Kickstarters I’d like to see

by Henry on August 3, 2012

Justin Fox has a piece on Doug Henwood’s wonderful book, Wall Street

These days, it’s not hard to find people who question the role that financial markets play in our economy, who argue that shareholder value is a flawed metric of corporate success, who say that linking pay to financial markets is a big mistake. In 1997, though, such arguments were pretty close to unheard of. Which is what makes Doug Henwood’s book Wall Street, published that year, such an amazing document. Along with explaining in clear if caustic terms how financial markets work, the book prefigures almost every criticism of the financial system that’s been levied since the crisis of 2008. An overleveraged housing market? Check. A link between financial sector growth and income inequality? Check. A natural tendency toward instability in financial markets? Check. … There’s a saying in investing that “being early is the same as being wrong.” It’s not quite like that in intellectual endeavors, but Henwood clearly hasn’t gotten his due. That’s partly because he was early, partly because he operates in an ill-defined border zone between journalism and academia, partly because, well, he’s a crotchety leftist. But he was describing a lot of important problems with the workings of our capitalist system at a time when practically everyone else was proclaiming the brilliance of the shareholder-dominated Wall Street way. We should have been listening to him then, and we should be rereading him (or reading him for the first time) now.

The book is available for free download here (with a suggested donation to the author, who got a relative pittance for writing it; left-leaning publishers sometimes treat their authors like shit). It’s every bit as good as Fox says it is and better – there’s a very strong argument that it’s the best leftwing book on actually-existing-capitalism that’s been written in the last couple of decades. It is a little out of date – a lot has changed in the intervening years. I would love to see an extensively updated second edition, both for purely selfish reasons, and because I think that it could play an important intellectual and political role (most people on the left don’t understand how finance markets actually work). From various conversations, I’m sure that I’m not the only person who thinks this. The obvious way to get such an edition going – if Doug were interested in writing it – would be a Kickstarter or similar. But it might help encourage Doug to do this if there were some evidence of public interest beforehand (again: if he wants to do this – I have not consulted him before writing this). Hence this post – if you would be prepared to kick in to see this book written then say so in comments, or elsewhere as you like. I’m in for a commitment of $100 or over myself (nb that this is not a suggested donation – more a credible commitment and a signal that I personally really, really would love to see this book come into being).

{ 111 comments }

1

S 08.03.12 at 3:40 pm

I think this is an excellent idea and I would participate in a Kickstarter campaign.

2

Doug Henwood 08.03.12 at 3:46 pm

Thank you Henry. You are my hero.

3

chrismealy 08.03.12 at 4:06 pm

I’m in. Anybody got clever ideas for backer premiums?

Another book I’d love to see updated is JKG’s “Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went.”

4

Michael Connor 08.03.12 at 4:11 pm

I’m pissed at myself for not thinking about this before, but delighted at the prospect. I don’t know if DH is interested, or anyone has tried this, but Kickstarter as a kind of democratic strategy for advances for an author — could it work? I’ve seen it used with filmmakers, as well as with musicians to raise money to record a CD, with sponsors promised the CD, tickets to the CD release party, and so forth — i.e. all the cool things people like to have for being on the inside. And supporting a cool project.

5

Chris Brooke 08.03.12 at 4:13 pm

Not entirely sure what a Kickstarter is, but if it means paying Doug to write an updated edition of Wall St, then I’m in, certainly.

6

Kevin Donoghue 08.03.12 at 4:15 pm

A good cause. Any idea why PayPal turns up is nose at my credit cards? (No, it’s not a problem that I encounter frequently.)

7

Brad DeLong 08.03.12 at 4:18 pm

So where is the Kickstarter? I’m in for $100…

8

AHB 08.03.12 at 4:20 pm

Yep – I’m in for $100.

9

Chris Bertram 08.03.12 at 4:22 pm

_left-leaning publishers sometimes treat their authors like shit_

This is true. Having worked (a long time ago) for the publisher of Wall Street, we weren’t exactly straining to pay authors their royalties, especially if cash flow was tight and we didn’t want another book from them. Generally, I’d advise all authors to be very assertive about their contracts and not just to sign whatever the publisher presents as “standard”.

