what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It generally uses books (old and new) and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours. So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Telling it as it Is

I ought to be working on the global crisis and the Scottish referendum but, as usual, have been distracted – this time by two stunning autobiographies; by some thrillers and by a delightful take on contemporary Turkey. Such is the problem of having a library which is rapidly getting out of hand. Dennis Healey – whose 1989 autobiography I had so enjoyed on a second reading earlier in the year - bears part of the blame. Intrigued by his praise of Leonard Woolf’s autobiography (issued in the 1960s and still available) I bought 3 of its 5 volumes and was gripped from the beginning by their honesty and style. 

Leonard Woolf is nowadays perhaps better known as the husband of Virginia Woolf and member of the (in?)famous “Bloomsbury set” of more than a century ago – but he was an important “Fabian”, founder of the journal Political Quarterly and publishing firm and   
at nearly eighty, began to publish an autobiography that was immediately hailed by reviewers, won an important literary prize, and, in the almost half century since the first volume appeared, has seldom been out of print.
I’m “savouring” it at the moment – its prose is so exquisite and the volume describing his early experience as a young civil servant in the British Imperial civil service (in Ceylon) so vividly capturing (50 years on!) characters and incidents that I want to postpone the pleasure of the later volumes.

So, in the meantime, I take up Robert Hughes’ 2007 autobiography Things I Didn’t Know whose acerbic tone reminded so much of his compatriot Clive James who indeed wrote a powerful vignette of Hughes 
I first came across Hughes as the author of a book on Barcelona but he was apparently better known as one of the best art critics around and operated for almost as a decade as such with Time magazine. His autobiography is quite spell-binding and I’m amazed he wasn’t hit with a lot of libel suits!

Allan Massie is an underrated novelist with a strong set of European themes who has recently turned his hand to detective novels set in Bordeaux during the second world war. Three so far and well worth the read – and the format which Quintet books have used for the trilogy has done him proud.

Finally an engrossing read with Turkish Awakening – a personal discovery of modern Turkey  – part of a package of books on that country and on Istanbul which arrived recently.
Getting under the skin of a country is, for me, an underrated skill and Alev Scott seems to have achieved it with remarkable facility
It’s a bit like reading a travel book of your hometown; reassuringly familiar, with extra titbits of seasoned observations. On arrival, no one really acknowledges the stray, docile dogs of Istanbul that sleep unflinching in the middle of a thoroughfare, the high-pitched girly hubbub of fashionable Turkish women drinking in Nişantaşı, or why overly personal questions are the norm from perfect strangers. Scott explores all of this and more, with superb style. 
She is refreshingly candid about her impressions of her countrymen and more, importantly, its women — especially a certain husband-hunting cohort. “Somehow, rightly or wrongly, Turkish women have decided that men like them to act like little girls, and they are playing that part as best they can.” But Scott addresses feminism in Turkey head-on and goes well beyond the much discussed headscarf debate, exploring the treatment of women in the workplace (in liberal Istanbul), female entrepreneurs and trailblazers in the poorer and more conservative South East as well as the government’s contentious curbing of a woman’s right to choose. But beyond political observation, Scott’s book is a truly personal discovery of modern Turkey. Her experience of modern Turkey is infused by both her mother’s memory of Turkey and Scott’s own comparisons to British culture, producing a highly entertaining tapestry, backed by sharp observations and a witty pen. 
You can read more of her take on Turkey on her blog 

Revenons, cependant, aux moutons. With the referendum only 2 weeks away, here is a good post on how to make some sort of sense of all the words with which Scottish citizens have been drenched in the past 2 years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nearing the End

It’s just 2 weeks until the Scottish referendum – and I’ve had only a handful of posts about the issue since the series I did 3 months ago – particularly Scotland –keeping an open mind and It’s the economy, stupid 
And that’s despite about a dozen new books on the topic now facing me accusingly on the bookshelves – the most recent being The Scottish Question and Small Nations in a Big World 

