[Reflections] Reportage – 2008 Subprime Crisis

Swimming with Sharks

I began reading this for two reasons – the sensationalist title and (perhaps less importantly) trying to understand the financial earthquake that took place.

I ended up though with sociological/anthropological insights into banking. Luyendijk apparently researched electric cars via the “idiot’s” or “dummy’s” approach earlier. It is replicated here. He went through an excess of 200 sources from the front, middle to back end; the regulators (none other than the Bank of England); and even partners. It is largely a British/European angle (the author is Dutch).

The book reads somewhat like an emotional roller coaster; and no, not all of the bankers are like sharks; neither were all of them responsible for the breakdown in 2008 (or 2007 depending on your timeline). If what the bankers described were true, then we went really near the (financial) abyss.

Read it yourself – especially if you plan to go into banking. It is also rather recent and up to date; published in 2015.

A related post on the American banking scene here. For the generic Singaporean banking context, consider <The Ultimate Banker> by Edwin Lim and co-authored with Leong Kaiwen and Edward Choi. (2012). Lim, the banker, was diagnosed with ‘motor neuron disease’ (fatal) in 2010.

Further references:

Marcello Estevão. (Dec 2015). The Jaws of Finance. https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2015/12/pdf/book1.pdf. Finance & Development. International Monetary Fund.

Review in The Telegraph by Nicholas Blincoe – Swimming with Sharks: My Journey Into the World of the Bankers by Joris Luyendijk, review: ‘prophet of doom’.

The original blog by the author (last update 1 Oct 2013) – The Joris Luyendijk banking blog. The Guardian.

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