A news item on the web this morning:
Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have fallen sharply as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors.
London's FTSE 100 index was down by 2.6% in morning trade, while major markets in France and Germany lost nearly 3%.Shares in Asia were hit overnight, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 8.5%, its worst close since 2007.
The Chinese authorities tried in vain to reassure investors.
In addition, oil prices have plunged to six-year lows, as traders worry about slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.
Why might I be telling you about this you ask - well because it relates to the subject of a book which I have just finished reading.
I picked up Not Forgetting the Whale at the library at the end of last week and once I started reading I was hooked and couldn't put it down. No I don't have the foggiest about stocks and shares nor do I understand economics but this book is about a City analyst who invents a computer programme (you all know that I don't know anything about computers either of course!) which can predict how the stock markets will go and who flees the City fearing a worldwide collapse of civilisation as predicted by the computer programme he invented.
The book can be read simply as a straightforward novel but having finished it I see that it would make a great book for discussion as it incorporates Biblical texts (from Job 41 and the story of Jonah and the Whale which apparently also appears in the Qur'an/Koran), writings by Hobbes in his Leviathan (no I haven't read it and had to check it out on the internet) which is about his ideas of political science back in the 1600's, and speculation about social collapse as in this article from the New Scientist about whether a pandemic might bring down civilisation.
In spite of all this it is at heart an optimistic easy to read book in which society turns out to be much nicer than anyone foretold. To listen to an opening extract of the novel click here And for lots of reviews justGoogle the title. I am going to reread it before I have to take it back and I'd be interested to hear what you think of it should you decide to read it for yourselves.