What do liberals and conservatives have to say about capitalism and the human heart? How to assign blame for the massive bubbles and frauds perpetrated in the financial markets in recent decades? Can the relentless pursuit and possession of capital be effectively shaped by any ethic save for the unfettered freedom to pursue its own ends?
These questions—and quite a few more—occurred on a few recent long drives during which my car’s CD player offered up Michael Lewis’s greatly entertaining and gravely dismaying The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Lewis’s book chronicles the subprime mortgage episode that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in 2008, just in time for Barack Obama to stride into the Oval Office in that confident way of his, glance at the up-to-date economic data and ask, “Now what the hell just happened here?”
What happened, as the gifted Lewis (Moneyball, Liar’s Poker...Read More