Michael Lewis

  • Aired:  10/04/11
  •  | Views: 37,693

Author Michael Lewis explores the cultures of several European countries through the prism of their financial collapse. (6:38)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, BEST-SELLING

AUTHOR, HIS NEW BOOK IS CALLED

"BOOMERANG: TRAVELS IN THE NEW

THIRD WORLD."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

PROGRAM MICHAEL LEWIS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HOW ARE YOU?

>> I'M GOOD.

I'M GOOD.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME BACK.

PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS.

>> Jon: THEY SHOULD.

THE BOOK IS "BOOMERANG."

MY FIRST QUESTION OBVIOUSLY WHO

WILL PLAY BEN BERNANKE IN THE

MOVIE VERSION OF THIS?

BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU HAVE YET TO

HAVE ONE OF THESE THAT ISN'T

GOING TO GO TO A MOVIE.

"MONEYBALL," CONGRATULATIONS,

ALL THOSE GOOD THINGS.

VERY NICE.

VERY NICE.

>> HAVE YOU SEEN IT?

>> Jon: HAVE I SEEN

"MONEYBALL?"

>> YES.

>> Jon: YES.

LISTEN, I LOVE BASEBALL MOVIES

"THE NATURAL" "BANG THE DRUM

SLOWLY."

YOU CAN DO ANY BASEBALL MOVIE

NOW SEE ONE AS SMART AS THAT ONE

AND WELL DONE AS THAT ONE...

>> I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO

SUCK.

(LAUGHTER)

WHEN THEY TOLD ME THEY WERE

MAKING IT I THOUGHT THEY WERE

INSANE.

I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO

GO HIDE.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Jon: IS THAT HOW YOU

PITCHED IN THE THE ROOM?

(LAUGHTER)

>> THE GENIUS OF BENNETT MILLER,

THE DIRECTOR, AND BRAD PITT'S

PERFORMANCE IS UNBELIEVABLE.

IT'S UNBELIEVABLE.

THEY TOOK A BOOK THAT SHOULDN'T

HAVE BEEN A MOVIE AND THEY MADE

IT INTO A GREAT MOVIE.

NOW I'VE GOT THIS PROBLEM.

I BACKED AWAY FROM IT AND HID

FROM IT FOR SEVEN YEARS.

>> Jon: NO ONE CHECKS UP ON

THAT (BLEEP).

JUST SAY "I ALWAYS KNEW THAT'D

BE GREAT."

(LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL, I REMEMBER YOU TELLING

ME IN 2009 HOW YOU THOUGHT THAT

THE ADAPTATION OF THAT WOULD

MAKE AN OSCAR-WINNING FILM.

(LAUGHTER)

THERE'S YOUR CLIP.

THAT'S IT.

YOU'RE DONE.

NOW THIS, ON THE OTHER HAND.

IF I MAY, THE PREMISE OF THIS

BOOK... YOU TAKE US THROUGH

ICELAND, GREECE, IRELAND,

GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES

AND EACH ONE DEVOTED TO TELLING

US WHY THAT AREA IS-- AGAIN YOU

USE THE COLLOQUIAL TERM--

(BLEEP).

(LAUGHTER)

>> IT'S FINANCIAL DISASTER

TOURISM.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> IT'S TOURING BANKRUPT

COUNTRIES.

AND THE THING THAT WAS SO

INTERESTING TO ME THAT LED ME TO

DO THIS THING IS YOU THINK OF

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND YOU

THINK OF IT AS ONE THING.

LIKE THE SAME THING HAPPENED

EVERYWHERE.

AND THE SAME CAUSE HAPPENED

EVERYWHERE.

IT WAS A PILE OF MONEY WAS LEFT

IN A DARK ROOM AND THE PEOPLE

WERE ALLOWED TO DO WHATEVER THEY

WANTED WITH IT.

TODAY... EVERYBODY FACES THE

SAME TEMPTATION.

THE BANKS WERE WILLING TO LEND

TO ANYBODY.

BUT WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO WAS

SO DIFFERENT FROM PLACE TO PLACE

AND THE MONEY FOR ME BECAME A

PRISM THROUGH WHICH TO VIEW THE

SOCIETY.

IT WAS LIKE A WHEN DOE INTO THE

SOCIETY.

THEY EXPRESSED KIND OF DEEP

CULTURAL TRAITS THROUGH HOW THEY

BEHAVED.

SO I WANDERED THE WORLD AND

DESCRIBED IT.

AND THE STUFF THAT HAPPENED DPS

I MAY GO ON A BIT?

>> Jon: PLEASE.

>> SO THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED

IN EUROPE WERE SO INTERESTING

BECAUSE EACH ONE OF THE... EACH

WAS PECULIAR BUT EACH SAYS

SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED

HERE.

IN THE END THE BOOK WAS ALWAYS

GOING TO COME BACK TO THE UNITED

STATES.

>> Jon: WHAT'S INTERESTING IS,

YOU KNOW, YOU SEE... YOU'RE

TALKING ABOUT GREECE.

GREECE WAS A SITUATION WHERE THE

STATE REALLY DESTROYED THE BANKS

AND ICELAND IS SORT OF THE

OPPOSITE.

THE BANKS DESTROYED THE STATES.

THE BANKERS.

AND IRELAND JUST SEEMED LIKE A

SITUATION WHERE THEY EXPECTED IT

AND THEY'RE JUST NOW... NOW

THEY'RE JUST GOING "YEAH, I KNEW

THIS WOULD HAPPEN."

