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Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalismby Kevin Phillips
Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author reveals how the U.S. financial sector has hijacked our economy and put Americ‛s global future at risk
In American Theocracy, Kevin Phillips warned us of the perilous interaction of debt, financial recklessness, and the increasing cost of scarce oil. The current housing and mortgage debacle is proof once more of Phillip‛s prescience, and only the first harbinger of a national crisis. In Bad Money, Phillips describes the consequences of our misguided economic policies, our mounting debt, our collapsing housing market, our threatened oil, and the end of American domination of world markets. Americ‛s current challenges (and failures) run striking parallels to the decline of previous leading world economic powersÂ—especially the Dutch and British. Global overreach, worn-out politics, excessive debt, and exhausted energy regimes are all chilling signals that the United States is crumbling as the world superpower.
“Bad mone” refers to a new phenomenon in wayward megafinanceÂ—the emergence of a U.S. economy that is globally dependent and dominated by hubris-driven financial services. Also“ba” are the risk miscalculations and strategic abuses of new multitrillion-dollar products such as asset-backed securities and the lure of buccaneering vehicles like hedge funds. Finally, the U.S. dollar has been turned into bad money as it has weakened and become vulnerable to the worl‛s other currencies. In all these ways,“ba” finance has failed the American people and pointed U.S. capitalism toward a global crisis. Bad Money is the perfect follow- up to Phillip‛s last book, whose dire warnings are now proving frighteningly accurate.
Kevin Phillips is alarmed by the increasing gap in wealth between the richest Americans and the rest of the population. Other analysts see this trend coming from political choices, the unplanned chaos of global markets and individual avarice. Phillips, author of "American Dynasty" and "American Theocracy," spies the shadowy hand of the financial elite pulling the strings. According to him, since the... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) 1980s, Wall Street and its Washington allies have set out to tie the U.S. economy to the money sector and let manufacturing companies and factory workers fall by the wayside. "The flight of the economy from tangibles to money manipulation is enriching a broad cross section of the upper-echelon institutions and practitioners of U.S. finance," he writes. He blames this nefarious plan for the current economic crisis and argues that it dooms the United States to second-class status, behind China. The pitch of Phillips' alarms has led one reviewer to call him a modern Thomas Paine. But the sweep of his claims creates a big burden of proof that he doesn't even attempt to meet. Is there a powerful cabal at work to carry out a sinister "financialization" of the U.S. economy? Phillips ducks: "This book will not try to prove or disprove any particular backstage role" by Wall Street and Washington power brokers. He is "not interested in becoming a conspiracy investigator," he insists. But his work edges closer to Dan Brown's than he should want. Of the four books, Zandi's account of the internal threats to U.S. prosperity is most clinical while Smick provides a global perspective. Soros, who calls himself a "failed philosopher" attempts in his tenth book to put this crisis into a complex theoretical context and asks readers to make one more try to grasp it. All four authors agree on the growing vulnerability of American financial well-being. Alone among the major economies, the United States is critically dependent on countries that sell us oil, electronics and the things that fill our shopping bags. Americans have stopped saving. The Bush administration and Congress have let budget deficits fly. And now the country relies on foreigners to plow dollars back in to keep the economy going. The authors warn that this financial dependence, like our energy dependence, is eroding the nation's choices. These four experts see the credit shock as a probable turning point toward an even tougher future. Budget deficits will have to be faced. Painful spending decisions on health care and social security must be made. The economy's rewards must flow more fairly. "Henceforth, American consumers ... have to find ways to live within their means," Zandi says. "Their unlimited freedom to spend, as well as their dominant role in the global economy, (has) reached an end." Peter Behr is a contributing writer to the C.Q. Global Researcher and a former Washington Post business writer and editor. Reviewed by Peter Behr, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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The bestselling author of American Theocracy reveals how the U.S. financial sector has hijacked the economy and put America's global future at risk.
In his acclaimed book American Theocracy, Kevin Phillips warned of the perilous interaction of debt, financial recklessness, and the spiking cost (and growing scarcity) of oil- warnings that are proving to be frighteningly accurate. Now, in his most significant and timely book yet, Phillips takes the full measure of this crisis. They are a part of what he calls "bad money"- not just the depreciated dollar, but also the dangerous attitudes and the flawed products of wayward mega-finance. His devastating conclusion: In its hubris, the financial sector has hijacked the American economy and put our very global future at risk-and it may be too late to stop it.
About the Author
Kevin Phillips has been a political and economic commentator for more than three decades. A former White House strategist, he is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and NPR and writes for Harper's and Time. His books include New York Times bestsellers The Politics of Rich and Poor and Wealth and Democracy.
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