Dean Baker is a prolific writer and economist who
blogs and writes regular analysis and commentary
on the media's interpretation of economic news. Among his recent publications are Plunder and Blunder: The rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy, "The Conservative Nanny State" (PDF), and
The United States Since 1980.
"Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington
Betrayed America," by Robert Weissman and Wall Street Watch
examines how Wall Street influenced Washington to install the policies that
started dragging the global economy over down.
Bad Money by Kevin Phillips is a searing critique of the financialization of the American economy. As usual, Phillips is spot-on.
Infectious Greed by Frank Partnoy primarily examines the dangers of unregulated derivatives trading, and how it has
infected the rest of the business community, creating monumental risks.
Other People's Money: The Corporate Mugging of America by Nomi Prins (2006) is a former insider's examination of the big Wall Street banks.
Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis (2008)
by Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla
Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity (2005)
by Robert Pollin (co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass) dissects the consequences of global
neoliberal economics in the 1990s. Pollin also published "Tools for a New Economy
Proposals for a financial regulatory system" in the Jan/Feb isse of the Boston Review.
The Origins of Financial Crisis: Central Banks, Credit Bubbles, and the Efficient Market Fallacy, by George Cooper (New York: Vintage, 2008)
The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and
Why Liberals Should Too, by James K. Galbraith (New York: Free Press, 2008) (see interview with Bill Moyers)
Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis (ed.), (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008)
Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle (Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 2008)
Financial Regulation After the Fall (PDF), by
Robert Kuttner (New York: Demos, 2009). Another excellent review of U.S. economic policies until 2007 is Kuttner's book,
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity (New York: Knopf, 2007)
The Speculation Economy: How Finance Triumphed Over Industry by Lawrence Mitchell (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007)
explains how, at the end of the 19th Century, the birth of the giant modern corporation
spurred the rise of the stock market and how, by the dawn of the 1920s, the stock market
left behind its business origins to become the very reason for the creation of business
After the New Economy (2003) and Wall Street by Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood
The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros.
Financial Shock A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis by Mark Zandi
The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and
Corporate America (2003) by NYTimes reporter Alex Berenson. If you want to understand what drives "short-termism" then I can't
recommend anything better. Berenson explains the "cult of the number" -- the corrosive
financialization of corporate management, which along with certain structural incentives (e.g. stock options) drives corporate America to
The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by
William K. Black. This is one of the best books on the S&L scandals of the 1980s, drawing lessons for subsequent scandals. Another good S&L crisis history is
Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans by Stephen Pizzo, et al. (1993).