What are the roots of the present economic crisis? The book shows that the factors commonly mentioned (e. g. subprime loans, fall in housing prices) have occurred in the past and therefore cannot account for the severity of the present crisis. There must be 'something else'. The analysis shows that there was a 'phase transition' in the United States around 1975 which brought the following changes: - The stagnation of real wages over the past 30 years and a parallel rise in indebtment levels. - The abrupt fall in unionization rates and in the number of strikes. - The development of tax havens which deprived states of tax revenue. - The globalization of financial transactions which hinders long-term investment.