The Match King, Chapter 9: The Author's Cut
33 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2010
In this essay, I try to rebut some of the skepticism about the possibility of business narrative, not directly (by engaging the theory), but obliquely (by giving an example of the practice). I hope to illuminate a few aspects of the utility of business narrative by examining the telling of a prominent, though now largely forgotten, story from the 1920s and early 1930s. The lessons from this incident could not be remembered, or applied to parallel crises, by using theoretical models or statistical analyses. The only way to do it is by telling a story.
Specifically, I describe some of the concerns animating Chapter 9 of my recent book The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals. That chapter - entitled “Weekend in Germany” - is the climax of the story, and it acts as the fulcrum of a new interpretation of and perspective on Kreuger’s life and death. It takes place during October 1929: while the markets collapsed, Kreuger negotiated his capstone deal: a $75 million loan to the German government in exchange for a monopoly on the production and sale of matches there.
Keywords: credit ratings, credit default swaps, finance, structured finance, event studies
JEL Classification: E00, F00, G00, K20, L10, L40, N00, N12, N14, N22, N24, N32, N42, N44, N62, N64, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation