Lisa Maria Herzog
University of Groningen
This essay analyses the role of different forms of trust in the context of financial markets. It argues that rather than being caused by a lack of trust, the financial crisis of 2007 can be characterized by a shift from personal trust, with its normative and epistemic implications, towards too much “systemic trust”. Through a process of legalization and formalization, loans became standardized, and lenders relied not on the trustworthiness of borrowers, but on their legal claims and the ability of markets to evaluate these correctly. As recent research in social philosophy and legal studies shows, however, markets built on “systemic trust” run into paradoxes, both with regard to their epistemic features and with regard to their ability to deal with the fundamental uncertainty of the future. This fact raises serious questions about the epistemic control of complex market systems, and about the justice of institutional structures in which only some people’s or organization’s trust pays off, while other people’s trust is betrayed
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DOI 10.1524/dzph.2013.61.4.529
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