10

Ankur 08.03.12 at 4:23 pm

Have you read the Yanis Varoufakis’s book, ‘Modern Political Economics’? Less finance, more Eco, but it’s excellent.

11

Kieran 08.03.12 at 4:24 pm

I see my dog-eared late-90s copy on the shelf over there /henwoodhipster.

I’d support a 2nd edition Kickstarter, definitely.

If you do actually go through with it, it’s worth taking some time to think realistically about exactly how much you’d need, what the rewards & timeline would be, and what formats the end product would be available in. There have been several successful Kickstarted book projects—might be worth looking at those to see how they did it.

12

Scott T. 08.03.12 at 4:29 pm

I’d contribute.

13

Phil P. 08.03.12 at 4:51 pm

Read (and learned much from) the original, and would gladly kick in to a Kickstarter campaign for an updated 2nd edition….

14

TVeblen 08.03.12 at 4:54 pm

I’m in for $100. “Wall Street” should be made required reading in every PhD finance program in the country. Doug has done THE best job of summarizing and critiquing the seminal academic literature on finance and financial theory. Here’s a weird conincidenc: both Mike Jensen and Doug are from NJ! Must be something in that Westwood water supply that makes you wanna rebel. BTW: ditto those comments about left-leaning publishers: the only thing they learned from Marx was how to generate an infinite value for s/v. My experience has been that they’re financially incompetent, have high editorial turnover, and delay projects even if you make every single goddamn deadline.

15

Colin Danby 08.03.12 at 5:05 pm

Me too.

16

bdbd 08.03.12 at 5:07 pm

I’d be in as well.

17

Ryan Cooper 08.03.12 at 5:08 pm

I’m in. Don’t have $100 to spare but I could probably do $20 or so.

Now we just need to get the attention of like Greenwald or Taibbi…

18

buermann 08.03.12 at 5:08 pm

Read it six months ago for free, I’ll happily kick in $100 but it was so prescient when it was written I don’t think it’ll need too much updating.

19

Mike Konczal 08.03.12 at 5:15 pm

I’d be in as well.

20

Keith Edwards 08.03.12 at 5:18 pm

I’d be all for that.

21

Marcel 08.03.12 at 5:19 pm

Moi aussi, avec plaisir.

22

Rónán B 08.03.12 at 5:24 pm

I’d contribute.

23

Cheryl 08.03.12 at 5:29 pm

What about writing the publisher and committing to a certain number of purchases?

24

alex gourevitch 08.03.12 at 5:30 pm

I am in.

25

Kieran 08.03.12 at 5:41 pm

but it was so prescient when it was written I don’t think it’ll need too much updating.

The second edition will consist mostly of a reproduction of the first, randomly interspersed with the phrase “AS I FUCKING SAID BACK IN 1997″.

26

NCP 08.03.12 at 5:41 pm

I’m in.

27

john buell 08.03.12 at 5:42 pm

I’d be happy to contribute. As an economic journalist, I have often drawn on DH’s work, including Wall Street when its first edition came out. I would also second the recommendation of Varoufakis’s Modern Political Economics. The role of uncertainty in economic thought and practice has implications for the financial crisis and I would love to see Henwood’s discussion of these themes. I would also recommend both to Henwood and other contributors to this blog William Connolly’s Capitalism and Christianity, American Style.

28

Satan Mayo 08.03.12 at 6:03 pm

Doug Henwood is always entertaining on Twitter. He looks like Dick Cheney but has the temperament and word choice of a young Spencer Ackerman.

29

Patrick Ellis 08.03.12 at 6:16 pm

Absolutely, I’m in.

30

Barry 08.03.12 at 6:19 pm

I’m in, but am not on PayPal (and given the PayPal spam I get, I can’t afford to be).

Is there any other way of paying?