It’s almost exactly 40 years since my contribution “What Sort of Over-Government?” was published with a score of others in the famous Red Paper on Scotland which was edited by Gordon Brown destined some 32 years later to become British Prime Minister. Interesting to read all these years later the introduction he wrote to the book which attracted a long review in the New Left Review 
Scotland has been putting on its spectacles with commendable eagerness to read the minute print of a ‘Red Paper’ or socialist symposium on the state of the nation, which has reached the best-seller lists. It is a collection of twenty-eight essays, edited by Edinburgh University’s student rector, Gordon Brown. A dozen of the authors are academics, seven writers or journalists—though many are political activists as well. There are two trade-unionists, two Labour MPS. Six pieces deal with social problems, five with devolution, local government or administration, three with North Sea oil, three others with industry and finance, three with land and the Highlands. Despite the comprehensive investigation of Scotland and Scottish nationalism contained in the book, some topics were bound to get left out. There might have been something on religion and the Churches, considering how near at hand Ulster is. There might have been something on women and the family. Still, their contributions, of very varying length, are all carefully thought out and well documented.

I was fresh then in my position as Secretary of the Labour Cabinet of the newly-created Strathclyde Regional Council which covered half of Scotland and ran a huge empire of teachers, socials workers, police, engineers etc. My piece drew on seven years’ experience as a leading Labour councillor in a shipbuilding town – active in challenging the paternalistic approach which characterised Labour councils in those days. The reference to “over-government” was partly to the fears then of a fourth (Scottish) layer of government being added to appease the upsurge of scottish nationalism but more to  the style of government in those days – and the assumptions it made about the passivity of the citizen.
I famously said that “The debate (about devolution) has been a serious distraction” – from, that is, the poverty and inequities some of us were at least being enabled by the new system of regional government to tackle.
Flash forward 40 years to this recent contribution to the debate about independence
A Yes vote  may get rid of the Tories - but that doesn’t mean you will get rid of Tory ideas, a few of which are front and centre in the SNP’s/Yes campaign’s independence manifesto (or white paper), titled ‘Scotland’s Future’. The positions laid out on corporation tax, the monarchy, and NATO membership would sit more than comfortably in the pages of a Tory manifesto.
More importantly, the idea that abandoning millions of people who’ve stood with us – and us with them – in trade union struggles, political campaigns, progressive movements, etc, for generations – the idea that this can be considered progress is anathema to me. The analogy of the Titanic applies, wherein rather than woman and children, it is Scots to the lifeboats and to hell with everybody else……In 2014 economic sovereignty does not lie with national governments as it once did. Today economic sovereignty lies with global capital under that extreme variant of capitalism known as neoliberalism – or the free market. The notion that separation from a larger state would allow said smaller state to forge a social democratic utopia without challenging said neoliberal nostrums is simply not credible.
A patchwork of smaller states plays into the hands of global capital, as it means more competition for inward investment, which means global corporations are able to negotiate more favourable terms in return for that investment. The inevitable result is a race to the bottom as workers in one state compete for jobs with workers in neighbouring states. In this regard it is surely no accident that Rupert Murdoch is a vocal supporter of Scottish independence. 
Support for Scottish independence among progressives in Scotland is rooted in despair over a status quo of Tory barbarity. This is understandable. For the past three decades working class communities throughout the UK have suffered a relentless assault under both Conservative and Labour administrations. The Labour Party, under the baneful influence and leadership of Tony Blair and his New Labour clique, came to be unrecognizable from the party that created the welfare state, including the NHS, and the party that once held full employment as a guiding principle of its economic and social policy.
The embrace of free market nostrums under New Labour meant that the structural inequality that obtained after 18 years of Tory rule remained more or less intact. The market was now the undisputed master of all it surveyed. The consequence of Labour’s shift to the right has been to give rise to cynicism, disappointment, and lack of faith in politics among large swathes of voters, evinced in ever lower turnouts at elections. Issues such as the lies and subterfuge surrounding Britain going to war in Iraq in 2003, the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2011, followed by the phone hacking scandal – during which the unhealthy relationship between the owners and editors of tabloid newspapers and politicians was revealed – has only deepened this cynical disregard for politics and politicians in Britain, giving rise to anti-politics as the default position of many voters. 
In Scotland – for decades a Labour Party stronghold – devolution has allowed a protest vote to make the electorate’s feelings towards this Labour Party betrayal of its founding principles known at the ballot box. Regardless, the most significant protest has been a non-vote, with turnouts at elections in Scotland following the pattern of the rest of the country in remaining low. For example, there was only a 50 percent turnout at the last Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2011, out of which the Scottish National Party (SNP) emerged with an overall majority, the first time any party has managed to do so since the Scottish Parliament came into existence in 1999. 
The myth that Scotland is more left-leaning than rest of the UKHowever the argument that Scotland is more left-leaning than the rest of the UK is one that seeks to conflate conservatism with England in its entirety, rather than a specific region of the country, which in conjunction with the antiquated first past the post electoral system of Westminster elections has thrown up Tory governments that are unrepresentative of where the majority of England and the rest of the UK sits politically.
Scotland is no more left-leaning than the deindustrialised North East, North West, and Midlands of England. Nor is it any more left leaning than Wales. The working class in Scotland is not any more progressive than its English or Welsh counterpart.

