Makers and Takers by Rana Foroohar
  • Title: Makers and Takers
  • Subtitle: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street
  • Author(s): Rana Foroohar
  • Publisher: Currency
  • Year: 2016-05-17
  • ISBN-10: 0553447246
  • ISBN-13: 9780553447248


“Makers and Takers” by Rana Foroohar is a compelling and thought-provoking examination of the modern financial system and its impact on our society. With meticulous research and insightful analysis, Foroohar delves into the profound shift from a productive, manufacturing-based economy to a speculative, finance-based economy. She investigates how this transformation has resulted in a widening wealth gap, inadequate job creation, and a vulnerable middle class.

Foroohar explores various aspects of the financial sector, including the rise of shadow banking, offshore tax havens, and the explosion of complex financial instruments. She also examines the regulatory failures and the influence of Wall Street on government policies. Through engaging narratives, Foroohar exposes the consequences of this financialization on real industries, workers, and everyday citizens. She argues for a rebalancing of our economy, promoting a return to a system that rewards true productivity and innovation. “Makers and Takers” is an eye-opening and well-researched critique that compels readers to question the workings of our financial system and consider new approaches for a more equitable and sustainable economy.

Book Review

Rana Foroohar’s “Makers and Takers” takes readers on a deeply insightful journey that reveals the inner workings of our modern financial system and its impact on society. With meticulous research, engrossing storytelling, and a critical eye, Foroohar highlights the concerning shift from a productive, manufacturing-based economy to one dominated by a speculative, finance-centered approach. Through a series of compelling examples, she masterfully illustrates the consequences of this transformation on both individuals and the overall economy.

One of the book’s standout sections focuses on the rise of shadow banking. Foroohar explains how the financial industry, driven by the pursuit of profits, has increasingly turned away from traditional banking practices to engage in riskier and opaque activities. By operating in the shadows, away from regulatory scrutiny, these institutions contribute to the fragility of the financial system. Foroohar demonstrates this through the story of AIG, an insurance company that strayed into derivatives and became ground zero for the 2008 financial crisis. The tale reveals the complex web of interconnectedness and how one institution’s risky behavior can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.

Foroohar also sheds light on the damaging effects of offshore tax havens. Using concrete examples such as the case of Apple, she exposes how multinational corporations exploit legal loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. As a result, governments lose crucial revenue, putting a strain on public services and widening the wealth gap. Foroohar argues that this behavior exacerbates income inequality and calls for significant reforms to rein in tax abuse, ensuring that corporations contribute to the societies from which they profit.

Another captivating aspect of the book explores the influence of Wall Street on government policies. Foroohar demonstrates the revolving door between regulatory bodies and the financial sector, creating a cozy relationship that prioritizes the interests of big banks over those of everyday citizens. Drawing from the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, she reveals how Wall Street’s influence allowed the industry to escape accountability and secure government bailouts at the expense of taxpayers. These revelations underscore the pressing need for regulatory reforms to address the systemic issues that perpetuate the dominance of financial institutions.

Through a comprehensive analysis, Foroohar presents a compelling case for a more balanced and sustainable economy. She advocates for policies that reward true productivity and innovation, rather than speculative activities that disproportionately benefit a select few. By emphasizing the importance of investing in manufacturing, infrastructure, and education, the author offers a blueprint for creating a more inclusive economic system that supports a thriving middle class.

In conclusion, “Makers and Takers” is an essential read for anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of our financial system and its impact on society. Rana Foroohar’s outstanding research, coupled with her engaging storytelling, delivers a powerful wake-up call. By dissecting real-world examples and analyzing the complexities of the financial sector, Foroohar enables readers to grasp the urgent need for reform to ensure an economy that works for the many, not just a privileged few.

Word Count: 495

Target Audience

The book “Makers and Takers” by Rana Foroohar is targeted at a diverse audience interested in understanding the inner workings of the financial system and the societal implications it brings forth. This includes:

  • General Readers Anyone concerned about the state of the economy, income inequality, and the influence of finance on society will find “Makers and Takers” to be a compelling and eye-opening read. Foroohar presents complex concepts in an accessible manner, making it suitable for readers without a background in finance or economics.

  • Policy Makers and Regulators The book provides valuable insights for policymakers and regulators seeking to understand the flaws and risks in the financial system. Foroohar’s research and analysis offer practical recommendations for creating a fairer and more sustainable economic system.

  • Economics and Finance Students “Makers and Takers” serves as an excellent supplementary resource for students studying economics, finance, or related fields. It provides a critical perspective on the functioning of financial markets and the impact of financialization on the broader economy.

  • Activists and Advocates Individuals passionate about social justice, income equality, and the need for financial reform will find “Makers and Takers” to be instrumental in deepening their understanding of the issues at hand. Foroohar encourages readers to challenge the status quo and become advocates for change.

The book is recommended reading because it dives into the complex realm of finance and its intersection with broader societal issues. Foroohar presents a well-researched, balanced, and accessible analysis of the current financial system, making it an engaging read for a wide range of audiences. Moreover, the book’s call for reclaiming a more productive and equitable economy serves as a rallying point for those seeking meaningful change. “Makers and Takers” provides the necessary knowledge and perspective to foster informed discussions, inspire action, and contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding financial reform and economic justice.