The impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the capitalist system

An important theme of Hanif Kureishi’s short story “The Decline of the West” is the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the capitalist system.

Through the life of Mike and his family, the author explores the way Western society was affected by the crisis and the recession that followed it. This event puts the capitalist system in perspective, and it shows how consequences differ in intensity for different social groups. People from poorer countries are exploited and marginalised, often endangering their health to keep their jobs. In comparison, rich people can lose their social status, but could find work in other domains. However, it is also implied that the financial crisis also leads people to desperate measures such as suicide.

The text raises the question of whether or not this financial crash was a punishment for the lavish lifestyle of Western society and its habit of excessive spending (l. 87). It also shows the flaws of th...

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