The financial crisis of late 200 was the spark for the most serious economic slowdown since World War II. The Great Recession, as some have called it, will continue to overshadow economies for years to come through legacies such as unemployment and public debt.
Sometime in the early 2000s, Clarence Nathan took out a loan. He wasn’t in full-time employment but held down three part-time jobs, none of them very secure, and earned about $45 000 a year. Even Mr. Nathan was surprised anyone would give him a loan against his house, especially a sum like $540 000.
“I wouldn’t have loaned me the money,” he later told National Public Radio in the United States. “And nobody that I know would have loaned me ...