Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

I just read two books by Michael Lewis. 


The first was his latest book called Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World. Love that title! The book gives some eye-popping background and tragic [and sometimes hliarious] narrative to the financial collapse in Greece, Iceland and Ireland. A great book if you want to understand the current-day woes Europe and the challenges it faces. Surprisingly short. Felt more like the first half of a book than the whole thing  . ..  but a great read.

What I found most interesting in Boomerang was how much much blame for the Greek mess Lewis assigns to the Vatopaidi monks, an historic reversal when you think of how the economic corruption of the church 500 years ago was cleaned up by a different set of European monks who launched the Reformation.

“In a society that has endured something like a total moral collapse, its monks had somehow become the single universally acceptable target of moral outrage.” Lewis, on the Vatapaidi monks

As I suggested in Ka-ching in the Ka-church, it’s time for another Reformation. In fact, I think there are a lot of parallels between then and now.

The other book by Michael Lewis was The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which reads like a financial thriller as it traces the story of the Wall Street subprime collapse in 2008 and those who gambled on its demise, and won. I remember being in San Francisco in 2008, praying for the economy and here I am in San Francisco again, still trying to get my head around this gigantic disaster and the invention of these complicated financial instruments that hardly anyone, including the bankers selling them, really understood. 

Economics IS the conversation of our moment. I also recommend Economics of Good and Evil (2011) by Tomas Sedlaćek for a more philosophical understanding of our time and The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business by Umair Haque as a way for business to do good and create a better world.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.

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