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The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great…

af Charles R. Morris

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3351157,801 (3.34)15
We are living in the most reckless financial environment in recent history. Arcane credit derivative bets are now well into the tens of trillions. According to Charles R. Morris, the astronomical leverage at investment banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets. The crash, when it comes, will have no firebreaks. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy will come crashing down with it. The Trillion Dollar Meltdown explains how we got here, and what is about to happen.… (mere)
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In 2008, economic analyst and former banker Charles R. Morris published The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, outlining the global economy's credit woes and detailing the events he thought would follow. A year later, Morris published a revised & updated version: The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown. With so much happening in this arena on a monthly, if not daily, basis, the book is already out of date, of course. But for economic neophytes like me, who eyes glaze at the mention of any investment tools more complicated that stocks and mutual funds, Morris' book is an eye-opening and clear description of the many-faceted ways that the banking and investment industry put the world at risk in a mad, decades-long profit grab.

Morris' hero is Paul Volker, the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank, who, he says, stabilized the dollar and pushed the country away from the inflation ledge in the 1980s thorugh tough but disciplined monetary policies. His villain is Alan Greenspan, whom Morris accuses of siting by as the Free Market profiteers began their money-grab party. Morris describes (as the Businessweek review of the first edition put it) "the mechanics of slicing and dicing collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and why these and similar securitized credits and derivative securities went spectacularly bust."

The book is only 177 pages long and moves quickly. But still, for someone like myself, unfamiliar with all the terms and acronyms, some of the explanations can become hard to unravel. Morris clearly defines each of the security tools (like the aforementioned CDOs), but by the time he's talking about how all these things work together, and the acronyms start flying, it's a bit hard to keep track. Nevertheless, the overall picture come clear, indeed. Also nice is that Morris isn't an ideologue. Although he believes the extreme free-marketeers have done significant harm and calls for better regulation of the financial industry, he begins the book by decrying the failure, also, of Keynsian liberalism. The Carter administration, in particular, comes in for a scalding.

Although you wouldn't know it from Meltdown, it looks like Morris sees better days ahead. I note on wikipedia that his 2013 book was titled Comeback: America's New Economic Boom. ( )
  rocketjk | Jan 19, 2015 |
Scorrevole per chi ha un minimo di interesse e conoscienza di finanza
  AlbyVintage | Jun 5, 2012 |
A good place to start to get a grasp of the global financial crisis and what led up to the current global economic situation. Don't worry if you don't have a finance or economic background, you'll still get the gist of what led to the crises, and how the housing bubble and credit crunch is effecting the economy currently. Morris not only presents the problem but also gives some suggestions for its recovery. It does get somewhat technical in some of the chapters, but I don't think the author could have "dumbed it down" (for lack of a better term)any further. ( )
  jphillips3334 | Mar 18, 2010 |
경제,화폐
1 stem | leese | Nov 23, 2009 |
This book gives an excellent, although sometimes a little bit daunting (for the layperson) introduction how we got ourselves into the current economic mess. It also details previous crashes (1987, 1994 etc) and shows that our dear financial gurus and politicians did not learn a thing from these previous disasters, but instead barreled ahead doing more of the same at ever greater complexity. It is astounding, as Morris details with considerable wit, how clearly highly intelligent people can be so utterly stupid when greed takes a hold of them. It is even more astounding how they have been aided and abetted by the Fed, and how we are sacrificing the future of the largest economy on the planet on the altar of the 'free market'. A MUST read. ( )
  yapete | Apr 2, 2009 |
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We are living in the most reckless financial environment in recent history. Arcane credit derivative bets are now well into the tens of trillions. According to Charles R. Morris, the astronomical leverage at investment banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets. The crash, when it comes, will have no firebreaks. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy will come crashing down with it. The Trillion Dollar Meltdown explains how we got here, and what is about to happen.

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