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What Happened?: And Other Questions Everyone Is Asking About the Credit Crunch [Paperback]

Hugh Pym , Nick Kochan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

24 Nov 2008
In recent months, an economic crisis of colossal proportions has unfolded across the globe. In Britain, the financial system has come close to collapse, some of the country's largest banks have been nationalised, house prices are in freefall and the economy has moved violently into reverse. Yet only in 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown could be heard confidently declaring that boom and bust would never return. So what happened? BBC Economics editor Hugh Pym and Financial Times journalist Nick Kochan have written lucid, authoritative and up-to-date answers to this and all the other questions people are asking about the financial crisis. For the intelligent lay reader with no previous knowledge of economics, here at last is an indispensable, refreshingly jargon-free guide to the shocking events of the past year and to what the future may hold.

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What Happened?: And Other Questions Everyone Is Asking About the Credit Crunch + The Crunch: How Greed and Incompetence Sparked the Credit Crisis + Who Runs Britain?: and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're in
Price For All Three: 19.40

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (24 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905847920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905847921
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 641,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deliciously crunchy little book 17 Jan 2009
"The Chinese economic miracle was throwing off cash at an astonishing rate. In very simple terms the world was awash with money in the early years of the 21st century Lenders were falling over themselves to find willing borrowers. If the supply of money is outpacing demand, its price will fall."

In very simple terms in a cute, concise and rather deliciously crunchy little book, Hugh Pym and Nick Kochan have done what it says on the tin and provided the "intelligent lay reader" with a highly readable, jargon free and accessible guide to the credit crunch. To illustrate how this has been accomplished, compare the quotation cited above with a comparable passage from the Bank of England's explanation of the same phenomenon in its latest Financial Stability Report.

"Cheap exports from China and elsewhere in Asia, along with growth in world trade, contributed to falls in inflation in a number of developed countries. Nominal short-term interest rates were reduced to very low levels."

The authors have managed to pull off the trick of writing about a highly complex and technical subject in a style that will engage and painlessly enlighten the reader without compromising the quality of the analysis. The book kicks off with a survey of the economic, political and financial factors that combined to create the current crisis and then tackles a range of issues including: the response of governments and central bankers; how the crisis may affect individuals; the impact throughout the rest of the world and the question of how such a catastrophe may be prevented in the future.

The book has an unusual format in that it is structured as a set of questions and answers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comments from a layman reader 14 Dec 2008
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The book says it is aimed at the non-banking reader which then qualifies me to comment!

It is a welcome contribution since the subject is clearly extremely important, opinions are strongly divided on what to do, it has become political, and the opinions of laymen voters are likely to influence what is done. We need the understanding to avoid herd behaviour.

The book provides very useful insights for the layman into the man-made complexities which have contributed to the current mess and explains the background to various dippy loan decisions which have been made.

Many people, if not most, have felt uneasy for some time at the excessively easy credit over the last few years and the corresponding growth in house prices that looked unsustainable. It was interesting to hear the links from the surplus funds created elsewhere from our cheap imports to our easy credit.

Messrs Pym and Kochan appear to concentrate on the current liquidity problem rather than the options to deal with the massive debt problem. I got no comfort about what should be done, or who actually understands it. The impression is that it is all about financial complexities, detailed mistakes and confidence issues which few people if any can understand. It seems to this layman that the fundamental problem as a nation is that we have been consuming a lot of products from overseas without trading our goods and services in return. In effect, it seems we have built up a massive unsustainable debt that was bound to crash sometime with the credit crunch being a symptom rather than the underlying problem.

The current government drive for us to consume more seems as ill-advised as an individual with a debt problem trying to spend their way out of trouble.
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