In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, exposÃ©s of the recklessness of Wall Street flooded bookstores. Continuing the assault of The Zeroes,Â The Big Short, and Too Big To Fail, Taibbi’s Griftopia examines the conditions surrounding the boom and (almost total) bust of the financial system in the United States. The book also explains, more worryingly for the future, how apparently no lessons have been learned.
The title of the book is portmanteau of grift and utopia and its central case is that our political system created a favorable environment for wildly irresponsible trading activity which very nearly sank the economy. The problem is not that regulations were not properly enforced, but that they enabled rather than curtailed risky trading practices. As the bankers scammed and schemed, our elected representatives engaged in crimes not of omission, but of commission.
Even worse, as the voting public finds itself ever more divided over exactly what kind of role the government should play in regulating business, the anger that should be directed towards the people who created the quagmire from which we are only now emerging is turned inwards. While we engage in pointless bickering with one another over socialism versus capitalism, financial regulation and the survival of the free market, our backs are turned as the shell game continues unabated.
Taibbi, a long-time chronicler of the worst excesses of Wall Street in his blog, books and articles, will be talking about all of the above and more. The event is free and starts at 7pm. For more information and to see the store’s full calendar of events, visit their website.