On 15 September 2008, the US Treasury allowed one of Wall Street’s second tier investment banks, Lehman Brothers, to collapse. There followed a financial and economic crisis of a size and depth not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But though widely portrayed as the world’s first ever truly global economic catastrophe, the crisis was in fact by no means universal.
Virtually all advanced economies have been left reeling; yet the developing world – particularly the fast-growing economies of China and of much of the Far East – seems barely to have been touched. The West’s humiliation has served to highlight, and apparently to accelerate, the increasingly self-confident upwards march of the East.
Countless books have already been published on these seismic events, yet few if any have succeeded in setting them in their proper historical context or have managed to reach convincing conclusions about their long-term