By Marjorie Kelly
Photos: YouTube Screenshots
It’s been 15 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The investment firm’s startling downfall marked the beginning of a historic Wall Street crash that swiftly wiped out over $7 trillion in home equity and $2.8 trillion in retirement portfolios.
Wall Street hasn’t fundamentally changed its behavior. Since then, Big Finance has engineered an even more entrenched system of creating wealth mostly for the ultra-rich while spinning out crisis after crisis for the rest of us.
That system has led to insecure, low-wage contract jobs replacing stable work, staggering debt mounting for college graduates, and monopolies crushing family businesses. It’s entrenched a political system captured by billionaires and corporations and left society struggling to meet the challenge of climate change.
This anniversary is an opportunity to take a step back and look at the overarching problem here: “financialization.” While we used to have an economy that manufactured stuff, now it manufactures debt.
Before 2008, big banks financialized mortgages. Now they’re financializing houses, buying up single family homes and charging high rents, scrimping on maintenance, and pursuing aggressive evictions.
The same is happening from health care to the local news, as private equity firms buy...