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Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong


Pub Date: June 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59184-550-8
Publisher: Portfolio

A retired Wall Street investment banker delivers a contrarian explanation of the recent financial crisis.

Former Bain Capital partner Conard argues that investment bankers and lending banks across the nation played no meaningful role in the financial crisis. Instead, the author blames politicians, executive branch regulators, misguided academic economists and, especially, middle-class and lower-class borrowers signing mortgage contracts in the hope of owning homes clear of backbreaking debt. Although Conard mostly stays away from specific references to political parties, he employs "liberal" in its ideological political context as a dirty word. The author blames the Obama administration for doing too little too late, while seeming to absolve the Bush administration, still in office when the financial crisis began. As a result, the "causes" portions of Conard's argumentative book are not contrarian in any meaningful way; the author merely parrots what numerous Republican leaders and relatively apolitical wealthy businessmen have claimed for years: Trust the wealthy to use their gains wisely, with the trickle-down effect kicking in to reduce unemployment and otherwise ameliorate the recession. Conard is especially rough on those who favor income redistribution. He charges that such thinking is not only naive in an economic sense, but also wrong morally because the super-rich deserve to spend their wealth as they see fit. If less-wealthy citizens received additional money through income redistribution, Conard writes, they would do little if anything to promote innovation, and thus the economy would continue to stagnate or fall even deeper into recession.

A densely written, repetitive text that fails to live up to its grandiose claims.