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The Storm: The World Economic Crisis and What it Means Hardcover – 1 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; First Editon edition (1 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848870574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848870574
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"* 'Cable's the star of Newsnight's credit-crunch discussions, the go-to guy for a sagacious economics quote for broadsheets' front-page leads, the man whom Tory Alan Duncan described as "the holy grail of economic comment these days".' Stuart Jeffries, Guardian 'Everything a politician should be and everything most politicians are not.' Jeff Prestridge, Mail on Sunday 'A heavyweight in anybody's cabinet' Matthew Parris, The Times"

About the Author

Vince Cable is Member of Parliament for Twickenham and has been the Liberal Democrats' chief economic spokesperson since 2003, having previously served as Chief Economist for Shell from 1995 to 1997. He was elected as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, to Sir Menzies Campbell, in March 2006 and was acting leader of the Liberal Democrats prior to the election of Nick Clegg.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

216 of 224 people found the following review helpful By N. Smith on 2 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dr Vince Cable comments more than once in his book that the global economy seems to have become an "Alice in Wonderland" world: poor countries lending billions to finance the rich countries' borrowing, housing bubbles and see-sawing commodity prices all make for a surreal picture of the mess we have got ourselves into. In The Storm, Dr Cable makes the crisis understandable to a much broader readership than that of the Financial Times or The Economist; he has made an invaluable contribution to public understanding of this historic turning point.

The first two chapters of the book explain the "credit crunch", first in Britain then globally. These are followed by an excellent chapter on the surge in oil prices (no doubt helped by his experience as Chief Economist for Shell between 1995 and 1997) and another chapter on the food crisis. These are timely reminders that the problem of resources has not disappeared, even though it has been totally submerged in the news by the tottering banks and insurers. The fifth chapter puts the crisis in the context of the emergence of new economic powerhouses (principally China and India) and explains how they will reshape the world economy.

Throughout the book Dr Cable is unafraid of making judgements, but modestly restricts political points-scoring to a brief mention of his warnings about unsustainable house-price inflation in the UK (as economic spokesman for the Liberal Democrats he warned of this as early as 2002). Nevertheless, his conviction that the liberal economic system must be preserved, though with reforms, shines through in the final two chapters covering the responses to the crisis so far and his "road map" out of it.

All in all this is the indispensible introduction to the greatest economic upheaval in decades. For those who want to read further Dr Cable provides a very helpful bibliographic note. This book is required reading for anyone who wants to get their head round the crisis.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mr. V. C. Nolan on 4 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
In simple clear English, Vince Cable unravels the causes of the present global recession and puts it in its historical context. Greed and speculation have always been with us; what's new is its scale and the speed of transmission around the world, owing to globalisation of business and the impact of modern technology

Cable makes a valuable distinction between Free Trade in goods and services, which he supports, and unregulated speculation in financial services. As Keynes put it "Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise...But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation." and this is what has been allowed to happen as a result of de-regulation or 'light touch' regulation. Speculators, like punters in a casino, do not create net wealth - for every winner there is a loser. But today's financial speculators do not gamble with their own money but with ours (savers, pension funds and increasingly, in the 'bail-out', with taxpayers' money too)

Cable is in favour of Government action to stabilise the financial system and stop the real economy sliding into depression, by public investment in worhwhile infrastructure projects and boosting consumer spending power, but he stresses the dangers of socialising losses and leaving the profits in private hands

If the book has a weakness, it stems from Cable's background as an oil industry economist. I think he is unduly sanguine about the dangers of Peak Oil and the environmental costs of developing uncoventional sources of supply. In fact, climate change and its relationship to conventional economic growth objectives hardly features at all - a serious omission

But for a book written 'on the hoof' by an active politician in the thick of the crisis he is analysing, it is a remarkable achievement - lucid,sane,and balanced

Vincent Nolan
4 May 2009
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Tom Douglas TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are three factors that make Vince Cable worth listening to (or reading):

First, he is near the centre of the political establishment. Second he is neither in power, nor about to be. This makes him honest.

Thirdly, and most importantly, he is clever.

With this book, Cable presents a (necessarily) rushed account of the financial crisis, how it happened and what it means for the future. And most importantly, for him at least, what this means in terms of the required policies.

It is, unavoidably, a political manifesto, but the politics are spread thinly enough to be palatable.

The best histories of the crisis will not be written for some time, but this is a welcome and compact reminder of where we have been. A year ago we were debating whether a 'credit crunch' would spread to the 'real' economy. Six months ago we were genuinely on the brink of a complete banking collapse. Now we are in a deep recession, which back at the start of the crunch, barely anyone predicted.

Cable is not a main player in the saga, so there are no revelations, but he is a well-informed and intelligent observer that has something to say. Even if you do not agree with his politics, this is a book well worth reading.

Four stars.
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Format: Hardcover
John Vincent "Vince" Cable was born 9 May 1943 in York, England. He was the son of a working-class Tory, Len Cable, and his wife Edith. Len was a craftsman at the Rowntree chocolate factory while Edith packed chocolates for rival firm Terry's. He is a British Liberal Democrat politician who has been the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills in the Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition Government from 2010 to 2015. He has also been the Member of Parliament for Twickenham since 1997. Twickenham is a town in south west London on the River Thames in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, located 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the centre of London.

vinceCable studied economics at the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow, before becoming an economic adviser to the Government of Kenya between 1966 and 1968. It was there he met his first wife, Olympia Rebelo with whom he had three children. He was was working and where Olympia had been raised by her Indian parents. He combined his time during his last days betwwen his responsibilities as an MP and as her carer. She died of cancer 2001. He re-married Rachel Smith in 2004.

Dr Vince Cable has held many posts prior to becoming an MP. After he worked in Kenya, he was economic advisor to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in the 1970s and 1980s and from 1968 to 1974 he lectured in economics at Glasgow University. Later, he served as Chief Economist for Shell from 1995 to 1997. In the 1970s Vince Cable was active in the Labour Party and became a Labour Councillor in Glasgow In 1982 he joined the Social Democratic Party. This later joined with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats.
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