The objective side of the crisis is no mere multiplicity of separate dysfunctions. Far from forming a dispersed plurality, its various strands are interconnected and share a common source. The underlying object of our general crisis, the thing that harbors its multiple instabilities, is the present form of capitalism - globalizing, neoliberal, financialized. Like every form of capitalism, this one is no mere economic system but something larger: an institutionalized social order. As such it encompasses a set of noneconomic background conditions that are indispensable to a capitalist economy: for example, unwaged activities of social reproduction, which assures the supply of wage labor for economic production; an organized apparatus of public power (law, police, regulatory agencies, and steering capacities) that supplies the order, predictability, and infrastructure necessary for sustained accumulation; and finally, a relatively sustainable organization of our metabolic interaction with the rest of nature, one that ensures essential supplies of energy and raw materials for commodity production, not to mention a habitable planet that can support life.
Financialized capitalism represents one historically specific way of organizing the relation of a capitalist economy to these indispensable background conditions. It is a deeply predatory and unstable form of organization that liberates capital accumulation from the very constraints (political, ecological, social, moral) needed to sustain it over time. Freed from such constraints, capitalism's economy consumes its own background conditions of possibility. It is like a tiger that eats its own tail. While social life as such is increasingly economized, the unfettered pursuit of profit destabilizes the very forms of social reproduction, ecological sustainability, and public power on which it depends. Seen this way, financialized capitalism is an inherently crisis-prone social formation. The crisis complex we encounter today is the increasingly acute expression of its built-in tendency to destabilize itself.
i love the "institutionalized social order" formulation