Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Sunday, 14 September 2008 16:48 UK

The credit crunch - What next?

By Robert Peston
Business editor, BBC News

What a remarkable year it has been.

Robert Peston
Why didn't the regulators stop their zombie-like stumbling into towering bonfires of risk?
Robert Peston

Since I first broke the story last 13 September that Northern Rock was obtaining emergency support from the Treasury, the shock waves of the credit crunch have continued to play out in myriad and unpredictable ways.

After the ensuing run on the Rock, the government eventually stepped in.

Since then we've seen the near collapse of Bear Stearns, and perhaps most ominously, the US government's bail-out of the mortgage guarantee companies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - a move that makes the Rock nationalisation look small beer.

What more could possibly happen?

We'll try to answer that question tonight from the Willis Building in London - the newest tower to open, smack in the middle of a very edgy City.

The Credit Crunch Mess
Monday, 15 September
2000 - 2100 BST

In a live broadcast on Radio 4, which I'm co-presenting with Evan Davis, we'll be debating how we got into this mess, and more importantly, what will come out of it.

Are the banks to blame for it all?

If so, why didn't the regulators stop their zombie-like stumbling into towering bonfires of risk?

What about consumers - surely all of us share some of the blame for binging on cheap credit like alcoholics at a free bar?

We'll also ask if the last year has shown, beyond a doubt, that the era of America's economic dominance is over.

Willis Building
Radio 4 broadcasts live from The Willis Building in the City of London
Can we expect the rest of our lives to be dominated by Far East - especially China?

Without too much effort a plethora of questions arise from all this.

When will banks and other financial institutions start to lend in a normal way again?

How far will the housing market fall?

Will the rescue of Fannie and Freddie do anything to slow or reverse the plunge in US residential property prices: the devastating market decline which precipitated the credit crunch in the first place.

With our eyes fixed firmly on the horizon, we have persuaded a distinguished cast of business people, economists and analysts to tear themselves from the day-to-day fray for an hour and take a long-term view.

The debate will be broadcast live, starting at 8 pm, and you can listen to it on Radio 4, via the Radio 4 website, or afterwards on iPlayer.

And if you've got your own ideas about what the future will hold after the credit crunch, we are very keen to hear from you. We can put your points directly to some of the wise men and women in the world of global finance. Get in touch via our form below.

A range of opinions will be on offer on the night, but in advance I can proffer one solid prediction: expect even more interesting times ahead.

What do you think the future holds for the economy? How will events play out around the world? How long are we going to be feeling the aftershock of the credit crunch mess? Send us your thoughts:


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Disclaimer: Due to the volume of e-mails we receive we cannot promise to answer every one but all are read and considered


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