31

JCE 08.03.12 at 6:23 pm

count me in
(i’m from bogota, colombia by the way. i tell you just so you can appreciate just how far reaching the interest on the subject is)

32

Seth Ackerman 08.03.12 at 6:26 pm

Obviously I love this idea. I still for some reason have such a vivid memory of bringing the paperback home after buying it at KramerBooks in DC.

33

Keshav 08.03.12 at 6:44 pm

I’m in.

34

peggy 08.03.12 at 6:54 pm

After we read the book, spousal unit will probably want to contribute. In the division of intellectual labor, he received economics, physics and CS.

35

Connor Kilpatrick 08.03.12 at 7:13 pm

I’m in.

36

Barry Freed 08.03.12 at 7:16 pm

I’m in for $20 and wish I could do more poor gone-back-to-school-for-a-practical-degree-this-time grad student that I am. And I’ve often in the last few years wished for an updated version so I’m delighted to see this.

Also don’t miss his fantastic radio show, I think it’s the best public affairs show out there: http://leftbusinessobserver.com/Radio.html
(and which I hope will soon be returning to its original home at Pacifica’s WBAI).

37

Alfred B. 08.03.12 at 7:23 pm

I’d like to contribute.

(Thanks a lot for ‘Behind the News’)

38

Cian 08.03.12 at 7:45 pm

I’m in for $20. My first copy is much borrowed (and always returned, eventually).

I’d be more than happy for it to be a DRM free ebook (epub preferably).

Doug, do you still plan to do the book on the ruling class?

39

nick s 08.03.12 at 8:13 pm

I’m in, but am not on PayPal

Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments. And I’m in for $20.

40

Aaron Swartz 08.03.12 at 8:16 pm

I’d happily contribute $100, but the sad fact is there’s only one Doug Henwood and I’m also really looking forward to the book he’s working on about the American ruling class. So I worry a bit about setting that back, but happy to leave it to Doug to decide.

41

Neville Morley 08.03.12 at 8:28 pm

Count me in, if someone can explain to me what to do at some point.

Also relieved to hear that I’m not betraying the revolution too much by feeling occasionally peeved that a different left-wing publisher hasn’t got round to paying outstanding royalties for the last two years…

42

William Eric Uspal 08.03.12 at 8:30 pm

Another penurious grad student in for $20 — and I am reminded to resubscribe to the newsletter: http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/LBO_subinfo.html

43

Jared Woodard 08.03.12 at 8:36 pm

I’m in for $100.

44

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 08.03.12 at 10:01 pm

I might be an unemployed student, but count me in.

45

Clay Shirky 08.03.12 at 10:15 pm

I’m in, Henry.

46

Patrick S. O'Donnell 08.03.12 at 10:24 pm

What little discretionary funds I/we have are committed, but I too would love to see a second edition (I have the first), and would probably purchase the second (with permission from the one who earns the bulk of our household income).

47

Linnaeus 08.03.12 at 10:50 pm

I’d contribute. I can’t say how much due to the vicissitudes of consulting work, but I could spare even a small amount.

48

Michael Pollak 08.03.12 at 10:53 pm

I’m totally in for $100. I’ve been hoping exactly the same thing for years.

49

Dylan 08.03.12 at 11:08 pm

Forget Kickstarter. Henwood should write a new book, self-publish it for the Kindle and keep all the money.

50

Jenny Brown 08.03.12 at 11:35 pm

I’m in for $30. And Doug really looks nothing like Dick Cheney.

51

Rakesh Bhandari 08.04.12 at 12:40 am

I suppose people are talking about Wall Street the book, not Wall Street the Oliver Stone movie?

Ha-Joon Chang laments that the real sector entity GM spent more on stock buybacks than real investment (Medoff and Harless once explained the tax advantages of using debt for stock buy backs). I agree with Fox that the absolutely stunning and brilliant finding in Henwood’s original, stimulating and well-written book is that “shareholders, on aggregate, take much more money out of U.S. corporations (in dividends and buybacks) than they put in.” (Fox). Yet I still wonder what the explanation is for why this disgorged cash was not not put back into real investment if the rate of profit on new or marginal investment is as high as Henwood insists it is. Fox himself actually does not think the rate of profit is high on investments within the US (profits from US companies being stronger on their foreign operations).

