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Hardcover Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America Book

ISBN: 0199216614

ISBN13: 9780199216611

Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

In recent years, we've been rocked by a series of economic jolts, and all of them seemed to revolve around finance. And the most recent, the American mortgage meltdown, has sent shock waves around the world. Managed by the Markets, which won the 2010 George R. Terry Book Award, offers an illuminating account of how finance has replaced manufacturing at the center of the American economy over the past three decades, explaining how the new finance-centered...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A View from Above

In Managed by the Markets, Gerald Davis provides a thorough, lucid and intelligent explanation of the forces shaping the financial markets and, more significantly, how the financial markets have become a force which is shaping American society. The book is presented much like a dissertation. In the introductory chapter Mr. Davis provides a historical overview of the broad forces which have shaped American life in the past century; how the corporation was pivotal during the industrial revolution; providing work, security, goods, and for many, pensions, health care and even housing. The central thesis of this book is that in "post-industrial" America financial markets have become our new center resulting in the securitization of everything. He then outlines the content of subsequent chapters, in which he examines: The expansion of financial markets and shift in focus (on the part of corporate boards) from substance to market signals". The corporation and its transformation from a producer of goods and services to a "nexus" of contracts in which the flow of information and building of a brand become more significant than actual production. The changing role of Banks; the blurring of boundaries and conflicts of interest it creates. The way in which the need to attract business has altered how states define themselves and the law that govern them. How the "portfolio" or "individual investor" view has led to a redefininition of self, family, frindship as commodities. In the final chapter he allows himself some speculation on where we are and where we are going as a society. It is difficult to provide a terse summary of the ground covered in this book. It is immense. If you have tried to make sense of the blow up of the markets, this book will give you some perspective. In addition, he provides straight forward explanations of some of those exotic instruments we've heard about, but few understand, as well as a some insight into what is behind those securities you hold. I believe this is an important book because it shines a light on some disturbing trends and undercurrents in our society. The view he presents of where we are as a society is not unlike "1984," but in this case truth is stranger than fiction.

What happend to the American Dream!

Prior to reading this book I read several highly publicized books on the current US economic crisis, but this book was by far the best. As suggested by the title Finance has revolutionized the American economy and society. The author utilizes historical evidence and illustrates how America transitioned from an industrial to a financial economy. The book has many interesting statistics that demonstrate the average employment life of an American in different sectors, and how this rapidly changing labor market has destroyed social mobility. The book discusses how America became more and more dependent on the market as a result of the destruction of the social safety nets and the rapid growth of portable 401ks, and contract employment, which has created this disloyal employers. I agree with some of the reviewer about the repetitive nature of the theme but it is still very readable, full of interesting ideas and insightful.

Well Written Explanation of the Shift in the Economy From Manufacturing to Finance

I picked up this book because I wanted a better understanding of why my supposedly safe mutual funds lost so much of their value. The book's premise is that today's economic crisis is the result of finance replacing manufacturing as the center of the American economy. Prior to reading the book my only exposure to economic theory was an economics course I attempted to take in college which I quickly dropped when I looked at the textbook. When I first picked up this book I was a bit intimidated but I found it to be something I was able to understand and it gave me a better understanding of the American economy. I don't consider this to be light reading but you don't have be an economist or have a financial or economic background to learn something from this book. This book is written in a scholarly tone with thorough footnoting, ten pages of references to texts on the subject and a great index. Yet the author does not focus on complex economic theory but rather gives concrete examples of how corporations, finance companies, stockholders and the government played a part in the current economic crisis. I don't have the economic background to evaluate the author's premise but he convinced me that the shift from a manufacturing based economy to a finance based economy is the reason for our financial situation and that recognition of this shift is necessary to ensure that the economic crisis ends.

Excellent job explaining a complex topic succinctly

This book is very well written, well referenced, and very interesting. Gerald Davis explains his theory about how our current financial crisis has evolved. This book is basically the author's treatise on the effects of finance on society. You may not agree with everything he has to say, but his arguments and well stated. Thought provoking is the least anyone can say about this book.

Smart, Savvy and An Absolute Essential

This is hands-down one of the most well written books covering the current economic crisis that I've read to date...and as a college instructor (business) and writer, I've read more than my share. It's intelligent, well organized, clear and right on the mark. Those that are trying to make sense of what is taking place and why will find the background information easy to understand without insulting ones intelligence...however, unlike the vast majority of writers, the author doesn't stop with the basics. He takes time to explore where we came from, where we are today (as a nation and globally) and where we are likely heading in the future but without giving into the "easy money" hype of trying to forecast the future or make wild claims. Instead, he presents the information in a factual manner that allows the readers to draw their own conclusions and spot opportunity as well as risk inherent in the system itself. During every major transition there are those that continue to work/invest from the former perspective while others realize that change is taking place. This is not an investment book per se but rather an in-depth exploration of the transition along a likely continuum. Who Will Like This Book... -Investors - those that want to understand the investment environment not merely those searching for a 'how to' or checklist. - Business Owners - Government Officials - Political and/or Social Science Buffs - Anyone seeking to better understand how we got here and were it heads into the future Plain and simple, this is for those that don't mind to think...and think you will because the information, direction and long term consequences will not be easily digested - or resolved. Inform yourself.
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