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Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse
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Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,338 ratings  ·  162 reviews
If you are fed up with Washington boondoggles, and you like the small-government, politically-incorrect thinking of Ron Paul, then you'll love Tom Woods's Meltdown. In clear, no-nonsense terms, Woods explains what led up to this economic crisis, who's really to blame, and why government bailouts won't work. Woods will reveal:
* Which brave few economists predicted the econo
Hardcover, 194 pages
Published February 9th 2009 by Regnery Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Start your review of Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it

Books on politics and economic theory can be very divisive and create strong feelings in those on both sides of an issue. I have strong feelings myself and in the course of this review, a few of them may come out. Discussing my personal views on these kinds of topics is something I don’t generally do in my reviews because it is too easy “over the net” for threads and discussions to go nuclear and I generally find that stuff petty and stupid.

Unlike some reviews I s
Patrick Peterson
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in knowing a (Rothbardian) Austrian economics analysis of the 2008 crisis
Recommended to Patrick by: several
Review edited for style 11 April 2017.

Nice audio book. Good reader.
The beginning style is perhaps too polemical to be convincing to many of those who are skeptical of the ideas in the book, which is unfortunate, since they need to understand the ideas the most. Folks who have no problem with government intervention, since their inclination is to blame the financial meltdown of 2008 (or any meltdown) on business or capitalism, really need the facts and analysis in this book the most.

The repetitio
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
We’ve all been told the same narrative by the media: greedy loan lenders, in conjunction with the government, twisted credit requirements to trick people into thinking they could afford houses. As Woods shows in this concise book, this narrative is false. This book is an excellent starter for anyone that wants to learn what really caused the 2008 financial crisis and if you’re looking for something more comprehensive I recommend reading Peter Schweizer’s book “Architects of Ruin.”
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
It is a testament to how good the content of this book is that I finished listening to the entire audiobook version despite my strong urge to reach into my car's CD player and smack the author. (Although I guess I was imagining smacking the guy who read the book, and not the actual author, which is pretty unfair.)

Seriously, the world does not need your inflammatory, obnoxious, self-righteous rhetoric. The world, as you so correctly state, needs facts. So state them, and then STFU.

It drives me nu
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Solving the problems of our current economic problems by accelerating the same failed prescribtions that fed the bubble in the first place has never made sense to me. Heaping on top of that the moral hazards of the "too big to fail mentality" will ensure that problems will re-occur in even more chronic form, if that is possible.

Using the eminantly sensible Austrian Economic model, Thomas E Woods outlines the origins of our current economic crisis , how it echos historic economic crisis, especia
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Austrian School of Economics is a strange sort of fundamentalist sect of the free-market religion. Thomas Woods (who is listed as a "fellow" of the Mises Institute and wrote the Politically Incorrect Guide to History) does a nice job excoriating bad public policy for many of our recent economic ills and even makes a somewhat compelling case for the idea that government economic management contributes to the boom/bust cycle.

The problem is that Woods does not argue that governments contribute
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
It starts out good and demonstrates how the American government also had a big hand in the Wall Street meltdown but tends to focus just on government as the villain (and how they are making it worse).

Really, I believe there is a lot of blame to go around...government, the financial industry, and avaricious consumers...and Woods just doesn't pursue this un-holy trinity as effectively as he might.

But a very good book for demonstrating the government role in the crisis.

The visceral rhetoric (almost
Dec 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
Yet another in the "libertarianism is religion" genre. As a Popperian might sardonically note, it is impossible to imagine a state of the world which would cause such people to give up their "markets uber alles" weltanschaung. Check out Russ Roberts' EconTalk podcast for a gaggle more of these types.
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I normally don't read "crisis books," especially when it involves the federal govt screwing up. However, knowing Woods to be a masterful scholar, and having a friend loan this book to me, I decided to read it.

