Describing those who made money in the subprime mortgage market, Michael Lewis said this:
They were outsiders to the market that they were betting on. And in addition, they were, in many cases, personally curious people, not clubbable members of the group. And I think that was a key to the success. I think that the fact that they didnâ€™t feel compelled in any way, on any level, to think like other people gave them an advantage.
This is what Thorstein Veblen said about Jews in a 1917 essay titled “The intellectual pre-eminence of Jews in modern Europe.” Being outsiders gave them freedom of thought. Lewis may have read that essay. A few years ago, he compiled an anthology of economic classics, one of which was Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. I mentioned this essay earlier.