Book (and Other Hot Topics) Chat on FireDogLake

I chatted at the Book Salon on FireDogLake on Saturday (yes I screwed up completely in not notifying Naked Capitalism readers). The conversation was hosted by masaccio and led to a wide ranging discussion.

The chat started with his summary of the book:

Yves Smith brings the same clear and concise writing to ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism, her explanation of the Great Crash of 2008, that she shows every day at her website Naked Capitalism. Smith points to the abject failure of neoclassical economics as the beginning point for this disaster. The unproven assumptions of this theory were converted into Indubitable Truth by academic economists. Their careers were based on their ability to combine those Indubitable Truths with other unproven assumptions and turn them into mathematical formulas which, they said, explained the way the economy works. These ideas were widely accepted by corporate interests and their shills and think tanks, media elites and politicians, and turned into statutes and regulatory policy. Immediately the vipers on Wall Street exploited every one of the new weaknesses for personal profit, first at the expense of other traders, then at the expense of their own clients, and finally at the expense of taxpayers.

The session continues here. Enjoy!

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  1. psychohistorian

    I bought the book today and am wondering about how us net supporters get your autograph. Maybe it shouldn’t mean anything to us but it does for some reason to me so I am asking.

    I reviewed the comments at FDL earlier today around your session and they were all good comments and questions. It is good to see more people asking hard questions about economic assumptions.

    I do assume your book will ignite the coming evolution, Yves so my expected ROI on your book is fairly high. How do I hedge that expectation?

    I look forward to more discussion of your book’s contents after more of us have read it.

    1. Justicia

      I second that request. It would add to my collection of signed first editions (Soros, Stiglitz and Smith).

      Sorry I missed the FDL web interview yesterday since the rain kept me indoors and on the net most of the day.

      In light of your point that neoclassical econ is static and not dynamic, I’d like to know what you think of the work of the ecological/bio-physical economists (Costanza, Daly, Georgescu-Roegen, et al)?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for asking. You have two routes for getting a copy signed (well three if you live in New York City).

      1. You can get a signed bookplate from Palgrave. E-mail

      2. You can send me the book (please provide you usual handle in comments if you’d like me to inscribe the book using that)with a return mailing/Fedex ground/UPS envelope. Send it c/o Aurora Advisors Incorporated, 903 Park Avenue, Suite 8C, New York, NY 10075

      3. My agent keeps saying the publisher will arrange a bookstore event in NYC, but nothing resolved yet. So you could get it signed in person. If I do travel, I will see if we can arrange events elsewhere, but nothing is planned as of now.

  2. fiscalliberal

    I am about 40% through the book and the ROI to me is how Yves is able to identify the myths and provide rational discussion of why they are not true. It is not a easy read, but one that kind of keeps you glued to it.

    Reading the book allows much mor perspective to rational discussions about the criminal finacial crisis foisted upon us. I continue to be outraged that more people are not in jail. I certainly hope the stock holders go after Fuld and Gordon. Make the trials public to serve as a deturance to the current practitioners. Build the gallows in the morning, trial at 10:00 and hanging at high noon.

  3. Yearning to Learn

    practical question.
    I’m going to buy your book this week.

    do you get more money from the sale if I buy it through the link on your site vs just getting it at a bookstore?

    I think you should be as compensated as possible for all the hard work you’ve done. Thanks.

  4. LeeAnne

    Yves, thank you for the time change reminder.

    Received the book from pre sale March 4th. I will have it thoroughly read and noted by the time of your book signing appearance at B&N on Broadway/W82nd St. (wishing can make it so) . I expect an overflow full house attendance at that appearance and will be sitting in the first row.

  5. Panayotis

    Dear Yves,

    I recently came across your blog and I find your viewscritical and to the point. I have recently finished a manuscript that is currently circulating among friends and academics. I think you will be interested to read it. Please contact me in order to send it to you.

    Takis Economopoulos, MA, Ph.D

  6. Doug Terpstra

    Just picked up the book today at B&N. Looks heavy but tasty, with promising primers for econ illiterates like me.


  7. dbk

    Thanks for the FDL discussion – you [and your discussants] are informative and thought-provoking as always. Interesting idea re. audit as a utility. Rather naive of me I’m sure, but isn’t that sort of oversight and analysis already NOT happening due to apparent malfeasance and regulatory capture?

    I guess TBTF is also Too Big To Manage “I didn’t know what was going on” and clearly Too Big To Regulate, even comprehend, every actor and agent declaiming “Who knew?”

  8. Amit Chokshi


    We had our Zuckerman event at the Stamford Marriott last week covering his book The Greatest Trade Ever. We had a small upscale room w/turn out of about 35 people, 30 min to hang out w/food/bar, about 1 hr presentation (just Greg at a podium w/mic discussing his book), 10-20 min Q&A, and then 30 min after w/him signing some books. Good event so if u want to give this a shot let me know.


  9. Elihu

    I have a typo to report at the beginning of Chapter 7, “Looting 2.0”.

    p. 165, last paragraph: “The exception, scholars like Akerlof and other economists who focus on information asymmetry, have been given the backhanded complement of having their ideas…”

    I think it should be “compliment” instead of “complement”. For the next edition of the book.

  10. Elihu

    Another typo in Econned. Chapter 7, 1st sentence of page 184: “As the upheaval intensified, the yen would spike up on acute stress day, indicting that yen borrowers were unwinding their positions.”

    I think you mean “indicating” rather than “indicting”.

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