We all know that the financial crisis of 2008 came dangerously close to pushing the United States and the world into a depression rivaling that of the 1930s. But what is astonishing — and should make us not just afraid but very afraid — are the shenanigans of the biggest banks since the crisis. Bob Ivry passionately, eloquently, and convincingly details the operatic ineptitude of America’s best-compensated executives and the ways the government kowtows to what it mistakenly imagines is their competence and success. Ivry shows that the only thing that has changed since the meltdown is how too-big-to-fail banks and their fellow travelers in Washington have nudged us ever closer to an even bigger economic calamity.
Informed by deep reporting from New York, Washington, and the heartland, The Seven Sins of Wall Street, like no other book, shows how we’re all affected by the financial industry’s inhumanity. The transgressions of “Wall Street titans” and “masters of the universe” are paid for by real people. In fierce, plain English, Ivry indicts a financial industry that continues to work for the few at the expense of the rest of us. Problems that financiers deemed too complicated to be understood by ordinary folks are shown by Ivry to be financial legerdemain — a smokescreen of complexity and jargon that hide the bankers’ nefarious activities.
The Seven Sins of Wall Street is irreverent and timely, an infuriating black comedy. The Great Depression of the 1930s moved the American political system to real reform that kept the finance industry in check. With millions so deeply affected since the crisis of 2008, you’ll finish this book asking yourself how it is that so many of the nation’s leading financial institutions remain such exasperating problem children.