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!