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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: August 2020

Chapter 10 - ‘No More Boom and Bust’: The Subprime Bubble


Chapter 10 examines the housing bubble which occurred in Ireland, Spain, the UK and the United States in the 2000s. House prices in many parts of these countries more than doubled in the years leading up to 2007. They then crashed with terrible consequences for the global financial system, which imploded in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers entered bankruptcy. The chapter then discusses how the bubble triangle explains this episode. Financial alchemy meant that mortgage finance could be provided to a wider range of people, thus making the family home much more marketable and an object of speculation. The spark which ignited the subprime bubble was a policy decision taken in the late 1990s that attempted to use loose mortgage lending standards as a substitute for government-provided social housing. The chapter concludes by examining the economic, social and political consequences of the bubble. The housing bubble of the 2000s is a perfect example of an economically and socially destructive bubble, despite extraordinary measures taken by governments and central bankers to save the system. The chapter concludes by drawing a line from the housing bubble and its collapse to the rise of populism.

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