Joseph Raffetto's Reviews > Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

Boomerang by Michael Lewis
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's review
Oct 20, 12

Read in December, 2011

In Michael Lewis new book he captures the global financial insanity that gripped so many countries. He goes on a financial tour to a number of countries to discover why their economy collapsed or how they avoided financial catastrophe. Lewis writes with a travel writer's flair for the idiosyncrasies of each country. Boomerang is filled with compelling information about each country he explores. Here are some examples.

Iceland fisherman became investment bankers and quickly threw Iceland into terrible investments, bankrupting the banks and the country.

In Greece the culture of everyone being on the dole as well as the endemic tax fraud and lack of tax revenue sank the country and the banks and not the other way around. The Greece government officials make incredible salaries. The incredible amount of government workers can retire as young as 45 and so on. The rich and corporations pay no taxes. In fact, no one pays taxes, not because of the laws but because of lack of enforcement.

In Ireland, there was a cheap and easy credit bringing on an insane housing boom and then, of course, a bust and now bankrupt banks.

The German people did not take the easy and cheap credit. The banks were not perfect and one particularly bank made some terrible mistakes and got sucked into the U.S. prime mortgage mess. But Germany are in excellent shape and now are being pushed to bail out the rest of Europe.

Lewis touches on the U.S., particularly cities and the high costs of pensions and the ability to sustain paying retired workers a pension that is similar to what they made while working or similar.

This is a great read with lots of very interesting anecdotes and people and fascinating cultural color. The German fascination with poop being one of the most odd.


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