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The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do about It
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The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do about It

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  7 reviews
How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it?

In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads,
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Chelsea Green Publishing (first published May 11th 2009)
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A quick and easy read about the financial instruments behind the Global Economic Meltdown of the Year Eight. Leopold grew up in the labour movement, and his focus is on how what he calls "fantasy finance" has affected workers ("nonsupervisory personnel", as the BoL says). Leopold writes in a conversational style, and while he sometimes lapses into cynicism, he does give clear, concise, and acerbic definitions and examples about the instruments behind the financial crisis--- credit default swaps ...more
Dan Petegorsky
Read this book. Soon! Here's what Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says about it: "Leopold's account of the economic crisis is the clearest and most accessible that I have seen. It gives a reader with little economic or financial background a riveting description of how Wall Street tore down our economy...."

I agree - and I've been reading a lot on the topic. The amazing part is, Leopold does this without in any way avoiding discussion of the kinds of arcane financial products that brought the e
With America in the economic doldrums, a lot of attention has been paid to artificial financial instruments, called derivatives, created by Wall Street. No one has tried to explain them in plain English, until now.

Your local bank puts together a financial security pooling 10,000 debts (mortgages, credit card debt, car loans, etc.). That is a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. An investor would get a portion of the interest owed by those 10,000 borrowers. There is always a risk that some bor
Short, but very informative, this book has demystified a lot of the financial crisis for me. It hasn't made me less angry, but I feel like I understand more.

What's a credit default swap? A CDO? And why on earth did we bail out these giant banks? You may not like the answers, but at least there are answers.

Les Leopold writes this book with a nicely conversational tone, which makes it easy to digest. It's hard to not like a book whose introduction ends with "In short, if I can understand this crap
Ryan Olson
This was a very quick read that takes the maze of finances and economics and "dumbs" it down for the layperson. If you're like me and get confused about all the economic terms that describe the meltdown, this book is your key. It's dry and not for everyone, but if you want further clarification about what happened, this is the key. Great book.
I'd probably rate it higher if the subject matter didn't make me so crazy. It's a very good description of what happened to our economy, including understandable explanations of CDOs, synthetic CDOs, and all the other crap that got us into this mess. Infuriating, but a good read.
Derek Markham
Wow! I learned a lot from this book - about the crap shoot that is our 'high finance'.
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