"The immediate cause of our financial meltdown is unchecked, unbridled greed. Mainstream newspapers and the business press are doing a fairly good job of explaining how the lack of regulatory oversight led us into this nightmare.
But you have to dig down one layer to find the cause of that situation. Under cover of the ideological euphemism known as the "free market" and with enormous cash investments over the past four decades, business elites have captured the regulatory organs of powerful democratic states -- nowhere more so than the United States -- and promoted their own narrow economic agendas for short-term gain.
There's an enormous amount of discussion about that in the independent media. But to drill down a layer deeper, to the bedrock of the crisis, you have to go to some deep thinkers who don't get much play in our mainstream economic discourse.
As foreign policy analyst Mark Engler notes in his new book, How to Rule the World, declining returns on traditional investments in manufacturing and industry since the 1970s go a long way toward explaining today's highly speculative economy -- pushing capital into developing countries and into bubble after speculative bubble in search of a better profit margin.
It's important to understand what's going on at all three levels, because we may have come to a fork in the road, a point at which the decisions made now may determine the future of the global economy."
Joshua Holland is an AlterNet staff writer.
to read his article posted Sept 22, 2008, click on