Ten years since the great recession

What happened?

This article is based on sections from a forthcoming book, A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics (Haymarket).

In February 2009, the cover of Newsweek loudly proclaimed, “WE ARE ALL SOCIALISTS NOW.”1 North of the border, Canada’s Financial Post also declared, “Bailout Marks Karl Marx’s Comeback.”2 Following the spectacular financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008, politicians, capitalists, and pundits panicked. Questions about whether capitalism had failed as a system and whether Karl Marx was laughing in his grave hit the mainstream.3 As then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson admitted, “I’m worried about the world falling apart.”4 Or put more elegantly by George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief himself: “This sucker could go down.”5

What became known as the “Great Recession” of 2007–2009 was the longest and deepest economic crisis in the United States since the Great Depression. It began with a collapse of a giant housing bubble, followed by a stock market crash, the failure of the largest US investment banks, plummeting commodity prices, freezing of credit, and slowing international trade.

More than nine million homes foreclosed and over eight million jobs were lost as a consequence. By the end of 2009, almost 30 million people, or 18 percent of the workforce was either unemployed, underemployed, or had given up looking for work.6

The country’s poor bore the brunt of the crisis. Households in the lowest tenth of income distribution experienced an unemployment rate of 30 percent in 2009, compared to just 3 percent for households in the top bracket. Those at the bottom tenth were also severely underemployed (involuntarily working part-time), with an underemployment rate of 20 percent.7 That means that half of the nation’s poorest families experienced unemployment or underemployment during the recession.

Though it originated in the United States, the crisis became global, and many countries faced even deeper recessions or depressions. Nearly 34 million people joined the ranks of the unemployed around the world. Among the hardest hit were youth and migrant workers. Depression-level contractions of the economy hit much of Eastern and Central Europe, as well as Jamaica and Argentina. Most of Latin America fell into deep recession. Bailouts of countries facing severe crises came at brutal cost. Workers from Greece to Jamaica, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and others faced crippling austerity measures in order to “service the public debt” of their states.

A decade later we are being told that all is right in the world again. The same media sources that had reported on system-wide soul-searching during the Great Recession announced that corporate America is hauling in fat profits and celebrating record stock-market booms. Under the Obama administration, a many-trillion-dollar taxpayer-funded bailout restored banks, investment firms, and corporations back towards profitability. Subsequently, billionaire “anti-establishment” demagogue Donald Trump signed a tax-heist bill (in Trump’s words, “an amazing experience”) that provided major windfalls to corporate America. The troubles that so deeply worried our rulers seem but a hazy, distant memory.

Yet for years following the end of the Great Recession, polls consistently showed that most people in the United States still thought we were in a recession, or even depression. Little wonder. While corporate profitability rebounded, income inequality grew, and median household wealth fell. Jobs didn’t start to make a comeback until 2016, and when they did, it was largely on the basis of adding poorly paid, low-skilled, temporary, and part-time work. In housing, too, a decade after the Great Recession only a third of those that lost their homes were reported “likely to become homeowners again.”8

Thus the “recovery” was experienced in corporate boardrooms, not by the poor, immigrants, people of color, students, or young workers.

Economic polarization in American society, in fact, hit new highs. The Federal Reserve reported in 2016 that the country’s 1 percent controlled a​record-high 39 percent of the wealth in 2016, while the bottom 90 percent held 23 percent of the wealth.9 This may explain why, as the Financial Times reported with surprise: “The turnaround in the US jobs market has manifestly failed to cultivate a feel good factor among large parts of the population.”10

Despite the widespread turmoil and suffering caused by the financial meltdown and the recession that followed, mainstream economists were largely caught flatfooted as to its causes. In the midst of the crisis, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and humble “rock star of economics” Alan Greenspan said he was “in shocked disbelief”—eventually coming to the conclusion that the crisis was precipitated by an inexplicable “once in a century credit tsunami.”11 Economist Eugene Fama, considered the “father of the efficient market hypothesis,” (the theory that markets are fully democratic and always lead to the “correct” economic outcomes) said: “We don’t know what causes recessions. I’m not a macroeconomist, so I don’t feel bad about that! We’ve never known. Debates go on to this day about what caused the Great Depression. Economics is not very good at explaining swings in economic activity.”12

As Marxists, we have to do a much better job understanding and explaining the Great Recession. Not only because of the tremendous impact that it had—and still has—on working people’s lives, but also because we understand that periodic crises are not accidental, but endemic to capitalism. Understanding capitalist crisis is central to the theory and politics of revolutionary socialism. The volatility and destruction brought upon by endemic, periodic crises make capitalism a fundamentally precarious system, and provide important cracks in the system out of which class struggle can emerge.

