Complete Story
 

Colombini, Crystal Broch

Summer 2015, 45:2, pages 117-137

Speaking Confidence: Bubble Denial as Market Authoritative Rhetorical Decorum

Abstract: From the early to mid 2000s, economists, pundits, and other commentators engaged in heated debate about the possibility of a bubble in the U.S. housing market. Prognosticating in a variety of public forums, debaters divided along largely ideological lines, with adherents of mainstream neoclassical economics producing a forceful narrative accord that a bubble was unlikely or impossible. Approaching this debate as a case of the powerful discourses that strive to keep markets intervention-free, this essay explores market bubbles as sites of discursive tension and professional stigma, seeking to understand how the allegation of a bubble imbricates expectations of decorum and provokes a constraining rhetorical response. With particular attention to the phenomenon of “bubble denial,” I highlight how rhetorical strategies of definition, insult, and risk dismissal functioned to sustain market confidence, discredit bubble predictors, and habituate decision makers to evolving market risk.


Read the Rhetoric Society Quarterly Get information about our conferences Get information about our institutes Learn about becoming a member Access members-only content