THE DISMAL SCIENCE by Peter Mountford reviewed by Nathaniel Popkin • Cleaver Magazine
THE DISMAL SCIENCE by Peter Mountford Tin House Press, 275 Pages reviewed by Nathaniel Popkin It seems fitting that Peter Mountford’s novel, The Dismal Science, is being published just as certain global emergent markets—Brazil, Turkey, India, South Africa, and Indonesia, nicknamed by investors the “Fragile Five”—are failing. As the book opens, in 2005, at a World Bank conference in Washington, DC, Vincenzo D’Orsi, a Milan-born, 24 year veteran Bank economist, is leading a panel discussion on the state of global markets. The subtext of his introductory talk, in the woozy gestalt of Bank and IMF bureaucrats: Politics had matured, capitalism was working. Stability had taken hold and the emerging markets were now actually emerging. “It’s almost on autopilot,” says Vincenzo. Vincenzo is speaking of himself, too. Professionally, he’s peaked, after a long climb through the bank’s politicized bureaucracy; fundamentally allergic to simplistic, ideologically fraught rhetoric, he’s grown bored of spouting … chop! chop! read more!