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The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report: Final Report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States (Anglais) Broché – 10 février 2011

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Broché, 10 février 2011
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Présentation de l'éditeur

The most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression has cost the jobs, homes and savings of millions of people. In 2008 the US government stepped in to rescue a faltering financial system, propping up some of the largest and most powerful financial firms on Wall Street. Two years later everyone is still wondering what exactly prompted a calamity of such magnitude. To answer this question, US Congress created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in May 2009 and directed it to "examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economics crisis in the United States." Lawmakers appointed a 10-member panel with expertise in business, economics regulation and housing to conduct an investigation and then report to the President, the Congress and the American people. Vested with subpoena power, the Commission spent more than a year conducting unprecedented interviews with more than 700 eyewitnesses to the crisis and its aftermath, including current and former government officials, chief executives of the nation's biggest banks, and individuals across the nation who have been affected by the crisis. The Commission examined millions of pages of documents. Many have never before been made available to investigators, journalists or to the public. In addition, it held public hearings in Washington, D.C. and New York City, as well as in communities across America hard hit by the financial crisis. The result is the Commission's revealing and substantive account of the events that led to the most damaging financial earthquake in a generation.

Biographie de l'auteur

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created by Congress in May 2009 to investigate the roots of the financial crisis. Its members include Chairman Phil Angelides, Vice Chairman Hon. Bill Thomas and Commissioners Brooksley Born, Byron S Georgiou, Senator Bob Graham, Keith Hennessey, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Heather H Murren CFA, John W Thompson and Peter J Wallison.

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Format: Broché
Les règles de formation du système financier depuis la fin des années 1970 et leurs effets. Tout simplement indispensable pour comprendre une bonne partie de ce qui se passe, et de ce qui arrive. Limpide et remarquablement écrit.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5 41 commentaires
59 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A decent generalist - level survey of all the factors behind the financial crisis 28 janvier 2011
Par MT57 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I would describe the book as really two books. The first 40% or so is more of an analysis of developments in economy and finance over the 20 or so years leading up to the crisis of 08, and the last 60% is more of a narrative of the events of the crisis in the last half of 08. The latter portion heavily reminded me of Sorkin's book, Too Big to Fail. It similarly relies heavily on interviews with high level executives, officials and so on. I understand that, if you are trying to write something that you want the general public to read, you would opt for the chronological narrative of the second half of the report. However, having read Sorkin's book, I felt a little frustrated that there was little added insight here, considering the time, resources and investigative power the commission had.

As far as the analysis goes, it is decent enough if not particularly dazzling. There aren't a lot of surprises here if you have followed the issue over the past 2-3 years. There is nothing like the explosive effect of the Pecora report in the 1930's, on which this commission was modeled. I think that is in part due to the much more active media we now have now; compared to the 1930's, so much in here has come out more or less already.

The only real function that the analytical section performs is to package up what has already been disclosed and assert in a general way what weight should be given to what cause(s). Every factor gets mentioned and given some role; the different political appointees on the commission apparently disagree over how much weight should be given which factors. Although there seems to be a good deal of conversation about that disagreement in the blogosphere, having now read the report, it was frankly a little too general to me, and I have more sympathy for the dissenter who said, in effect, "if everything is a cause, nothing is". Although everything does get mentioned, a number of areas go unexplored in detail. For instance, on page 6, the report notes "The time-tested 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, with a 20% down payment,
went out of style." But they never really explore why (fixed rate loans went out of style due to interest rate volatility in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the down payment threshold was lowered for two reasons, (1) in the 1980s, advocates for expanding home ownership, such as ACORN, targeted that kind of mortgage as too restrictive, associated it with "redlining" and racism, and pushed for a lowering of origination standards to expand home ownership and (2) real estate developers lobbied for obvious reasons for the lowered downpayment).

The analysis section is a blend of organization by topic and by chronological narrative. This makes it relatively easy to read. However, it might have been more in keeping with the purpose of the commission, as I understand it, to have been less concerned with general readability and provide more quantitative analysis on each topic. I would have loved to have seen something more incisive, although it may be the nature of a commission report that throwing everything in is needed to get even 6 of the 10 to agree on the final text. It took decades for the economics profession to come up with a coherent evidenced account of the causes of the Great Depression, by which I mean Milton Friedman's, and perhaps that is just going to be the case here as well.

I felt the report does not display a good understanding of several areas that were particularly relevant. The chapter on Lehman, for example, begins with statements by the commission about valuation that are excruciating to read if you have worked on valuation analysis (valuation is an opinion about what something will bring in a particular context and thus valuations differ based on the context, especially depending on whether the context is one of an orderly market and orderly marketing into it, or if you are assuming a forced sale in a disorderly market). Similarly, they do not understand CDS's well at all. When they repeatedly describe AIG's CDS's as "new fangled" and so on, they demonstrate that superficial understanding. Credit default swaps are simply a means of credit insurance and financial institutions have been writing credit insurance since the Renaissance if not earlier, just with different documentation. That said, the commission does correctly understand the difference here was that AIG's CDS's were not written by a regulated insurer or financial institution that had to reserve capital against the exposure. At the same time, since regulators repeatedly and systematically failed, as the report says, where they did have jurisdiction, it is not clear that the mere fact of CDS regulation would have changed the outcome for AIG.

