Acton Institute Powerblog

Books on the Financial Crisis

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David L. Bahnsen, a good friend of Acton, has begun a series of reviews of books on the financial crisis. No doubt, he’ll have many to review in the months ahead.

Here’s from Bahnsen’s latest, a review of Greenspan’s Bubbles by William Fleckinstein:

When someone in the position of authority and reputation as the chief central banker of the world decides to preach the new paradigm of eternal productivity, he encourages others to join particular sides of trades that may be wholly inappropriate. That influence is not welcome. Greenspan has done a lot to tarnish his legacy, but I believe the “age of bubbles” Greenspan reigned over should be known as the era in which the Federal Reserve chairman decided to take on the role of economic deity in our society. He was not good at it, because it was not his proper role. Our markets function better without central bankers playing the role of cheerleaders.

Bahnsen, a financial planner and investment manager, serves on the Blackstone Faculty of the Alliance Defense Fund, and is a Cooperating Board member of the Center for Cultural Leadership, where he is the Senior Fellow of Economics and Finance.

David describes himself as …

a disciple of Milton Friedman, a lover of Ronald Reagan, and a “National Review kind of conservative.” His writings strive to reflect an ideology of freedom principles integrated with transcendent truths. His hero is his late father, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, but he is pretty fond of John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, F.A. Hayek, Winston Churchill, C.S. Lewis, William Buckley, Margaret Thatcher, George Gilder, Steve Forbes, and Larry Kudlow as well. When he is not being so serious, he also admires Tiger Woods and Pete Carroll.

Also, take a look at his musings on “Marketplace & Calling.”

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Roger McKinney

    Very interesting perspective! Also, I think it helps to compare the attitude of the clergy to medicine. The Bible speaks only of prayer and anointing with oil and wine as means of healing, but no clergy would advocate those methods and those methods alone as means of healing sick people. The clergy have a great deal of respect for the medical profession. They don’t try to heal sick people or perform surgeries. They refer sick people to medical doctors.

    But when it comes to helping the poor, they limit their knowledge and advice exclusively to that in the Bible. Giving is their only prescription. That happens because most clergy are still stuck in medieval economic theory, which they mistake for Biblical economics. Socialism is nothing but a revival of medieval economics. What a disaster the Church would be if it was still stuck in medieval medicine!

    At the same time, clergy must reclaim their role as prophets. OT prophets refused to accept that everything the state did was legal, right or good. Even John the Baptist opposed the king of Israel in his day. Clergy today have been fooled by the claim to sanctity on the part of democracy. They have absorbed the worldly concept of the hallowed nature of the will of the majority. The clergy should repent of this idolatry and challenge the government when it violates God’s laws, as did Biblical prophets. In the sphere of economics, that means challenging the state when it violates God-given private property rights.

    A good place for the clergy to start would be to read the article by Wilhelm Roepke from 1954 reprinted at

  • Roger McKinney

    Sorry! I posted the above on the wrong article!

  • thanks for this!

    Mute just posted a review of the crisis book genre:

    Failure to Moderate Excess: A Round-Up of Crisis Chronicles
    By William Dixon

    Now the dust has settled on the collapse of the banking industry, William Dixon looks back at some crisis bestsellers and finds their limit in a lack of systemic analysis and insistence on reform