Jan 30 2012

After the Great Complacence

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

Finally finished reading After the Great Complacence: Financial Crisis and the Politics of Reform, a book about the UK’s experience of financial crisis by a team from Manchester University’s Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change. It’s excellent and important. Absolutely essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how Britain’s financial sector got out of control. Written by self-described “provincial radicals” and thus somewhat insulated from the London-centric view of the British economy that affects so much that is written about Big Finance, it is a landmark in this field. It explodes some of the common myths put out by the City of London Corporation (and widely parroted in the media) about the supposed contribution that the global financial sector makes to the British economy.

Among many other things, it tackles the very difficult problem of getting a political handle on the crisis and how it happened: the kind of rather anthropological approach to finance that has been missing from so many accounts of the crisis (with some notable exceptions.) My only real gripe is that it’s written in overly academic language for my personal taste.

I hope to review this book in much more detail for now. And to publish something new and meaty of my own on the financial sector’s contribution, in the next few weeks.

one comment

Sean O'Donoghue 2th February, 2012 8.25 pm

Yes, some wonderful stuff in this book – heavy going for someone who knows little about The economy or banking . But it puts paid to the lie that the City contributes
10 per cent to the overall economy. The financial sector contributes this amount, but most of this sector is not in the City, but in banks and insurance companies up and down the country and working in call centres.
The media in general has swallowed the misinformation on this issue constantly put out by the likes of Angela Knight – to paraphrase, she would say that, as she is paid to put a qloss on it for her paymasters

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