There’s more of the same at this collective blog which I’ve just come across  

Monday, August 25, 2014

The missing question at the heart of the Scottish debate

There is a missing question at the heart of the debate about independence which has, for the past 2 years, been gripping my homeland, the small nation of Scotland – and that is how to avoid the savage judgement which “the markets” (ie global capital) would almost certainly inflict in the aftermath of a yes vote  - as per the experience of Francois Mitterand’s government almost 30 years ago when it tried to implement its left-wing manifesto commitments..
The government which has had majority support in the Scottish Parliament since 2007 was wary of putting their commitment to independence to the vote but has played a canny game since then – judging that Scotland’s experience of right-wing Coalition cuts since 2011 gave them the best opportunity to realise the dream of Scottish independence.
Since the Scottish Parliament was reconstituted in 1999 (after almost 300 years of silence) – with considerable independent powers but within a budget transferred from London – the “Scottish Executive” (of whatever political colour) has played with a social democrat bat. 

The neo-liberal agenda has been strongly resisted – as indicated in a variety of measures relating to health, education and social care – let alone the commitment to expelling the British nuclear submarines from the River Clyde. Indeed for Scottish Nationalist spokesmen, this last would seem to be the only thing that would change in a post-yes Scotland.
Membership of the European Union, of NATO, of the pound – somehow – would magically remain….

It is this simple statement which exposes the weakness of the case for independence. Who could resist voting for continued free health care; free university education (now for half of the relevant peer group); almost free sheltered accommodation for the elderly and many other things? They no longer exist in England but have been voted in by the 15 year-old Sottish Parliament - all paid for by the block transfer payment which comes from the UK exchequer. 

I have just watched a powerful speech by an ex-MSP (member of the Scottish Parliament) from the Scottish Socialist Party – typical of the sort of discussions which have been taking place the length and breadth of this small country over the past 2 years since the date of the referendum was at last set.
Francis Curran speaks of her experience - first as a researcher at Westminster and then as a Scottish parliamentarian - of being besieged by the lobbyists for companies wanting to cash in on the cash bonanza enjoyed by companies from the privatisation and marketization agenda of London governments - an agenda which successive Scottish governments have been able to resist under their devolved powers….. She convinces the listener of the agenda being strongly pursued by monied interests – but then fails to ask how that same capital will deal with the uncertainties in the next 2 years as country which, having broken away, has then  to negotiate a deal with various international bodies. 

It is not enough to ask whether Scotland is rich enough to be independent – patently it is. The question is how much of that richness will be discounted negatively by global capital. 
Only leftist economists can try to deal with such a question…..and the media exclude them from the discussion. 

It could be said that this evening is make or break for the United Kingdom. The second of two debates will take place between Scotland’s First Minister and the Leader of the Yes Campaign – Alaister Darling who has the disadvantage of having been Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Global Crisis. The main focus will apparently be the National Health Service – with Darling in the unenviable position of trying to explain how an independent Scotland will be in a better position to withstand such neo-liberalism. Those of you wishing to follow the latest strands of the argument which will play out on 18 September should read this post from a yes-voter; also hereand here

The Guardian Leader of 26 August takes the same line as this post.
On a personal note, I have 3 daughters – all brought up in Scotland only one of whom will be able to vote…my ex-wife and I are barred by virtue of no longer having any residence in the country……I feel angry...and disenfranchised. My only consolation is that the 2 votes of my first wife and daughter will probably cancel one another.... 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mammon's Kingdom

