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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603582056
Year Added to Catalog: 2009
Book Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 3/8
Number of Pages: 224
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Old ISBN: 1603582056
Release Date: May 11, 2009
Web Product ID: 467

Also By This Author

The Looting of America

How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It

by Les Leopold

"Finally, here's a book that really lays out in plain English how Wall Street's fictional financial engineering caused the current crisis and what needs to be changed. This compelling and highly entertaining story will both anger and animate you. It takes us into the most lucrative casino ever created and shows how it laid waste to our jobs and our savings--and it provides strong remedies to repay and protect Main Street from the damage done."

Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director, Farm Aid

A Library Journal Best Book of 2009

How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it?

In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance.

He also asks some tough questions:

  • Why did Americans let the gap between workers' wages and executive compensation grow so large?
  • Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives' pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes?
  • Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America's new, postindustrial economy?
  • How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again?
  • And what can we do to get our money back?

In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street's exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by "innovative" products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They'll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again.

As the country teeters on the brink of what could be the next Great Depression, we should be especially wary of the so-called financial experts who got us here, and then conveniently got themselves out. So far, it appears they've won the battle, but The Looting of America refuses to let them write the history—or plan its aftermath.


About the Author

Les Leopold

After attending Oberlin College and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (MPA 1975), Les cofounded and currently directs two non-profit educational organizations: The Labor Institute (1976) and the Public Health Institute (1986). He designs research and educational programs on occupational safety and health, the environment and economics. He is now helping to form an alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club. This profound work of non-fiction should be required reading for anyone who has ever had a job and everyone who believes that only fools limit their dreams for a better world.

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