- Firstly, 'get out of it alive'.
- Secondly, 'make sure it doesn't happen again'.
Arguments such as "we shouldn't do those things that got us into this mess in the first place" or "we need a sustainable solutions not a sticking plaster" sound good but are actually fallacious. When your financial life is in danger, just when your environmental or personal life is in danger, the solutions differ. If your house is on fire 'sustainable' or 'ethical' solutions might be nice to have, but are completely secondary considerations to getting out of your house alive.
Solutions however must work. In other words they must be effective - i.e. do what they intend to do, and be broadly sound and robust. Being 'sound and robust' sounds a bit like being 'sustainable', but there are important differences. 'Sustainability' is sort of a council to perfection, avoiding rapid use of non-renewable resources sometimes adding extra 'ethical' criteria to decision making- whereas 'sound and robust' just means a solution which basically works under a variety of different circumstances. What we need is to tackle unsustainability, and particularly critical unsustainability; not expect our solutions to be perfectly sustainable according to every criterion.
It's quite clear what 'getting out alive' means in personal context, and in the case of global warming it is fairly straightforward. In the case of financial crisis it is less clear, but avoiding systemic meltdown and a great depression is usually the underlying motivation for government action. More on this some other time.