All in all, a good read. I read it in about 3 hours. If one is reasonably familiar with the Austrian school of economics, this book won't tell you anything new. Indeed, if you are an Austrian, you've probably figured it out. That being said, Woods summarizes the events leading to the 2008 d
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
If a book with 158 pages on content is to accomplish what is claimed by the title, then it had better be dense, just packed with information in a terse writing style. This book is not. A well researched, well written book on this topic would be welcome, but Tom Woods has not provided it. In quick hit form:

>Woods fails to source many of his claims. Sometimes it's not obvious if hyperbole is being employed or if he is trying to pass off serious data. Because of the lack of sourcing, the reader mus
Todd Mitchell
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Having not fully understood the present state of economic affairs, I picked up Meltdown to get some insight that I could count on to stray from the popular media story.

This book was a great read for very basic ideas and many complicated concepts as they pertain to money, the government, and what has resulted from the interactions between the two, both in the United States and around the world.

Readers can expect controversial and bold ideas on what's wrong with the economy and what must be done
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
I am afraid the Austrian School of Economics is no more convincing than any other school of thought. These guys have some kind of notion that 'THE MARKET' is something akin to God. It isn't. Like any other collection of human actors it is basically an committee writ large and you know what they say about committees--the only organism with six or more legs and no brain. While I agree that some of the very agencies that were supposed to be regulating the economy and some that were supposed to help ...more
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Truly interesting book. Not very long, easy to read quickly.

Though short and quick, there are some economics principles that may not be completely well-explained, and could have used more depth of introduction and explanation.

It would be a good read for just about everybody, but those with a definite economic bent may not be open-minded enough to accept any new ideas. For those, maybe it would be best avoided.

This book has made me interested in learning more about the Austrian business cycle the
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I gave up on this book about a third of the way in. For me personally, there was not enough new material. From where I stand, convinced about the nature of the Fed etc., the book was too one-sided. ["Foreword by Ron Paul" -- almost kept me off the book] That means: little new to learn, and little that was thought-provoking. But, to be fair, the book does have a decent summary of the issues around the recent "great recession", and would be useful if it is not preaching to the choir.
David Robins
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Examines and explains the root causes of the 2008 crash, which had far more to do with government control (with cheap credit from the Federal Reserve being a major culprit) than corporate greed, and shows how bailouts just made things worse.
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Why did the real estate bubble form in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s? Why did it burst around the end of 2006? How did this weaken the economy in general? Why do booms and busts occur at all? How do we prevent or control these difficult processes? What changes can be made to produce a more stable and robust economy? These are the questions Thomas Woods Jr. addresses in this thought-provoking and hugely important work. At 163 pages, it is a quick read that would benefit all. Woods’s style is s ...more
Sumeet Mahendra
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This one of quite contradicting view of 2008 Lehman Crisis. Here the author blaming the Government particularly the President Bush & his economic advisories. While the mainstream media maintains that rampant capitalism caused the 2008 financial crisis, the federal government is actually to blame. That’s because by depressing interest rates and fostering economic bubbles, the government caused the near disintegration of the US economy.   ...more
Mark Geise
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book five stars for what it is: a short primer into the Austrian view of the 2008 financial crisis. Meltdown focuses primarily on the Federal Reserve's policies of artificially low interest rates and cheap credit in exacerbating the booms and busts that we have seen in recent American history. Interest rates serve as an extremely important indicator for entrepreneurs and businesses. When interest rates are low, this signifies a savings glut and higher consumption in the future. When ...more
Patrick S.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
This was one of the first books to be written about the 2008 finical crisis. I know Woods wrote the book in something like a month. With all the information in this book that had to be an arduous undertaking. Woods' approach is to look at the cause of the '08 crisis under the Austrian economic business theory. Essentially, this theory says that value of something is subjective and people act to their ends, according to ideas. From this, order, money, value emerges. This is comparable to other me ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
In a sentence, Meltdown presents the argument that Austrian economics and its business cycle theory is the model with the best explanatory power for the boom and bust roller coaster our economy has ridden in the last 100 years (and beyond). Woods explains why the Federal Reserve's easy money policies fueled the unnaturally rapid growth of the mortgage market in the 2000s, the dot-com boom of the 90s, and every other crash going back at least a century, including the Great Depression. Using Hazli ...more
Ailith Twinning
Nov 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
You can't hear it, but I'm laughing so hard. Oh, this one was fun.