52

Rakesh Bhandari 08.04.12 at 1:06 am

A couple of other questions about Henwood’s study.
Does not the NASDAQ blowup show that insiders had not lost all power to rentiers?
I am also not quite sure whether Henwood’s framework would allow for both the radical, anti-cyclical action that the Fed has taken and for its ineffectiveness. It would seem that monetary policy is not as crucial as Henwood had seemed to suggest. So I am wondering whether he would rethink his understanding of the determinants and consequences of monetary policy.

53

David Kaib 08.04.12 at 1:20 am

I’m in.

Mutualism!

54

Corey Robin 08.04.12 at 3:02 am

I’d advise everyone to heed what Aaron Swartz (#40) says above. That said, I’m in.

55

Freddie 08.04.12 at 3:31 am

Ever read Economics of Global Turbulence by David Brenner? That’s a favorite of mine that explores similar topics.

56

Freddie 08.04.12 at 3:31 am

er, Robert Brenner.

57

Pliggett Darcy 08.04.12 at 5:53 am

I’m in.

58

terence 08.04.12 at 8:21 am

I’d happily pay a $100 kickstart.

59

Salient 08.04.12 at 10:13 am

I’d happily contribute $100, but the sad fact is there’s only one Doug Henwood and I’m also really looking forward to the book he’s working on about the American ruling class.

There’s only one acceptable solution to this conundrum: we launch a Kickstarter to get a second Doug Henwood going.

60

Francis Spufford 08.04.12 at 10:49 am

I’m in too.

61

Bill Hutten 08.04.12 at 10:51 am

I’m in for a $100. Almost every conversation I have with someone about economics has me saying “You should read Wall Street!”…

62

jens 08.04.12 at 11:27 am

I am in (from Denmark), as wee also get the heat from the crooks at Wall Street

63

christian_h 08.04.12 at 12:18 pm

I’m in as well for the amount Henry did not suggest (interesting psychological effect btw).

64

John Protevi 08.04.12 at 12:44 pm

You can count me in too.

65

Uday J 08.04.12 at 1:12 pm

I’m in, and after all the high praise for it, I’m really looking forward to reading the first edition now! Thanks for the post.

66

CMK 08.04.12 at 1:56 pm

Know nothing about publishing but would be interested to find out what level of demand would be sufficient for Verso to consider a re-issue? If they knew several hundred would commit to buying a second edition would that suffice, or would it require thousands, tens of thousands?

I support this call and it remains an important work as is the whole LBO project.

67

William Timberman 08.04.12 at 2:13 pm

Me too.. The whens and wheres to be announced here, I hope.

68

PI 08.04.12 at 2:52 pm

(if you choose to re-write this as a substantive comment rather than a snide ad hominem, we will consider posting it – the eds).

69

Norb 08.04.12 at 3:03 pm

I’m in.

70

Andrew 08.04.12 at 3:14 pm

I’m in for $20-30, even though I have no idea what Kickstarter is or how it works. I trust someone will explain if and when this reaches critical mass and DH agrees to go ahead.

71

June Z 08.04.12 at 3:18 pm

Doug has an unusual way of combining a popular style with rigorous research, so a new edition would be welcome. I wonder about the economics of a print edition. How much is needed to cover a generous payment for Doug and his researchers, after which an online edition could be downloaded for a donation? I’ll pledge $200 for any form of an update.

72

June Z 08.04.12 at 4:06 pm

Moderator: Please add to my previous comment the following:
Doug has also been an early warner on other issues, like Social Security. This LBO, http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/AntisocInsec.html from 1998, was the first, as far as I know, to critique the SS Trustees for their assumptions, which led to their predictions of a funding crisis. Thus the push to reduce “entitlements”.

73

david 08.04.12 at 4:54 pm

Speaking for a couple we’re good for 200

74

dsquared 08.04.12 at 5:09 pm

would be interested to find out what level of demand would be sufficient for Verso to consider a re-issue?

