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hubris of bankers, contradictions of the clean energy economy and
their unintended consequences on everyday people.
complex of flawed motives. We follow Peter Mount, the self-made Chief
Executive of a London-based rare-earth mining company as he and his
business are buffeted by crisis-torn Royal Bank of Scotland and by
his own actions, real and imagined. Meanwhile in Oregon, Amy Tate and
her group of local environmental activists do their contradictory
part to undermine a component of the green economy, unwittingly
super-charged by the Chinese state. The repercussions of events in
pristine Oregon are felt in the corporate and financial corridors of
New York and London with drastic consequences. This is a deeply
involving novel about the current workings of capitalism,
miscommunication, causes and unexpected effects, love and survival.
LSE, LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS, LONDON, NOVEMBER 2008
“If these things were so large,” she asked, gesturing with a gloved hand towards the poster with its colourful graphics showing the speculative causes of hundreds of billions of wayward dollars, “how did everyone miss them?”
Her Majesty the Queen asked the best question. Visiting the London School of Economics to open a new building in late 2008, she turned away from a poster presentation chattily entitled “Managing the Credit Crunch” and innocently put it to the assembled gaggle of economists, top men in their field, deferential despite themselves.
With this the Queen voiced what millions of her subjects, who would have to pay for the mess, had been wondering. The fawning cluster of economists shuffled uncomfortably; prizewinning schoolboys caught unprepared by the teacher. One of them was pushed to the front and offered a mumbled answer involving people relying on other people and thinking at every stage they were doing the right thing. When the Queen responded with a single word, “awful”, no one was sure if she was passing judgement on the mumbled answer, the man who gave it, the others who stood around looking sheepishly at their shoes, economists in general, the financial crisis overall, or the bankers who had caused it. She was right, though. It was awful.
van Westendorp and Ralph Carter. He attended a variety of bog
standard state schools in northern England and in 1978 went up to
Cambridge to read Economics, taking a First in 1981 when he was
elected a Scholar – too late to enjoy the privilege of walking on
unless you count a letter printed in Business Week deploring the
widespread use of the word ‘wannabe’ and this quote in Investors
Chronicle: “I used to be a banker, then I went straight”.
institutions – he denies that any causation is associated with this
correlation – Lloyds, Drexel Burnham Lambert and NatWest (RBS). A
corporate financier, he ended up by specialising in pharmaceuticals
and, in 1998, was part of a team acquiring a small vaccine business
from GSK. As CEO he took the company public in 2004. Since 2010
Keith has worked as a business consultant to healthcare companies and
as a writer, which he prefers.
is a French-speaking Europhile who also loves America, travel,
politics and economics, reading and writing, music, sailing of all
kinds and food and drink.
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