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Stick ‘Em Up: Where Has All Your Money Gone?

On the radio this weekend, a woman who lost her small business in the recent financial crisis unraveled her tales of woe.  The radio blared this somber tune as I drove through towns with “Closed” signs hung during the busiest hours of the day.  Yep, it’s a western movie out there in the world of capitalism–with tumbleweeds blowing across roads and cowboy guns cocked. Okay, maybe not cowboy guns. I don’t really know how best to describe what’s going on, to tell you the truth. But that’s why Les Leopold exists. His recent book, The Looting of America, makes sense of all the mess. From leftinalabama.com:
The Looting of America: How Wall Street’s Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity, by Les Leopold, has the best explanations I have found yet of Collaterized Debt Obligations, Credit default Swaps, and the other financial weapons of mass destruction that have detonated on our economy the last few years.
But Mr. Leopold goes beyond clearly-written descriptions and tells us the story of how these bizarre derivatives originated, thrived, and ultimately dominated the world’s financial system.  He also, I think, makes a case for how income inequality, which we’ve been discussing recently, led to the financial meltdown.The book opens with a specific episode from the 2007-2008 financial fiasco to illustrate how otherwise responsible elected officials and public trustees could get sucked in over their heads – “The Hooking of Whitefish Bay”.  Reading, I kept think of Jefferson County’s woes, for the stories are similar – promised high returns through mysterious investments that were supposedly AAA-dead-safe, followed by fee after fee after fee to the banks and Wall street. Like the best storytellers, he ties the particular local disaster for Whitefish Bay to the larger financial catastrophe playing out across the nation, but he doesn’t just leave it as some kind of perfect storm that no one could have foreseen.  Oh no, this was a self-inflicted wound, and Mr. Leopold steps the reader through the economic and political history leading up to this mess. Given all the policy and tax changes that our elected leaders elected to make, as well as the changes in the world’s economy, this was going to happen.  As a co-worker said, “The amazing thing is not that we shoot ourselves in the foot every so often, it’s how quickly we reload!!”
Read the entire article here.


Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

The eBooks You Crave: Instant Access, Instant Savings

It’s an eBook** summer flash sale! For one week only, all our eBooks — over 200 titles — are 50% off. It’s the perfect time to try something new or just stock-up on new books for the summer. But hurry the sale will end in a flash! eBook Flash Sale for one week only! Need […] Read More..

Dig In: June Roundup

The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases.   Food Lover’s Guide: 25% Off ALL Food & Drink Books Whether you want to make […] Read More..

Food Lover’s Guide: 25% Off ALL Food & Drink Books

Where our food comes from and how it is grown matters. Having control over our food supply is key to a more resilient and sustainable future. A major part of Chelsea Green’s mission is to inspire you with ideas and practical tips. So whether you want to make the world’s best cheese; find a new […] Read More..

Say hello to the new Chelsea Green

We’ve been quietly at work the past months building a new website from scratch. We designed it to be clean, beautiful and easy to use! Over the years you have asked for improvements and we listened with a fresh design that allows you to more easily connect with our authors, dig into our content, buy […] Read More..