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Meltdown summary

Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse

3.9 (43 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is an exposé of the government's handling of the 2008 financial crisis and the detrimental effects of their interventionist policies. It highlights the dangers of centralized economic control and champions free market economics.

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    Deregulation and free markets didn’t cause the last financial crisis – government regulation did.

    It’s common to see stories in the media about how unrestrained capitalism caused the most recent economic crisis. These pundits say that government should become more involved in the economy to fix the broken system.

    But is it possible that government, the institution tasked with repairing the economy, actually caused its collapse in the first place?

    Let’s take a closer look. The crisis began with the government giving mortgages to people who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford them. It started in 1999, when government-sponsored enterprises, better known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, put into action a Clinton administration plan to assist low-income and minority families in purchasing homes.

    As part of the plan, the government forged new mortgage requirements that allowed brokers to offer loans with zero money down, enabling people with no savings to buy houses. Not just that, but these new, risky mortgages were classified as creditworthy by government-backed rating agencies.

    These agencies then, not wanting to call politically popular programs “risky,” kept reassuring the public that the mortgages were secure.

    But Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the rating agencies aren’t the only ones to blame for the crisis. In fact, the Federal Reserve played a major role as well. Here’s how:

    In the early 2000s, the Fed slashed interest rates by printing tons of money. This input of cheap money, paired with relaxed mortgage rules, prompted a major housing boom, causing home prices to shoot up at an insane rate. With hopes of getting rich overnight, careless investors piled into the market.

    As a result, in 2006 some 25 percent of all home purchases were made by speculators.

    But the good times didn’t last long. By the end of 2006, housing prices were sinking, and foreclosures had risen by 43 percent. Since no down payments were at risk, speculators just walked out on their underwater investments. The mortgage market fell apart, and the financial system that had stuffed billions of dollars into mortgage-backed securities soon followed.

    This disastrous outcome came about because reckless government policies enabled people to spend money they just didn’t have.

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    What is Meltdown about?

    Meltdown (2009) gives you a guide to understanding the government regulations which in effect caused the 2008 global financial crisis. These blinks will explain how government spending has and always will worsen economic recessions, and importantly, what needs to be done to save the world economy.

    Meltdown Review

    Meltdown (2009) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is a thought-provoking exploration of the 2008 financial crisis and its underlying causes. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • By offering a rigorous analysis of the crisis, it provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding it.
    • Through examining the faulty economic policies and government intervention, the book challenges conventional wisdom and offers alternative perspectives.
    • With its clear and concise explanations, it is accessible to both experts and those with limited knowledge of economics, ensuring everyone can grasp its insights.

    Who should read Meltdown?

    • Students of economics or finance
    • Anyone interested in the causes of the 2008 financial crisis
    • People sick of the meddling of “big government”

    About the Author

    Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. An award-winning author, he wrote the New York Times’ bestselling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.

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    Meltdown FAQs 

    What is the main message of Meltdown?

    The main message of Meltdown is an analysis of the 2008 financial crisis, exploring its causes and effects.

    How long does it take to read Meltdown?

    The reading time for Meltdown varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Meltdown a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Meltdown is an insightful read that provides valuable insights into the financial crisis. It's worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of the 2008 meltdown.

    Who is the author of Meltdown?

    The author of Meltdown is Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

    What to read after Meltdown?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Meltdown, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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