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The Financial Crisis in Perspective (Collection) by Mark Zandi, Satyajit Das, John Authers

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2. Money Changes Everything

The Financial Times advertises the new Zeitgeist: “We live in financial times.” Earlier, Heinrich Heine, the German poet, also identified the change: “Money is the God of our time.”1 In the later half of the twentieth century, individuals became true believers.

Human history is a sequence of ‘ations’—civilization, industrialization, urbanization, globalization; interspersed with actual or threatened annihilation (war, genocide, or the mutually assured destruction [MAD] pact of the Cold War). The most recent “ation” is financialization—the conversion of everything into monetary form (known as another “ation”—monetization). Increasing wealth, increasing consumption, increased borrowing, and the need to save for retirement ...

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