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The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America [Kindle Edition]

David Stockman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Kirkus Reviews "Stockman performs a real service when he debunks the myths that have been associated with Reagan's conservatism and promotes Eisenhower's fiscal and military conservatism... Stockman forcefully conveys enormous amounts of knowledge." "In The Great Deformation, David Stockman -- former US congressman and budget director under Ronald Reagan -- tells the story of the recent crisis, and takes direct aim at the conventional wisdom that credits government policy and Ben Bernanke with rescuing Americans from another Great Depression. In this he has made a seminal contribution. But he does much more than this. He offers a sweeping, revisionist account of US economic history from the New Deal to the present. He refutes widely held myths about the Reagan years and the demise of the Soviet Union. He covers the growth and expansion of the warfare state. He shows precisely how the Fed enriches the powerful and shelters them from free markets. He demonstrates the flimsiness of the present so-called recovery. Above all, he shows that attempts to blame our economic problems on "capitalism" are preposterous, and reveal a complete lack of understanding of how the economy has been deformed over the past several decades...Thanks to The Great Deformation, not a shred of the regime's propaganda is left standing. This is truly the book we have been waiting for, and we owe David Stockman a great debt." Booklist "This thought-provoking book will contribute to important debates on these issues." Washington Post "Stockman produces a persuasive and deeply relevant indictment of a system dangerously akilter... What Stockman has written is a book that makes clear we are that future generation of the past, inheritors of all the wishful thinking, simple illogic and flawed compromises that produced the near-term benefits our parents and grandparents worried about but ultimately wanted. And now it's payback time." Steve Weinberg, USA Today "Stockman devotes some of the book to the past five years, joining multiple previous authors who have presented their nominations for the villains and heroes of the 2008 economic collapse. As a book critic and investigative reporter, I have absorbed a dozen of those previous books. Stockman's is my favorite because of his original research, the context he presents (starting with the economic depression of the 1930s), his former insider status, and his apparent political non-partisanship during the endeavor." David Weigel, Slate "I'd read this book 10 times before I read another possible presidential candidate's memoir of how his Real American Story schooled him in the Audacity of Hope. ...a coherent vision of a World Without the Fed." Paul B. Farrell, Marketwatch "His rhetoric in a recent New York Times op-ed piece ignites like Seal Team Six coming at you, flash grenades exploding, assault weapons blazing. No wonder he triggers wild angry, hatred and revenge. Yes, he's a truth-teller. And truth hurts, flushing out his enemies. Why? They're sucking trillions from Americans. So you hate him. Counterattack. Big mistake. Don't dismiss David Stockman. He's no Kim Jong-Un blow-hard." Bruce Krasting "This is a history book. It's a detailed account of the key events since the Depression that have shaped modern finance. I love history, and I'm familiar with those events. Stockman's spin on financial history makes for a very good read. There's something for everyone." Reuters Breakingviews "For anyone whose economics are Austrian, and who agrees with Stockman that crony capitalism and corruption have led both fiscal and monetary policies into a cycle of ever-increasing stimulus and ziggurats of debt, 'The Great Deformation' is gloomily persuasive -- and bodes ill for the future." "Agree with Stockman or not, one can't deny that he's a colorful writer!" Rick Santelli, CNBC "Squawk on the Street" "What a title...what a book... what a dude!" Michael Levin, Huffington Post "'Required reading' is an overused term. In fact, proof of reading The Great Deformation should become a requirement for voting. Bring your dog-eared copy to the polls or stay home. The self-confessed smartest guy in the room has written a compelling, intensely readable book that exhumes aspects of economic history that both Democrats and Republicans likely wish would have stayed hidden. The Great Deformation is the book that everyone in Washington, at the White House on both sides of the aisle in Congress, at the Treasury, and in the lobbyists' offices on K Street, fervently prays that you never read." Brett Joshpe, Forbes "One of the most comprehensive narratives of the financial system's history in years."

Product Description

A New York Times bestseller

The Great Deformation is a searing look at Washington’s craven response to the recent myriad of financial crises and fiscal cliffs. It counters conventional wisdom with an eighty-year revisionist history of how the American state—especially the Federal Reserve—has fallen prey to the politics of crony capitalism and the ideologies of fiscal stimulus, monetary central planning, and financial bailouts. These forces have left the public sector teetering on the edge of political dysfunction and fiscal collapse and have caused America’s private enterprise foundation to morph into a speculative casino that swindles the masses and enriches the few.

Defying right- and left-wing boxes, David Stockman provides a catalogue of corrupters and defenders of sound money, fiscal rectitude, and free markets. The former includes Franklin Roosevelt, who fathered crony capitalism; Richard Nixon, who destroyed national financial discipline and the Bretton Woods gold-backed dollar; Fed chairmen Greenspan and Bernanke, who fostered our present scourge of bubble finance and addiction to debt and speculation; George W. Bush, who repudiated fiscal rectitude and ballooned the warfare state via senseless wars; and Barack Obama, who revived failed Keynesian “borrow and spend” policies that have driven the national debt to perilous heights. By contrast, the book also traces a parade of statesmen who championed balanced budgets and financial market discipline including Carter Glass, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Simon, Paul Volcker, Bill Clinton, and Sheila Bair.

Stockman’s analysis skewers Keynesian spenders and GOP tax-cutters alike, showing how they converged to bloat the welfare state, perpetuate the military-industrial complex, and deplete the revenue base—even as the Fed’s massive money printing allowed politicians to enjoy “deficits without tears.” But these policies have also fueled new financial bubbles and favored Wall Street with cheap money and rigged stock and bond markets, while crushing Main Street savers and punishing family budgets with soaring food and energy costs. The Great Deformation explains how we got here and why these warped, crony capitalist policies are an epochal threat to free market prosperity and American political democracy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1425 KB
  • Print Length: 770 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper Edition edition (2 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B3M3UK6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #201,198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, but the writing style is annoying 26 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I won't go into the merits of the content of the book here, but the writing style is littered with sloppiness and cliches which irritate me as a reader and distract from the message.

