A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
Each weekend I try to view selected portions of C-SPAN’s Book-TV, forty-eight hours of recorded author readings of nonfiction now hitting the shelves, and sometimes six-hour segments covering book festivals around the U.S. C-SPAN is supported by most cable and satellite TV providers, so check your listings. You can view any reading at Book-TV’s Web site. And if you do wish to tune in, you can download and print a copy of the weekend’s schedule off the Web site. Below I profile an August 7, 2017 presentation I found very compelling.
I’m always a sucker for a provocative title, but I’m particularly drawn in when the content of the book delivers on the title’s punch. In a recent C-SPAN Book-TV presentation of his Chickenshit Club, Eisinger takes readers into the bowels of the 2008 financial meltdown and explains why neither the CEOs nor the corporations they headed were ever prosecuted, why individuals responsible for such bad deeds never went to prison. Not to give away too much, Eisinger’s explanation is at once simple and complex.
Simply, Department of Justice officials are afraid of certain aspects, for example, so-called collateral consequences, in which innocent employees lose their jobs when a corporation is put out of business. To explore the complexities, Eisenger lays out the history of why our country has arrived at this point where the financial-sector tail is wagging the law. He concludes that without individual accountability reforms are meaningless. Hedge fund managers and CEOs continue their heinous practices knowing they have an excellent chance of not going to prision.
In a perfect world the author would recommend, one, paying prosecutors much more money so they will have the incentive to work as hard as they would for private law firms that can pay more. Two, he recommends diversity in hiring, not merely more women and persons of color, but individuals from different parts of the country, who have graduated from a variety of law schools, not just the elite ones. Also, he would hire older, esteemed attorneys with a track record and a wider vision of the world, as well as those who have experience in consumer protections. Eisinger’s book expounds on what Matt Taibbi introduces in his excellent book, The Divide. Read both if you’re concerned about the fragile yet powerful world of finance.
NEXT TIME: My Book World