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Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America [Kindle Edition]

Matt Taibbi
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A brilliantly illuminating and darkly comic tale of the ongoing financial and political crisis in America
The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power, and the crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

Matt Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing account yet written of this ongoing American crisis. He offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals of the bailout; tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; and uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world.

This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of this country, and the profound consequences for us all.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1244 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B004ARC0SO
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (2 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3FJS2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #193,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The horror ! The horror ! Are we next ? 7 Nov 2010
Matt Taibbi is a journalist, whose articles have appeared pronminently in Rolling Stone magazine. His article on Goldman Sachs (a more extensive version appears in this book) used the term "vampire squid on the face of humanity" to describe Goldman Sachs and its dominant role in the many financial scams that lead to the financial crash. He has the talent and ability to explain complex financial dealings and activities in a way that you can both understand and share in his outrage. Essentially the financial sector in the U.S. is a giant casino, inventing new ways to make instant profits. Unfortunately, these methods involve overinflating assets, mortgage scams and other speculative (and often illegal) activities with a view to purely short-term gain. Most of us are familiar with the bubble of "sub-prime" mortgage deals that were significant in causing the financial crash that affected Banks here as well. Essentially America is being looted of any assets it has and the effective removal of the last vestiges of any regulation renders politics and government powerless and irrelevant (Taibbi's chapter on Obama's Healthcare Bill demonstrates how it caved in to an Insurance Industry that is beyond any regulation or control).
His assessment of America is that it seems to be beyond repair and even salvation as long as Government fails to exercise any control over the financial sector and is merely used as a source of taxpayer's money to bail the bankers out when things go wrong (as they have done and will continue to do so unless things change).
The question arises as to how much of this is going on in the U.K. and whether we can do anything about it. Huge amounts of taxpayers money have already gone to the Banks and huge amounts of valueless subprime mortgage bundles are still in the system.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written and biting 17 Nov 2010
In GRIFTOPIA Matt Taibbi uses his unique and caustic writing style to skewer Wall Street, Alan Greenspan, mortgage scammers, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds, the insurance industry, and of course, Goldman Sachs. Taibbi makes a very compelling argument that the United States is now basically a kleptocracy with a tiny business and financial elite who are "hoovering up" the remaining wealth even as they fully realize that the country as a whole is going into relentless decline and the idea of the American dream is evaporating for nearly everyone else.

Some of Taibbi's best writing is reserved for the Tea Party, which he believes is unable to even begin to penetrate the complexity of the modern financial environment in order to understand what is really happening. The Tea Party fails to see that the wealthy elite lives in a different and inverted world: a place where government is not an intrusive enemy but a corrupted benefactor. This allows the elite to co-opt populist anger about local and state governments that meddle in small business and turn it against any attempt to rein in Wall Street. As Taibbi says, the Tea Party "has been encouraged to militancy by the very people they should be aiming their pitchforks at."

I think it is vital to understand Taibbi's point about how Wall Street uses the complexity of new financial innovations as a shield. It is virtually inconceivable that average people -- within the Tea Party or not -- will succeed in understanding the high-tech larceny that is going on. As someone that works in the field of technology, I can tell you that things are going to get worse because technology is advancing faster than ever before. As computers get faster, Goldman and others are already using "Flash Trading" to siphon off millions.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For 2 years I have been cornering politicians, bankers, journalists, and anyone else I can get to listen and asking why I must pay money for a crash that was none of my doing. NOT ONE has been able to answer at all, never mind to my satisfaction. Thanks to this book I now have the answer*.
Taibbi gives a balanced, well researched, clear, fair and accurate report of the current world of financial practice.
Essential reading for anyone planning to survive the next ten years. If you can read it and be able to avoid a rage stroke you will be doing well.
*buy the book and find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect title 12 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An expose of the ghastly controlling classes in a supposedly equal-opportunity country and world leader.
It puts all of humanity at risk.
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A loose definition of the Tea Party might be fifteen million pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the small handful of banks and investment companies who advertise on Fox and CNBC. &quote;
Highlighted by 514 Kindle users
We paid for this instead of a generation of health insurance, or an alternative energy grid, or a brand-new system of roads and highways. With the $13-plus trillion we are estimated to ultimately spend on the bailouts, we could not only have bought and paid off every single subprime mortgage in the country (that would only have cost $1.4 trillion), we could have paid off every remaining mortgage of any kind in this country—and still have had enough money left over to buy a new house for every American who does not already have one. &quote;
Highlighted by 467 Kindle users
The new America, instead, is fast becoming a vast ghetto in which all of us, conservatives and progressives, are being bled dry by a relatively tiny oligarchy of extremely clever financial criminals and their castrato henchmen in government, whose main job is to be good actors on TV and put on a good show. &quote;
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