|The Past, The Present and an “Unusually Uncertain” Future
||[Dec. 12th, 2010|12:19 pm]
Satyajit Das reviews some books about finance.|
“Griftopia” and “All the Devils Are Here” also never recognise that normal people abnegated all responsibility, both political and economic, to the financial superclass. The low voter turnout in American elections is ample testament to that problem. The book does not recognise the lack of financial literacy and the naïve belief in the ability of policymaker’s to control and engineer the economy. In this regard, neither title matches Joe Baegeant’s poignant portrait of American life and its problems in “Deer Hunting for Jesus“.
Both books are also silent on the role of the media which has fervently embraces a message that financialisation of economic life is an unqualified good. It is also silent on how the media itself fosters ignorance, through its treatment of issues in narrow and simplistic political terms. Laudatory biographies of business leaders helped create the all-knowing financial elite. The message of “stocks for the long run” and “increasing wealth” bears some responsibility for the global financial crisis.
Mr. Nocera and Ms. McLean draw the title of their book from the line in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” The implication is that all would be well if the devils were rounded up and consigned back to the nether regions. Unfortunately, reality is more complex. Other observations from the Bard might be apposite. In “Julius Caesar”, Cassius tells Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” In “Othello”, the real “devil” Iago tells Roderigo: “Tis in ourselves that we are this and thus.”