Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale
Chapter 21: Overt Monetary Financing
Taboo noun . . . a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place or thing; adjective . . . prohibited or restricted by social custom; verb . . . place under prohibition. (Oxford Dictionary) We have to ensure that the prohibition of monetary financing is respected. (Jens Weidmann, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, interview with MNI, 21 March 2014) As the story goes, the British explorer Captain Cook introduced the word taboo into the English language after observing Tongan society in 1777. There is a very detailed and diverse literature on the concept of taboos in western society. We learn early in life the things we can say and do in polite company, and those things that will attract opprobrium as forbidden behaviour. We isolate individuals who step over these rather indistinct lines and consider their behaviour aberrant. Taboos are ways in which the status quo reinforces itself and resists change. But taboos are not inscribed in marble and as social values evolve so does the list of taboos. Further, while there are some things that all societies and cultures consider to be taboo, there are other things that are culturally specific. Dominant hegemonies also isolate options as taboos if they consider they would undermine their capacity to maintain ideological control over public policy.
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