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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Thus fell Rome, says Mark Steyn

Actually, I don't know if he would say "thus fell Rome", but he has an interesting book out. A friend told me that he'd seen Mark Steyn on Newsnight discussing his new book After America, about the possibility of American decline. I haven't read the book and I don't know whether or not I agree with Steyn's thesis, and this was certainly an interesting discussion. I remember reading Mark Steyn when he was first a theatre critic and he's really interesting on this now, not that I know very much about him. Including on sub-prime mortgages; he points out that government caused the sub-prime crisis, by which I guess he means that American banks were choosing not to give home loans to people who could not afford to pay them back, until government required them to start giving such loans in the name of fairness. In other words, government intervention - rather than under-regulation - caused the sub-prime crisis. On similar lines, I've always thought that banks once refused to lend to those governments that could not pay them back - and were criticised for it. So then they did start lending the money, and, lo and behold, it couldn't be paid back, so we had the "Third World debt crisis", for which the banks were criticised, when they hadn't wanted to lend the money in the first place. 

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