Charles H. Ferguson, who electrified the world with his Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job, now explains how a predator elite took over the country, step by step, and he exposes the networks of academic, financial, and political influence, in all recent administrations, that prepared the predators' path to conquest.
Over the last several decades, the United States has undergone one of the most radical social and economic transformations in its history.
If you're smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren't rich, you're now better off being born in Munich, Germany, or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio, or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident. Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite. It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers. It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed "reforms" installed after the collapse of 2008.
Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite. Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes - there is no other word for them - committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis. And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.
©2012 Charles H. Ferguson (P)2012 Random House Audio
“With Predator Nation, Charles Ferguson sets out to finish what he started with his Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job. This take-no-prisoners account of the financial crisis follows the money, connects the dots, names names, and asks the questions our leaders still refuse to answer: how have those responsible for the crisis not been held accountable, and how can we make sure it doesn’t happen again?” (Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group)
“There is fraud at the heart of Wall Street - deliberate intellectual, business, and political deception. Charles Ferguson is in hot pursuit. Inside Job shook up the cozy world of academic finance. Predator Nation should stir prosecutors into action. And if we fail to reform our political system, you can say goodbye to American democracy.” (Simon Johnson, coauthor of White House Burning and MIT Sloan School of Management professor)
“Ferguson presents a fierce indictment of predatory activities of parts of the financial system and of the corruption of democracy that ‘big money’ financial lobbying has caused. A book well worth reading regardless of whether you fully agree or not with all of its arguments.” (Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics and international business at Stern School of Business, New York University, and chairman of Roubini Global Economics)
I have read many of the recently published books on the financial crises over the past few years in an effort to better understand what happened. This book is by far the best that I have read to date. It details not only what happened and how the crises was created but also who was behind it and how they benefited. The most interesting chapters discuss the many laws that were broken by the large financial institutions and complete absence of prosecution by any law enforcement agency in the US.
History, film, comics, dogs, coffee, tator tots, noodle bowls. Things I love in addition to audiobooks.
I've ended up listening to a number of books on the 2008 Financial Crisis including "All the Devils Are Here," "13 Bankers," "Griftopia" and tangentially related "No One Would Listen." I approached "Predator Nation" with the thought that I would not necessarily learn anything new, as I had seen Ferguson's documentary, "Inside Job." I found this an engaging listen although it does retread some of the material in ???Inside Job.??? Ferguson remarks that he wrote the book in order to make a sustained argument for prosecution of financial sector players. This part of the book was informative, but I gained the most insight with Mr. Ferguson???s broader analysis of the financial sector as parasitic and unproductive, and his weaving of issues like corporate governance and (mis)management, education, and money in politics gave significant insight into the past 40 years and the crisis. If you liked ???Inside Job,??? you will learn more. If you want even grander weaving of the ideas, I recommend ???13 Bankers??? and Kevin Phillips??? ???American Theocracy.???
Even if you have read every previous book about the financial crisis, you should (actually, it is your patriotic duty to) read this one and then tell your friends to. Ferguson, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the producer of the Academy-Award-winning movie "Inside Job" has massive credibility, an even-handed, deadly serious temperament, and an overwhelmingly convincing argument. It is very simple. For the last thirty years, in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, America's financial industry has become systematically criminal. Not just greedy, not just unethical. Criminal.
Ferguson marshals overwhelming evidence of repeated criminal violations by the banks and others. Fraud, insider trading, money laundering, bribery, perjury, assisting drug gangs and other criminals, tax evasion, on and on. Day in and day out. A basic business model. He provides evidence that the same violations committed twenty years ago or by people outside of banking have produced serious criminal charges and convictions (remember Michael Milken and Martha Stuart?). Yet even after the financial collapse that has wrecked millions of lives and is now toppling Western democracies, there have been zero criminal prosecutions of major bankers, ratings agencies, hedge fund managers, or other financial players. None. At most the banks have paid trifling fines, admitted nothing, and then repeated the same crimes over and over.
Why? Because they pay off both political parties and because they now belong to a corrupt, entrenched American oligarchy similar to those in Russia or Mexico. They are quite literally too big to prosecute. The banks have succeeded in gutting the regulatory agencies, intimidating opponents, and buying political influence. As in Zola's famous book, "J'accuse," Ferguson does not so much raise new evidence as simply state the obvious. He provides an excellent overview of the financial industry since 1980 and the 2008 crisis. But his main contribution is to simply point out that all this was, in fact, criminal. And nothing has been done. The same large-scale criminality simply continues, the same crimes committed, the same apologies, the same fines, the same promises, then back to business. As long as the actors themselves are not convicted and can retire wealthy in good social standing, nothing will change.
Ferguson goes so far as to name names and provide the government with the evidence and the laws violated. He hands it to the Justice Department on a silver platter, as have many others. Yet nothing happens. Being more of a leftist, I would go further than Ferguson and say that, under a fiat money system, the banks have effectively privatized tax collection. By a complex, yet blatant three-step process, our tax money that should be going to social security, for example, is going to a tiny, wealthy, criminal elite and their inside "shareholders." Ferguson argues for mass criminal prosecutions of the sort that happens outside of banking. I would also argue for nationalization of major banking functions. Either we nationalize banks or the banks continue to privatize national fiscal policy. In any case, this book is lucid, illuminating, important. No "vampire squids" or screechy moralizing. Just a serious civic polemic. And by the way, the reading is also excellent.
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to know more about what happened 5 years ago in the biggest scam ever. Make sure you have a strong stomach.
It just isn't normal that these financial criminals got away with what they did.
I'm convinced that at this moment the system is so fragile, that these same bunch of evil blackmails every president since clown Bush jr. and their administrations to let them go on or otherwise to have the system collapse even more severe.
Everyone should consider carefully the information put forth in this book. It was hard at times to stop and realize what has happened in our country. Quite a wake up call when you have kids and you know how much this all matters. Forget the terrorists in far off lands we have met the enemy and he is doing very well indeed. If we don't figure out a way to limit the power of money in our society, democracy is toast.
How greed has corrupted American politics & commerce, and is bringing us to ruin.
This is a well-researched, damning indictment of the elite of Wall Street and their funding of the corruption of the US political & academic systems. It lays bare the amoral, immoral and sometimes criminal behavior of individuals and institutions. If you have any interest in knowing what really impacts your daily life today and the future of your children tomorrow, then you should read this book.
Wealth of information and facts
A must read for everyone, even those who don't know much about finance.
Not an easy book to like but a book worth understanding
The author - He did the work Government has failed to do.
NO - it is not a guilty pleasure book.
Excellent work by Charles Ferguson. He seems to have done the nation and perhaps the world a service. If only the people, bureaucrats, media and politicians will take head and work to punish the truly guilty and reform the system then we can have hope once again.
Wall St.: A criminally run casino.
Ferguson's summation at the end of the book is spot on. A two party duopoly beholden to the oligarchy that now runs our country, Obama fits into the system quite well and his campaign in 2008 was one of the greatest bait and switch jobs of recent history.
The Gilded Age of the 21st Century.
Charles Ferguson does an outstanding job of thoughtfully and thoroughly outlining the skewed incentive structure which has infected American high-finance and national, as well as international politics. The book gives a very broad, moderately easy-to-comprehend description of the biggest issues Americans face in the 21st century.
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