A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression

Richard A. Posner, Author . Harvard Univ. $23.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-674-03514-0

Posner (How Judges Think) is uncharacteristically dry in this dense book that states flatly that we are in a recession only because we are too frightened to call it a depression. He makes a near-heroic attempt to delve into the roots of the current crisis, citing some of the harder questions: how did it happen? why was it not anticipated? how is the government responding? A great deal of ground is covered, and the book takes the form of a high-altitude survey, assessing all the major points without getting bogged down in detail. Quickie explanations of subprime mortgages and the credit crunch orient the reader, and Posner addresses the takeaway lessons about capitalism and government, the puzzling lack of foresight from the economist community, the apportioning of blame and the resulting future of conservatism. All good topics, thoroughly and thoughtfully presented, but much of Posner's material is already woefully out of date. This book will make a serviceable study of the current crisis, but it does not serve its intended audience well in the meantime. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/16/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-674-05129-4
Paperback - 346 pages - 978-0-674-06039-5
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