Book review: The Trouble with Markets, by Roger Bootle

The author enjoys kicking financial theorists while they're down, but he doesn't offer any fresh thinking.

by Howard Davies

There are not as many growth businesses in the UK as there were a couple of years ago. Publishing books on the financial crisis is one of the few that remain. Many diagnoses have been published already: here's another one.

Not a promising start for a review, you might think. I don't mean to be off-putting - indeed, I have a book of my own on central banking in the crisis on the way, so I'm part of this industry - but there's a risk of crisis fatigue. Any addition to the groaning credit-crunch bookshelf needs a unique selling proposition. What is Roger Bootle's?

First, let us say what it is not. This is not a comprehensive economic analysis, complete with numbers, graphs and regressions. Indeed, there are just two smudgy charts. In that respect, Bootle has not been well served by his publisher, though the compensation is speed. The book is remarkably up-to-date, with an introduction dating from September.

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