Interesting article on Gillian Tett, writer for the Financial Times, from Inside Higher Ed (link here). Tett is probably most well known for looking at the causes of the current financial crisis in the book Fool’s Gold and discusses how she applied her anthropological training to help diagnose the problems in the financial system.
Tett said she used her anthropological training to look more closely at the system underlying the financial sector. She saw that the bankers who designed collateral debt obligations, like many others in the industry, existed in a state of apparent disconnect, or what she characterized as silos. “Almost everywhere you looked inside this system there was this fragmentation,” she said. No one who was designing the collateralized debt obligations had any connection to the actual subprime borrowers. Most every banker thought he or she was devising a smarter, safer financial system that diminished risk by spreading it around.