The Great Crash 2008

6 03 2009

Yesterday I was in Brussels for this event on innovation. There are only two places in the world where I have been advised by the locals not to go for a walk . One is Los Angeles,for obvious reasons, the other is now Brussels. not because of its mean streets but because the walk is ‘boring’. And they are not wrong. Apart from the tiny picturesque old city centre most of the rest is fairly relentlessly 1950s brutalist. However I did find a buzzing cafe during a break and while I was there read this article, The Great Crash 2008, by the former US deputy treasurer, Roger Altman.

Written at the end of 2008, this is an attempt to think through what the recession is going to mean for the US’s  place in the world. It identifies a partnership with China as being the key relationship for the US going forward and because the analysis is rooted in economic developments it is well worth a read. Some useful background to this can also be found in Gavin Poynter’s white paper.



One response

12 03 2009
Austin Williams

Just read your piece on a) how unexciting Brussels is and b) how useful the Altman article is. (I agree on both counts).

The Altman piece is particularly stark. Mind you, I read this piece (below) when it came out in The Independent newspaper a month or so ago by Henry Kissinger, and thought it was more original than it obviously is. An accomodation with Chinese authoritarianism – to “get things done” – seems to be a common thread, but he certainly has an eye on the magnitude of what’s “needed”, at least from a global re-ordering pioint of view.


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