Why men are to blame for the crunch
I routinely characterise the credit crunch as "men behaving badly" - because it's almost impossible to find a woman to blame.
The reckless chief executives of banks who went on a borrowing and lending binge: all men.
The financial engineers who packaged up poisonous subprime debt and mis-sold it as AAA solid gold: they were long of Y chromosomes.
The central bankers and regulators who slept while the dangerous financial party was in full swing: blokes.
The finance ministers who didn't want to recognise that the surge in house prices was perilous, for fear of alienating voters: yup, it's my gender again.
Now there are two ways of looking at the culpability of men for the economic and financial mess we're in.
The conventional explanation is that it's a manifestation of the glass ceiling, of sexism in the City (and in politics, and in the public sector).
Which is to say that women had a lucky escape: they are only innocent of this particular crime against global prosperity because men unfairly elbowed them out of the way in the unseemly race to the top.
And there must be some truth in the notion that we'll only be a fair society when we can heap opprobrium on women for a banking crisis (of course they had their moment in the sun in respect of responsibility for a recession with Margaret Thatcher's economic contraction of almost 30 years ago).
As today's report from the Women and Work Commission shows, there's still considerable discrimination against women at most levels of most workplaces.
But I think there may be a sense (and here I'm on very dangerous territory) in which masculine vices played a dominant role in fomenting the crunch.
And, I suppose, the simplest way of putting this is that I know very few women who measure their success in life by the size of their respective bank balances, whereas I know an astonishing number of men for whom the only thing that matters is "the score", as determined by the heft of their salaries, or bonuses or capital gain.
We've descended into the uncomfortable realm of hack psychology, so we're not going to stay here long.
But I would observe that - in my experience - men are more prone than women to simply run like a train at the goal, and never mind who's flattened along the way.
And the kind of complex mathematical modelling that underpinned so many of the toxic financial products - and of flawed systems for controlling risk - is also a peculiarly male practice. It's the equivalent of an obsession with computer games, or cricket scores or railway timetables: little worlds detached from the real world.
A top male banker (that tautology), the chairman of HSBC, Stephen Green, strays into this dangerous territory in his new book, Good Value. He says:
"If men were to be unchanged by the full participation of women in public life, if women were to participate in public life on the basis of adoption of traditional male modes of interaction, then humankind would have missed a profoundly important opportunity for growth. All the evidence is that something far better is achievable".
His presumption that there will be such full participation by women will be seen by some as naively optimistic.
But if we're looking to prevent a repetition of the kind of financial calamity we've just endured, it mightn't be a bad start to appoint a woman as chief executive of Citigroup (or HSBC), or as chancellor of the exchequer or even (heaven forfend) as governor of the Bank of England (and, by the way, if you have any ideas about how the City of London's male closed shop can be smashed, the Treasury Select Committee is conducting an enquiry and would love to hear from you).