The neoliberal roots of the Great Recession

The roots of the Great Recession can be found in the “neoliberal” decades that have defined American capitalism since the 1970s. Neoliberalism is the ideology and policies of free market liberalization: privatization, speedups, increased productivity, and deregulation. It was the ruling elite’s answer to the system’s last deep recession—in the 1970s—of declining profitability, rising inflation, and slow growth. A concerted restructuring of the economy ushered in a twenty-five-year-long boom that restored profitability with a vengeance. As socialist Lee Sustar described it:

The capitalist solution to this crisis was to go back to market fundamentals. Economists like Milton Friedman, for decades seen as a right-wing crank, were suddenly promoted as sages for preaching deregulation of business, privatization of government services and “flexible” labor policies. Politicians like Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain turned Friedman’s ideas into policies by smashing unions, slashing government spending and turning finance capital loose. The Clinton administration shaved off some of the rough edges of these policies, but basically consolidated what is now known as “neoliberalism.”13

Two simultaneous processes took place during the neoliberal period. First was a restoring of profitability for the American ruling class through a frontal assault on workers. The second was an unprecedented privatization, along with deregulation of all sectors of the economy.

The main plank of the neoliberal restructuring of the economy was to attack the working class. Speedups, increased productivity, and declining wages transferred wealth from the bottom rungs of society to the top. Social costs were meanwhile passed on to working families through cuts to public services and welfare. The desired outcome was growing profitability for the ruling class alongside staggering inequality. Over the course of three decades, the wealthiest 1 percent nearly doubled its share of national earnings; while over a quarter of the population came to live on poverty wages, producing a society as unequal as the one that preceded the Great Depression.14

At the same time the “neoliberal revolution” of the 1970s overthrew much of the regulatory structures that had been imposed on finance capital in the wake of the Great Depression. The deregulation and increasing autonomy of the financial sector opened the way to an explosion of financial products and a drive to “securitize” everything: that is to transform debt (from mortgages to pensions) into financial instruments, which can be publicly traded. Profitability was growing so quickly that capital needed additional outlets for investments. Increasingly, financial institutions looked outside of traditional venues towards more complex financial cocktails that could generate a higher return. “Everyone was looking for a yield,” explained T. J. Lim, one of the early members of J. P. Morgan’s swaps team. “You could do almost anything you could dream of, and people would buy it. Every week, somebody would think of a new product.”

New types of “securities”—financial assets that are tradeable—were created that repackage any manner of debt. Basic, more traditional securities include bonds (marketable debt) and stocks (marketable equity in a company). More complex packages allow a bank to mix-and-match. They can break up your mortgage, your neighbor’s student loan, and thousands of other loans into tiny pieces. Then they create a basket of bits of each of these debts and repackage them into a new “derivative”—a type of security or financial contract that derives its value from another asset. Derivatives include a variety of instruments, including futures, forwards, swaps, and options. As we’ll see below, “mortgage-backed securities”—financial products that bundle together pieces of mortgages—played a prominent role in setting off the Great Recession.

As David Harvey described in his History of Neoliberalism,

Increasingly freed from the regulatory constraints and barriers that had hitherto confined its field of action, financial activity could flourish as never before, eventually everywhere. A wave of innovations occurred in financial services to produce not only far more sophisticated global interconnections but also new kinds of financial markets based securitization, derivatives, and all manner of futures trading. Neoliberalism has meant, in short, the financialization of everything.15

While a heightened rate of exploitation laid the basis for business to boom again, the deregulation of finance capital poured fuel on the fire of accumulation. By the 1990s, happy commentators declared that we had achieved a “miracle economy” that had put an end to the business cycle. From 1991 to 2001, the US economy witnessed its longest-ever continual expansion. Gross Domestic Product grew, profits doubled, unemployment fell, and even wages began to rise. But the twin features of neoliberalism—economic polarization and deregulation—gave rise to contradictions that would implode down the line.

A crisis of overproduction

The rapid accumulation of the neoliberal boom eventually gave way to a worldwide glut of goods, leading to what Marx referred to as a “crisis of overproduction”— too many commodities than can effectively be sold—and to an “overaccumulation” of capital in the form of unused factories, machinery, and other fixed capital. Capitalists do not find it cost effective to put all of their capital into motion because markets are oversaturated and finished goods will not be profitably sold. This unused capital serves as a huge financial drain on their books.