David Marquand is one of England’s most emblematic political figures -
journalist, historian, (briefly) Labour MP and Brussels Eurocrat, University professor, Oxford University Principal and contributor to think tanks galore. Most importantly, he has been for many decades our foremost centre-left public intellectual, taking up arms against the corruption of our society by unprincipled, uncaring, neo-liberal marketisation and the resulting decline of the public realm.
No one (except Tony Judt) has voiced the anxiety of the progressive citizen with greater passion or power, or with more compelling scholarship. His Britain Since 1918 – the strange career of British Democracy  was, for me, the most compelling portrayal of the country’s political development I have ever read. And, to complete, the identikit, he is actually the spitting image of Alan Bennett.

I have just finished his most recent short book - Mammon’s Kingdom – an essay on Britain, Now whose review by Kenneth Morgan, the key historian of figures of the British left, forms the core of this post. The book's theme -
is the commercialisation of our culture and institutions. This has been most destructive since the Thatcher years, but, fine historian that he is, he shows that the roots lie much earlier, with the close link between finance and the state since Hanoverian times. There was a sharp reversal during and after the Second World War, when a new “clerisy”, variously composed of social critics like George Orwell, progressive civil servants like William Beveridge, working-class patriots like Aneurin Bevan and the Communist Arthur Horner recaptured the public ethic of Ruskin, Mill and Arnold.
The rot set in with disciples of economic individualism after 1944, pursuing the mirage of a free-market utopia along with (Marquand believes, perhaps more contentiously), a destructive “moral individualism.” Since then, the cohesion and self-belief of Britain as a comity have been undermined. Marquand analyses superbly the implications of this.
·         A sense of history has been replaced by a glib, uncomprehending journalistic "presentism".
·         A humane Keynesian-style economics has been supplanted by a dogmatic cult whose followers uphold an unthinking, unjustified faith in the impregnable rationality of the market, and the abstract "choices" allegedly open to a rational calculating individual.
·         Communal institutions such as local authorities or the civil service are degraded by a market state. Public values are driven out by an all-encompassing commercialism, as shown variously in the debasement of our universities, the sacrifice of sanity on the environment, and the undermining of the welfare state.
·         The Gini coefficient marches ever upwards, the increasing poor are isolated and humiliated, mass inequality is inescapable.
·         Our democracy is relentlessly eroded by lobbying corporate capitalism, resulting in a tax structure skewed in favour of the rich and a political structure debased by invasion by private wealth. Marquand describes the "revolving doors" through which ex-politicians glide effortlessly into the capitalist utopia, a process most notoriously symbolised by Tony Blair.
·         Worst of all, society is being atomised, riven by class division, its language of cohesion debased by the cheap slogans of media commentators, its sense of belonging, neighbourhood and human sympathy shredded everywhere, from the church to the public library to the bus queue.
We no longer seem to know each other. And so we no longer trust each other. Public goods and services, long taken for granted, are withering into commercialised decay. We have made a cheap, corrosive society, a world fit for Fred Goodwin to shred in.And the tragedy is, as Marquand shows, that much of this is due to moral surrenders by those previously in authority – the "flunkeyism" of civil servants, the avarice of professions (look at current vice-chancellors), the "charismatic populism" of politicians from Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron who have destroyed the values they inherited. 
The manifold evils of the process are beyond dispute. But wherein lies the remedy? Here the book is rather more disappointing. The answer, it seems, is "a wide-ranging national conversation", in which the ideas upheld by philosophers past, notably Burke, Mill, Tawney, are proclaimed anew.
The themes for this kind of nationwide seminar are of unquestionable value. Burke, for long an improbable hero for conservatives, is rightly rescued as a celebrant of the social roots of living communities, and a prophet of cultural pluralism whether in Ireland or India. They are to be backed up by two less likely camp-followers – Karl Marx and Jesus Christ, the greatest prophet of the inexorable advance of monopoly capitalism, alongside the prophet of the priesthood of all believers. 
But donnish dominion, like patriotism, may not be enough. We need action as well as conversation. We have now a contrasting critique of the inherent inequalities of the capitalist order from Thomas Piketty, in Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He prescribes specific radical policies – global action on higher incomes and tax avoidance, annual taxation on wealth and property, help for working-class victims like a stable minimum wage, a restoration of labour unions.
The difference between Piketty and Marquand may be one of national culture. It is Gallic rage versus Anglo-Saxon sweetness and light.But Marquand has the roots within him to go much further. The book is dedicated to his father, Hilary and his great-grandfather, Ebenezer Rees. They were very different kinds of Welshmen – Hilary an economics professor at Cardiff, Ebenezer a journalist who founded the first Welsh socialist newspaper, Llais Llafur (Voice of Labour). What they had in common was that both were full of radical ideas on how to repair their fractured society.Perhaps Marquand's next work could recapture the values of the land of his fathers, to rebuild that "richer, deeper democracy" which our poor, corrupted country so desperately needs. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Surfing in the Carpathians

