Paul Mason: Meltdown

I’m just reading Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed by Paul Mason

This book is an uncomfortable read for any politician.

Mr Mason argues that when the law governing debt to capital ratios was quietly changed in 1994by the Clinton administration, banks were given the opportunity to go into a money making frenzy. His account of the events that led up to the credit crisis last year is clear and simple using a language that that is accessible to a reader without an economics doctorate.

The author debunks the neoliberal ideology that underpinned the thinking behind American deregulation and believes that we are seeing the end of an era. For him, the future business model for banks should favour “low-profit utility-style banking”.

The book ends on an optimistic note, claiming that institutions in the future can be “shaped by the willingness of ordinary people to impose limits, standards and sustainability on capital”.

The vortex of politics

On reflection, this week wasn’t the most relaxing of family breaks to Cornwall. And for those that revel in these things, I can say with some certainty, that at times, it was the most miserable I have ever been.

Still, I did read another book. Perhaps I might add Echoes of an Autobiography by Naguib Mahfouz to the list of 25 others, that have interested more book readers than I anticipated last week. (Is it only a week since I published the list? Seems like an epoch.)

The book gave moments of fragmentary pleasure during a dreadful week. As Mahfouz wrote “there whispered in my ear a voice at dawn: ‘Congraulations to you – the time for making your farewells has been decreed.’ Deeply affected I closed my eyes and saw my funeral moving along, with myself at its head carrying a large glass filled with the nectar of life”