About Makers and Takers
“If Herman Melville were writing his famous last novel today, The Confidence Man, there’s little doubt who his model for the titular rapscallion would be: Donald Trump.”
-From the Author’s Note to the Paperback, Makers and Takers
President Trump has sold the American people on any number of falsehoods—that immigration is a leading cause of our economic woes, that globalization can be curbed and that tax cuts for the rich will lead to greater prosperity for all. Despite these untruths, the President’s unprecedented rise to power from political no man’s land was fueled by a fundamental grasp of our nation’s central economic dilemma: there is no room on Wall Street for Main Street.
The current economic “recovery” period, which has been underway since 2009, is a sham. GDP growth is anemic. Corporate debt and leverage are at record levels and stock price indices have shattered past peaks. Scarier still, the top 1 percent of Americans have captured 52% of real income growth since 2009. For the towering glass financial castles of the financial elite, yes, wealth has been restored. But for the vacant store fronts, the abandoned warehouses and condemned homes of the forgotten makers of the American economy, the nightmare of the 2008 financial crisis has never ended.
In 2008, the United States experienced the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression. NOW, NEARLY A DECADE later, the key lessons of that financial crisis still remain unlearned—and our financial system is more vulnerable than ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is that the majority of the financial regulations promised after the 2008 meltdown were either not passed, or are in danger of being repealed by the Trump White House and a Congress bought and paid for by Wall Street.
In MAKERS AND TAKERS: HOW WALL STREET DESTROYED MAIN STREET (On Sale September 12; $17; Crown Business), now out in paperback, award-winning business journalist Rana Foroohar explores the provocative question that is at the top of mind of today’s business leaders, that is at the front and center of the current political debate, and that is becoming an increasingly crucial part of the conversation about the economic fate of our nation and the very future of the American Dream: is Wall Street destroying American business?
Foroohar draws on in-depth reporting and exclusive interviews at the highest rungs of Wall Street and Washington to show how slowing growth, flattening wages, and the widening the gap between rich and poor is perpetuated by Wall Street’s reign over Main Street, threatening the future of the American Dream. Collectively, the trends by which finance and its way of thinking have come to reign supreme are a part of a larger process that Foroohar refers to as the “financialization of America.”
Exploring the forces that have led American businesses to favor finance over innovation, balance-sheet engineering over the actual kind, and the pursuit of short-term corporate profits over job creation, MAKERS AND TAKERS shows how the rise of finance and the fall of business is so gravely harming our economy and society and why these issues so urgently matter to us all. Through colorful stories of both “Takers”—the financiers destroying jobs, increasing economic inequality, and stifling job creation—and also of “Makers”—the companies and communities where finance has been put back into the service of the real economy—Foroohar will reveals how we change the system to serve all Americans, rather than just the wealthy and most powerful.
Foroohar covers the policy ideas that we should be implementing now—from a regulatory recipe for a safer financial system to tax reforms that will have all Americans paying their fair share to the kinds of public and private partnerships that can create job growth to the culture shifts needed within the rungs of American business—in order to stem the tide of financialization for a healthier economy, a more prosperous society, and a brighter future.
Praise for Makers and Takers
Voted one of the Best Books of 2016 by the Financial Times and one of the best books of the year by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
“A well-told exploration of why our current economy is leaving too many behind.” – The New York Times
“A masterly account of the disproportionate power that the financial sector exercises in the economy and the disastrous consequences this has for society as a whole.” – Forbes.com
“A credible explanation for the rise of economic populism in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Anyone seeking to truly understand the resonance of the anti–Wall Street vitriol of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump could do worse than to start here.” – Fortune.com
“Foroohar demystifies the decline in America’s economic prominence, showing that the competitive threats came not from the outside—migration or China—but from within our borders. She explains how finance has permeated every aspect of our economic and political life, and how those who caused the financial crisis wound up benefiting from it.” – Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics and former head of the Council of Economic Advisors