October, 2015

The Financial Crisis in the United Kingdom

Uncertainty, Calculation, and Error
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This chapter looks at the role of ignorance rather than incentive explanations (such as moral hazard) to explain the financial crisis in the United Kingdom. It uses empirical evidence to suggest that economic explanations should allow scope for the possibility of clusters of errors and explores the institutional factors that can create them. Specific attention is given to the concepts of regime uncertainty and big players, and how they accelerated the crisis. The epistemic function of prices is also discussed, as is the importance of calculation and recalculation during periods of financial turmoil. The chapter attempts to demonstrate that contemporary Austrian economics can provide important contributions to our understanding of business cycles—both in theory and in practice.

The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics is available through Oxford University Press.