Reading articles you get an impression of mayhem, panic and despair. What’s needed is the big picture that links all these scary phenomena. I can’t say that Lanchester’s is the best book on the crisis because it’s still the only one I’ve read but it’s hard to believe it could be bettered. Lanchester is very smart and not afraid of the arrogant obscurantism of the financial community: he shows them up as idiots when they are, as for example when they claim that the Crash was a once in the lifetime of the universe unforeseen event when in fact the conditions that triggered it – a 20% fall in house prices – had already occurred twice in Lanchester’s lifetime.
I can’t recommend this book too strongly. But do things look any brighter when the big picture becomes clearer? I can’t say they do. The financial sector seems to have hi-hacked the economy and the political process entirely for its own ends. There is an almost total disconnect between its self-fulfilling money-making wheezes and the actual economy in which people’s needs are met. If their mad deals make a profit, they win; if they fail and lose trillions, we have to bail them out. It is worse than I thought.