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It’s the System Stupid!

By Hans Despain
On Thursday, December 13, 2012, The Guardian announced Queen Elizabeth finally received an answer to her question—“Did nobody see this coming?”—about the 2008 financial crisis.1 While she was touring the Bank of England, Sujit Kapadia, one of the bank’s economists, informed Her Majesty that financial crises are a bit like earthquakes and flu pandemics: rare and difficult to predict. An impressive answer indeed. Brilliant for its vagueness, spuriousness, and obtuseness. 
However, Kapadia is simply wrong not to have explained that many economists, financiers, and regulators anticipated and predicted the financial collapse. Additionally, metaphors of natural disasters are highly misleading. Financial crises are not inevitable occurrences, but historical, human-created, and contingent phenomena.
Her Majesty had asked: “Did nobody see this coming?” Perhaps she could have also asked three more questions: Does nobody see the suffering and socioeconomic injustices of oligopolistic-finance capitalism? Does no one see that the problems are structural and systemic? And is there no alternative to a system that generates continuous “quadruple crises”—the socioeconomic, political, environmental, and personal/psychological?
The conventional wisdom is “There Is No Alternative,” or TINA. For this reason most Americans simply acquiesce to capitalistic social relations and, like Sisyphus, are resigned to performing eternal tasks while enduring the “endless” quadruple crises generated by a pathological system. The most extraordinary aspect concerning the absence of an alternative is that it is fallacious. The capitalistic system itself must be transformed. To put it into a slogan: Capitalism Is No Alternative, or CINA.
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