Book Review: The Subprime Virus: Reckless Credit, Regulatory Failure, and Next Steps (2011)
Environment and Planning A, 2011
6 Pages Posted: 5 May 2011 Last revised: 15 May 2011
Date Written: May 3, 2011
John Godfrey Saxe’s 19th century poem, "The Blind Men and the Elephant," opens with six learned men, "Who went to see the Elephant/(Though all of them were blind)/That each by observation/Might satisfy his mind." The financial crisis is the Elephant of our time. Over the last couple of years, more than six wise men and women have written books purporting to explain the financial crisis and many more such books are surely in the works. Most of these wise ones suffer from the same limitations as the poem’s learned men. As each reaches out, he or she can only make out one small part of Our Elephant - maybe the rampant fraud at mortgage origination or the distortions of short term profit-seeking or the complexity of the CDO2 - but go on to confidently opine on the essential nature of this beast. The SUBPRIME VIRUS is a cut above the books that have come before it because of its authors’ breadth of knowledge of financial institutions and consumer protection.
Keywords: subprime, predatory lending, systemic risk, consumer protection, financial regulation, financial crisis
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