About the Author
Peter Deegan was born in Scotland and grew up in Australia. He is a corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions lawyer. A former partner of an English “Magic Circle” law firm, Deegan has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. For the last few years he has spent much of his time in China. In the Nineties, he took time out from practicing law to develop and produce the feature film, “Shimmer”, based on the play by John O’Keefe, for American Playhouse. Deegan is married with three children. “Snafu” is his first book.
Why I Wrote Snafu
I wasn’t surprised when the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008. Credit markets had been out of control for years. But I was surprised by the scale of the abuses it brought to light and by the extent to which economic growth over the preceding decades had been fueled by debt.
Around that time, I moved to Abu Dhabi, a rich oil emirate. It’s a small place—about two and half million people. Only twenty percent of them are local. The rest are mainly from India, Pakistan and the Philippines—mostly indentured laborers. In such a tiny place, the sharp contrast between the wealth of the locals and the poverty of the immigrants is all too visible. There were other immigrants too—people like me—high-income professionals, mostly from “First World” countries. It alarmed me how readily they accepted the local reality—how easily a dystopian level of inequality could be accepted as “normal.” I didn’t stay there long.
This got me thinking about the ways money and greed distort societies. I decided to try to make sense of the times I’d lived through. So, I began to read about them. My reading led me back to the Industrial Revolution. I explored how social systems, like politics, money and markets, had evolved since then. And, I found that it’s not just self-interest that distorts social systems—complexity and the “law of unintended consequences” also work in the interests of those with wealth and power.