Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed

Paul Mason, Author . Verso $14.95 (198p) ISBN 978-1-84467-396-4

Mason (Live Working or Die Fighting ), the economics editor of BBC Newsnight , relies on accessible and pithy language to lay out the time line of the meltdown of the U.S. economy in September 2008 and its global reverberations. He details the root causes, names names with impunity and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of policymakers. He argues that when the law governing debt to capital ratios was quietly changed in 2004, this gave banks carte blanche to do whatever they needed to do to make money. Mason writes, “Had the old capital restrictions been in place, it is unlikely that any of the Wall Street banks could have built up toxic debts on the scale that eventually sank them.” With a quick history (and refutation) of neoliberal ideology, he makes his case that we are seeing the closing of an era; the future heralds the end of the old world banking system business model in favor of “low-profit, utility-style banking.” This is an instructive and succinct play-by-play of the global crisis, helpful for anyone in finance, economics or even policy. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/20/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Paperback - 265 pages - 978-1-84467-653-8
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