Why Didn’t they see it coming? Warning Signs, Acceptable Risks and the Great Financial Crisis

Hindmoor, Andrew and McConnell, Allan (2013) Why Didn’t they see it coming? Warning Signs, Acceptable Risks and the Great Financial Crisis. Political Studies, 61 3: 543-560. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00986.x

Author Hindmoor, Andrew
McConnell, Allan
Title Why Didn’t they see it coming? Warning Signs, Acceptable Risks and the Great Financial Crisis
Journal name Political Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0032-3217
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00986.x
Open Access Status
Volume 61
Issue 3
Start page 543
End page 560
Total pages 18
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
n the immediate aftermath of a crisis, one of the most damning and penetrating questions asked of political leaders and senior state officials by the media, opposition parties and other actors is: ‘why didn't they see it coming?’ The question is often rhetorical, the implication being that warning signs were clear and should have been acted upon. In this article we identify the assumptions underpinning the ‘why didn't they see it coming?’ narrative as it has been expounded in relation to the global financial crisis in the UK and US. Since 2008 commentators have routinely argued that warning signals of an impending financial crisis were ignored by political elites, treasury officials and financial regulators. Such arguments are made in hindsight and we refer to them as backward mapping perspectives. In this article we advance a counter-narrative, from a forward mapping perspective, where the focus is on placing such ‘failures’ in the context of the time, without foreknowledge of the crisis that would happen. Accordingly, we argue that warning signals that, with the benefit of hindsight, now seem obvious, were actually ambiguous and fragmented because they were received and interpreted within a very different ideational environment.
Keyword Global financial crisis
Warning Signs
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 17 Apr 2015, 15:49:15 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies