- After the great complacence: financial crisis and the politics of reform
- Number of pages
- Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This book addresses two important questions: first, why did financial innovation lead to the crisis in the banking sector that developed in 2007-8; and, second, why the political reform of finance has apparently proved so difficult across a variety of political jurisdictions? This ambitious book draws on a team of researchers from different disciplines to develop an innovation and distinctive argument in response to these two critical issues. In the first half of this book our question is about how crisis was generated. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 develop our answer, which is that innovation in and around the financial markets took the form of bricolage which did not consider the risks, uncertainty, and unintended consequences of volume-based business models and complex circuits. The direct implication is that finance needs to be simplified, rather than regulation made more sophisticated. In the second half of the book, our question is about why democratic political control both before and after the crisis has proved so difficult? Chapters 5, 6, and 7 develop our answer, which is that self-serving financial elites are not easily controlled by technocratic elites who are themselves recovering from knowledge failure, or by the rest of the governing classes concerned with political positioning for electoral advantage on issues which are technical, opaque, and illegible to the electorate at large. In Chapter 8, we discuss some of the implications of this analysis for how reform of both banking regulation and democracy is required.
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