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In 2000, the total GDP of Earth was $36 trillion. At the start of 2007 it was $70 trillion. Today that growth has gone suddenly and sharply into decline. John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless bankers, snoozing regulators, complacent politicians, predatory lenders, credit-drunk spendthrifts, and innocent bystanders to understand deeply and genuinely what is happening and why we feel the way we do.