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The Default Line: The Inside Story of People, Banks and Entire Nations on the Edge [Kindle Edition]

Faisal Islam
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

How can a banking system become so unregulated that it offers a gold credit card to a dog? For Channel 4's Economics Editor Faisal Islam, these are examples of nations, institutions, and individuals crossing the 'default line', the point at which the optimism of economic boom flips into fiscal madness.

Having exposed the Icelandic banking crisis, watched Lehman Bros crash, investigated emerging economies in India and China and interviewed a host of key international players from the Governor of the Bank of England to the head of the the Chinese sovereign wealth fund, Faisal Islam is the perfect guide to the global economic crisis.

Juxtaposing vivid anecdotes with high-level exclusive interviews and trenchant economic analysis, THE DEFAULT LINE is a really accessible way of understanding the economic shape of the contemporary world.

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'The Default Line puts the crash, its causes and its consequences into necessary perspective. It's an excellent, clear and colourful introduction and explanation of what has happened to us all' Financial Times.

About the Author

Faisal Islam is Channel 4 News' Economics Editor. He won the WorkWorld Foundation's 'Broadcast News Reporter of the Year' in 2010, and collected numerous awards for his coverage of the Icelandic banking crisis in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good analysis of a bad situation 10 Sept. 2013
The Default Line is an essential read for those wishing to expand their understanding of an incredibly complex topic that continues to unfold. The topic has such huge implications for everyone and personally, I found it fascinating, if not somewhat unnerving, to assess where one is personally in relation to others affected by this ongoing crisis. It's detailed without being burdensome to read and thoughtfully broken down in each chapter with useful insights in to different topic areas that inform the analysis of the position we all collectively find ourselves in. If you're a viewer of Faisal Islam's reporting for Channel 4 and writing in The Observer then you will recognise and appreciate the room he is given to expand upon his extensive experiences in the world of global economic, social and political happenings. His access to the various bit part players and 'names' that will no doubt go down in history is unrivalled. By the same token, I most appreciated his efforts to illustrate how the actions and inactions of actual named workers and 'ordinary' citizens effect decisions at a high political level and vice versa. It's very difficult to give insightful analysis to such a complex and massive situation that continues to unfold and yet, Faisal Islam, manages this. However, be warned, it doesn't make for very comfortable reading with regard to all our future prospects. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in economics or politics who wishes to better understand the brutal reality of the situation we will all face for years to come.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading 12 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book takes complicated issues, intertwined extensively with one another, and breaks then down into manageable chunks then presents them clearly.

The background interviews are fascinating, the analysis thoughtful, the extra detail that hindsight adds puts many things into context.

For me the big issue here is the repercussions of these events on the future, and how that future is going to struggle to be a bright one unless there is a huge change in the attitudes of politicians who remain more concerned about bribing the electorate with their own money than fixing the actual issues.

It's a great story, the ending can't be described as a happy one but it is what it is. What it is is brilliantly told, with depth but with a rare clarity.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read 16 Sept. 2013
By John J
I must say that I did enjoy reading this book and it's written in such a way that its easy for layman's like myself to understand. This book has opened my eyes and its really made me wonder how can these people get away with how they run the country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifting the lid. 28 Oct. 2013
By Wyddyn
The default line is a thoroughly engrossing read which engenders feelings as diverse as fascination to incredulity and disbelief. The book inevitably deals with complex matters arising across diverse countries and organisations, but it has been well constructed with a helpful list of players at the beginning of each chapter. It is also clear that in his unrelenting quest to get under the bizarre circumstances Faisal Islam has not confined himself to interviewing the not so great and the not so good but in almost every case he has left the corridors of power and moved into the towns and communities to gain a first hand knowledge of the impact on and the views of the man in the street. Faisal Islam's easy style of writing makes this a book which will not only appeal to the specialist but also the layman and it is a must for all students of politics, economics and modern history.

Hugh Evans
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the answer to the economic crisis? 8 Oct. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book takes one into detail that is not available elsewhere. It backs conclusions with facts. It is technical and that is what is required to understand the roots of the current economic crisis.

At the end of the book he offers 10 ideas to chew on and admits that they are all; flawed. He calls them part solutions.

For example, here are three of his 10 ideas. He suggests that:

1 MP's mortgage subsidies be scrapped and their pay raised.
2 the voting age be cut to 15.
3 we switch tens of billions of Pounds to mass building of houses ie bring sub prime from the USA to the UK

His ten ideas will not take us out of the economic crisis.

I would suggest that every penny is considered for investment in productive assets in the UK. How much longer can we go on with a trade deficit of £4 billion each month?

If you asked me for a solution I would suggest copying the best of the German and Chinese economies. For implementation of the German model we need MPs who have skills in engineering, electronics, maths and science. We need MPs who have worked in manufacturing. I suggest that a background in public relations is the last qualification to be considered for our parliament,.

What really annoys me is to see massive ships with thousands of containers from the Far East entering our ports and the same ships leaving empty or full of scrap paper etc.

A background point.......when driving a visiting Chinese businessman along an English road (every road) he asked me where are the factories......where are the farms?

This book is very good at describing what happened it is weak on suggesting solutions.

Brian O'Connor
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting but very specialised
While an interesting read, this book discusses topics that the economics/finance laymen will struggle to understand (a group/assertion that I include myself in).
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Clear and fascinating
Published 4 months ago by PAUL Sandford
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh, interesting perspective
This is economics not ordinary. A stimulating read, a fresh perspective and interesting narrative about what is really happening in the world economy. Read more
Published 7 months ago by FarahLB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Gr8 price product communication and swift delivery
Published 9 months ago by MISS N T PILISO
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
When looking back at it know,it's easy to see how we got into the financial black hole.Written well with obvious inside knowledge certainly helped. Read more
Published 14 months ago by David Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read with an excellent flow
I found this book to be an excellent read with a good canvassing of some of the key issues and debates that have shaped the credit crunch and western economies over the last six or... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Shannon Hanrahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Well done. An overview of the hell of the last five years that we've all been dragged through. Top marks to Mr Islam.
Published 15 months ago by Deadbeat
5.0 out of 5 stars very incisive
only halfway through. reading about Spain and where all the boom money came from. good and a little scary. Recommend it
Published 15 months ago by Mr. A. T. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars The Default Line
I bought this for my husband's Christmas and all through reading it, all he could say was 'This book is fantastic. You'll have to read it'. Read more
Published 16 months ago by I. Hamilton
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, perhaps overlong.
Thorough and insightful but perhaps overmuch. I would have liked a two page executive summary of each chapter to enable me to cover the ground before the next book club meeting.
Published 16 months ago by Antony David
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