In 1989, Michael Lewis reported on the potential effects of an earthquake in Japan on world financial markets. His insights are once again timely, and they are presented here as a stand-alone essay with a new introduction: “Real Versus Imaginary Japanese Earthquakes.”
In the late 1980s, Japanese scientists were trying to figure out the economic damage that would be caused if a catastrophic earthquake destroyed Tokyo. The answer was bleak, but not for Japan. Kaoru Oda, an economist who worked for Tokai Bank, speculated that the United States would end up paying the most. Why? Japan owned trillions of dollars’ worth of foreign liquid assets and investments. These assets, which the world depended on, would be sold, forcing countries into the precarious position of having to return large amounts of money they might not have. After the recent earthquake, Michael Lewis reexamined this hypothesis and came to a surprising conclusion. With his characteristic sense of humor and wit, Lewis, once again, explains the inner workings of a financial catastrophe.
“How a Tokyo Earthquake Could Devastate Wall Street” appears in Michael Lewis’s book The Money Culture.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Toyoko earthquake effect on Wall Street
Excellent book Michael Lewis hit the nail right on its head
We know that an author needs to sell books, and fear sells. However, having read The Big Short, I expected more than "the sky is falling!!!! The Sky Is Falling"
Earthquake offers a very interesting look at a the near term and long term effects of crisis in the east. Anyone in the markets today should look at the thoughts here and note the changes already seen from the massive tidal wave in March 2011. This one narrowly missed Tokyo, or do we know yet?
While the effects are not (yet) of the scale predicted by Mr. Oda in Earthquake, the effects are visible and interestingly accurate. Natural law applies in everything, finance included. Earthquake reminds us that we might have just dodged a major bullet, or at least been given a little more time to react.
Scott Bourquin - Author - "So, Now What?"