Whoops! Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay

I’ve just finished reading John Lanchester’s account of the credit crunch, the excellently titled “Whoops!”. I’m not particularly up to date with finance, banking or economics but I now understand a lot more about what has happened, why it happened, and why it’ll probably happen again. (In the epilogue, Lanchester sticks his neck out and makes a prediction: within the next 5-10 years, due to either a collapse of the eurozone, automated trading failure, or a bubble bursting in China.)

I really enjoyed reading Whoops! and now understand a bit more about sub-prime, credit default swaps, and international banking reguations. The real genius of the book, for me, is not just the in-depth understanding he manages to convey but also the wonderfully erudite style. There aren’t that many writers who can compare global financial instruments to post-modernism and get way with it. The way he manages to get across the kinds of risk – and the kinds of models of risk – that the banking industry deal with is also remarkably clear. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny in places, particularly if you like that dry, sarcastic humour he does so well. A top book; if you’d like to get a handle on what’s happened, I can’t recommend it enough.

Here’s an amazon link, it’s got 4.5 stars there too, so I’m not the only one who likes it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *