This introductory chapter argues that the 2008 financial crisis has been shaped in basic ways by capitalism, by financialization since the 1970s, by politically organized limits to regulation, and by organizational as well as individual irresponsibility. In other words, it is a crisis resulting from business as usual, not simply a disruption of business as usual. The blame is often laid on the greedy rogues at Wall Street, though this simplistic notion obfuscates the bigger picture, including much-needed lessons on the importance of financial regulation, the pitfalls of trading in securities neither buyers nor sellers fully understand, and the disastrous consequences of financialization—let alone about capitalism itself.
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