I should, probably, give this like a 4 - in that I 'really liked it' - but I'm quite worried that I've gotten to the point I can like a book like this, and I absolutely do not want anyone who doesn't have a basic understanding of at least two schools of economic theory to read it. Apart from that, the fact I've gotten to the point I find this kind of thing hilarious is worrying itself - it means I'm becoming more cynical. I thoug
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
This might be the most important books for American's to read right now. Woods demonstrates that it was the government via the Federal Reserve's easy money policy combined with other government interventions into the economy that led to the economic collapse--and NOT the failure of capitalism. The government is far too involved in our economy and we haven't operated in a purely capitalistic system since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

No only that, but the "stimulus" and interventions on the par
Anastacia Hines
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it
This book may be the best way to introduce Austrian economics to friends and family. Woods writes to a lay audience about a timely topic. Who doesn't make comments or think about the economy these days? Because of that fact, many people who would not have been open to the ideas in this book gladly read it. Woods also confirms the sneaking suspicion of many American that all is not as it seems according to the media and the government. Overall, this work is timely and concise. It will not answer ...more
Sheryl Tribble
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thought this book was dead on, right down the line, the prose readable, and he stays tightly on target -- possibly too tightly, as more than once he dismissed something with, "I'll cover that in chapter whatever." I've got a fair background in Austrian economics so that never bothered me, but it might bug someone who isn't familiar with the basics I suppose.

I think a lot of Austrian economists get bogged down on the details or write pretty dense prose; Woods doesn't. He may skim over some thing
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thomas Woods offers in this book a very helpful summary of the Austrian business cycle, and a clear application of it to the recent economic recession. I was chiefly looking for a response to the idea that “debt deflation” causes recessions, which, it's claimed, the Great Depression all but proved. Thankfully, this book did not disappoint. Woods devoted a whole chapter to the Great Depression, and he talked about debt deflation both in that chapter and in a later sidebar. This book is short, so ...more
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Do you still believe the propaganda you are spoon-fed by politicians and the media that the current economic crisis was brought about by unfettered capitalistic greed and wall street speculation? If you want to know the truth behind what has happened to our economy, read this book. Tom Woods explains in terms anyone can understand, how the federal reserve's manipulation of interest rates and artificial credit expansion are responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. This book was a breath of ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was an oversimplified look at the financial crisies of modern times. This was also written from a very right wing view and agenda. Reading a book about how everything has been screwed up really didn't tell me anything new. Nothing in here provided any more analysis or facts that I get from reading the paper daily. Take a pass on this, unless you use Fox news as your sole provider of news and information, they you'll probably like this book
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
Would give this a 2.5 star rating.....
good info and viewpoint. Explains the Austrian school of economics, it's theory of the business and trade cycle. Don't know why more people making the big decisions in this country about the economic crisis aren't reading and heeding this book.
Explains how we, (the Government), are making the same mistakes over and over again...........
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it
The author makes a good case that our economy has been overly managed by politicians and bureaucrats, resulting in a boom-and-bust "business" cycle. His conclusions on fiscal policy make a lot more sense than some of the Keynesian nonsense I've seen lately. On monetary policy, I don't completely buy his argument on doing away with the Fed, but again he makes a good cases.
Paul Franche
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it
The book presents many interesting ideas and historical point of view, but it is greatly undermined by over simplifications and a continuous flow of insults to everyone not agreeing with him. You need to read through a massive amount of arrogant indoctrination to get the interesting parts. It still challenged my ideas and changed my outlook.
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Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and host of The Tom Woods Show, which releases a new episode every weekday. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and his master’s, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Woods has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, C-SPAN, and Bloomberg Television, among other outlets, and has been a ...more

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