Age of Greed

Age of Greed

The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present

Book - 2011
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Random House, Inc.
A vividly told history of how greed bred America’s economic ills over the last forty years, and of the men most responsible for them.

As Jeff Madrick makes clear in a narrative at once sweeping, fast-paced, and incisive, the single-minded pursuit of huge personal wealth has been on the rise in the United States since the 1970s, led by a few individuals who have argued that self-interest guides society more effectively than community concerns. These stewards of American capitalism have insisted on the central and essential place of accumulated wealth through the booms, busts, and recessions of the last half century, giving rise to our current woes.

In telling the stories of these politicians, economists, and financiers who declared a moral battle for freedom but instead gave rise to an age of greed, Madrick traces the lineage of some of our nation’s most pressing economic problems. He begins with Walter Wriston, head of what would become Citicorp, who led the battle against government regulation. He examines the ideas of economist Milton Friedman, who created the plan for an anti-Rooseveltian America; the politically expedient decisions of Richard Nixon that fueled inflation; the philosophy of Alan Greenspan, on whose libertarian ideology a house of cards was built on Wall Street; and the actions of Sandy Weill, who constructed the largest financial institution in the world, which would have gone bankrupt in 2008 without a federal bailout of $45 billion. Significant figures including Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Jack Welch, and Ronald Reagan play key roles as well.

Intense economic inequity and instability is the story of our age, and Jeff Madrick tells it with style, clarity, and an unerring command of his subject.

Baker & Taylor
A chronicle of the events that led to the current economic troubles cites the promotion of the idea that self-interest guides society more effectively than community concerns, and traces the roles played by a few powerful individuals.

Blackwell Publishing
"Jeff Madrick has written one of those rare, wonderful books that allow us to understand a huge and important historical development that we may not have realized was a coherent and coordinated series of events. While Madrick's account of Alan Greenspan's ideologically driven mistakes alone is worth the price of admission, it is but one course in a feast of wonderful reporting and writing. If you want to know what has happened to your country, read this book."---Robert G. Kaiser, author of So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government

"Jeff Madrick's devastating biography of greed is rife with carefully documented cautionary tales of the rich, greedy, and unregulated, which collectively constitute the definitive answer to Milton Friedmanesque laissez-faire economics."---Victor Navasky, author of Kennedy Justice

"Honore de Balzac wrote long ago that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Now in Jeff Madrick's important new book, Age of Greed, we are introduced to some of the best and brightest money changers in the murky world of high finance."---Gay Talese, author of A Writer's Life

"Who's responsible for the laying waste of our economy-making the rich far richer and everyone else economically insecure? Madrick does more than name names. He tells us who did what and how they did it---the ideologues, demagogues, corporate titans, and crooks. A wonderfully insightful but deeply troubling account of the movers and shakers who toppled America."---Robert B. Reich, author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

"The economic disaster of 2008 was not an accident of God but a man-made event. In writing about the financiers, bankers, brokers, free-market philosophers, hedge fund managers, government officials who together engineered the fundamental and profound---almost revolutionary---shift in the American economy that culminated in the events of 2008, Jeff Madrick's provides his readers with a new and startling account of recent economic history. The individual chapters are riveting, but the genius of this book is that Madrick's whole is even greater the sum of its magnificent parts. This is a book that bears reading by everyone with an inter in the American economy and the American future."---David Nasaw, author of The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst

& Taylor

A vivid chronicle of the events that led to today's economic troubles cites the promotion of the idea that self-interest guides society more effectively than community concerns.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
ISBN: 9781400041718
Characteristics: xi, 464 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Sep 04, 2016

Exceptionally interesting take on the historical economic development of the US and some of the key players that led the world on the track to the global financial crisis. A must read for anyone interested in how money can corrupt and how ideology can ruin the world economy.

LRS1969 Jan 06, 2015

..."the nation's co-opting by the 1% - and they are still getting away with it" pretty much wraps it up.

And unfortunately, not just in Ameriica, but indeed is a GLOBAL problem in dire need of a global fix!!!

May 29, 2013

A great read (and yes, Jimmy Carter started the ball rolling down hill with deregulation of the aviation and trucking industries, and overturned the anti-usury federal regulations for the banksters)! [Not covered in this book but of interest to those socioeconomic readers, the very last action President Roosevelt initiated (FDR Administration: 1933-1945) before his death while president, was the DOJ's lawsuit against the 17 bankers of Wall Street, alleging their concentrated ownership of America's corporations, a criminal conspiracy dating back to 1914; "US Government v. Morgan et al."]

Dec 09, 2011

You must read this book!!! It is a screed about the "age of greed," which stretches from around 1970 to the current day, and "the triumph of finance and the decline of America" (the subtitle). The book’s first half is essentially a history of the historical and political context from the 1950s to the 1980s, culminating in the rise of Reagan and the conversion of Americans' sense of a common national enterprise to an ethos of "I've got mine, Jack." The second half describes the rise of the financiers and the perversion of the American economy as the development of ever more sophisticated and arcane investment instruments (and LBOS and takeovers and mergers) fed financiers’ and corporatists’ insatiable greed for pure, personal profit, hang the common good or investments that might have been really productive for national progress (e.g., in manufacturing, infrastructure, education, medical research, whatever). Madrick is an excellent writer (though a bit of copy editing might have been warranted), so even when he's talking about some of the finer points of finance one can get the general drift. The book is disturbing and troubling, yes, but it confirmed what has been clear for a long time about the nation’s cooption by the 1 percent . . . and clearly, "they" are still getting away with it.


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