The criminal responsibilities of … economists?

Using the events of L'Aquila and the subsequent convictions of Italian seismologists as a starting point, Dr Ioannis Oikonomou goes on to explore the extent to which economists could and should be held accountable for economic and financial turmoils.

In case you have missed it, a few months ago it was widely reported in the media that half a dozen Italian seismologists were convicted for manslaughter after being accused of not being able to predict (and giving false assurances prior to) the earthquake that struck L’Aquila and led to the death of 300 people. Reactions varied greatly: from the Royal Society and US National Academy issuing brief statements and simply condemning the decision of the Italian court, to individuals claiming we are moving back to “the medieval ages” and “the Spanish Inquisition model” to harshly worded articles claiming that scientists need to be held accountable : “those who claim the title “scientist”, be it natural or social, expect to combine the immunity of diplomats and the infallibility of popes.”

By now you are probably wondering what does any of this have to do with a finance-related blog and when will the economists mentioned in the title show up. Besides, unlike seismology or meteorology, finance and economics are hardly the scientific fields that can be connected to catastrophic events that may lead to the loss of human lives.

Or are they?

You can continue reading the article in full on the ICMA Centre's blog.

Published 4th February 2013

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