The outsourcing of manufacturing to developing world has left the economy increasingly dependent on finance. Since the deregulation of the U.S. financial industry by Ronald Reagan in the 1980's the American and world economies have been increasingly focused on financial speculation rather than actual productive investment. The usual justifications for the existence of Wall Street/Bay Street to provide liquidity to investors has evaporated as Wall Street and the rest of the world are turned into a global casino. The world of finance has been decoupled from the real economy. Around the world the Occupy Wall Street Movement directly challenges this financial dominance. Stephen Harper claims credit for Canada's relative financial health but this is primarily due to previous Liberal governments' having kept our regulatory system in place and preventing bank mega-mergers. See also the short article   Phantom Money

The Gods That Failed: How Blind Faith in Markets Has Cost Us Our Future    by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson (2009)     Detailed look at the neoliberal banking deregulation in the U.S. and Britain and its collapse as well as the philosphical underpinnings of neoliberalism and banking reforms

Web of Debt:The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free 3rd edition    by Ellen Hodgson Brown (2008)     Comprehensive, detailed, but fast-paced examination of the history of money creation by banks, the creation of phantom wealth and stock market bubbles, and the resulting damage to the economy and the public.

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay    by John Lanchester (2010)     An informal introduction to the financial meltdown and an examination of the exotic financial instruments involved.    Also Audiobook CD and Downloadable Internet Audiobook