Silence, echoes off the wall…

which is a line from a song by the late Randy Vanwarmer, who I think was massively under-rated

So, first this quote from a book I didn’t rate as highly as I thought I was going to

In his 1968 Boyer lectures, the anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner spoke of the ‘great Australian silence’ about the atrocities and injustices perpetrated against Indigenous people. Stanner argued that the level of inattention to the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australian history books could not be explained by mere ‘absent-mindedness’. Rather, Stanner suggested that this neglect had been structured into the Australian identity, creating ‘a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape.’

page 47 of Beyond White Guilt by Sarah Maddison

and then this from the wonderful Gillian Tett of the Financial Times…

Why did so few people inside or outside the banking world spot the risks that were developing in the world of complex credit and credit derivatives before 2007? What does that failure imply for regulators and policy makers in the future? These questions have provoked a welter of debate since the banking crisis erupted – and a host of different answers. Some observers have blamed the issue on flawed regulatory and economic thinking among policy makers and central bankers, or a “cover-up”, in the sense that bankers were deliberately hiding their riskiest behaviour from regulators. The issue of “regulatory capture” has also been blamed. However, this paper argues that two other problems need to be recognised too. Firstly, the financial world was a pattern of «social silence», to coin a phrase used by Pierre Bourdieu, the French sociologist, which ensured that the operations of complex credit were deemed too dull, irrelevant or technical to attract interest from outsiders, such as journalists or politicians. Secondly, there was a problem of silos, or fragmentation, both in a structural and cognitive sense, which made it hard for both insiders and outsiders alike to take a holistic vision of how credit was developing. Taken together, that made it hard to “join up the dots” about the dangers in the credit world, until it was too late. And, as such, this raises policy questions and challenges for the future.



About dwighttowers

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4 Responses to Silence, echoes off the wall…

  1. dwighttowers says:

    Thanks Rob,

    Gillian Tett is simply amazing. Now the US editor of the Financial Times, she has written so much good stuff!!

    I sent a food campaigner guy your way a week ago. And meant to ask, do you know Deirdre Barrett and her book “Supernormal Stimuli”?

  2. robpatrob says:

    No I don’t – you have my interest now

  3. robpatrob says:

    Thanks for the snips – looked for book on Amazon the Kindle is more expensive than the hard cover?

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