Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Henry Grattan Lecture - Panic on the Flight Deck

  • Speaker: Prof Karel Williams, Manchester Business School

  • Date: Thursday 19 January from 6.00 to 7.30pm

  • Venue: Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

In this public lecture Karel Williams, Professor of Accounting and Political Economy at Manchester Business School, argued that the debt debacle is also a crisis of our expert elites. This lecture is part of the 2011-2012 Henry Grattan Lecture Series which will address the theme of The Debt Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Controls.

The lecture was chaired by Paul Sweeney, Chief Economist at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.



Presentation Overview

The financial crisis from 2008-11 demonstrates that econocrats (central bankers and regulators) cannot understand or control finance and markets. The pre 2008 period was one of hubristic complacence when senior regulators failed to control financial  innovation and imprudence which generated private profits before central bankers rushed to keep things going by socialising bank losses. From 2008-11, hubristic intervention continued through quantitative easing while the same policy elites failed to deliver effective banking reform which was opposed by the finance lobby. With the euro zone crisis in 2011, the econocrats are increasingly divided between radicals who wish to cage finance and “ technocrats” eager to impose structural reforms. From this point of view, we must welcome the current intrusion of democracy into a closed and unaccountable elite world.

Speaker Biography

Karel Williams is director of the ESRC funded Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change (CRESC) where he leads research by an MBS team into financialization and financial innovation. Their post 2008 work includes articles, public interest reports on banking reform and a book After the Great Complacence  (OUP, 2011) which argues that the financial crisis was not a crisis or conspiracy but an elite debacle. With the sociologist Mike Savage, he has been working to revive elite studies.

>>Back to top



Last updated 13 June 2014 .