Introduction Framing the Crisis: Accident, Fiasco, or Debacle?

Ewald Engelen, Ismail Ertürk, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, Adam Leaver, Michael Moran, Adriana Nilsson and Karel Williams

in After the Great Complacence

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199589081
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731150 | DOI:
Introduction Framing the Crisis: Accident, Fiasco, or Debacle?

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The introductory chapter sets the book up as an intervention in the debate about the financial crisis by engaging in some of the possible conceptualizations of accident. The concepts of accident and fiasco are explored, drawing on the original usage by Perrow and Scott, and also incorporating analysis of the current financial crisis by Donald MacKenzie, Andrew Haldane, and Gillian Tett. Accident and fiasco are rejected in favour of debacle, a significant, non-reversible collection of outcomes that shift the balance of power, caused in part by hubris involving banking, regulatory, and political elites. The chapter and book argue that the crisis is the result of accumulating small decisions by individual banks and bankers. At the same time the regulators and political elites bought into a high modernist project of supporting a light-touch regime that largely trusted financial markets to deal with their own problems.

Keywords: financial crisis; debacle; hubris; accident; political elites; Charles Perrow

Chapter.  5131 words. 

Subjects: Financial Institutions and Services

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