Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist, is famous for his analysis of information asymmetry, a phenomenon which causes markets to be inefficient because the players have incomplete and therefor insufficient information to make the best choices. A completely deregulated free market is not a good thing, he says; markets can benefit from wise government intervention. He calls the recession we are now facing the worst since the Great Depression. His explanations are quite accessible even to the layperson, e.g. this article, Reversal of Fortune in Vanity Fair, and his interviews and lectures are worth watching/listening to (I’m including some videos below):
On the subprime mortgage crisis, 10 April 2008 (8:08)
On the fall of Lehman Brothers (6:18)
His other big topic, the true cost of the Iraq War, is almost diappearing behind the current crisis, but it will come back to haunt us. According to the book, Americans will spend decades treating the physical and psychological wounds of Iraq veterans, and when the economic consequences of the invasion are taken into account, the costs are staggering.
On the true costs of the Iraq War, 19 Sept. 2008 (1:05:53)