This paper aims to introduce the main chains of events leading to the financial crisis. Drawing on the immediate mechanisms that gave rise to the crisis, it analyzes the deterioration of the regulation mechanisms and institutions and the key role played by the United States. The Brazilian situation is presented in some detail. The final part of this paper introduces two sets of proposals: one by those who want to keep the system but improve its regulation and another by those who see the crisis as an opportunity for rescuing sustainable development.(L. Dowbor)

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