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A culture of mania: a psychoanalytic view of the incubation of the 2008 credit crisis

By Mark Stein

Abstract

The full text of this article is not currently available on the LRA. The published version is available from the publisher's website at: http://org.sagepub.com/ ; doi: 10.1177/1350508410390071In this theoretically informed study I explore the broader cultural changes that created the conditions for the credit crisis of 2008. Drawing on psychoanalysis and its application to organizational and social dynamics, I develop a theoretical framework around the notion of a manic culture, comprised of four aspects: denial; omnipotence; triumphalism; and over-activity. I then apply this to the credit crisis and argue that the events of 2008 were preceded by an incubation period lasting for over two decades during which a culture of mania developed. Then, focusing especially on the Japanese and South East Asia/LTCM crises, I argue that a series of major ruptures in capitalism during this incubation period served not as warnings, but as opportunities for a manic response, thereby dramatically increasing the risks involved. I also argue that this mania was triggered and strengthened by triumphant feelings in the West over the collapse of communism. I suggest therefore that this manic culture played a significant role in creating the conditions for the problems that led to the credit crisis

Topics: credit crisis, culture, mania, psychoanalysis
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1350508410390071
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9306
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