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A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression
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A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  311 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 is the most alarming of our lifetime because of the warp-speed at which it is occurring. How could it have happened, especially after all that we've learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn't it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-b ...more
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Harvard University Press
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Oct 14, 2009 rated it liked it
A conservative thinker himself, Posner is convinced that our present financial crisis is not a recession but rather a depression. And, unlike some conservatives who think that the dilemma is the result of government policies, Posner thinks that it is a failure of the market itself. Among many other interesting points, he notes that the motivations and rationale for individual financial decision making is counter to what is best for the overall economy, ie to save and reduce consumption in hard t ...more
May 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
There is a puzzling mismatch between the content and the purpose of this book. Posner insists that it is the market, not the government, that is essentially to blame. He then goes out of his way to show that low interest rates (set by the Fed, a part of the government) induced rational actors in the market to create the bubble. Though he mentions a variety of other factors, this seem to be the principal factor. So this is a very helpful book if you actually read it, because he seems to have anal ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a pretty good book, if for nothing else than the author's ability to plainly discuss and talk about the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008, as well the activities that lead up to it. I have to agree with others, though. The book was quickly written and it shows; however, it is not at all hard to follow, which is surprising when you realize Posner, as a judge, was able to break away from the legalese/court-style of writing.

What really impressed me, though, is Posner's ability to tak
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
This is corporatist bullshit. simple as that.
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
At nearly 350 pages long, Posner's new book is definitely not a short book. Notably, the chapter on 'The Government Responds' is nearly book-length long. For a more professional review of this book, do look up Dr. Solow's review on the NYRoB. Here's my more pedestrian take.

I am not an economist by training. Yet, believe it or not, Posner writes engagingly for the informed reader who wants to know more about the probable causes and impacts of the Financial Crisis beyond the piecemeal reports of
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing

Excellent book on the recent recession/depression.

According to Posner (and I agree), the recent recession was produced by rational actors both on the banking side and the homeowner side (see at least pgs. 100-101). I thought he could have spent more time on how how the downside risk of a borrower is limited in that in most states you can walk away from a house whose value is less than the outstanding loan amount with little more than a damaged credit rating. Posner points to the government and e
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, economics
Posner's A Failure of Capitalism is an informative read. Posner accurately sketched out the underlying problems in the financial sector that led to the crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession. While the book is informative and highly approachable for the lay reader, it is also out of date.

The book is incredibly informative. Posner sketches out a brief history of finance and the deregulation of the financial sector. He then outlines how deregulation might have been an excellent idea in some se
Mar 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Two takeaways:

1. Posner makes a convincing argument that the actions of the various players in the financial crisis were not inept or irresponsible but rather quite rational. In his view, any one player (individuals or firms) could fully appreciate the fact that their actions were risky and their leveraging could even lead to bankruptcy. However, any one failure/bankruptcy might not be catastrophic, at least not for an individual person or firm. It's only the regulators, who should be expected t
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For several months, I have had a personal side project of attempting to understand the financial crisis. That challenge has culminated with this book. Posner does an incredibly thorough job of explaining the various factors that contributed to the financial crisis, including the economic system that allowed it. I am firmly of the belief that one cannot understand the financial crisis simply by pointing fingers at financial intermediaries or regulators, because neither explanation is complete. Po ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was written immediately after the credit crisis, and it won't stand the test of time or be thought of as a 'classic' document of the financial crisis. It's too political, and the attempts at prophecy and prediction have been revealed weak by the passing of time. There is great potential in the subject matter; Posner's essential thesis is that capitalism requires government intervention or it faces inevitable catastrophic market failure. He begins to write about a troubling possibility ...more
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Richard Posner is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Judge Posner clerked for Justice William J. Brennan Jr. From 1963 to 1965, he was assistant to Commissioner Philip Elman of the Federal Trade Commission. For the next two years he was assistant to the solicitor general of the United States. Prior to going to Stanford
More about Richard A. Posner...