• by Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Narrated by Dick Hill
  • 13 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The current global financial crisis carries a "made in America" label. In this forthright and incisive book, Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz explains how America exported bad economics, bad policies, and bad behavior to the rest of the world, only to cobble together a haphazard and ineffective response when the markets finally seized up.
Drawing on his academic expertise, his years spent shaping policy in the Clinton administration and at the World Bank, and his more recent role as head of a UN commission charged with reforming the global financial system, Stiglitz outlines a way forward, building on ideas that he has championed his entire career: restoring the balance between markets and government, addressing the inequalities of the global financial system, and demanding more good ideas (and less ideology) from economists.
Freefall is an instant classic, combining an enthralling whodunit account of the current crisis with a bracing discussion of the broader economic issues at stake.


What the Critics Say

"What makes Stiglitz special is that, along with Paul Krugman, he is the rare progressive in a profession whose norms resist tampering with the verdicts of markets or the power of private capital and also one of the few world-class technical economists who can write lucidly for a lay audience. The tone of this book is good-humored and public-minded." (The American Prospect)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

aggravating narration

i've only managed to get through two chapters of the book so far, so anything said here is based on a limited sample. that said, the reason for the slow progress is bad narration. i always listen to the clips of a book before making a decision on whether to buy it because i am quite sensitive to the quality of the narration. there are a couple of books i would dearly love to have audio versions of, but the narration is so intrusive that i can't buy them (for any who are familiar, the reader Stephen Hoye is a particularly glaring example of a bad narrator). the clip provided for Freefall provides no clue of how the narrator overacts and belabors simple points. through two chapters, the book is mainly a scold, providing little to no data to support the claims, but rather giving a schematic overview, along with a number of value judgments. i happen to agree with much of Stiglitz' analysis, but so far, i've learned nothing of value. worse, the narration is like a cranky grandfather wagging his finger and slowing down ... to... make... each...significant.......point, or gesticulating (aurally) urgently about a fairly straightforward idea. it's incredibly aggravating and distracting narration. i wish narrators would stay out of the way in expository works, and let the words speak for themselves. subtle intonation is fine, but this kind of narration is not.

all that said, because of my respect for dr. stiglitz, i intend to keep slogging through the schematic opening section to try to get to the detailed analysis. i will make one critique here, though, of his position. he argues that many of the policies adopted failed to serve their stated goals. to my mind, the policies and actions that led to the financial meltdown were not failures, they were successes. they succeeded in transferring massive wealth to the financial engineers, and away from everyone else. and i believe that that was their purpose.
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- D&G

Freefall – Not the place to start

Stiglitz' treatment of the causes of the economic crisis seemed a bit superficial. His argument was unconvincing because he didn't strongly support many of his claims. He points to the crisis as a failure of the free market and of capitalism, while admitting that this situation did not operate as a free market, nor did we have a true capitalist system in place.

The most interesting - and perhaps most important - chapter of the book is not specifically about the economic crisis. In Chapter 9, Stiglitz raises several interesting questions that challenge the traditional assumptions of economists. I recommend beginning by reading/listening to Chapter Nine to get a sense of Stiglitz' theoretical underpinnings, and then read the rest of Freefall with that in mind.

I read T. Sowell's Housing Boom and Bust concurrent with this book, and found Sowell's facts and arguments more satisfying. Stiglitz' book seems to leave out a lot of details. For a more clear explanation that deals with the facts in an easier to understand, more down-to-earth way, I'd recommend Sowell's book as the place to start. FreeFall makes a good second book because it deals with different aspects of the crisis and comes from a different point of view.
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- R. Shafer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio