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The Committee to Destroy the World

Book Description

An updated examination of what's weakening the U.S. economy, and how to fix it

The Committee to Destroy the World: Inside the Plot to Unleash a Super Crash on the Global Economy is a passionate and informed analysis of the struggling global economy. In this masterfully conceived and executed work, Michael Lewitt, one of Wall Street's most respected market strategists and money managers, updates his groundbreaking examination of the causes of the 2008 crisis and argues that economic and geopolitical conditions are even more unstable today. His analysis arrives in time for the impending economic and geopolitical debates of the 2016 election season. Lewitt explains in detail how debt has now overrun the world's capacity, how federal policies of the past few decades have created a downward vortex sapping growth and vitality from the American economy, and how greed and corruption are preventing reform.

The financial crisis created tens of trillions of debt, leaving investors to pay a huge price for these policy failures:

  • The highest asset inflation we've seen in our lifetimes, although the government claims there isn't enough inflation
  • More than $2 trillion of stock buybacks funded with low cost debt that are artificially inflating stock prices
  • The Federal Reserve and other global central banks becoming the largest buyers of government debt in order to suppress interest rates
  • An M&A boom resulting from companies needing to find growth outside of their core businesses

While the financial media misses the story, Lewitt pulls no punches explaining how all of these trends are leading to the brink of another crisis.

Lewitt lays out a survival plan for the average investor to protect their assets when the debt bubble bursts. The first edition of this book expressed hope that policymakers would not let the financial crisis go to waste. This book urges investors to learn from the crushed hope and take action before the next crisis.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction The Committee to Destroy the World
    1. A Regulatory Theocracy
    2. A Crisis Wasted
    3. The Death of Fiscal Policy
    4. Monetary Policy Follies
    5. Out-of-Control Global Debt
    6. Untamed Derivatives
    7. Market Corruption
    8. The Geopolitics of Appeasement
    9. We Are On an Unsustainable Economic Path
    10. America Must Make a Choice
    11. A Few Words about This Book
    12. Notes
  3. Chapter 1 The 2008 Crisis— Tragedy or Farce?
    1. The Death of Capital
    2. Seeds of Instability
    3. A Word on Speculation
    4. Financialization
    5. The Corruption of Moral Sentiments
    6. Low Rates and Lax Rules
    7. The Global Liquidity Bubble
    8. A Crisis of Confidence
    9. Why Finance Matters
    10. Global Threats Require Systemic Stability
    11. Notes
  4. Chapter 2 The Death of Capital
    1. The Four Essential Characteristics of Capital
    2. How Capital Dies
    3. The Failure of Risk Management
    4. Notes
  5. Chapter 3 Capital Ideas
    1. Adam Smith and the Tyranny of Crowds
    2. Karl Marx and the Origins of Opacity
    3. John Maynard Keynes
    4. Hyman Minsky
    5. Lessons on Capital from the Masters
    6. Notes
  6. Chapter 4 Empty Promises
    1. Promises Aren’t What They Used to Be
    2. The Digitalization of Promises
    3. Collateralized Mortgage Obligations
    4. HSBC Drinks the Mortgage Kool-Aid
    5. A Fetish Is Not a Promise
    6. Notes
  7. Chapter 5 Financialization
    1. Money Begetting Money
    2. Power Begetting Power
    3. Theories of Financialization
    4. The Monetization of Values
    5. Notes
  8. Chapter 6 From Innovators to Undertakers
    1. The History of Private Equity Funds
    2. From Boom to Bust
    3. Private Equity Fees: The New Agency Problem
    4. The Myth of Private Equity Returns
    5. Men Behaving Badly
    6. Private Equity and Cheap Debt: Birds of a Feather Flop Together
    7. Private Equity Goes Public: A Study in the Oxymoronic
    8. Taxing Labor as Capital
    9. Calling Dr. Kevorkian?
    10. Private Equity: The Damage Done
    11. Reform of Private Equity Firms
    12. Notes
  9. Chapter 7 Welcome to Jurassic Park
    1. Isla Nublar
    2. The New DNA of Finance
    3. Warning Signs
    4. Dinosaurs Turn on Their Makers
    5. Bear Stearns: First Casualty
    6. American International Group (AIG)— Second Casualty
    7. The Bond Insurers—Third Casualty
    8. Taming the Beasts (Regulating Credit Derivatives)
    9. Notes
  10. Chapter 8 The Road to Hell
    1. Satan in the Garden
    2. Reverse Black Swans
    3. Birth of the Prudent Man
    4. The Fallacy of Diversification
    5. Notes
  11. Chapter 9 Finance after Armageddon
    1. Obama Goes to Wall Street
    2. Principles of Reform
    3. Impose a Tax on Speculation
    4. End Balkanized Regulation
    5. Too Big to Fail
    6. Improving Capital Adequacy
    7. Reforming Monetary Policy
    8. Enhancing Systemic Transparency
    9. Notes
  12. Chapter 10 Unfinished Business
    1. Monetary Policy
    2. Fiscal Policy and the Federal Deficit
    3. Tax Reform
    4. Domestic Policy
    5. Notes
  13. Chapter 11 How to Save Yourself
    1. Gold
    2. Absolute Return Strategies
    3. Equities
    4. Income-Generating Securities
    5. Conclusion
    6. Notes
  14. Conclusion: “This Is Later”
    1. Notes
  15. Bibliography and Other Sources
  16. About the Author
  17. Index
  18. EULA