A decade ago, US financial services giant Lehman Brothers collapsed. That event triggered the landslide that became the most severe global financial crisis since the 1930s. Draw a line from that moment — September 1, 2008 — to all that came next. The US financial crisis triggered a global recession and a European sovereign debt crisis severe enough to call the very survival of the eurozone into question. It also persuaded China’s leaders that economic reform could no longer wait. A wave of unrest swept across North Africa and the Middle East. A street vendor in Tunisia lit himself on fire and within days the country’s government fell. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak went to prison. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was executed in the street. Yemen exploded into violence. Syria sank into a civil war that has killed or displaced half the country’s population. Oil prices fell from $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008 towards $30 a barrel, shifting the international balance of power. Middle East unrest tri...

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