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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > August 2017 > Stagnant economics, electric politics

Stagnant economics, electric politics

After Lehman Brothers tumbled, leaders fell like dominoes. Recession unleashed a raging chaos that has bequeathed a polarised debate

Tom Clark is Editor of Prospect

The crash: a decade on

Crunch. Crash. Austerity. The saga has dragged on for a decade, and its real victims can be found at a food bank, not strolling out the back door of a parliament building or a presidential palace. But the political destruction left in the path of the economic tornado is remarkable nonetheless.

In Europe’s stricken fringes, premiers fell like dominoes. In Greece, it was Papandreou, Papademos, then Samaras; in Italy, Berlusconi, Monti, Letta, then Renzi. The Portuguese voters meted out electoral hemlock to José Sócrates, while in Ireland Brian Cowen became such poison that he had to quit as Fianna Fáil leader before polling day, a sacrifice which did nothing to put the country in a merciful mood: the dominant party of the Irish Republic since its formation was pushed to the brink of survival. In Greece, the once-mighty social democrats of Pasok tumbled, perhaps irretrievably, over the edge.

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In Prospect’s August issue: Adam Tooze, Helen Thompson, Ben Chu, Julian Baggini, Tom Clark and Hepzibah Anderson reveal the secret history of the banking crisis and its impact over the last decade. Tooze examines the secret history itself, suggesting the work done to repair the world’s finances could mean another crisis is just around the corner. Chu asks why more people at the top of the banks that failed haven’t faced more serious repercussions, and Anderson shows how post-crash Britain has retreated into cosiness. Elsewhere in the issue Alison Wolf asks whether universities are doing any good, and David Goldblatt explores how the decision to take football off free-to-view television in Argentina could backfire for the government. Also in this issue: Kasia Boddy asks why writers are still addicted to watching boxing despite falling viewing figures, Andrew Dickson profiles Tom Stoppard, Stephen Bush explains how Jeremy Corbyn learned to compromise and David Omand outlines the cyber-security challenges facing the UK and the wider world.