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Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed Paperback – 20 Apr 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Original edition (20 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673964
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 0.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 622,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A page turning account ... Mason is refreshingly clear-eyed and angry. --Will Hutton, Guardian

What people need is a reliable guide to the financial crisis... Meltdown is the book they are looking for. --John Gray, New Statesman

A lucid and sharply polemical account of the crisis. --Oliver Kamm, The Times

About the Author

Paul Mason is the economics editor of BBC Newsnight. He has covered globalisation and social justice stories from locations across the world, including the USA, Latin America, Africa and China. His book Live Working or Die Fighting was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Paul's blog on the financial crisis is at www.meltdowntheendoftheageofgreed.com


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want a clear well researched accessible true account of why the world is in the state it is in buy all Paul Mason's books - I have. You will find a man of integrity, grit, whose deep understanding, experience, intelligence and knowledge is harnessed for the common good. Immensely readable as are all his texts. It is a pity he is not Prime Minister - then we would be sure that he would put OUR money where his mouth is. One thing is for sure, we can't afford the rich any more. Those who have been allowed and enabled to place themselves in the unholy position of draining the earth's resources into their pockets which are then tightly closed. It is a myth that these people are wealth creators and gifted. They are wealth takers and do not create possibility or work or futures other than their own. The pockets need to be gently opened to allow our wealth to flow back into the world economies and we need policies in place to never again enable them to raid the till when they think nobody is looking. The historical, ethical truth backed up by absolute indisputable facts is the source of Paul Mason's literature. We need truth givers and good people - he is both. We could do with a bit of that in politics.
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Mason is BBC Newsnight's economics editor and one of the most cogent, far-thinking and incisive writers on business I've read. 'Meltdown' was written as the financial crisis unfolded, and it reads both as a cold eye on the fundamental flaws in the global capital markets and an on-the-spot report detailing the hot-blooded wrestling that has taken place in government offices and corporate boardrooms. The roots of the current crisis are complex, but it's disappointing that so many business writers (and business people) have collapsed into intellectual nihilism in response. It's not impossible to understand what structured investment vehicles are, and why they're affecting almost all of us in some way right now. Mason not only explains what went on, he also provides a view on what is going on, and what it might mean for the future of business, finance, workers, international relations and the world. This book is a rare example of business writing that combines clarity, sophistication and personal perspective, but it's also an invaluable hint of business issues to come. And - refreshingly - it's a delight to read: concise, personable, flowing. Highest common denominator writing.
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Paul Mason, the economics editor of BBC Newsnight, has written a powerful study of the crash. He surveys the financial meltdown, the decade that led to the disaster, and the life and death of neo-liberalism.

Gordon Brown told us in June 2007 that deregulating Britain's banks would be `the beginning of a new golden age'. The bankers lied that they took high risks so they deserved their high rewards. But they took the profits from industrial production and put them into finance, not back into industry: "the end result is that profits are funnelled from ordinary savers into the pockets of the rich."

The bankers created the credit bubbles in dotcom, housing and commodities. Speculators bought technologies, houses, oil, rice, wheat and soya, until all the bubbles burst, laying waste those parts of the real economy.

After the financial crisis, the governments bought the banks' debts as dearly as possible, so as not to penalise them, running up huge debts and printing money, to save the banks, whatever the cost to the economy. There are $10 trillions' worth of toxic loans, only $1 trillion of which has been written off so far.

The world's workforce has doubled since 1979 to three billion. This huge supply of labour has tilted the balance of power from labour towards capital. So now we need to fight smarter for higher wages, and for a different economy.

To do so, workers will have to reject what Mason calls the `low-level, non-ideological, anti-political culture' of the anti-globalisation movement. He points out, "In the same month that half a million American workers would lose their jobs, the main focus of the Non-Governmental Organisations leaflets was `Don't forget aid to Africa'." We should reject the NGOs' slogan `Think globally, act locally'.
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This is wonderfully informative and is written in a very accessible style. Here is a Northern lad, telling this complicated financial and human tale in a way that opens it up and lays it out really clearly. If you want to know more about the background to the massive pickle that we find ourselves trapped in, read this. You'll be a whole lot wiser at the end of it.
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Paul Mason's Meltdown provides a very useful primer on the financial crisis that began in the Summer of 2007 and is now working its way through the global economy. He is particularly informative and clear about the twists and turns of the various failures of market confidence and the government bailouts that followed. Unlike many commentators, Mason also offers a clear set of proposals for stabilising the financial system in the future.

It is too early to have a definitive account of the crisis. But Mason's book is extremely useful. He also has a good eye for the telling anecdote. I don't often write Amazon reviews but in this case I thought I would make an exception.
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