Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review of The Unfair Trade: How our Broken Financial System Destroys the Middle Class by Michael J. Casey

Michael J. Casey does something few economists have endeavored to do by going beyond America to capture the truly global nature of the economy.
Moving beyond America’s shores, Casey travels to such diverse locales as Juarez Mexico, Iceland, the mines of Southern Australia and Peru, and the cattle ranches of Argentina to illustrate how the inequality of the global financial system with its’ inequalities enriches one group of people in one location, while making localized populations impoverished. These sections usually end with a lens turned on China.
But its far from a China bash-fest. China is just one very large actor in a system that spreads inequality throughout the world.
The people Casey profiles throughout the book include those who benefited from the unbalanced global financial system and whose lives came crashing down when the bubble went burst. Casey is sympathetic with these people, yet does not pardon them from their questionable misdeeds.
I thought the case study approach was interesting because it allows the reader to put a human face on the global inequalities of the financial system. It is also perhaps the only way Casey could’ve pursued such a wide-reaching project.
Producing a complicated statistical study would not have achieved the same purpose. The disadvantage is that the case study approach doesn’t exactly lend itself to a conventional, testable, thesis. Casey’s evidence is subjective and your view is likely predicated on your view of the global financial crisis.
Casey has produced a really readable and engaging book that truly puts the global into global financial crisis. I highly recommend you snag a copy.

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