“Our financial sector is built on sand,” Michael Lewis, the American author, told me last week. “After all, we’re in the middle of a huge monetary experiment, with central banks playing a bigger role in stimulating growth than we’ve ever seen”.
Back in 2010, Lewis wrote The Big Short – an expose of the banking shenanigans that sparked the 2008 financial crisis. It has since been made into a glitzy Hollywood movie, which enjoyed its UK premier last week.
‘The US stock market is rigged.’ That’s the j’accuse headline that screams out from Flash Boys, the new book by Michael Lewis. It’s a very big claim, made by America’s foremost financial writer. It’s also a claim that, after years of accumulating evidence, warrants extremely close and sustained official scrutiny.
Lewis produced Liar’s Poker, his first bestseller, in 1989 — after a four-year stint as a fresh-from-the-Ivy-League bond dealer at the now defunct firm Salomon Brothers. The book, an insider’s account, brilliantly lampooned the macho, aggressive behaviour of the ‘big swinging dicks’ who paced the carpet-tiled trading floors. Liar’s Poker defined popular understanding of Wall Street in the go-go, testosterone-fuelled 1980s.