Summary of After the Music Stopped

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After the Music Stopped book summary
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Rating

9 Overall

9 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


Recommendation

You’ll be surprised at what former Federal Reserve Board vice chairman Alan S. Blinder has to say about the 2008 financial crisis. After years of research, Blinder fills nearly 500 pages exploring not so much what occurred in 2008 – particularly over that fateful September weekend when Lehman Brothers, AIG and Merrill Lynch hung in the balance – as what’s come to pass since. He recognizes that the complexity of the issues, further muddled by corporate interests, politicization and plain lies, has left most Americans angry and confused. He also knows that if people don’t understand the truth of what happened, then the US and the world could end up reliving those shattering times, and all too soon. He sets out to untangle – in simple, everyday, often witty prose – a knotty web of issues. He mostly succeeds, but his book requires patience. Reading it is like chatting with a droll, knowledgeable friend who gives you the straight talk. getAbstract recommends this forward-looking work to anyone seeking for an honest, clear-headed explication of past recklessness and current uncertainty.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What seven “villains” share the blame for the 2008 financial crisis;
  • How government actions and regulatory reform addressed the crisis; and
  • What “10 financial commandments” bankers, regulators and market participants should heed in the future.
 

About the Author

Economics professor Alan S. Blinder served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.

 

Summary

Who’s Responsible?

Most people don’t understand what was behind the financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, they feel its repercussions: vanishing jobs, disappearing credit and diminishing prosperity. To place blame where it’s most deserved, let these seven “villains” take the rap:

  1. “Double bubble” – Everyone knows about the housing bubble, and how low interest rates, easy credit and rising home prices galvanized investors and homeowners to speculate in real estate. Home building topped out in 2005 and prices reached their zenith shortly thereafter, but investors kept the momentum going until 2008, feeding the “bond bubble.” Mortgages historically were among the safest loans a bank could make. Financiers saw a market for bundling mortgages into “mortgage-backed securities” (MBS). Because no one thought the underlying mortgages – assured against properties all across the nation – could all go bad at once, demand surged for these asset-backed bonds. Investors saw MBS as almost risk-free and considered them an easy way to earn more than they could on low-yield Treasury securities. Bubbles are unpreventable; they stem from a basic human construct of greed...

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