The first sign of trouble developed in the late 1990s in what became known as the Asian financial crisis. As we’ll discuss below, the unresolved issues in the so-called Tiger economies culminated in a second, even greater crisis of overproduction a decade later.

For years the economies of South East Asia were the poster children for the free market. Billions of dollars of international loans and investments fueled high, export-driven growth rates in the region. American socialist Joel Geier explained: “Everyone believed that the boom could keep going. So productive capacity increased, and the investments and loans kept coming in, masking for a time the growing gap between the amount of goods being churned out and each company’s ability to sell them on the world market. Government and private debt piled up.”16

Beginning in the 1990s, investment levels had risen throughout the region.17 China’s particularly rapid industrial growth in the middle of the decade tipped the scales towards overproduction. When markets proved incapable of absorbing the increased output, production started to slow—factories operated at capacities between 60 and 75 percent. Even so, the river of international investments kept rushing forward. But falling exports eventually led to defaults in loan repayments. When they did, capital reversed course just as quickly as it had rushed in, and investors attempted to withdraw funds as financial panic spread.18

The crisis was global in nature. Much of the world was mired in conditions of recession or depression, as currencies and banking systems collapsed, world trade declined, rates of profit tumbled, and industry limped along. But the impact of the crisis was largely checked—or at least postponed—in the United States. Here the spigot of credit kept flowing through low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve Bank, trade deficits, and tax cuts to corporations. Essentially the domestic market for commodities—both for the means of production and consumptive goods—was extended as corporations and consumers borrowed more to spend more.

Consumer, corporate, and state debt also allowed the United States to become the “buyer of last resort” of goods from other countries as well. American spending came to play a large role in pulling the world out of recession, propping up global production by generating demand. From 1997 to 2000, the yearly value of goods and services imported to the United States jumped from just over a trillion dollars (in 2017 dollars) to almost $1.5 trillion.19 During this time China’s economy experienced an industrial revolution and double-digit annual growth rates. This in turn allowed a growing market in China to absorb output from the rest of the globe.

In short, Chinese industrial growth alongside of growing US debt undergirded a global expansion of production and the realization of extraordinary profits, despite never resolving the excess of goods and capital that existed worldwide. The United States federal budget surplus was at its high of $236 billion in 2000 and flipped to a deficit of over $300 billion by 2005.20 A trade deficit also ballooned from $373 billion to $714 billion during those same years.21 Along with huge budgetary and trade deficits, asset bubbles grew throughout the 1990s and 2000s.22

Throughout the 2000s, notwithstanding a mild recession in 2001, the engine of growth kept going. It was powered by debt. Businesses took in trillions of dollars of loans. Working-class debt allowed production to barrel ahead at great speeds, despite declining incomes that would otherwise have limited the market for consumer goods. Household debt during the peak of the boom was 120 percent of personal income. (By way of comparison, it was 31 percent during the post–World War II boom, and had climbed to 81 percent by 2000.)23

Yet even as the economy expanded through the 2000s, capital investment in new plants and means of production was slow, as industries were still grappling with unresolved issues of overproduction from the 1990s. There was no incentive to build new factories while existing factories were still functioning at partial capacity. Even at the height of the boom in 2005, capacity utilization barely hovered at 80 percent, significantly lower than in previous booms.24 “Instead of investing in new technologies, new plants and equipment,” Geier explained, “capitalists invested money overseas. Domestically, investments went to the most profitable industries—housing, construction, and finance.”25

Housing bubbles over

It was in this context that high levels of investment fueled a housing boom. Low interest rates for mortgages put home ownership within reach of a wider-than-ever layer of people despite rising real-estate prices. It was in this period that banks started pushing “subprime loans” hard. These are loans that require little money down and skirt credit requirements for borrowers looking to purchase a new home. But low teaser rates of subprime loans, which helped drive demand, gave way to steeply rising interest rates built into the loans. Working people were misled to believe that property values would continue to rise indefinitely and that they would be able to refinance their loans before the higher rates would set in.

