Economics, Politics and Settlement
Edited by Mats Benner
Chapter 12: Recovered imaginaries, imagined recoveries: a cultural political economy of crisis construals and crisis management in the North Atlantic financial crisis
Crises are multifaceted phenomena that invite multiple approaches from different entry-points and standpoints. This chapter deploys a cultural political economy approach to explore how the current crisis in the North Atlantic economies has been construed from the viewpoint of different economic imaginaries. Of particular interest is the shock that crises gave to the prevailing economic wisdom and dominant policy paradigms, leading to the recovery of other economic perspectives as well as a search to imagine alternative economic and political paths to economic recovery. Key aspects of the retrospective interpretation and prospective envisioning of economic performance are actors’ differential capacities for lesson-drawing and asymmetrical abilities to refuse to learn from their mistakes. Accordingly the following analysis considers the multifaceted nature of the so-called global financial crisis, the selection of some construals rather than others as the basis for economic responses and crisis management, and the transformation of a crisis that originated in private credit relations and securitization into a crisis of public finances and sovereign debt. Of special interest are two issues. One is the contestation between hegemonic neo-liberal economic imaginaries and those that had been consigned to oblivion in recent decades as scientifically outmoded, historically superseded, politically disproven, or ideologically unacceptable.
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