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13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown    by Simon Johnson & James Kwak order for
13 Bankers
by Simon Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Featuring a new epilogue in light of recent developments in government regulation of the banking industry, this paperback edition of 13 Bankers looks at how the recent U.S. financial crisis was caused, in large part, by the banking industry.

Anchored by six megabanks whose assets amount to more than sixty percent of the nation's gross domestic product, this oligarchy proved that it could not only hold the global economy hostage, but it could also benefit and become even bigger during the crisis.

In the aftermath of the meltdown, these institutions have also been able to use their political and economic muscle to fight off any meaningful government reform of the sector.

Following the megabanks' rise to power, the abuses they were guilty of, which perpetrated the crisis, and what has followed in the banking community, the authors paint a troubling picture of our financial system. They also suggests that if major changes, such as breaking up these megabanks, don't happen, history will indeed repeat itself!

Striking a pessimistic note at the end of this book, the authors write, 'While the job of financial reform remains unfinished, it is not clear who will finish it. Not only do bankers have the incentive to seek short-term profits and ignore long term-risks; politicians also have the incentive to pretend that all is well in the short term and hope that the next financial crisis will happen on someone else's watch ... There is no powerful constituency for far reaching structural reform of the financial system.'

That's the kind of observation that makes me want to keep my meager savings hidden away under a mattress, or tie it up in gold and silver coins!

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