(Original post by spaceman spiff)
Well...not sure I want to get involved in this 'discussion' given the amount of hyperbole and s***-flinging...but I'll just weigh-in quickly with my 2 cents:
Isn't this crisis just an intrinsic feature of capitalism? A bust cycle in which the economy will restructure itself for the next boom? My understanding is that it is a bust cycle catalyzed by the debt crisis, which itself was a response to falling rates of profit due to increased competition from other countries.
Capitalism is an organism of self-interest and perpetual growth. Each consumer and each producer act in their own self-interest with utter disregard for others, where profit is the one and only goal.
Just an example from recent news, Coke is changing an ingredient so as to avoid having to put a notice on their cans that they contain carcinogens. Why didn't they do so long ago? - Because it would've cost them money, with no possibility of monetary return.
Now there is the possibility of losing money, so it has finally become worthwhile to change this ingredient. That is just a single example of a single player, now multiply that by thousands upon thousands of companies and factories polluting the earth and hiding unhealthy ingredients in their products because it's cheaper for them to do so.
Remember, nearly everything you buy comes from some sort of slave labour or child labour. From the cotton in your clothes, picked by kids in Africa and India, to your cell phones and gadgets, assembled in China and Vietnam. Your society functions with human rights like minimum wage, labour laws, child labour laws, and that makes you feel good. But everything you purchase, the entire rotten foundation of your society, is based on the continued exploitation of societies without those rights.
Now, some people believe that you can make a "good capitalism" by regulating these things, forcing companies not to pollute, forcing companies not to exploit children and workers both at home and abroad, but my belief is that this is just putting lipstick on a pig. I agree with Classical Liberal to a certain extent here, but I also believe that regulation is necessary for capitalism.
I remember reading recently that the Economist magazine was against the introduction of child labour laws 100 years ago, and against the lowering of the working day from 12 hours because these would hurt the economy and productivity. A few months ago I read an article in the Economist where they worried that the growing middle class in China would result in workers demanding more rights and higher pay - hurting the economy in the US. This article sadistically concluded that it's ok, we can still rely on the millions of Chinese peasants migrating to the cities for dirt-cheap labour, as well as other eminently exploitable countries like Vietnam and Cambodia, so all is not lost yet! We can still enjoy cheap ipads for decades to come! Phew!
Just as an addendum, I'm not partisan about this topic, and don't pretend to hold The Answer
for all economic problems. I'm more interested in reaching the truth through cooperation and discussion than perpetuating my answer vs. yours. If I've said something false, I don't mind being corrected, as long as you can cite a source/ provide a logical explanation.