"How can I know what I think until I read what I write?" is a lovely quotation (from Henry James) which sits at the masthead of a rather specialised economics blog by a German Professor. It very much summarises the spirit of this blog and today’s in particular.

For a couple of days I’ve been wanting to do a post on the “Manual for Counter-technopols” which was an Annex in a sadly-forgotten book called The New Zealand Experiment produced in 1995 by Jane Kelsey.
I was reminded of it as I read Mirowski’s Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste.

The Manual is a list of injunctions for those who wanted (in the 1990s) to fight neo-liberalism. Twenty years on, the phrases still resonate eg –
- Resist marketspeak – maintain control of the language, challenge its capture, and refuse to convert your discourse to theirs. Insist on using hard terms that convey the hard realities of what is going on.
Be realistic and avoid nostalgia—recognise that the world has changed, in some ways irreversibly, and the past was far from perfect. Avoid being trapped solely into reaction and critique. Many neo-liberal criticisms of the status quo are justified and will strike a chord with people. Defending the past for its own sake adds credibility to their arguments and wastes opportunities to work for genuine change.
Be proactive and develop real altematives – start rethinking visions, strategies and models of development for the future. Show that there are workable, preferable alternatives from the start. This becomes progressively more difficult once the programme takes hold.

The Manual can be read in its entirety in the link – but, somehow, failed to move me. It was too general, too vague….too rhetorical. 
So, as the dawn come up over the mountains at 05.00 today, I started to surf for inspiration and hit first a review in Book Forum of Utopia or Bust  which is a look at some of the key left theorists about the global crisis - by Benjamin Kunkel who, I remembered, had written the recent great review of Thomas Piketty’s current blockbuster to which I referred a few days ago. Kunkel – like other great reviewers of the London Review of Books – is actually a writer.
The publisher of his latest book is one of several fascinating small publishers who are coming to my attention - Zero Books (Not to be confused with Zed books !)

From there, I was led on to Poor but sexy – culture clashes in Europe West and East  by a Polish writer Agata Pyzik who writes for the Guardian’s new East Network which had rather passed me by.

My study faces due east and the morning sun (when it appears!) always hits my eyes. At 10.00 I can’t help but notice that the skies are cloudless – but with quite a chilly breeze making it impossible to sit on the open terrace for more than 5 minutes. I began to realise that I don’t write very much about Europe these days; and manage to come across a new website – the European Cultural Foundation and an interesting booklet on the Dwarfing of Europe which in turn led me to a worthy-looking journal on things European founded by a Bulgarian – EUInside with this useful overview of a recent forum in Croatia

From there, just a quick flick of the wrist to Wolfgang Streeck’s most recent book Buying Time - a sense of which he gave in a New Left Review article

On days like this, I wonder whether I shouldn’t call this blog – Surfing in the Carpathians. It reminds me of the great book Europa Europa by Hans Magnus Enzensberger which contained an essay entitled “The Seacoast of Bohemia”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Confessions of a Dilettante Gadfly

From 1968 to the early 1980s I had a pretty relaxed life – paid to read and regurgitate to polytechnic students whatever took my fancy in the burgeoning social science literature of the time – variously urban and regional management; and certain aspects of political studies. At the same time I was a serious “political bureaucrat” ie able to use a position as a Chairman of municipal and Regional social policy systems to give direction to an army of officials.
That gave me the opportunity to draft various papers describing the radical changes some of us were trying to make to our public management systems – influenced by a critique of “legalistic professionalism” which was beginning to come from the left, right and centre. Key names in these diverse “schools” were Saul Alinsky, Ivan Illich, Paulo Freire and those associated with the British CDP work of the early 1970s; James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock of the Public Choice school; and a raft of management gurus who started (with Russell Ackoff) by celebrating corporate management and ended (with Tom Peters) by celebrating chaos.   

