Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of Michael Lewis' "Boomerang"

Michael Lewis captured many of the elements of the financial crisis and now looming threats to sovereign debt, since nations have decided to socialize the risks taken by reckless banks. His book examines the financial crisis from the viewpoints of Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany and the United States. The compelling question he raises is: Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, what did these people do with it?
While there is a great depth to the reporting and witty writing, there appears to be a lot of missing parts. He didn't look at Asia with Japan's lingering malaise after its bubble burst in the early 1990s or China, the world's second largest economy with an abundance of poor people. However, a lot of eyes are on China to subsidize the folly of relatively affluent Westerners. He also hasn't looked at other emerging markets. In a topsy turvy world, emerging markets are now deemed less risky than many euro-zone nations. His coverage of the U.S. was centered on California, which is a financial basket case. But there is so much more of the story to tell about the financial crisis in the U.S. None of the people who were victims of subprime loan fraud were interviewed. The incomplete feel of the book led to a one star deduction.

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