Many fine books on the financial crisis were first drafts of history — books written to fill the need for immediate understanding. Alan Blinder, the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and a Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, took the time to understand the crisis and produce a truly comprehensive and coherent narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what can be done from here.
With bracing clarity, Blinder shows how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good — and too unregulated for the public good — experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. Some observers argue that large global forces were the major culprits of the crisis. Blinder disagrees, arguing that the problem started in the U.S. and was pushed abroad, as complex, opaque and overrated investment products were exported to a hungry world.
The second part of the story explains how American and international government intervention prevented a total meltdown. Blinder offers clear eyed answers to the questions still before us, even if some of the choices ahead are as divisive as they are unavoidable.
Publisher: The Penguin Press HC, 2013 (Cover image and text courtesy of the publisher)