Summary of How Markets Fail

The Logic of Economic Calamities

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How Markets Fail book summary
How deregulation and free market policies have destabilized the economy’s financial sector.


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Adam Smith laid the intellectual foundation for free enterprise in his widely hailed 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations, but he also supported tight regulation of banks to suppress speculation and stabilize credit, a message most modern-day free market advocates have overlooked. Journalist John Cassidy’s thorough review of the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis underscores how strict application of “utopian economics” can lead to disaster. He makes a strong argument for incorporating “reality economics” into the US’s supervision of the financial system. getAbstract recommends this weighty book to readers with a background in finance and to those interested in how free markets can coexist – and stabilize – with judicious government oversight.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How and why free market practices led to the 2008 crisis
  • Why market-driven policies don’t work in the financial sector
  • Why more bank regulation would improve economic stability


Theory and Reality in the Financial Industry
Few government regulators foresaw the financial crisis that peaked in 2008 when investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The Lehman insolvency panicked banks around the world, withered their willingness to lend and deepened an economic...
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About the Author

John Cassidy is a British-American journalist and author. He writes for The New Yorker and contributes to The New York Review of Books. He is the author of Dot.con: How America Lost Its Mind and Money in the Internet Era.

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