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Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds…
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Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation (vuoden 2009 painos)

– tekijä: Daniel Gross

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
395508,645 (3.45)-
The financial crisis that has gripped this country since last September has had so many twists and turns, it would make for a great drama -- if it all were not so real and damaging. Companies are shutting down and laying off workers, 401ks are melting away, and the government is spending $700 billion dollars to bail out banks and financial institutions -- and that's only the beginning. The financial services industry, and the many industries that depend on it -- from housing to cars -- is in intensive care. So what happened? How did we get to this point of financial disaster? Is the economy just a huge, Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme? It is a complicated and confusing story -- but Daniel Gross of Newsweek has a special gift for making complicated matters easy to understand and even entertaining. In Dumb Money, he offers a guide to the debacle and to what the future may hold. This is not so much a book about who did what, though that's part of the story. Rather, it pieces together the building blocks of the debt-fueled economy, and distills the theory and personalities behind our late, lamented easy money culture. Dumb Money is a book that finally lays it all out in an engaging way, and might just help people invest their money smartly until the gloom passes.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:TerryMcCarthy
Teoksen nimi:Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation
Kirjailijat:Daniel Gross
Info:Free Press (2009), Paperback, 112 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation (tekijä: Daniel Gross)

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näyttää 5/5
I know everyone out there is trying to affix blame. It's so much more fun than actually taking the problem apart and trying to fix what was wrong. The fact is that many minds, much smarter than mine, many of them "knowing" they were smarter than the rest of us, were busily, if unwittingly, bringing down the financial system, and making lots and lots of money. John Kenneth Galbraith said something like, "when the facts change, I change my mind." The mantra of the past decade was that if the facts don't fit, change the theories and the rules. Cheap money was part of the problem, but so were prognosticators predicting a 36,000 Dow, the ownership society that dissolved into an investment society, people who bought homes as investments not places to live, and shadow-banks who, after running out of good mortgage candidates, went after the not so good. The fact is that by 2005 some 70% of families in the United States owned their own home. That left virtally no one left to get into a house. So they went after those who couldn;t asfford one.

But another problem was that 23% of homes were investment properties. People had fallen prey to the perceived wisdom of the experts who predicted $4 million homes in the suburbs. Since brokers and banks needed fees to survive, they were soon converting mortgage owners who could no longer pay the mortgage from a thirty year fixed to a forty year, then an ARM, then option ARMs. Risk was not relevant because they were securitized; everything depended entirely on housing prices always going up. The author saw an ad in the Wall Street Journal for a reverse amortization loan up to $5 million. That's insane, buit no one was willing to say the emperor was naked. Those who dared make the suggestion were soon gone. Because of the way hedge fund and financial managers were compensated, the income was considered a capital gain so it was taxed at 15% instead of 36%. The incentives to sell more mortgages, refinance, resell, buy, buy, rate highly were insurmountable. People at the top were making just hoards of money.


Some blame the CRA but the fact is that the Community Reinvestment Act is 30 years old. It was created to prevent banks from redlining, i.e. not making loans based on location rather than income. Subprime mortgages didn't even exist until about 3 years ago when Greenspan and the Fed loosened up money and made it really cheap (this is a Randian libertarian idea.) Even Greenspan has now said this was a mistake that was a primary factor in the crisis.

Sub-prime loans, in and of themselves, would not have been a problem had financial wizards not invented credit default swaps and collateral debt obligations that virtually, by securitizing and packaging all sorts of debts together, eliminated all risk. These CDO's and CDS's were rated AAA by the rating agencies without any real idea what the risk attached to them was. Technology was supposed to provide the information needed to keep everything transparent. But then again, the same thing was said of the telegraph.

The fact is that sub-prime loans were hugely profitable for lending and mortgage companies (note that only a very few banks were involved in these loans except as they were the owners of the mortgage companies.) They were making money off fees and because the loans were sub-prime they could charge higher interest rates. They were hugely profitable; just look at the balance sheets before it all came apart. Fannie and Freddie went wrong by insuring the loans, but again, they couldn't see the risk and the CDO's and CDS's were rated AAA.

