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    Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed (Paperback) By (author) Paul Mason


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    Description"Meltdown" tells the story of the financial crash that destroyed the West's investment banks, brought the global economy to its knees, and undermined three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy. Covering the credit crunch and its aftershocks from the economic front line, BBC journalist Paul Mason explores the roots of the US and UK's financial hubris, documenting the real-world causes and consequences from the Ford factory, to Wall Street, to the City of London. In response to the immense challenge now facing the existing economic system, he outlines a new era of hyper-regulated capitalism that could emerge from the wreckage.

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    Mark Thwaite The ramifications of the "credit crunch" continue to be felt around the globe. Whilst certain economic indicators seem positive (at the time of writing -- September 2009 -- France, Germany and Japan have recently announced that they have come out of recession), most financial news still seems very bleak. And even in those economies where a nominal amount of growth is occurring again, unemployment is growing apace.

    After more than a decade of economic growth, when a generation had convinced itself that "boom and bust" was a thing of the past, how was it that worldwide economic rnrnfailure suddenly became the only news story in town? Not so long ago, we were told that we were living in the age of the "End of History", then all at once the woes we associate with the stockmarket crash of 1929 had forced there way into every home. After years of watching the housing market rise and rise, suddenly it fell like a stone. The word "subprime" entered common parlance, and numerous other technical banking terms and abbreviations (conduits, CDOs, leverage, quants, SIFs) flew from the pens of journalists and the mouths of TV news anchors.

    How did all this happen? Paul Mason's Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed is the essential guide. Mason is the economics editor of BBC's Newsnight programme. He knows his stuff and he explains the complicated story behind the crash clearly and carefully. He gives the insider's story of the year since September 2008 but then, essentially, he goes back in history to explain how the banking sector changed from being a safe bet to insanely betting on our houses, our savings and our future.

    There could have been more on the dotcom boom, there should certainly have been more on Bretton Woods, and I would have liked to see the angrier, more polemical book that lurks inside Meltdown to have been allowed free reign. Regardless, this is an essential guide to the last year's economic volcano. by Mark Thwaite

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