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The Author Speaks

Excerpt From 'Age of Greed'

Jeff Madrick argues our current economic woes result from 4 decades of bad decisions

In the 1990s, an era of deceit helped promote the speculative bubble in high-technology and telecom stocks that carried forward from 1995 to 2000. Good money was invested after bad in one absurdist dream after another, justified by Wall Street analysts who were paid handsomely to exaggerate or deceive investors outright about company prospects. Accounting fraud reached new heights across corporate America, with the help and approval of the most prestigious accounting firms. Under-the-table compensation to high-technology executives and institutional investors promoted still higher prices. The Nasdaq Composite Index reached a high of about 5,000 in March 2000 only to fall to just above 1,000 thirty months later. Enron and WorldCom went bust, the soaring early success of both due to accounting fraud and misleading Wall Street analysis. Several trillion dollars of value was lost overall. As late as the fall of 2010, the Nasdaq was still 50 percent below its 2000 high. Overall, capital investment rose in the 1990s as a proportion of GDP, but many hundreds of billions of dollars of it turned out to be wasted. … Back to Article

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