Financial malpractice, we’re told, is an aberration: the actions of a few bad apples deviating from the norms of a market-governed process and gaming the system. In Sabotage, political scientists Anastasia Nesvetailova and Ronen Palan blow this fiction apart, showing that sabotage is not an anomaly, but part of the business model of finance – and always has been. Abusive lending practices, misleading investors, manipulating prices, deliberately falsifying figures, cheating, obstruction and taking advantage of ‘the dumbest person in the room’ – they’re actually the main source of profitability in finance, and the surest way to a bonus.

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If you want to make money in the industry, you need to find ways of sabotaging either your clients, your competitors or the government (or all three), and above all, the market itself. Talking to industry insiders, economists and high net worth customers, examining the history of finance and its workings today, the authors show us how the idea of sabotage not only makes sense of all past economic crises, but must also be at the heart of all future regulations. Available online.

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