“Other People’s Money” by Justin Cartwright (Bloomsbury, 2011) is to the novel what the wonderful “Margin Call” is to film – a fictionalized but convincing account of high finance and the crisis of 2008. In this case, the central characters are the old money family owners of a private London investment bank which has incurred huge losses on an in house hedge fund. They try to cook the books through fraudulent additions to the capital base from various family and charitable trust, while arranging a secret sale to a Wall Street bank.
Cartwright only sketches the financial shenanigans, but deftly describes what he calls “the traditional arrogance and contempt of the high altitude financial classses for ordinary people” (p.226)
“The family, for all their taste and sophistication, never speak to their souls. They have taste, but cannot make art. They have style, but they don’t have love. They have wealth, but wealth has isolated them.” (p.222)
A convincing account of the personality type behind the financial debacle, and a great holiday read.
- Dead Money (August 23rd, 2012)
- Baskin-Robbins and the Walmartization of Ice Cream (July 20th, 2012)
- Labour Losing to Capital (July 19th, 2012)
- The Big Banks’ Big Secret (April 30th, 2012)
- In the Wake of the Crisis: Bully Capitalism (February 14th, 2012)