Carol Paton Editor at large

What happens when everybody owes everybody and no-one can pay? Usually a crash.

That is what happened in 2008 in the global financial crisis, when subprime mortages were packaged, insured, sold and resold. The whole system came down when the defaults began and people at the bottom could not pay their mortgages...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now