Friday, November 14, 2008

The Liar's Poker Author Takes on the Current Financial Crisis

I haven't had time to read this in detail but I've read enough to think this guy's onto something about how we got where we are today, financially:
[NOTE: Rated TV-M for coarse language and financial carnage]

The author of this piece is Michael Lewis, who penned Liar's Poker in 1989 at the end of the Gordon Gekko 80's. He's got the "science writer's" flair, as in he can summarize well, although whether he's right or wrong is harder to judge (as in the writing of the late Michael Crichton). Lewis talks about how he sees this crisis as being an extension of those policies, with a sentence I know I can agree with:

"[After the 80's ...] The changes were camouflage. They helped distract outsiders from the truly profane event: the growing misalignment of interests between the people who trafficked in financial risk and the wider culture."

Notably missing: What to do about it apart from a massive societal attitude adjustment. As Suzie Orman says, we're moving from a credit society to a pay-as-you-go society. Which is why, as in my previous post about these things, I doubt that the market will rebound quickly, and think a philosophical shift may be in order. But what happens then?

Dangit Jim, I'm a biochemist, not a banker ...

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