(LAUGHTER)

AND THEY'RE SUCKING IT UP.

>> THE IRISH HAVE A TALENT FOR

SUFFERING.

(LAUGHTER)

THEY WERE WAITING FOR THIS.

I MEAN, ANYBODY WHO'S BEEN IN A

ROOM FULL OF IRISH PEOPLE, THE

STATUS GOES TO THE PERSON WHO'S

HAD THE WORST THING HAPPEN TO

THEM MOST RECENTLY.

(LAUGHTER)

AND SO THEY'VE BEEN WAITING FOR

THIS MOMENT TO COMPETE WITH EACH

OTHER FOR HOW BAD THEY HAVE IT.

AND... BUT THE STORIES ARE

INCREDIBLE.

ICELAND IS A NATION OF 300,000

PEOPLE.

THE SIZE OF PEORIA.

THEY TOOK THEIR THREE LITTLE

BANKS AND TURNED THEM INTO THREE

GLOBAL BANKS THAT HAD ALL

TOGETHER $140 BILLION WORTH OF

ASSETS.

ICELAND... THE WAY IT MADE ITS MONEY

UP UNTIL SEVEN YEARS AGO WAS

FISHING.

THAT'S WHAT YOU COULD DO IN

ICELAND TO MAKE MONEY.

PEOPLE WERE LITERALLY WASHING

OFF OF FISHING BOATS AND

BECOMING CURRENCY TRADERS IN

DAYS.

A MATTER OF DAYS.

AND THEY TOLD THEMSELVES THAT

THEY WERE GOOD AT THIS.

THEIR PRESIDENT WAS WANDERING

THE WORLD SAYING ICELANDERS WERE

NATURALLY SUITED TO BECOME HEDGE

FUND PEOPLE AND THEY HAD THIS

NATURAL GIFT THAT SOMEHOW HADN'T

EXPRESSED ITSELF FOR A THOUSAND

YEARS BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN...

>> Jon: AND THEY WERE KILLING

IT FOR THOSE FIRST COUPLE YEARS.

>> FOR FIVE YEARS THEY WERE

GREAT.

THEN THEY LOST $100 BILLION.

(AUDIENCE REACTS).

>> Jon: IT HAPPENS!

>> IT HAPPENS, YES.

>> Jon: .

>> AND IT WAS THE MEN.

IT WAS JUST THE MEN.

THE MEN FISHED AND THE MEN MOVED

OFF THE FISHING BOATS INTO THE

BANKS.

AND THE WOMEN... YOU COULD SEE

WHAT HAPPENED.

THE MEN SAID TO THEIR WIVES "I

MOW WHAT I'M DOING.

I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING HERE."

(LAUGHTER)

"I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING THERE,

YOU NEVER ASKED ME ABOUT THE

FISH, DON'T ASK ME ABOUT THE

MONEY."

AND THEY WENT AND DID THIS STUFF

AND THE WOMEN WENT "ALL RIGHT.

LOOKS LIKE IT'S GOING ALL

RIGHT."

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN WE'RE LOST.

WE'RE LOST.

HOW COME YOU DIDN'T ASK FOR

DIRECTIONS?

AND WHAT'S HAPPENED SINCE, IT

CREATED... THE MEN HAVE BEEN

THROWN OUT OF THE BANKS.

WOMEN HAVE GONE IN TO RUN THE

BANKS.

THEY GOT RID OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THEY HAVE THE FIRST LESBIAN HEAD

OF STATE MAKING... MAKING SOME

KIND OF POINT THERE.

THE WOMEN HAVE SAID "YOU DON'T

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING."

(LAUGHTER)

AND YOU CAN SEE THERE'S THIS

NATION... THEY ALL KNEW EACH

OTHER.

THEY'VE HAD THIS... THIS

REALIZATION OF HOW DANGEROUS MEN

ARE WITH MONEY.

(LAUGHTER).

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Jon: THAT'S A GREAT WAY TO

PUT IT.

BECAUSE IT WAS... IT ALMOST

STRUCK ME... WHEN YOU READ THOSE

STORIES OF A LOST TRIBE IN THE

AMAZON THAT IS DISCOVERED AND,

YOU KNOW, THE WHITE MAN COMES IN

AND HE'S GOING TO TELL THEM HOW

THINGS GO AND HE INADVERTENTLY

SNEEZES AND EVERYBODY DIES.

(LAUGHTER)

THEY WERE NOT READY FOR THE

CONTAGION AND THE CON THE AGE

JOB DESTROYED THEM LIKE THAT.

>> Jon: THEY WEREN'T PREPARED

FOR THIS IDEA THAT YOU COULD

MAKE MONEY OUT OF MONEY WITHOUT

ANY EFFORT.

IF YOU FISHED AND SOMEONE

OFFERED YOU THE CHANCE TO BE AN

INVESTMENT BANKER, YOU'D TAKE

IT.

FISHING IS HARD.

INVESTMENT BANKING IS NOT.

(LAUGHTER)

AND THE THING IS, YOU KNOW WHO

THEY WERE IMITATING?

US.

THEY GOT THIS IDEA FROM US.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

>> Jon: DO YOU HAVE TIME TO

STICK AROUND?

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: SO WE'RE GOING TO GO

TO COMMERCIAL.

"BOOMERANG" IS ON THE

BOOKSHELVES NOW."

WE'LL THROW IT UP ON THE WEB, I

HAVE MORE COUNTRIES I WANT TO

RUN THR

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