The author throws numbers at the reader constantly, without sources, graphs and sometimes without appropriate context. So what if something increased 10% one year and 13% the year after that, reaching a 10 year high? Statistics do not speak for themselves. Without knowledge of the subject matter, I can't know if what he's quoting is relevant, abnormal, or proves the point it's supposed to.

The author misuses the word "literally" all the time when he means "figuratively" e.g. "Merc's S& P pits literally scorched the earth" and "During the second quarter of 2003, mortgage financings literally shot the moon". It's the exact opposite of what he means and it's absurd.

By referring to the "old-time fiscal religion" or "gospel of free markets", it sounds like he's describing laissez-faire as faith-based nonsense with no intellectual underpinning. Some people might think that, but the rest of the book suggests the author does not, so he does himself a disservice.

The author endlessly repeats the phrase "self-evidently", but almost always when making a political inference or interpretation that may be reasonable, but is far from self-evident. The phrase can be seen to be an excuse for not justifying an opinion properly.

"Needless to say" appears on almost every page. If it were truly needless to say, he should not say it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
David Stockman admits that his "The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America" is a polemic, and it is a polemic that will not endear him to many across the political spectrum. He has written an exhaustive account tracing the roots of our current economic problems to the solutions implemented by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Keynesian economists in their unsuccessful efforts in shortening the "Great Depression", which truly ended only after the United States entered World War II. Stockman's book is one long argument not only against Keynesian economics, but more importantly, the crony capitalism practiced by presidential administrations of both major American political parties - Democratic and Republican - resulting in "The Great Deformation", in which Wall Street financiers have finely tuned the art and craft of financial speculation transforming Wall Street into one vast financial "casino". Stockman salutes President Dwight D. Eisenhower for being the only president since the Great Depression to reduce the size of the Federal Government by judiciously employing both tax increases and substantial budget cuts. While readers will not be surprised by Stockman's harsh condemnations of Johnson, Clinton and Obama, they may be shocked to read that much of the seeds of financial destruction were sowed by Nixon as an act of political expediency designed to ensure his reelection in 1972. He condemns the relatively recent bailout of General Motors, and the Obama administration's support of now bankrupt firms like Solyndra as sterling examples of the crony capitalism which has insinuated itself in American economic and political life since the 1970s if not before. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 29 April 2013
I found this a consistently interesting,depressing but ultimately convincing book about how the financial system has become deformed over the last forty years after we abandoned what, effectively, was the final remnant of the gold standard. Although the analysis is based on the US it also applies to the UK which is, if anything , in a worse position.

His final prescriptions are, as I think he would acknowledge,not really feasible in the current political context and, although he doesn't say it,we're probably going to have to go through what may be a "final" collapse before the will can be gained to do something about the issues. Whether we will ever reach that stage remains to be seen.

If you don't understand finance and economics you'll find this book hard going and there is an element of repetition but, at the end of the day it's worth it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A doorstop, but also a landmark 24 July 2013
By Athan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the most significant book of 2013.

It's rambling and endless. 700 pages feel like 1,700. Frankly, it's a bad read. Halfway through, you can already complete every sentence yourself, that's how bad Stockman repeats himself. I'm not sure all numbers check out. No editor ever got near this manuscript.

Before I continue with why this is the most significant book of 2013, some more bad news: The author's unifying theory is in my view quaint and irrelevant. For completeness allow me to rearrange what he believes the Great Deformation to be. It's spelled out on page 691: "In trying to improve upon the people's work on the free market, Keynesian professors from Heller to Laffer introduced the nations' politicians to the witch's brew of deficit finance, unleashing a great deformation; that is, a state which lacked any reason to stop the larceny of the K Street lobbies and the plunder of crony capitalist raiders from General Electric to Goldman Sachs, the cotton growers, the UAW, the timber barons, the ethanol distillers, the venture capital industry, the Medicaid mills, and the scooter chair manufacturers too."

The story he weaves is a dirge, a lament about loss of innocence. In his ideal world we'd still worship the lost religion of the gold standard and the US would be run by Ike Eisenhower. Ideally there would be no Fed at all, but if there was a Fed it would be busy undermining every economic recovery. There would be no financial futures exchanges and very little trading of any sort.

Don't let that put you off.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound message, but goes on too long
There's a great deal to admire about this book, especially the underlying message -- that the massive growth in debt is making the vast majority poorer while enriching the 1%. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Phil O'Sofa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Deformation devotes little time to speculation
In this expansive and well-researched work, the author tackles head-on one of the pressing issues of the age; the viability of the capitalist model. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nathaniel Dean James
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative book about the demise of America
Required reading for all students of economics and history. Here is a post-mortem recount of America's descent into stupidity and economic purgatory.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read if there was one recently
This very timely book clearly explains where the international monetary system with fiat money and central banks has failed, exactly what lead to the banking crisis in 2008 (and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by N. J. Bjergstrom
3.0 out of 5 stars is this 'polemic' a personal manifesto?
The Great Deformation by David Stockman - a Review
Two major theses were being propounded by the author.
1. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rene Chang
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and thought provoking
It is all in the journey . David Stockman questions and dissects what we have taken for granted for decades as to why the country has ended up in the financial mess we are in. Read more
Published 17 months ago by jill from the hood
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