benj gerdes

a portfolio not always in sync with internet time

Kreuger receiving an honorary degree at Syracuse, 1930

My soon-to-be-completed video project with Jennifer Hayashida about the “Match King” Ivar Kreuger arrives at a moment of renewed interest in his financial dealings. Some high-profile write-ups of Kreuger include (some of these require subscriptions to read the whole article):

• Ron Chernow’s “Madoff and His Models” in the New Yorker

• NPR’s Marketplace story “Before Madoff, there was Krueger”

“Fraud and Financial Innovation” a story about Kreuger from The Economist

Many of these accounts draw on research from one source, which is Frank Partnoy’s new book The Match King. Have we been scooped? No, not really, we’ve got a lot of original research of our own. Our conclusions are also quite different, or, to put it politely: we’re really using the history of Kreuger’s financial dealings to a different end. Since beginning this project three years ago we have felt part of an informal network of scholars and Kreuger experts–a research syndicate–and it’s actually very nice to see some dialogue about how the economic history of the last century informs the present. When describing the project to people we meet, it’s also nice to go from being asked, “How did you hear about that?” to some level of familiarity or interest.

It has been difficult to finish the project simply because the parallels to the present keep shifting, as the present crisis continues to unfold (unravel). When we began the project the allegorical element was more of a foreboding than a fact, gestured to but not explicitly addressed, but over the past year we’ve reshaped the project substantially.

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Spring 2009 Ivar Kreuger Revival | 2009 | news, uncategorized