Case Study 3: Interpretations of the Emergence of the Financial Crisis in the Finnish Print Media

  • Tuomo Peltonen


This chapter moves the analysis into the domain of economy. Going through a trove of economics-related articles in a leading Finnish daily, Helsingin Sanomat, the chapter focuses on the local reception of the emerging financial crisis in the public consciousness and expert opinion during 2007–2009. Media reports consistently downplay the extensiveness and severity of the ensuing crisis that evolves from the problems of the mortgage sector in the US. Comparing to the available statistical and other objective indicators, the comments of economists, politicians and journalists tend to lag behind the developing trend of a major disruption within the financial markets. Four dimensions in the viewpoints and understandings of the commentators and media editors are highlighted from a wisdom theory perspective. Firstly, the articles are primarily based on analyses and forecasts published by economic organisations, central banks and economists working for banks, instead of other specialists or academicians. Secondly, economists and politicians alike are constantly offering disproportionately optimistic forecasts, without alternative interpretations considered. Thirdly, the insights of the experts changed suddenly from a state of relative certainty to one of extreme uncertainty. As the severity of the crisis became apparent, economists abruptly abandoned arguments based on objective statics and scientific modelling, declaring instead a thoroughgoing lack of knowledge regarding economic reality. Fourthly, in the light of the media material, the conceptualisation of visions for the outcome of the crisis was plagued by a lack of imagination. Commentators and the journalists reporting various analyses were incapable of envisioning a worldwide financial and economic collapse, concentrating instead on the minor disturbances and issues within the immediate past of the seemingly ordered global economic system.


Financial crisis Media Experts Economics 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tuomo Peltonen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BusinessAalto UniversityHelsinkiFinland

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