My understanding is that the copyright has now reverted from Verso to Doug (hence the free download), and that the state of publisher/author relations is such that requests from Verso to bring out a second edition now that they realise there’s money in it might be met with a salty response.

75

aepxc 08.04.12 at 5:31 pm

Read this book cover-to-cover in a day after seeing the post on HBR. Brilliant work Mr Henwood! I’d gladly be in for at least $100. The ideas deserve a wider hearing and the author deserves a much bigger reward for it than he has gotten so far.

76

Rakesh Bhandari 08.04.12 at 5:45 pm

My guess is that the comparison of Brenner’s work with Henwood’s would go some way to explaining why Verso let the copyright revert to Henwood. Do crises originate in the real sector as a result of the globalization of production or in the financial sector as a result of a Minsky cycle? Was the Japanese bank led system in fact superior to Anglo American financial model? If the difficulties originate in the financial sector, then how do we account for nonfinancial corporate businesses having more than $1.5 trillion in
financial assets available to them, money they could invest tomorrow if they saw any need to do so, as Bruce Bartlett recently asked in the New York Times.

77

JBPlatt 08.04.12 at 5:52 pm

I would also be very much in, to the extent I’m able. It’s an excellent idea.

78

Cosma Shalizi 08.04.12 at 6:38 pm

Chiming in that I, too, would love to see this happen and cheerfully pledge $100.

79

Peter Hovde 08.04.12 at 8:01 pm

In for 20.

80

Allen Riddell 08.04.12 at 8:50 pm

unglue.it is trying to be a platform for these kinds of projects. They worked with Open Book Publishers to reissue Ruth H. Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa. Might be worth checking out.

81

Alex Blaze 08.04.12 at 9:06 pm

I’d buy the book for whatever it sold for.

82

Mike Kretzler 08.04.12 at 9:37 pm

Count me in!

83

Katherine 08.04.12 at 10:06 pm

So I guess someone now needs to tell Doug Henwood about all these people clamouring to give him cash?

84

Elizabeth 08.04.12 at 11:03 pm

What a good idea. I would contribute (and buy several copies of the new edition).

85

js. 08.04.12 at 11:38 pm

In for 20. More depending on how long I have to contribute.

86

Henkkamaukka 08.05.12 at 12:24 am

40€ from Finland. Where do I sign up?

87

Alisa Bechtel 08.05.12 at 1:12 am

I’m in. And for $100. Not because Henry suggested it–well, having read about the anchoring effect, maybe because Henry suggested it.

88

Henry 08.05.12 at 1:58 am

The idea here was to see if there was a sufficient groundswell to see if this was worth taking further. I think that there is, but obviously, the decision is up to Doug, who is aware of the existence of this thread, and has separately raised the possibility on his own blog. Also, as Kieran notes above, doing a proper Kickstarter campaign that will do more than appeal to the already convinced (of whom there are, obviously, a considerable number), will likely require some thought and careful setup. In other words, if this turns into something, I suspect it will not be for a little while. Obviously, I will be happy to keep people informed of further developments. I will blog it, and if it is OK with people, I will use the email addresses of those who have expressed interest in this thread to write an update …

89

William Timberman 08.05.12 at 3:23 am

…if it is OK with people, I will use the email addresses of those who have expressed interest in this thread to write an update …

It’s certainly okay with me.

90

Rakesh Bhandari 08.05.12 at 6:02 am

What is it that Wall Street does? Mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, proprietary trading and of course securitization of income flows especially insofar as it amounted to the selling of snake oil. We certainly need Henwood’s lucidity and empirical mastery to explain this to us.

I would be very interested in what Henwood would have to say about securitization.
There is some Hilferding bashing in Henwood’s book as there is in Sherri Berman’s book. And that may well be justified given the positions of the older Hilferding.

But let’s take the young Hilferding in Finance Capital and see what he said about what he called promoters’ profit.

Here’s his example, and I am trying to figure out to the extent that it throws light on the recent activity of Wall Street.

