Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

Comparing rhetorics of crisis. Italy and the United Kingdom at the turn of the 1970s

Alberti Manfredi, Università di Palermo
Telesca Giuseppe , European University Institute

After the Global Financial Crisis, we cannot read longer the past economic crises as we did in the past. Focusing on both real economic facts and their interpretation by economists and politicians, this paper aims at challenging a consolidated reading of the 1970s as an age of crisis par excellence. Whether the 1970s marked the apogee of the Keynesian model, they also showed the signs of the beginning of its crisis. The move away from Keynesianism, which in many ways would deploy its full effects in the 1980s-1990s, was triggered by economic, as well as political and ideological reasons. These latter represent the focus of this paper. This work looks at the dynamics described above from the perspective of two countries – Britain and Italy – which, confronted with similar economic problems, elaborated political answers at times comparable and at times divergent. It also analyses the crisis of the 1970s as a rhetoric construction, as seen from the standpoint of the economic literature. Considering the category of “crisis” both as a notion of (objective) crisis and (subjective) critique, this paper reflects on the actors who “proclaimed” the crisis in the 1970s and the recipes they suggested to overcome it.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: Rhetorics of crisis; Neoliberalism; Keynesianism; Seventies; Narrative economics

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