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Round up the usual suspects : blame and the subprime crisis

By Timothy J. Sinclair

Abstract

One of the remarkable things about financial crises is that they often give rise to a political process with uncanny similarities to the hunt for a dangerous felon, or the showdown with the bad guy in an old-time Hollywood movie. In the Asian crisis of the late 1990s the culprit was 'crony capitalism', and rich country politicians pursued this target zealously, deflecting any blame they might have taken for the financial catastrophe that afflicted that region. The failure of Enron Corporation in 2001 caused the spotlight to shift to various institutions, including the American wholesale credit rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service and Standard Poor's. With the return of dramatic financial volatility in the summer of 2007, the American agencies seemed to become public enemy number one. This article suggests that moral panic serves key political objectives in fragile times, in this instance disciplining some of the most extreme forms of financial innovation, but also undermining counter-hegemonic claims about the inherent problems of global finance

Topics: HC, JA
Publisher: 'Informa UK Limited'
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13563460903553657
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:5887
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