there is also coverage of recent changes in the cross-currency correlation structure, the costs attached to global banking financial integration, the interrelationships among global stock markets, inter-temporal interactions between stock return differential relative to the US and real exchange rate in the two most recent financial crises, and research into the recent slowdown in workers’ remittances.
This book was published as a special issue of Applied Financial Economics.
Connectedness and Contagion
by Hal S. Scott
An argument that contagion is the most significant risk facing the financial system and that Dodd¬Frank has reduced the government’s ability to respond effectively.
The Dodd–Frank Act of 2010 was intended to reform financial policies in order to prevent another massive crisis such as the financial meltdown of 2008. Dodd–Frank is largely premised on the diagnosis that connectedness was the major problem in that crisis—that is, that financial institutions were overexposed to one another, resulting in a possible chain reaction of failures. In this book, Hal Scott argues that it is not connectedness but contagion that is the most significant element of systemic risk facing the financial system. Contagion is an indiscriminate run by short-term creditors of financial institutions that can render otherwise solvent institutions insolvent. It poses a serious risk because, as Scott explains, our financial system still depends on approximately $7.4 to $8.2 trillion of runnable and uninsured short-term liabilities, 60 percent of which are held by nonbanks.
Scott argues that efforts by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the Treasury to stop the contagion that exploded after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers lessened the economic damage. And yet Congress, spurred by the public’s aversion to bailouts, has dramatically weakened the power of the government to respond to contagion, including limitations on the Fed’s powers as a lender of last resort. Offering uniquely detailed forensic analyses of the Lehman Brothers and AIG failures, and suggesting alternative regulatory approaches, Scott makes the case that we need to restore and strengthen our weapons for fighting contagion.
All the Devils Are Here
by Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera
“Hell is empty, and
all the devils are here.”
-Shakespeare, The Tempest
As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?
According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America’s most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together.
All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn’t about finance at all; it was about human nature.
Among the devils you’ll meet in vivid detail:
• Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest subprime lending.
• Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat, who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices.
• Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all the bodies were buried.
• Stan O’Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who suffered from “Goldman envy” and drove a proud old firm into the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest lieutenants.
• Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a culture that famously put clients first to one that made clients secondary to its own bottom line.
• Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors) bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift away from its original, noble mission.
• Brian Clarkson of Moody’s, who aggressively pushed to increase his rating agency’s market share and stock price, at the cost of its integrity.
• Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous pain on the country.
Just as McLean’s The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of the meltdown and its consequences.
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