Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charles Ferguson's 'Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America'

Ferguson, who lives at the far west end of Soho in New York City, spent a lot of time around Prince and Mercer streets when working on Inside Job, so I met him at the Mercer Hotel on the day his book was officially published.

The title of Ferguson’s book certainly gets the reader’s attention, and he powerfully delivers the goods, with a scathing, detailed history of what led to the biggest financial disaster since the Great Depression. Ferguson takes the reader on a revealing journey -- a sordid and corrupt trail that leads from the Pandora’s box of deregulation from 1980 through 2000, through the two major economic bubbles. The first was the stock market bubble of 2000, exacerbated by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Then came the much larger housing/mortgage bubble, fueled by sub-prime lending and the emergence of a host of new esoteric financial tools, meant to protect investments -- in fact, they did the opposite, provoking the financial crash.

The economic disaster was driven, Ferguson writes, by a combination of “very low interest rates, pervasive dishonesty through the financial system, massive lending fraud, speculation, demand for high yield securities, and not insignificantly, a squeezed American consumer desperate to maintain living standards, and told by everyone – including George Bush and Alan Greenspan, the brokers and the banks, that home borrowing was the way to do it.” Read more......

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