Protecting Capitalism Case by Case
“Eliot Spitzer, a dedicated advocate for the public interest, writes with wisdom born of his experience in fighting for what is right and good for the people of New York State and the U.S. Protecting Capitalism Case by Case illuminates some of the greatest threats to sustainable capitalism and prescribes solutions to help to mark a clear-headed path forward.” —Al Gore
Eliot Spitzer built his reputation as Attorney General of New York by redefining the role and purpose of the public prosecutor. The cases he brought against the largest corporations on Wall Street and others—both criminal and civil—targeted pervasive misconduct and structural flaws in the economy that were metastasizing in the years leading up to 2008. The cases themselves and the remedies they produced were precedent setting.
Today, after the financial crisis has exposed the faults that were brewing and the ever-expanding gap between the 1% and the 99%, it is clear that Eliot Spitzer was prescient.
This is Eliot Spitzer’s first account of the high-profile cases he prosecuted, initially as an assistant district attorney and later as Attorney General. The book is organized by the lessons that can be learned from these cases. Well-written and argued in the first person, this is an account only Eliot Spitzer could write. The book describes the tension between capitalism, for which Eliot Spitzer is a staunch advocate, and the need for government to rein in excesses and protect those who cannot protect themselves.
This is a book for anyone interested in the positive force of government and the behaviors and economic roles of the largest American corporations. Its message is that we will always need a vigilant government presence, and that ultimately American capitalism will be better for it.
Government's Place in the Market
As New York State Attorney General from 1998 to 2006, Eliot Spitzer successfully pursued corporate crime, including stock price inflation, securities fraud, and predatory lending practices. Drawing on those experiences, in this book Spitzer considers when and how the government should intervene in the workings of the market. The 2009 American bank bailout, he argues, was the wrong way: it understandably turned government intervention into a flashpoint for public disgust because it socialized risk, privatized benefit, and left standing institutions too big to fail, incompetent regulators, and deficient corporate governance. That’s unfortunate, because good regulatory policy, he claims, can make markets and firms work efficiently, equitably, and in service of fundamental public values.
Spitzer lays out the right reasons for government intervention in the market: to guarantee transparency, to overcome market failures, and to guard our core values against the market’s unfair biases such as racism. With specific proposals to serve those ends—from improving corporate governance to making firms responsible for their own risky behavior—he offers a much-needed blueprint for the proper role of government in the market. Finally, taking account of regulatory changes since the crash of 2008, he suggests how to rebuild public trust in government so real change is possible.