The assumption is that experts’ superior knowledge gives them the right to take decisions, and ensures that people will abide by those decisions. Yet we live in an age which is deeply suspicious of experts, particularly of the kind currently trying to sort out the mess in Greece and Italy: economic experts, drawn from the world of banking. The past few years have not been a good advertisement for their particular brand of superior knowledge. Moreover, in democracies, the problem does not tend to be a lack of knowledge. These bankers were not having their views suppressed by the regimes they have replaced; they were simply not being listened to in the way they would have liked. The problem for democracies in a crisis is not that no one knows what to do, it’s that no one knows how to get other people to do what they are told.
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