Meanwhile, investor demand for mortgage-backed securities incentivized banks to extend more mortgages, slice them up, repackage, and resell them, collecting fees hand over fist in the process. Banks pushed these predatory loans hard: subprime mortgages rose from 8 percent in 2003 to at least 20 percent of mortgages by 2005.26 At the height of the housing boom, between 2004 and 2006, banks, thrifts, credit unions, and mortgage companies issued over 10 million high-interest mortgage loans, generating a combined total of $1.5 trillion of toxic debt.27

Along with the frenzied flurry of mortgage lending, the activity of speculators also drove up demand for houses, and therefore their prices. Speculators used subprime mortgages to buy up as much property as they could. Because these loans didn’t necessitate putting down much money upfront, they were able to continue to buy housing even while prices rose. Ironically, while poor and working-class people were being blamed for causing the housing crisis through nonpayment of loans, investors were among the first to default on their loans when housing prices began to fall. Because they didn’t live in those homes, they had very little incentive in holding on to bad debt. Investors were responsible for more than a quarter of seriously delinquent mortgage balances.28

The housing industry exhibited all the obvious signs of a classical speculative bubble (that is, trading of commodities at vastly inflated prices). In 2005, at the peak of the bubble, the appraised value of homes made up 145 percent of gross domestic product. But as the bubble grew and grew, so too did the delusions of those who benefited from it. At this moment, Frank Nothaft, chief economist at mortgage company Freddie Mac told Business Week, “I don’t foresee any national decline in home price values.”29 Meanwhile, David Lereah of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) distributed “Anti-Bubble Reports” to “respond to the irresponsible bubble accusations made by your local media and local academics.” Readers were assured: “There is virtually no risk of a national housing price bubble based on the fundamental demand for housing and predictable economic factors.”30

But a bubble it was. As it developed, it also encouraged heavier debt loads, as working-class people used their homes as collateral for more credit, and banks went on a lending spree to take advantage of the super-profits being made. The Economist described this process in 2008:

An important reason why the American economy has been so resilient and recessions so mild since 1982 is the energy of consumers. Their spending has been remarkably stable, not only because drops in employment and income have been less severe than of old, but also because they have been willing and able to borrow. The long rise in asset prices—first of stocks, then of houses—raised consumers’ net worth and made saving seem less necessary. And borrowing became easier, thanks to financial innovation and lenders’ relaxed underwriting, which was itself based on the supposedly reliable collateral of ever-more-valuable houses. On average, consumers from 1950 to 1985 saved 9 percent of their disposable income. That saving rate then steadily declined, to around zero earlier this year. At the same time, consumer and mortgage debts rose to 127 percent of disposable income, from 77 percent in 1990.31

This was an unsustainable state of affairs. Surging real-estate prices and interest rates eventually put home ownership out of reach for the working class and undercut effective demand for new homes. As sales started to plummet, falling demand dragged down housing prices, and along with them home equity. Banks had dangled the prospects of home ownership to America’s poor, and now came knocking down their doors for debt repayment. A tipping point arrived to turn the bubble to a bust.

You don’t have to be a Marxist to see that skyrocketing real estate prices and stagnating incomes couldn’t add up to anything good. Analysts at the Joint Center for Housing Studies described the state of housing in a 2008 paper. The paper is worth quoting at length, as it describes a classic case of overproduction, straight from the establishment’s elite corridors at Harvard University:

[E]ven lax lending standards and innovative mortgage products could not keep housing markets going indefinitely. With interest rates on the rise starting in 2004, price appreciation showed signs of weakening in late 2005. Investors quickly exited markets and homebuyers lost their sense of urgency. But builders had ramped up to meet the higher level of demand from investors as well as buyers of first and second homes, pushing single-family starts [construction of housing units] from 1.3 million in 2001 to 1.7 million in 2005. Just as housing demand started to abate, record numbers of new single-family homes were coming on the market or were in the pipeline.

With excess supplies beginning to mount and the temporary lift from mortgage product innovations coming to an end, nominal house prices finally turned down on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter of 2006. Meanwhile, interest rates on some adjustable loans began to reset and mortgage performance deteriorated as poor risk-management practices took their toll. Lenders responded by tightening credit in the second half of 2007, dragging the market down even more sharply and exacerbating the threat of a prolonged housing downturn.32

The overheated housing market gave way to mortgage defaults and vacant homes, which then put a downward pressure on housing prices. Cancellations of construction projects skyrocketed. In 2007 alone, over 200,000 construction jobs were lost.33 A significant time lag existed between the time in which the market was saturated and levels of production adjusted. This lag was exacerbated by layers of financial cocktails, several steps removed from the production of homes. By the end of 2007, the Wall Street Journal could report:

