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A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity by Luigi Zingales

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5

BAILOUT NATION

/ get elected by voters, I get financed by contributors. Voters don’t care about this, contributors do.

—Unnamed US representative1

IN FEBRUARY 2009, DURING ONE OF THE DARKEST PERIODS following the 2008 financial crisis, I was approached by two young entrepreneurs who wanted to pitch an idea for a startup. The idea was to bypass banks in the lending process. One of the problems facing the economy in the aftermath of the crisis was a lack of loans, especially for individuals and small firms. To make such loans, you need both specific expertise and capital. But the majority of banks, though they retained most of their expertise, were lacking capital following their large losses in real estate lending. The entrepreneurs wanted to ...

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