The article in (the Nov. 11) Clarion on MF Global's dive reported that David Kotok, a money manager, asked "How did this happen?" This question has motivated me for several years to search for answers to that very question.
"A Colossal Failure of Common Sense" written by the Vice-President of Lehman Brothers, Larry McDonald, explains answers to that question and to the question of "Could we have seen it coming?" with respect to the failure of Lehman Brothers.
He and others did see it coming and warned Richard Fuld, the CEO of Lehmans, who chose to ignore their warnings and their advice.
With respect to the financial crisis in the US and the world, two other educational books are "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis and "Hoodwinked" by John Perkins. Both describe the fraud crimes committed by the major banks and members of Wall Street. In Hoodwinked, Perkins, a confessed and reformed economic hit man lays out how big corporate industries have practice predatory capitalism to hoodwink investors, our middle class, our government and government regulators to maximize their returns.
Insight into the question of "How we have gotten to this point?" is vividly described in "Tangled Webs" by the
Pulitzer Prize winner, James B. Stewart. His thesis is how false statements are undermining America. To illustrate his point he follows the trials of Martha Stewart for insider trading, the Scooter Libby trial for outing Valerie Plame, the Barry Bonds trial for steroid use, and the Bernard Madoff trial for perjury. I thought he did an excellent job of presenting the lies of each of these people and how investigators unraveled and disproved their lies.
My remaining question is "Why is our Attorney General, Eric Holder, not investigating and prosecuting Wall Street's fraud crimes?" One explanation recently offered in a New York Times is that Tim Geitner, Treasury Secretary, was fearful that prosecution of these crimes would damage our already shaky Wall Street markets and that he convinced Holder not to proceed. I find it very difficult to accept that we have come to this point.