Dal moral hazard al rilancio della critica sociale transnazionale. Élites finanziarie e politiche sotto accusa
| STUDI DI SOCIOLOGIA - 2013 - 1
Moral hazard is the assumption of an extremely high risk of which positive consequences can
bring an advantage to who has taken the risk, while the eventual costs are borne by someone else.
Therefore, the assumption of risk, in this situation, can be incentivized by the possibility for one
party to put its interest first with no eventual costs. The present article extends the economical
notion of moral hazard to social sciences. More than an important object for sociology – via its
link to the notion of social responsibility –, moral hazard has been the base of social criticism
after the crisis. After introducing a brief history of the notion, relevant particularly in risk sociology,
I’ll present the results of the analysis concerning the critics of moral hazard – appeared on «Financial Times», «Wall Street Journal», «Il Sole 24 Ore», «Les Echos» – during the three
years after Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. Moral hazard stands here as the root of the opposition
– between political and financial élites, on one side, and taxpayer or common citizens, on the
other – fostered later on by not-specialized press and protest movements like M-15 and Occupy
Wall Street. In this perspective, the notion of moral hazard brings a new light to the link between
power, responsibility, inequality and risk in contemporary society.