13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak. Pantheon. 30 March 2010.
He Who Has the Gold ... makes the rules – and Wall Street has. Reading this book, I thought about greedy needy King John of England and events surrounding the Magna Carta in 1215 ... as if the banks were king and, in my dreams, Congress the barons who [could have] stood up to the king.
Johnson and Kwak in the book and their frequently quoted Baseline Scenario website report in clear and readable pages how Wall Street and federal lawmakers reached their current symbiotic state where politics depends more and more on money which Wall Street continues to accumulate in ever greater quantities and uses to make dependent friends in the nation’s capital.
The authors lay out why current practices threaten the economy, the country, and the well-being of all. Only public opinion – “a popular consensus that too big to fail is too big to exist” – can bring about “the choice to finish the job that [Theodore] Roosevelt began a century ago, and to take a stand against concentrated financial power just as he took a stand against concentrated industrial power.”
They make a compelling and understandable case for regulation.
- Charlotte Sellers