Banks, vampire squid
If you haven’t been following Matt Taibbi’s excellent reporting for Rolling Stone magazine (often the best reason to buy it), then it’s time to start. Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America isn’t just another book about the rise and fall of the well-oiled Wall Street money machine. While he does document the ins and outs of the crisis of 2008, Taibbi’s reporting goes deeper to the underlying philosophy, with its roots in Ayn Rand’s work and through her to Chicago-school economists like Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve. But the good news is that Taibbi writes for general readers, and the better news is that he makes it clear the fiasco of 2008 is just part of the bigger story: the way that the “titans of finance” have managed to move the world’s wealth into their own pockets and capture our political system while they were at it.