Unintended Consequences by Edward Conard

53%

14 Critic Reviews

A densely written, repetitive text that fails to live up to its grandiose claims
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In the aftermath of the Financial Crisis, many com­monly held beliefs have emerged to explain its cause. Conventional wisdom blames Wall Street and the mortgage industry for using low down pay­ments, teaser rates, and other predatory tactics to seduce unsuspecting home owners into assuming mortgages they couldn’t afford. It blames average Americans for borrowing recklessly and spend­ing too much. And it blames the tax policies and deregulatory environment of the Reagan and Bush administrations for encouraging reckless risk taking by wealthy individuals and financial institutions. But according to Unintended Consequences, the conventional wisdom masks the real causes of our economic disruption and puts us at risk of facing a slew of unintended—and potentially dangerous—consequences. This book addresses many essential but overlooked questions, such as:   If the United States had become a nation of reckless consumers rather than investors, why did productivity soar in the years leading up to the meltdown? If predatory bankers took advantage of home owners, why did down payments decline, thereby shifting risk from home owners to lenders? If the risks were easy to spot, why did top politi­cal and financial advisers encourage lenders to make unsound investments? If new regulations encourage banks to hold enough capital to fund withdrawals and not just loan losses, how will the economy underwrite the risks necessary to reach full employment?In an attempt to set the record straight and fill the void left by other analysts, Conard presents a fas­cinating and contrarian case for how the economy really works, what went wrong over the past decade, and what steps we can take to start growing again.
 

About Edward Conard

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ED CONARD was a partner at Bain Capital from 1993 to 2007. He served as the head of Bain's New York office and led the firm's acquisitions of large industrial companies. Prior to that he worked for Wasserstein Perella, an investment bank that specialized in mergers and acquisitions. He lives in New York City.
 
Published May 7, 2012 by Portfolio. 321 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 08 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Unintended Consequences
All: 14 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Below average
Jun 01 2012

A densely written, repetitive text that fails to live up to its grandiose claims

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by ADAM DAVIDSON on May 01 2012

Conard’s version of the financial crisis ignores much reporting and analysis

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Apr 23 2012

His defense of private enterprise deserves the attention of policymakers in Washington

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by BRIAN CARNEY on Jun 13 2012

It is refreshing, at a time when so many take the failure of capitalism for granted, to read a bravado defense of the greatest force for wealth creation that the world has ever known.

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by David DesRosiers on Jul 09 2012

we ought to be grateful that men like Mr. Conard, in a time when the 1 percent are unjustly persecuted, are finding their voice.

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Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by Husna Haq on May 08 2012

Even less left-leaning, more pro-market economists like Glenn Hubbard...had qualms about Conard’s as yet unreleased book.

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Huffington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Dean Baker on May 02 2012

We'll leave it to his shrink to determine whether the problem is that Conard is deluded or dishonest

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The Daily Beast

Excellent
Reviewed by David Frum on Jul 03 2012

He argues (winningly, in my opinion) that the housing boom of the 2000s was driven, not by lax Federal Reserve policy, but by the vast accumulation of dollar assets by China and other emerging-market exporters.

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Forbes

Below average
Reviewed by John Tamny on Aug 19 2012

Conard’s economics writing constitutes some of the weakest parts of Unintended Consequences

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The New Republic

Excellent
Reviewed by Eric Posner on Jul 05 2012

It should be read by anyone who takes for granted the superiority of progressive taxation and has not thought carefully about the trade-offs involved.

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Business Week

Below average
Reviewed by Roger Lowenstein on May 31 2012

Try as he might to write empirically, Conard lets his bias show

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The Deal

Below average
Reviewed by Robert Teitelman on Jun 20 2012

I object to Conard's caricature and its underlying generalization, which, by the way, demonstrates a striking lack of intellectual sophistication on his part

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Future Of Capitalism

Good
Reviewed by Ira Stoll on Jun 13 2012

it is written at a fairly high level of abstraction...On most of the big issues, though, Mr. Conard is pretty good

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Bankers Anonymous

Below average
Reviewed by The Banker on Sep 25 2012

My final thought about Unintended Consequences is that’s it’s curiously devoid of any personal or professional anecdote

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Reader Rating for Unintended Consequences
64%

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