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"Plunder" By Brendan Ballou

Private equity surrounds us. Firms like Blackstone, Carlyle, and KKR are among the largest employers in America and hold assets that rival those of small countries. Yet few understand what these firms are or how they work.

In his new book, Plunder, Brendan Ballou illustrates how private equity has reshaped American business by raising prices, reducing quality, cutting jobs, and shifting resources from productive to unproductive parts of the economy. Forced to take on huge debts and pay extractive fees, companies purchased by private equity firms are often left bankrupt, or shells of their former selves, with consequences to communities that long depended on them. But, though it often has the support of various arms of the government, Ballou believes private equity can be stopped from wreaking further havoc.

Brendan Ballou is a federal prosecutor and served as Special Counsel for Private Equity in the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. He also served in the National Security Division of the Justice Department, where he advised the White House on counterterrorism and other policies.

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