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Disasters are generally caused by bad ideas. There was the theory that government should guarantee housing loans and that the Federal Reserve could inflate our way to prosperity. There were the regulators, who thought risk could be eliminated by 1,000-page rulebooks. And there were the academics, who thought capitalism with massive debt and “scientific management” control was just as good as the real thing. In Alchemists of Loss, authors Kevin Dowd and Martin Hutchinson take each to task and show how all combined in bringing our financial markets to the brink.