The Financial 'Crisis'
Understanding the financial 'crisis' requires noting that since the commercial media are within the financial system, they cannot be expected to report on it impartially. The commercial sphere can be controlled by the use of money (e.g. hiring/firing of staff, taking over companies) so claims of public responsibility notwithstanding, commercial media exist primarily to promote the interests of their owners, the very wealthy. This explains why the facts of the 'crisis' have been largely misrepresented - it is in the interests of the wealthy elite that the general public remain uninformed on what is happening.
The 'crisis' has been repeatedly likened to a natural disaster, as if, like a hurricane or earthquake, it were an essentially unpredictable chance event which destroys real (i.e. material) wealth. In fact, it was an entirely predictable event which has not destroyed real wealth but transferred it from the poor to the rich - those whose actions triggered it. The effect of metaphors such as 'keeping the economy afloat' that repeated in the commercial media is to deceive people into thinking that we are 'all in the same boat', financially speaking, and to obscure the fact that the 'crisis' has winners as well as losers.
Sacrificial Fat Cats
In UK and many other countries, attention has been consistently focussed on bankers' bonuses. The idea of bankers earning millions of dollars is an easy target for public anger, but the millions or billions of dollars involved sound impressive but are nevertheless tiny as compared to the profits made my those who are on the receiving end of the bailout payments. This explanation offers a 'false bottom' to the crises - a superficial explanation which suffices for the misdirecting of public anger whilst the material beneficiaries remain unobserved and the systemic issues unaddressed.
A Giant Illusion
Likening the financial 'crisis' to a natural disaster obscures one fundamental truth about financial transactions - since money is zero sum, one person's loss is another's gain. Houses which are 'underwater' and are then repossessed and sold by banks nevertheless represent a profit corresponding to the magnitude of the owner's loss. The fact that almost everyone is on the losing side should not be allowed to hide the fact that somewhere a small number are on the other side, although beyond misleading references to 'fat cat bankers' this is seldom so much as hinted at. The paper wealth of investors is being converted into real wealth just as surely as properties are being foreclosed upon.
A Colossal Irrelevance
People are sometimes tempted to focus on the numbers themselves, a tendency which is fuelled by oversimplified handling from the corporate media, which reports on how much wealth has been 'destroyed' by this or that financial bubble, or what price movements show people to have lost due to the recession. This mayb in part be due to simple sloppy thinking from those involved, but it results in leading people to confuse real wealth (e.g. houses) with fictional wealth (money, i.e. house prices). Nothing about the actual usefulness of a house changes just because the price goes up or down, and those people who thought they were getting richer when their house price was going up were in fact allowing themselves to be kidded. Although obvious on reflection that real wealth and imaginary wealth (money) are two very different things, this point has profound implications for a society and culture focused on the latter. The owners of control corporate media of course do not encourage such reflection.
Centrally-issued Money is created as interest bearing debt, requiring either the volume of money to increase exponentially (as more money is loaned into existence to cover interest payments) or property to be seized as banks foreclose on loans, or both. Unless the value of goods and services can continue growing exponentially for ever (which many have claimed is impossible on a finite planet) a growing proportion of people will be reduced to penury when their property is foreclosed upon, which is what appears to be happening. The brutal logic of the market dictates that they should die off, which they do not seem so prepared to do.
The Material Beneficiaries
An ever smaller number of people, those on the 'winning' side of the struggle which is money, live in ever greater opulence. As the poverty of the masses grows, their financial masters are increasingly retreating into gated communities, with borders policed both by paid slaves and ever more expensive and murderous 'security' technology.
For some decades, a growing body of people have pronounced ever more detailed and dire warnings about the likelihood of imminent man-made ecological disasters on a range of fronts. Since people who cannot drink fresh water will die in a matter of days, one might think that reports of falling water tables would command their serious attention. However, most are victims of money psychosis, which elevates the fiction that is money above the reality of the natural world. Warnings of climate change, shortages of food/fuel/metals/other resources, crises of biodiversity, pollution and so on go similarly unheeded.