Chapter 34: The nature of the crisis
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This chapter introduces some of the underlying factors in the global financial crash as well as the character of the crisis as a topic of political, economic and critical concern. In particular, the chapter focuses on the characterisation of the crisis in terms of confidence: what confidence means to economists and what the implications that characterisation has for understanding the relationships between finance, markets, collateral and households. What was it about the nature of the near-total breakdown of a financial system and a burgeoning anthropology of finance that made questions of faith, credit and belief so central to analysis of recent events? The chapter also discusses the degree to which stratified risk, inequality and predatory lending in communities shaped by housing discrimination provided the conditions for speculative sub-prime markets, and led to disproportionate dispossession in those communities.

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