Why are we in such a financial mess today? There are lots of proximate causes: over-leverage, global imbalances, bad financial technology that lead to widespread underestimation of risk. But these are all symptoms. Until we isolate and tackle fundamental causes, we will fail to extirpate the disease. ECONned is the first book to examine the unquestioned role of economists as policy-makers, and how they helped create an unmitigated economic disaster. Here, Yves Smith looks at how economists in key policy positions put doctrine before hard evidence, ignoring the deteriorating conditions and rising dangers that eventually led them, and us, off the cliff and into financial meltdown. Intelligently written for the layman, Smith takes us on a terrifying investigation of the financial realm over the last twenty-five years of misrepresentations, naive interpretations of economic conditions, rationalizations of bad outcomes, and rejection of clear signs of growing instability.
In eConned, author Yves Smith reveals: - why the measures taken by the Obama Administration are mere palliatives and are unlikely to pave the way for a solid recovery - how economists have come to play a profoundly anti-democratic role in policy - how financial models and concepts that were discredited more than thirty years ago are still widely used by banks, regulators, and investors - how management and employees of major financial firms looted them, enriching themselves and leaving the mess to taxpayers - how financial regulation enabled predatory behavior by Wall Street towards investors - how economics has no theory of financial systems, yet economists fearlessly prescribe how to manage them
Table of Contents
Introduction PART I: THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE: HOW ECONOMISTS CAME TO PRACTICE JUNK SCIENCE The Voodoo of Financial Economics How Elegant Math Trumped Messy Facts and Made Neoclassical Economics Central The Blind Men and the Elephant of the Financial System PART II: THE MARKETING AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF PHONY SCIENCE The Cult of Free Markets The Codification of Ideology: The Role of the Courts PART III: THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING: RADICAL DEREGULATION LEADS TO LOOTING It's Not the Bubbles, It's the Leverage How Deregulation Led to Predation Large Scale Looting Produces the Perfect Storm PART IV: 'HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM' The Drunks are Looking Under the Streetlight for Their Keys Suggested Reforms
YVES SMITH is creator of the influential blog, Naked Capitalism, a top ranked economics and finance blog with over 250,000 unique visitors each month. Smith has been working in and around the financial services industry since 1980 as an investment banker, management consultant, and corporate finance advisor. Smith has appeared, on CNBC, CNN, and FOX Business News, and has written over 40 articles in venues such as The New York Times, Slate, and the Christian Science Monitor. She lives in Manhatan.