This event is now being rescheduled for a few months time!
I'll be speaking at a seminar at University of Essex next month, giving a paper clumsily titled 'Varieties of Rescue Mission: Financial Crisis and Conventions of Neo-Classical Failure'. This is a developed version of what I initially presented at the CRESC financial crisis conference in April, and now exists as a paper (which I'm happy to share if anyone is interested).
The paper borrows an approach from the French convention school of Boltanski, Thevenot et al, to consider different ways in which experts have set about trying to save core fundaments of neo-classical economics from the apparent catastrophe of the financial crisis. These are defined as rival normative ways in which the same technical apparatus is defended as justified, and rest on rival claims to authority on the parts of the economists concerned. As I argue, if the crisis can be effectively contained and explained within the neo-classical project, broadly understood, then it will be prevented from disrupting it or causing any significant paradigm shift (as, for instance, stagflation led to the demise of Keynesianism).
The first derives from English welfare economics, and suggests that the crisis was a 'market failure', that is, it occurred due to inadequate third party or government intervention. This seeks to bestow regulatory authority upon the economist. The second derives from Chicago neo-liberal economics, and suggests that the crisis was a problem of incentives and arguably too much regulation, or at least insufficient attention to the agency problems within regulation and credit-rating. This seeks to bestow critical authority upon the economist. And the third derives from behavioural economics, and suggests that the crisis was a problem of excessive complexity and systemic risk, ultimately caused by the inadequate calculative capacity of the human mind. This seeks to bestow therapeutic authority upon the economist.
I wouldn't pretend that this is an exhaustive list. What's interesting about these three traditions is that they are all seeking to prop up the same core claims about human rationality and economic value, but in very different ways and for very different reasons. And they have all had to go into overdrive in order to rescue their discipline over the last three years. If you want to hear more, come to the seminar!