A long paper with the (long) title From Multiple Deprivation to Social Exclusion; a Case Study of Organisational Development and Political Amnesia  is a fairly rare attempt of an “insider” to record the 15-year journey by a group of determined politicians and officials in a Regional Council which covered half of Scotland and employed 100,000 staff. 
What we were trying to do attracted the interest of a few researchers – in particular the famous Tavistock Institute (its Institute for Operation Research with John Friend); the Institute of Local Government Studies (Birmingham) and a handful of individual scholars such as Harry Smart who produced in 1991 a book with the rather convoluted title Criticism and public rationality – professional rigidity and the search for caring government which includes a “Coda” written by me.
One of my assistants at the time was someone who later occupied some prominent positions, culminating in the Directorship of the renowned Schumacher College and who edited a large volume in which I make a contribution – The Making of an Empowering Profession 
And he recently produced a brief memoir - Supporting People Power in which, again, I figure

From 1983, however, my (very patient) employers began to expect more serious academic work from me – while I was still holding down several senior political positions. In 1985 I reached breaking point and was forced to give up academic work. For 5 fraught years I operated as a full-time Regional political bureaucrat - searching, at the same time, for a channel for my energies and experience. I was lucky – the Berlin Wall fell and the European networks I had been developing gave me an amazing opportunity to use my understanding and skills in central Europe as a free-lance consultant.

For the past 23 years, therefore, I have been “a gun for hire”…..able to use whatever spare time I had to pursue my reading…..to annoy a variety of senior EC officials with critiques of EC programmes and…to draft the occasional, more reflective musings about the various projects I’ve been lucky enough to run. A few years ago, I tried to pull some of this experience together in an autobiographical piece I called “The Search for the Holy Grail – some reflections on 40 years of trying to make government and its systems work for people

I suppose some people would say I’m a dilettante – operating like a gadfly. But my particular skills-set includes promiscuous, inter-disciplinary reading; communications; networking; and a good memory. I am annoyed by the number of high-profile writers operating within narrow intellectual frameworks - who clearly have little sense of what has been going in related disciplines; and/or fail to reference the work of others ploughing similar critiques.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Strange Omission

I mentioned the 41 page bibliography to be found at the back of Mirowski’s book – this is not as impressive as at it might seem to the casual reader. Indeed in anyone else’s book, I might suspect  such a list is a sign of self-doubt and a need to assert one’s status…. It’s pretty easy to compile a list – what is much more challenging is to summarise the key argument of each book or article and to make a judgement about how it compares in, for example, coherence with others. Even better if you can classify the various explanations and fit the books into such a classification – Howard Davies, for example, identified 39 different explanations of the financial meltdown

I’ve googled various phrases to try to find such an annotated bibliography of the global crisis – and cannot really find one - let alone one with a decent structure. By way of comparison, look at the annotated bibliography for “change agents” I put on my website a few years back

Two frequently referenced articles are Reading about the financial crisis – a 21 book review - a 40 page note produced in 2012 by Andrew Lo which, as he puts it in the introduction, 
underscores the desperate need for the economics profession to establish a single set of facts from which more accurate inferences and narratives can be constructed

And “Getting up to speed on the causes of the financial crisislooks at only 16 docs between 2007-09

A (very short) Financial Crisis reading List is offered by a blog but one which serves a very simple E-book - “Too Big Has Failed”. The short annotated list offered by the Pluto Press simply advertises a few books in that particular publisher’s stable.

Misrule of Experts (2011) is one of a large number of papers produced by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change which offers a useful analysis but hardly a bibliography - let alone an annotated one. And the same is true of the minority report produced by the FinancialCrisis Inquiry Commission in 2011 

Responsibilities, ethics and the Financial Crisis is a useful website……part of a 3 year Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project which brings together "philosophers, economists and social policy academics". It too has reading lists - but none of them annotated. 

So where, please, is there a real annotated bibliography of the events which are now shaping a generation – if not a civilisation ??? And can anyone offer a reason for this absence??