Housing peaked in 2005. By early 2006 it was widely recognized the boom was likely over, and by mid-2006 it was beyond question. In June 2006, sales of existing single-family homes were 9 percent below their year-earlier level, sales of new homes were down 15 percent and framing lumber prices were down 19 percent. The Dow Jones Wilshire index of home-building shares had fallen 41 percent from its July 2005 peak. Yet throughout 2006, the folks who financed the housing bubble turned up the volume on their party. Issuance of collateralized debt obligations—investments that held heaps of risky mortgage securities and other asset-backed securities—hit $187 billion in 2006, according to Dealogic. That was up 72 percent from 2005.34

Inevitably the reality of overproduction would catch up with the delusions of speculative finance. Mass delinquencies left mortgage fees, which had been at the heart of complex Wall Street cocktails, unpaid. Defaults on mortgages turned financial cocktails sour. As foreclosures nearly doubled to a million by the end of 2007, the “dominoes of debt began to fall,” as Lee Sustar put it.35 Or in the words of Marx, “The chain of payment obligations” suddenly broke “in a hundred places.”36

Demand for mortgage-backed securities dropped off so quickly that investors were forced to sell them at a loss. The declining prices of homes in turn decreased home equity against which workers could borrow money and put a tighter squeeze on consumer spending. Writing at the end of 2008, The Economist described: “House values have fallen 18% since their peak in 2006. Banks and other lenders have tightened lending standards on all types of consumer loans. As a consequence, consumer spending fell at a 3.1% annual rate in the third quarter . . . The golden age of spending for the American consumer has ended and a new age of thrift likely has begun.”37

The hyperextension of debt and the inflation of the value of homes and other assets was a phenomenon that occurred throughout the financial system. It was merely at its weakest point—the subprime market—where the contradictions first came to a head. But the depth of the crisis quickly became clear. What began in the US subprime mortgage market became a global financial credit crunch, as capitalists were forced to reckon with the fact that assets of all types were overvalued. Stock prices crashed. Commercial real estate cratered. Over-indebted companies were unable to access or discharge sufficient cash. Many firms found that even funding day-to-day operations became impossible without the functioning of capital markets. The system itself was pushed to the brink of collapse, and only a herculean, internationally coordinated series of bailouts was able to keep the financial system from imploding entirely.

Those multi-trillion-dollar bailouts would come at a great price—for the working class, as austerity measures were forced on working class and poor people around the world. Massive rounds of layoffs, cutbacks, and deactivation of facilities resulted in skyrocketing unemployment and a sizable drop in production around the world. The crisis created by Wall Street and financial institutions led to a painful recession for working people.

Conclusion

A decade has passed since the Great Recession, and social and economic polarization has never been greater. As David McNally recently reported: “According to Oxfam, the eight richest men in the world have as much wealth as half of humankind (3.6 billion people). And the top 1 percent has more wealth than the remaining 99 per cent of people on the planet.” The neoliberal boom gave way to a neoliberal recession, and eventually a neoliberal recovery: rebounding profits squeezed out of workers through dramatic austerity policies around the world. In this context, class anger with the status quo has fed the development of both a socialist left and a far right. Strengthening the political confidence and organization of our side will be critical as further economic inequality and future crises emerge.