Both political parties share the blame. The Republicans, had they been worried about Freddie, Fannie or any other systemic problem had ample opportunity between 2000 and 2006 to do whatever they wanted since they controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. The fact is that the "ownership society" was a big goal of the Bush administration. That meant encouraging people to buy homes. The Democrats should have done something too. No question. And a lot of the people involved in creating the problem we now expect to fix it: Paulson, Geithner, etc.

Unfortunately, the climate of cable TV pundits, having to fill up 24 hrs of "news" spend all their time trivializing and playing the blame game, a process that only makes things worse and people angry. Doesn't remotely help solve the problem.

Succinct, but pithy. Recommended to everyone. If you read nothing else, I recommend the conclusion. His recommendations make a lot of sense and should be read by everyone in Congress.

Read with [b:Chain of Blame How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis|3461662|Chain of Blame How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis|Paul Muolo|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51okjNI5KGL._SL75_.jpg|3502941], [b:Street Fighters The Shocking Demise of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street|6156362|Street Fighters The Shocking Demise of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street|Kate Kelly|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510VgV6WwiL._SL75_.jpg|6335528] and [b:Fool's Gold How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe How an Ingenious Tribe of Bankers Rewrote ... Made a Fortune and Survived a Catastrophe|6442950|Fool's Gold How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe How an Ingenious Tribe of Bankers Rewrote ... Made a Fortune and Survived a Catastrophe|Gillian Tett|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yZ1nNq5OL._SL75_.jpg|6632920] ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
A breezy, amiable history of the financial meltdown that provides some insight into exactly why I, and maybe you, haven't been able to find work. Gross writes with the educated, curious non-economist, spending less time debating economic theory and more time illustrating how human failings, such as overconfidence, short memories, and out-and-out greed, fueled the housing bubble. He can be funny, too, though he's sometimes unable to resist the too-obvious joke. Recommended to those who want to know a little more about the economic chaos that we still, as of this writing, find ourselves wading through, but don't expect this book to improve your outlook on human nature or your opinion of investment bankers. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Feb 12, 2011 |
A look at the housing bubble and the recession that followed. It broke down how the cheap money led to some dumb money and then dumber money. Very interesting ideas. ( )
  i.should.b.reading | Nov 21, 2010 |
A concise but thorough introduction to the Great Recession. ( )
  bodhisattva | Dec 16, 2009 |
The truth is I was predisposed to like this book as I have been a regular reader of Daniel Gross's columns at Slate.com for some time and I respect his viewpoint. This book is essentially a collection of his columns and so is an easy and informative read.

He joins Elliot Spitzer and Matt Taibbi as the only honest and courageous voices speaking the truth about what is actually happening to our economy at the hands of New York city and Washington DC.

Dan describes how the Great Recession occurred and who was responsible and the frightening conclusion is this: There ARE people responsible and there ain't much the American people can do about it.

Yikes.

If you want to know what you are talking about when it comes to current economic events, read this book.
  TerryMcCarthy | Oct 28, 2009 |
näyttää 5/5
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

The financial crisis that has gripped this country since last September has had so many twists and turns, it would make for a great drama -- if it all were not so real and damaging. Companies are shutting down and laying off workers, 401ks are melting away, and the government is spending $700 billion dollars to bail out banks and financial institutions -- and that's only the beginning. The financial services industry, and the many industries that depend on it -- from housing to cars -- is in intensive care. So what happened? How did we get to this point of financial disaster? Is the economy just a huge, Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme? It is a complicated and confusing story -- but Daniel Gross of Newsweek has a special gift for making complicated matters easy to understand and even entertaining. In Dumb Money, he offers a guide to the debacle and to what the future may hold. This is not so much a book about who did what, though that's part of the story. Rather, it pieces together the building blocks of the debt-fueled economy, and distills the theory and personalities behind our late, lamented easy money culture. Dumb Money is a book that finally lays it all out in an engaging way, and might just help people invest their money smartly until the gloom passes.

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