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13 Bankers: Now Available in Romanian!

Who would have guessed?

13 Bankers Receives Award from NCRC

I forgot to mention that back in April, Simon and I won the annual Color of Money Award from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition for the best writing on economic justice. I’m very proud.

Book Review – In French!

13 Bankers received an excellent review by Adrien Auclert in laviedesidées.fr — excellent not only because it was positive, but because of its depth and detail (and twenty footnotes — the large majority independently researched by the author). It begins with a relatively accurate backstory, identifies the key themes of the book, and points out the weakest chapter — the last one, where we tried to come up with policy proposals that would have an impact four months after we wrote them down — all in that tone of literary seriousness characteristic of the French intelligentsia. Having spent a fair amount of time in that world a long time ago, I was tickled to see it.

13 Bankers in Chinese

Published by China CITIC Press. Read all about it here. If you can read Chinese, that is.

The Calomiris-Wallison Citation

On page 144, we write, “The financial crisis was not primarily due to Fannie and Freddie.” That sentence is followed by a footnote (77) that refers to an article by Charles Calomiris and Peter Wallison that, in fact, argues that the crisis was due to Fannie and Freddie. (The article title, which we give in the footnote, is “Blame Fannie Mae and Congress for the Credit Mess.”) This is obviously a mistake on our part.

This is what happened. In the final proofs that we were able to review, that sentence used to read: “We do not subscribe to the theory that the financial crisis is primarily due to Fannie and Freddie,” with the same footnote at the end. In that context, it’s clear that we are citing the Calomiris and Wallison article as an example of that theory.

In the final edits, we decided that this “we do not subscribe to the theory” language was unnecessary scaffolding and an unnecessary use of the first person, so we deleted it. The problem is that without the word “theory,” now it superficially looks like we are citing Calomiris and Wallison to support our position. Since the word “theory” vanished from the text, we should have put it in the footnote, as in, “For an example of this theory, see . . .”

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Exciting New Endorsement

I know that we have a lot of fans in the world of economists and policy wonks, but I am always excited to get endorsements from outside the usual suspects, especially when they are the movers and shakers in the world of culture. So I was very happy to hear that our book  Stephen Metcalf’s official weekly “endorsement” in the latest episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.

Culture Gabfest is a weekly podcast in which Metcalf, Julia Turner, and Dana Stevens discuss major themes and events in the world of popular culture (this week included the SNL episode hosted by Betty White, the fiftieth anniversary of the Pill, and Iron Man 2). Each week each of the hosts endorses something drawn from any genre. (One week Metcalf endorsed his socks. The next week they did the endorsements with fake French accents, which was the funniest thing I have heard in years.) Anyway, Metcalf said some very nice things about the book and the blog, and my heart went pitter-patter.

Oh, and Simon did a segment on the book on PBS NewsHour today, around forty minutes past the hour.

Update: If it wasn’t obvious, the Culture Gabfest is in my usual podcast rotation, along with This American Life, Radiolab, Planet Money, and Fresh Air.

Book Discussion at Huffington Post

(Updated as of May 4.)

So far, we’ve had:

  • Tyler Cowen arguing that it is the government that is calling the shots, not the banks — “It’s our government deciding to assemble a cooperative ruling coalition – which includes banks — at the heart of its fiscal core.”
  • Noam Scheiber arguing that the administration is not trying to break up the banks because it would be too hard to push through Congress.
  • William Black criticizing the administration’s attempts so far to constrain what he calls “systemically dangerous institutions.”
  • Mike Konczal on the other ways in which Wall Street’s culture is affecting the real economy.
  • Mark Thoma on the importance of history and economic history.

We’ve also written three posts of our own about the book on the Huffington Post Books page, on the “banana peel” theory of the crisis, the key charts in the book, and the problems with measuring bank size.

My response to Tyler Cowen is now up.