Freefall

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 October, 2010, 12:00am

Freefall
by Joseph Stiglitz
Allen Lane HK$130

Just as the fallout from the 'Great Recession' that began in 2007 settles, along comes Joseph Stiglitz's commentary picking over what happened. A Nobel Prize-winning economist from the Keynesian school of theory, Stiglitz lays out how a 'debt-financed consumption binge' together with a housing bubble led to the calamitous meltdown of the American and global economies. He does so, too, in a way that is unlikely to alienate readers with only a passing knowledge of economics. What will strike a chord with the many still counting their financial losses is how he stresses that the system that 'failed so miserably didn't just happen. It was created'. Therefore, he argues those who played a role in that creation must be held accountable. The conclusion comprises, perhaps surprisingly, just two-and-a-half pages. He asks: 'Will we seize the opportunity to restore our sense of balance between the market and the state, between individualism and the community, between man and nature, between means and ends?' Based on past experience, he believes we will not. And even if the powers that be do, they are unlikely to strike at the heart of the problem.