Occupy Economics, Part 2: Capitalism, Foreclosures, and Responsibility

Summary: At the center of the U.S. financial crisis is the collapse of the housing market, the plummeting of home values, and the millions of foreclosures and evictions that followed (and disproportionately affected the black community). This is not an accident; it’s a crime, which means someone is responsible. In addition to an analysis of the mortgage industry, Wall Street influence, and the rise of mortgage securitization, this teach-in discusses the larger forces in capitalism that made the mortgage market such a tinderbox. To this end, we discuss what is called the financialization of capitalism, globalization of production, and neoliberalism. These are all responses to a crisis in capitalism that came to a head in the 1970s. Against this background we find the logic of the disastrous rise of the unregulated derivatives market and those who benefited from it, i.e. those responsible for the greatest financial crime of our time. Asking if Washington or Wall Street is to blame is a false choice (and an intentional distraction): It’s about class and class interests.

Dr. Chad Kautzer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver.


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