Even German Chancellor Merkel recently said that even though the big national banks are working together (that’s how scared shitless they are), and the stock markets bumped up last week, this is not over – a marathon, said she.
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World does a great job explaining how we got into this teetering tower and pointing to some of the fault lines in whatever is keeping the financial world upright.
However, if you’re prone to sleepless nights, tossing and turning over stuff that you might not be able to do much about, probably you should skip this read.
Just hop and skip to the store and buy gold and guns, as one of Lewis’ interview subjects (who got rich betting that the housing bubble was going to burst) recommends. Because next up is not more big banks going bust but big countries like Italy and France and Japan. And the US, of course.
The guns and gold thing isn’t too helpful, though, if you’re like me and can’t afford gold (except maybe a couple fillings) and as a Buddhist, guns are just not cool – I hope that I wouldn’t shoot somebody just because they wanted my last can of Dinty Moore chili and my last bottle of water. I hope.
Anyway, I enjoyed book. It helped me practice my pathology some, catastrophizing like crazy, digging into the juicy details of how the financial bubble burst in 2008. On the more wholesome side, there’s also truth for the sake of truth and looking the current world square in the eye with as little delusion as possible.
Confessing our delusions could have been a really good practice last decade because in a flavor that resonates with national character, that’s exactly not what most of us did, so says Michael Lewis. We practiced our delusions like a shopper on Black Friday.
Lewis writes in a compelling and entertaining way about his travels to what he calls the new third world – Iceland (the most segregated country in the world with a different political party women and men), Greece (the biggest mess in the world), Ireland (the least normal place in the world), Germany (the people most interested in shit), and California (not a county, but the state whose municipalities will collapse just after the above).
No offense intended, btw, above I’m simply summarizing Lewis. I haven’t been to Ireland or Iceland so I don’t really know. I am part German, though, and so can say with some authority that Germans are into shit. And order. Kinda goes together somehow.
What to do? Practice sitting through it all. And just to be safe, next time you’re at the store, buying some extra batteries, jugs of water, and some tofu. Anybody who’d kill for tofu, well, no gun on earth would stop ’em anyway.