Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America Paperback – 21 May 2013
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Praise for Predator Nation"A tightly argued, profusely footnoted and deeply enraged castigation of everyone involved, Predator Nation isn't just a factually unchallengeable account of how Wall Street blew up the global economy. It's a denunciation, a call for justice and a warning."--Salon
"With Predator Nation, Charles Ferguson sets out to finish what he started with his Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job. This take-no-prisoners account of the financial crisis follows the money, connects the dots, names names, and asks the questions our leaders still refuse to answer: how have those responsible for the crisis not been held accountable, and how can we make sure it doesn't happen again?" --Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group "There is fraud at the heart of Wall Street--deliberate intellectual, business, and political deception. Charles Ferguson is in hot pursuit. Inside Job shook up the cozy world of academic finance. Predator Nation should stir prosecutors into action. And if we fail to reform our political system, you can say goodbye to American democracy." --Simon Johnson, coauthor of White House Burning and professor at MIT Sloan School of Management "Ferguson presents a fierce indictment of predatory activities of parts of the financial system and of the corruption of democracy that 'big money' financial lobbying has caused. A book well worth reading regardless of whether you fully agree or not with all of its arguments." --Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics and international business at Stern School of Business, New York University, and chairman of Roubini Global Economics "The definitive financial crisis book has now been written. With an encyclopedic factual foundation to support his arguments, the ever-brilliant Charles Ferguson has given us Inside Job on steroids. The collusion between Wall Street and Washington that brought our economy to its knees is set out in a way that will have steam coming out of your ears in fury." --Eliot Spitzer "A deeply argued call to action from a lucid, impassioned polemicist."--Kirkus (starred review) "Charles Ferguson's Predator Nation is nothing less than a devastating narrative portrait of the many times Wall Street has made Main Street and others the victims of its predatory schemes. In his inimitable clear-headed style, Ferguson correctly asks, why do they keep getting away with it? Why indeed."--William D. Cohan, author of House of Cards and Money and Power
About the Author
Charles H. Ferguson wrote and directed the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a Ph.D. in political science from MIT. A visiting scholar and lecturer at MIT and Berkeley, he has also been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has written four books, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the French-American Foundation.
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I'll let the reviews of that book speak for themselves, it's an extremely well written and detailed account of what exactly the financial sector has been allowed to get away with over the last 30 years,
There seem to be Ferguson's key points:
o Finance has become the dominant industry in the United States
o An abundance of verifiable evidence suggests that this industry has become criminalized
o One result is that other industries have been corrupted and/or weakened
o Federal/state/county/municipal agencies are unwilling and/or unable to enforce laws
o With few exceptions, governments at all levels are bankrupt
o Only the federal government can print money
o Fax tax collections (as a share of GNP) are lowest in 60 years
o The gap between cost of living and quality of life has almost disappeared
o The wealthiest individuals and most profitable companies enjoy the greatest tax reductions
o Both the Democratic and Republican parties have become hostage to special interest groups
o The damage to middle- and lower-class taxpayers has been bi-partisan
"What Should Be Done?" is the title of the final chapter in which Ferguson offers several specific suggestions and explains why each should be adopted. They include these: improve education quality and opportunity, get the financial sector under control, achieve high-impact reform of political finance as part of major transformation of tax structure, strengthen anti-trust policy and regulation of corporate governance, and create a truly "open" (i.e. universally accessible) Internet infrastructure.
I wish I shared Ferguson's belief that these and other initiatives can be successful. The John Doe character was a fraud and the Howard Beale character was insane. It may be possible but seems unlikely that an individual can summon sufficient support to defeat the Alien Nation. Charles Ferguson's call for an insurgency within one of the two major political parties, a third political party, and/or a non-artisan social movement is more likely but, in my opinion, a long shot.
"Time will tell. But America is a remarkable and beautiful country in so many ways. I hope that somewhere in the United States is a courageous young leader in the making, someone who can persuade the American people to rise up and throw the rascals out." I agree that "time will tell" but I'm not holding my breath.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Not only are the financial industries greedy and crooked but so is our governments and both Democrats and Republicans. The housing crash of 2008 wasn’t the beginning of our problems but the culmination of years of greed, shady deals and lack of accountability for the financial industry. President George W. Bush was complicit in protecting the finance industry not the people of America. Worse yet was President Barack Obama. It’s all in there: every dirty little detail. If you think your broker, banker or financial advisor has your best interest at heart, this couldn’t show how very wrong you are. Is the book perfect? No. Is the U.S. Government or any other world government perfect? Hell no. should we be very afraid of how our bankers are? Yes.
This is a book I enjoyed reading because I already knew about most of it already just by observing and never trusting anyone anyway. I highly recommend it. I loved the fact that the author wasn’t afraid to speak the truth. That is always refreshing. I look forward to reading more by Charles Ferguson.
Overall, an informative and compelling read. Everyone whether interested in finances or note needs to read this book. Seriously!
Beyond critique of Wall Street and the political "duopoly," the book widely supports the thesis that something is terribly wrong in America, a cultural malaise rooted in economic thievery and imbalance empowering the wealthy, and rendering today's America into the equivalent of what we used to call "a banana republic." Charles Ferguson pulls no punches in laying out his case here.
But, as another review has pointed out, the ending is disappointing. Charles has laid into Obama as part of the "duopoly" governing America, meaning diverging only on fractious social issues but essentially united in matters of finance and government, including war. At one point he labels Obama's weak commentary on controlling Wall Street "horse [manure]" and then at another point says "he [Obama] screwed us." In his concluding five page chapter which has an "oh, well" feel to it he tells us "hold your nose and vote for him [Obama], as I will."
With this and various commentaries we seem to be very long on laying out damages and ascribing responsibility, but have almost nothing to say on what to do other than repair to the lounge on the Titanic and have another whiskey, hoping somebody will come along with a bright idea or two at some point. If more energy were put into finding answers, as with ascribing blame, maybe we could be more hopeful.