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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity, Balance and Sanity about the Economic Crisis, 4 May 2009
This review is from: The Storm: The World Economic Crisis and What it Means (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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4.0 out of 5 stars (72 customer reviews)
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