Start with an industrial firm with a capital of 1,000,000 marks that makes a profit of 150,000 marks with the average profit of 15 percent.

With an interest rate of 5% straight capitalization of income of 150,000 marks will have an estimated price of 3,000,000 marks (150,000/.05=3,000,000 marks)

A deduction of 20,000 marks for the various administration costs and directors fees would make the actual payment to shareholders 130,000 rather 150,000 marks

A risk premium of, say, 2% would be added to a fixed safe rate of interest of 5% in estimating the actual stock price

So what, then, is the stock price (130,000/.07)? 1,857,143 or roughly 1,900.000 marks

This 900,000 is free after deducting the initial investment of 1,000,000 marks

The balance of 900, 000 marks appears as promoters’ profit which arises from the conversion of profit-bearing capital into interest bearing capital.

In 1910, Hilferding called this promoters profit, an economic category sui generis; it is earned by the promoter by selling of stocks or the securitizing of income on the capital market.

For Hilferding the investment bank, which promotes the conversion of profit-bearing to interest-bearing capital, claims the promoters profit.

The analysis seems pertinent to the securitization process today, and I would love to hear Henwood’s and others’ thoughts about this.

As Roubini and Mihm have pointed out, we have seen the securitization of mortgages, consumer loans, student loans, auto loans, airplane leases, revenues from forests and mines, delinquent tax liens, radio tower loans, boat loans, state revenues, the royalties of rock bands!

We have seen, in their words, an explosion in the selling of future income of dependable projected revenue streams such as rents or interest payments on mortgage payments as securities.

That securitization been driven by investors’ quest for yield lift given the low rate of interest, itself the result of the global savings glut and Fed policy.

And it seems that Wall Street, with the connivance of the credit agencies, was able to appropriate value from the purchasers of securities by understating the risk premia. The risk premium and promoters’ profit are inversely correlated so there is a strong incentive to understate the former.

91

Tim Worstall 08.05.12 at 8:15 am

Kickstarters are incredibly easy to set up. Even I’ve managed it. On exactly this basis, as an advance to research and write a book. Whether I’ll be sucessful or not is another matter.

But given the above comments I wouldn’t doubt that Henwood would be successful. The secret seems to be the ability to make the campaign go viral. Get all those Twitter and Facebook accounts telling everyone about it. If that can be achieved then something in the $30-$50k range as an advance seems achievable. The reward being at some low donation an e-copy, at some higher perhaps a physical one.

“Forget Kickstarter. Henwood should write a new book, self-publish it for the Kindle and keep all the money.”

All the Kickstarter money (minus 5% of Kickstarter, 3-5% for Amazon processing the payments) would go to Henwood. Then minus the cost of any rewards. Then the book is self-published (Kindle, paper copy, whatever) and Henwood keeps that money minus production costs too.

The difference with Kickstarter as opposed to a publisher’s advance is that you don’t have to earn out the Kickstarter money. Deliver the rewards and you’re done.

92

onymous 08.05.12 at 12:25 pm

I’d be in for at least $50, maybe $100.

93

Henwood fan 08.05.12 at 2:59 pm

Absolutely in for $50

94

Porlock Junior 08.06.12 at 2:22 am

I’m in, $100 ante.

He’s lucky to have the copyright. Well, luck had little to do with it, I’m sure. Anyway I know an author (knew — deceased) whose book was so successful in its niche that it became a standard. At copyright renewal time, a revised edition made sense, especially since he had actually learned new things and modified some early opinions. Rewrote the intro material and the notes and index (not the main text, because it was a translated edition of a classic work in the field). Publisher wouldn’t publish it, saying that it failed peer review. The problem, they explained, was that you can’t put controversial new ideas in a classic that’s being used in university courses.

That was an academic press, not a tiny Left one. No controversies allowed. And not a third-rate Christian University or anything.

No such problem for Henwood, and remember the advice in this thread to be careful about the terms of your book deal.

95

Jeremy Thompson 08.06.12 at 3:01 am

In for $25.

