Clue: "Hell is empty, and all the devils are here."
--Shakespeare, The Tempest
As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?
According to authors Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is . . all of the above -- and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the US economy.
And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, reminds us of the legend of the blind men and the elephant -- almost everyone has missed the big picture; almost no one has put all the pieces together.
All the Devils Are Here is the name of this book that does put all the pieces together. In a way no previous book has done, it takes us back 30 years to begin weaving together the fascinating but previously hidden historical roots of the financial crisis,. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians, . . to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders, weaving them all into a tapestry of crystal clear explanation. Along the way it delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership, and argues that the crisis ultimately wasn't so much about finance as it was about human nature.
Among the "devils' you'll meet in vivid detail are those that possessed the following people:
Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure -- and the outsized profits -- of the sleaziest subprime lending.