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Lost Decades: The Making of America's Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Welcome to Argentina: by 2008 the United States had become the biggest international borrower in world history, with almost half of its 6.4 trillion dollar federal debt in foreign hands. The proportion of foreign loans to the size of the economy put the United States in league with Mexico, Pakistan, and other third-world debtor nations. The massive inflow of foreign funds ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I agree with the cover blurbs saying this book may be the best single explanation of our recent financial crisis. The authors do a great job explaining the complex financial products that led to the interrelatedness of the global fiscal implosion. The authors believe government intervention was necessary to stem the global contagion and also call out the lack of effective government regulation which essentials allows the financial system to privative profits and socialize losses. Less blame is p ...more
Lance Cahill
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
The book includes a nice run-down of the effects of the financial crisis and subsequent government response. However, the book lands pretty flat in other regards.

The central thesis is that capital account imbalances used to finance home construction and growing government deficits set up the United States for a classic boom-bust cycle. Evolution in financial markets and a lack of concomitant regulatory response led the bust phase to be catastrophic. Moreover, in the inflow of funds reduced long
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Another book on the American financial crisis, this one is unusual in that the authors place less emphasis on the role of derivatives in causing the crisis. Ireland went through a similar real estate bubble at the same time, without the benefits of credit default swaps and such exotica. Basically, the authors see what the United States went through mostly as a typical bubble fueled by debt, as has happened in many nations before. Inconsistently, the authors then go on to describe how the derivat ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I was looking for a book on the economic meltdown, a buddy of mine said his PhD advisor had written a book, how about that? I wrote it down and promptly forgot about it (and read ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism instead).

This one is a macroeconomic take on How Things Went Wrong - a perspective I haven't seen much covered, and one that certainly added to my understanding of the subject.

I guess my biggest takeaways are that:
1. The major e
Uwe Hook
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Need a terrifying read for the holidays? Get this book. It explains in simple language the many reasons for the financial crisis (Fannie Mae, Fed, lacking regulation, lacking ethics) and paints a picture of the future. At best, we are in the middle of a lost decade. More likely, we're facing 3-4 lost decades. Happy holidays...:) ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Mohamed El-Erian was worried enough that the entire financial system was breaking down that he called his wife and told her to go to the ATM and take out plenty of cash. 'She said, "Why?" I said, "I don't know whether the banks are going to be open tomorrow." The system was freezing in front of our eyes.'" (113) ...more
Megan W
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really clear overall explanation for the events of the recent recession and their global impacts. I didn't agree with every argument made, but I still appreciated the ways the authors simplified a very complex subject. ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of The Great Recession than the cheap analysis offered by cable TV networks.
Steve Middendorf
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another one of those, "it could've been an essay, books." ...more
Farhan Hussain
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Read it for a class,could have been more interesting
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics, causes, of, the, crash
Good review of the events leading to the crash. Nothing really very new in the history or in the proposals.
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Menzie D. Chinn teaches at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and runs the influential blog Econbrowser.

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