96

js. 08.06.12 at 4:46 am

I will blog it, and if it is OK with people, I will use the email addresses of those who have expressed interest in this thread to write an update …</blockquote

Henry,

There’s a very good possibility that my listed email address on this site will cease to be functional soon-ish. If and when this happens, I will of course enter a new functioning address into the required field. But if you’re planning to send an email to those who have expressed interest in contributing, would it be best if I emailed you an email address of mine that definitely won’t be expiring? (Not sure how you’ll be collecting email addresses I guess.)

97

mozzie 08.06.12 at 12:47 pm

I’m in for $10. PayPal-ed it.
PDF version has many unnecessary spaces that split words, making it very trying to read. Seems to be independent of reader … Acrobat Win7 or Goodreader on Ipad.

98

Henry 08.06.12 at 3:38 pm

js. – sure, send it.

mozzie – some software problem as I recall – the version of the DTP program that he used to reformat the Verso text wasn’t quite the same as the one that had been used to do it in the first instance, resulting in spaces popping up where they shouldn’t.

99

Rakesh Bhandari 08.06.12 at 10:49 pm

Interesting that Stiglitz complains that US CEOs have the power to set their compensation independently of the interests of shareholders. But this seems to suggest the relative powerlessness of Henwoods rentiers. Also consider the amount of cash companies are holding onto and not paying out as dividends

100

Rakesh Bhandari 08.06.12 at 11:13 pm

Given the history of the devolution of populist agitation against “money men” or rentiers or Wall Street or bankers or investment bankers or central bankers as a synecdoche for anti-capitalist critique, I warn today as I did upon the publication of Henwood’s book of the way that it frames critique of the system. It’s neither what Boltanski and Chiapello would call a social critique nor an artistic critique. One should pause today of the cover depiction of Wall Street in cross hairs.

101

john mcgowan 08.07.12 at 12:25 am

I am in for $100.

102

John Quiggin 08.07.12 at 3:20 am

A fascinating example of the anchoring effect, despite Henry’s disclaimer. I’ll put in $100.

103

Clive Thompson 08.07.12 at 3:28 am

I’m in. I still have my Wall Street hardcover I bought back in the 90s and would dig an update!

104

Rakesh Bhandari 08.07.12 at 4:37 am

The Onion headline still holds: “Economy in Recession. New Bubble Needed”. John Cassidy or Robt Pollin recently quoted Paul Sweezy, circa 1987: “What growth the economy has experienced in recent years, apart from that attributable to an unprecedented peacetime military buildup, has been almost entirely due to the financial explosion.” By creating the securitization machine–worth perhaps $2.7 trillion in 2007 IIRC–Wall Street gave the real economy a source of growth that it could not itself generate. People understood that as long as it lasted, and that is probably why criticism of it was muted at the time.

105

Rajeev 08.07.12 at 1:45 pm

I’m in for $100.

106

sanbikinoraion 08.07.12 at 2:00 pm

Sign me up for $20 if the result is a free e-copy later. That’s basically just like pre-order.

107

Ot de Wiljes 08.07.12 at 2:41 pm

Sounds like a riveting read. As long as the payment process is not particularly onerous, count me in for €20.

108

Ingrid Robeyns 08.07.12 at 7:29 pm

I’m late to the party (and not spending much time on the web these days due to very patchy internet access) but I’d like to join the kick starter too. If Doug Henwood wants to get max audience and is (able to be) happy with a limited sum he can earn with a revised edition, I’d second the recommendation to check out unglue.it and Open Books. (though OB implicitly assumes that authors need not make a living from their writings).

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Solar Hero 08.07.12 at 11:04 pm

Read Wall Street in 1998, it is the pride of my library. I’d contribute. You got my number, I’m sure I’ll hear about it on Behind the News on KPFA (available for free download in their archives, isn’t that awesome?)

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Nikete 08.08.12 at 12:46 am

Im in.

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Stephen Cheng 08.08.12 at 4:12 pm

I’d love to help out too.

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