  1. Newsweek, February 2009.
  2. Martin Masse, “Bailout Marks Karl Marx’s Comeback,” Canada Financial Post, September 29, 2008.
  3. Talal Nizameddin, “Is Marx Laughing in His Grave Right Now?” The Daily Star (Lebanon), September 29, 2008.
  4. Cited in David McNally, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2011), 19.
  5. David M. Herszenhorn, Carl Hulse and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Talks Implode During a Day of Chaos; Fate of Bailout Plan Remains Unresolved,” New York Times, September 25, 2008.
  6. Andrew Sum, “The Labor Market Impacts of the Great Recession of 2007–2009 on Workers Across Income Groups,” Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, April 12, 2010.
  7. Andrew Sum, “The Labor Market Impacts of the Great Recession of 2007–2009 on Workers Across Income Groups,” Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, April 12, 2010.
  8. Laura Kusisto, “Many Who Lost Homes to Foreclosure in Last Decade Won’t Return,” The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2015.
  9. Matt Egan, “Record Inequality: The Top 1 Percent Controls 38.6 Percent of America’s Wealth,” CNN.com, September 27, 2017.
  10. Sam Fleming, “Growing US Labor Market Belies Morose Mood,” Financial Times, March 30 2016.
  11. Aaron Smith, “Greenspan: It’s a ‘Credit Tsunami’.” CNNMoney.com, October 23, 2008.
  12. John Cassidy, “Interview with Eugene Fama,” New Yorker, January 13, 2010. Fama also argued that there actually wasn’t a housing or a credit bubble. (We’ll discuss “bubbles” later on, but suffice to say, it was widely acknowledged that they played a pivotal role in the Great Recession.) Consumers, as the theory goes, had all the information they needed to buy, so the price at every moment was right.
  13. Lee Sustar, “Who Caused the Great Crash of 2008?” Socialist Worker, December 5, 2008.
  14. Lee Sustar, “The Panic of 2008,” Socialist Worker, October 11, 2008.
  15. David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 33.
  16. Joel Geier, “Can the US Escape the Global Crisis?” International Socialist Review 6, (Winter 1999).
  17. Measured as the percentage of GDP going to “fixed capital formation” (new factories, roads, and housing) was upwards of 30 percent, and in some cases above 40 percent, every year in Malaysia, Thailand, and South Korea until 1997. (Compare these figures to worldwide fixed capital formation, which hovered below 24 percent of GDP during the same decade.) See “Gross Fixed Capital Formation (Percent of GDP),” World Bank Open Data, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NE....
  18. See Geier, “Can the US Escape the Global Crisis?” for fuller analysis.
  19. “Imports of Goods and Services (BoP, current US$),” The World Bank Open Data, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BM.....
  20. Kimberly Amadeo, “US Deficit by Year: Compared to GDP, Increase in Debt and Events,” The Balance (blog), October 27, 2017.
  21. “US Trade in Goods and Services Annual Trade in Goods and Services, 1960 – present,” United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/sta....
  22. These bubbles would implode first in the dot-com industry in 2001, and a few years later in the housing industry. The one bubble gave way to the other. After the dot-com bubble burst, the Federal Reserve responded with lowering interest rates from 6.5 percent to 1 percent between 2001 and 2003 in order to jump-start the economy. This gave banks easy credit to extend mortgages and other loans. At the same time, investors increasingly looked to mortgage-backed securities for a higher return than the 1 percent offered by Federal Reserve. Both of these trends fed into the creation of a housing bubble. Meanwhile, more investors took money out of the stock market after the crash and invested in real estate. As Yale economist Robert Shiller argued: “Once stocks fell, real estate became the primary outlet for the speculative frenzy that the stock market had unleashed.” Jonathan R. Laing, “The Bubble’s New Home,” Barron’s, June 20, 2005.
  23. Carlos Garriga, Bryan Noeth, and Don E. Schlagenhauf, “Household Debt and the Great Recession,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Second Quarter 2017, 99(2), 183–205.
  24. Federal Reserve Economic Data, “Capacity Utilization: Total Industry, Percent of Capacity, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted,” https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TCU.
  25. Joel Geier, “Capitalism’s Worst Crisis since the 1930s,” International Socialist Review 62, (November–December 2008).
  26. “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2008,” Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2008, www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.... Rick Brooks and Constance Mitchell Ford, “The United States of Subprime: Data Show Bad Loans Permeate the Nation; Pain Could Last Years,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2007.
  27. Brooks and Mitchell Ford, “The United States of Subprime.”
  28. Liberty Street Economics, December 05, 2011, http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed....
  29. June Kim, “Housing Bubble—Or Bunk,” Business Week Online, June 22, 2015.
  30. National Association of Realtors, “Market-by-Market Home Price Analysis Reports,”
  31. October 2005, and “Housing Bubble Prospects Q&A.” Outgoing Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan similarly declared no national bubble in home prices, but rather a “froth” in some local markets. Incoming chair Ben Bernanke denied the existence of a bubble as well, declaring instead that “price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals. Ben Bernanke, “The Economic Outlook,” Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, October 20, 2005, https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.....
  32. “The End of the Affair,” The Economist, November 20, 2008.
  33. “State of the Nation’s Housing 2008,” 6.
  34. “State of the Nation’s Housing 2008,” 7.
  35. Justin Lahart, “Egg Cracks Differ in Housing, Finance Shells,” Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2007.
  36. “State of the Nation’s Housing 2008,” 3.
  37. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III (London: Penguin, 1991), 363.
  38. “The End of the Affair,” The Economist.

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March 2010

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