Boomerang – Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis – Review by Bill Dahl

Boomerang – Travels in the New Third World is the result of author/investigative journalist Michael Lewis expedition abroad…to find out what happened in the EU to countries like Greece, Ireland, Iceland and Germany — as a result (ongoing) of the global financial crisis that began (?) in 2007.

Frankly, the level of absurdity that became reality/ordinary course leading up to the financial cataclysm within these countries is baffling, it’s laughable – then again, it’s not funny at all. It’s the story of what happens during the life cycle of an economic bubble, which Lewis defines as follows:

“A bubble is inflated by nothing firmed than people’s expectations. The moment that people cease to believe that house prices will rise forever, they will notice what a terrible long term investment real estate has become, and flee the market, and the market will crash….it was sustainable so long as it went unquestioned and it went unquestioned as long as it appeared sustainable.” (pp.90-91)

You simply must read this book (written for the layperson – translation: MBA NOT required to thoroughly enjoy it). The humor in the book is unanticipated and will likely make some howl with spontaneous laughter.

I’ll use a quote near the end of this book to capture how I felt when I had completed it:

“All the forces in the state are lined up to preserve the status quo. To preserve the delusion. And here – this place – is where reality hits.” (p. 199).

Unfortunately (or fortunately), Boomerang leaves one with the unavoidable impression thta:

1. The “delusion” of preserving things the way they are regarding national, state and municipal government financing – is just that – a delusion.

2. To expound “sunny economic days” will be here by next week – is delusional.

3. As Friedman and Mandelbaum state in their newest book, ” One thing we know for sure: The path to a happy ending begins with the awareness that something is wrong, that changes are necessary, and that we the people have to be the agents of those changes.” (p.348 – “That Used to Be Us”).

To garner a more complete appreciation for a. what is wrong b. the necessary changes c. how to become an agent of said change — one would truly benefit from reading Boomerang.

I did. I hope you will too.

 

 

Lake Chapala – Beneath the Surface

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