Michiko Kakutani reviews Michael Lewis’s new book “Boomerang”

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In “Boomerang” Mr. Lewis captures the utter folly and madness that spread across both sides of the Atlantic during the last decade, as individuals, institutions and entire nations mindlessly embraced instant gratification over long-term planning, the too good to be true over common sense.

Greece, Mr. Lewis writes, ran up astonishing debts — from high-paying government jobs and generous pensions, as well as waste, bribery and theft — that came to “about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.” In just the last 12 years, he says, “the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms” with the average government job now paying almost three times the average private sector job. Those who work in jobs classified as “arduous” can retire and start collecting pensions, he adds, “as early as 55 for men and 50 for women”; more than 600 Greek professions have somehow managed “to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeGermany

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