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13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

Categories: Goodreads Reviews

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
author: Simon Johnson
name: Elaine
average rating: 3.88
book published: 2010
rating: 4
read at: 2011/01/21
date added: 2011/01/30
shelves: ebook, non-fiction, business, economics, history, politics
review:
Some things that I bookmarked while reading:

“the core function of finance is financial intermediation — moving money from a place where it is currently not needed to a place where it is needed. The key questions for for any financial innovation are whether it increases financial intermediation and whether that is a good thing.” (continues to talk about “innovations” in credit cards mostly being ways of making pricing more complex)

“much of the positive effect of homeownership is due not to ownership itself, but to other factors that differentiate owners and renters” (mostly looks like income and length of time in the home/apt)

“the founder of Daewood [...] also placed a big bet on cars” (in talking about the chaebol of Korea overextending. we briefly owned a Daewoo.)

Oh, so depressing, and yet, so useful in understanding how we got to this damn place over the last 30 years. In particular, what seems like a long digression about oligarchs & financial crises in Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, etc. turns out to be provide plenty of a-ha moments later, seeing some of those very things — somewhat disguised — in our own economics & politics over the last couple of years.

There’s a LOTR quote (not sure if it’s in the original books or just the movie) in which Galadriel says something to the effect of the quest being on the edge of a knife; stray but a little, and you shall fail (or fall, I can’t remember which) and the end of this book feels that way to me. There’s this moment that we’re in — and honestly, may have already passed through — where the status quo of the 1990s & 2000s could have been overturned. It won’t last forever, and maybe it’s already gone.

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