Arthur WassenbergEmiritus Professor University of Amsterdam
‘Darwin will always win from Freud on the financial markets,’ read the heading in Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad about a story on the new book by emeritus professor of Business Administration Arthur Wassenberg. Capitalist Discipline – On the Orchestration of Corporate Games was published in September 2013 by Palgrave Mcmillan in London.
In his book Wassenberg compares the dynamics of economic cycles with those of a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are based on the suspension of disbelief: the art of having people belief for as long as possible in what is in fact to good to be true. It is often presumed that irrationality of the market and illogical herd behavior are the causes for cyclical waves in the economy. Wassenberg, however, thinks it would be better to look at the rationality of specific players in the financial markets who each time start the ‘pyramid scheme’ of a new economic upswing and know exactly when it is time for them to step out. Not irrationality but the lack of accountability – no “skin in the game”- is the driving force behind the cyclical hypes.
Arthur Wassenberg studied political economy and sociology at the University of Amsterdam He worked at Max Planck/International Institute of Management (Wissenschaftszentrum, Berlin), Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS, Wassenaar), and Queen’s University (Belfast), prior to becoming associate professor Strategic Network Management at TU Delft/Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam/ Rotterdam School of Management. After his retirement in 2003 he became professor International Multi-stakeholder Negotiations at University of Amsterdam.