The Crash of 2016 (Thom Hartmann) - Twelve - 2013 - 291 pages

Author is predicting a recession worse than the one in 2008 mainly because of risky banking practices that have continued to grow in spite of the crash of the housing market in 2008.  In a mostly unregulated market, financial institutions have issued derivatives (junk bonds) worth an estimated $1.2 quadrillion (in 2013) worldwide that are really just gambling wagers.  He also concludes that the smarter billionaires are exiting the stock market.  When this new bubble bursts, it will again be the common folks who suffer.  Hartmann may be overly pessimistic, but he is scholar of history who has seen the 80-year cycles of the "great forgetting".  The author blames the crashes on "Economic Royalists" who amass fortunes but do not create jobs or stimulate the economy.  They just build castles, create dynasties, and buy politicians who give them tax breaks.  Hartmann recommends the creation of economic co-operative businesses run by employees instead of a CEO who is just interested in increased profits for himself.  He cites some South American and European examples that have been very successful.  The main message here is that the current huge wealth imbalance is a recipe for economic failure.  [JAM 4/21/2016]