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Vince Cable

The degree of leverage now being reversed is staggering, and the underlying global imbalances - notably between the savers and the spenders - will require long and painful adjustment.

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When my job was attempting to predict future economic developments for the Shell oil company, I was frequently reminded of an Arabic saying: 'Those who claim to foresee the future are lying, even if by chance they are later proved right.'

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Investment banking has, in recent years, resembled a casino, and the massive scale of gambling losses has dragged down traditional business and retail lending activities as banks try to rebuild their balance sheets. This was one aspect of modern financial liberalisation that had dire consequences.

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