July 2, 2009


Gage, Beverly, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in Its First Age of Terror (Oxford & New York: Oxford U. Press, 2009) ("[Ligi] blamed the apparent obfuscation of his radical commitments on 'my poor lawyer of mediocre height, but with brains more mediocre,' who 'urged me to deny everything that I had said in the beginning, but to what advantage? For the fear of a few months of prison perhaps?'" Id. at 250 (italic added).).

Krugman, Paul, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 (New York & London: Norton, 2009) (‘What does it mean to say that depression economics has returned? Essentially it means that for the first time in two generations, failures on the demand side of the economy—insufficient private spending to make use of the available productive capacity—have become the clear and present limitation on prosperity for a large part of the world.” Id. at 182.).

Lewis, Michael, ed., Panic!: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity ( New York & London: Norton, 2009) ("Financial panics have become almost commonplace; events that are meant [?] to occur once in a millennium now seem to occur every few years. Could this be because the financial system was built on an idea that badly underestimates the risk of catastrophe--and so conspires with human nature to create them?" Id. at 8.).

Posner, Richard A., A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ‘08 and the Descent into Depression (Cambridge & London: Harvard U. Press, 2009) (Perhaps Posner says little more than what a careful and diligent reader of The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal, or The Economist, would be unaware, he does tie it together in a very pragmatic manner. And, given his audience and his attempt to write a short, and nontechnical, book, this is a worthwhile read. Though, be one a liberal or a conservative, one might take issue with Posner on certain points. There is one glaring shortcoming, however. In highlighting the role or contribution of various professions (e.g., economists, bankers, politicians,) to this failure of capitalism, Posner does not discuss the legal profession. He mentions deregulation, poor supervision by the SEC, the Federal Reserve, and Congress, but he does not raise that the legal profession may have been asleep at the switch, if not complicit, in this economic meltdown. On another point: "The Republican Party flaunted the anti-intellectualism of its supporters, deriding highly educated people who speak in complete sentences as 'elitists'--an attitude that sorted badly with the strong intellectual tradition of conservatism. It is a self-defeating strategy of conservatives to argue that all intellectuals are liberal and therefore conservatives should think with their guts rather than their brains. The economic crisis in which the nation finds itself cannot be solved in the gut." Id. at 308.).

Stiles, T. J., The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (New York: Knopf, 2009).