Uncertainty: the Curate's egg in financial economics


  • My thanks to extensive and thoughtful comments of three referees, of Sam Dawson and the Risk and Uncertainty ISA TG04/TASA Seminar at the University of Western Sydney in 2010, notably Alphia Possamai-Inesedy. The argument is not their responsibility.


Economic theories of uncertainty are unpopular with financial experts. As sociologists, we rightly refuse predictions, but the uncertainties of money are constantly sifted and turned into semi-denial by a financial economics set on somehow beating the future. Picking out ‘bits’ of the future as ‘risk’ and ‘parts’ as ‘information’ is attractive but socially dangerous, I argue, because money's promises are always uncertain. New studies of uncertainty are reversing sociology's neglect of the unavoidable inability to know the forces that will shape the financial future.