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Saturday, 04 February 2012 08:17

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A fanatical believer in the self-righting qualities of financial markets, he was the bubble king who allowed the dotcom boom of the late 1990s to get out of hand and then, when plummeting share prices pushed the economy into recession, started the whole process off again, this time in the housing market.

As chairman of the Federal Reserve, he cut interest rates and left them at rock-bottom levels for two years.Cheap borrowing costs encouraged Americans to load up on debt to buy homes, even when they had no savings, no income and no job prospects.

These so-called sub-prime borrowers were the cannon fodder for the biggest boom-bust in US history. The housing collapse brought the global economy to its knees.

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