The report reads as if someone who wanted to be a novelist or journalist but was not very good was given responsibility for the final draft. There are too many passages that read like someone's attempt to spice things up for the sake of spicing them up. E.g. after laying out an analysis by Paul Krugman on the role of foreign capital in fueling the housing bubble, the report adds a one sentence paragraph: "It was an ocean of money". What a useful observation, huh?

In sum, I think the report is a fine generalist-level survey of the factors behind the financial crisis although not a source of much additional insight.
38 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 UNREADABLE PRINT!! 2 février 2011
Par Bob C - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
WARNING: The print size and quality of this publication will make it unreadable to many people (as it is for me).

The main font is tiny, and the font for the footnotes is vanishingly small. The cheap printing method has also resulted in a font with very low contrast. A further problem is that the margins are narrow even near the spine, so the lines of print curve out of sight as you try to read them.

I am able to read all sorts of books and have reading glasses to do so, yet I am unable to read this book. The Amazon entry for this book should warn potential purchasers of the readability issue.

Unfortunately, the version of the report from the Government Printing Office uses the same format. This is a travesty.

For many people, the best choice at present is to download the entire report for free (as a single PDF). On screen, the print size can be adjusted at will. That is how I intend to read the report. If I need to excerpt some pages, I can print them from the PDF. Pages printed from the PDF at least have excellent contrast, even though there is no way to adjust the font size. The report can be downloaded here: [...]

In addition to the readability issue, potential purchasers should be aware that this Authorized Edition from PublicAffairs does not include the index to the report. The index must be downloaded (as a PDF) from the publisher's website.
28 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Dances around the fundamental cause-Completely unregulated speculation in derivatives 5 février 2011
Par Michael Emmett Brady - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This report spends over 500 hundred pages to reach a conclusion that basically targets the rating agencies as the main culprit in the economic collapse that is now referred to as the Great Recession.The real problem was the passage of legislation that eliminated the firewalls erected in the mid 1930's to prevent what happened .Three major problems can be identified.It is clear that if these three types of events had not occurred,then the Great Recession could have been prevented.

The three major factors making the Great Recession inevitable were (a) the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act(GS) of 1933 in 1999 , (b) the passage of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) of 2000,and (c) the planned and organized restructuring of the American banking system ,started by Jimmy Carter in 1978,to create megasized banks through periodic waves of mergers,acquisitions and takeovers.It should be emphasized that the major supporters of these actions in the late 1980's to 2000 were Bill and Hilary Clinton,F D Raines,Rubin ,Summers, Senator Dodd,Barney Frank,Senator Schumer and the usual array of Libertarian Republican supporters of Wall Street casino capitalism ,such as Phil and Wendy Gramm.Repealing Glass Steagall allowed the private commercial banks to again set up investment bank units to engage in financial speculation.This was the primary problem that occurred in the mid to late 1920's.Highly speculative,leveraged ,margin account loans financed the stock market bubble while balloon payment loan financing of mortgages created the bubble in housing.This double bubble led directly to the Great Depression of the 1930's. The same type of double bubble led to the Great Recession of the 2000's,as well. The Japanese Great Recession of 1993-2004 was also the direct result of a double bubble in real estate and stocks.

The CFMA removed derivatives and credit default swaps(CDS's) from any regulation at the state and federal level.Derivatives,CDS's and CDO's(Collateralized Debt Obligations)played the role in the 2000's that margin account financing of stock options had played in the 1920's.The subprime mortgage loans game ,along with the constant efforts of Countrywide Financial and Ameriquest to convert the fixed rate mortgages of low income citizens to adjustable rate mortgages by constant refinancing,played the role of the balloon payments game of the 1920's .
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretty disappointing 5 février 2011
Par Amy Lamar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Like many, I have been following the parapatetic hearings of the FCIC over the past year, and while I didn't expect this report to be completely earthshattering, I also didn't it expect it to be so mediocre in terms of analyzing the myriad problems and, more importantly, recommending legislative, regulatory, and structural solutions. The only conclusion the report seems to draw, in the end, is "this is probably going to happen again," which is borderline pathetic. I wish the commissioners and staff had read some of the classics published in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash--like The Great Crash 1929 or Krugman's The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 and especially the original blueprint for this kind of commission report, Stock Exchange Practices: The Final Report of the Pecora Commission which at least makes for highly entertaining reading. Hopefully this won't be the last inquiry into the 2008 meltdown undertaken by the government. What we really need is a "truth and reconciliation" commission, to bring out ALL the facts and come to grips with what we REALLY need to do to make sure systemic weaknesses are addressed, and regulations (and regulators) in place to police the inevitable simple human greed and irrationality.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great reference on what happened 17 février 2014
Par Paul 1946 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought this for the same reasons I got the 911 official inquiry report. I read that tome cover to cover. Truth is the first few chapters will give you all you need to know. Also, I don't understand the complaints on the print size, it is pretty standard size print for a book this size. It is very readable and I wear bifocals.
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