New Book Argues Human Nature Caused the "Great Recession"

May 21, 2013

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2013) - The 2008 "Great Recession" was one of the largest economic crises in the history of modern capitalism, and numerous researchers and analysts have sought to determine the reasons for the downturn to ensure it never happens again.

In their new book Masters of Nothing: Human Nature, Big Finance, and the Fight for the Soul of Capitalism, Matthew Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi argue that a collective failure to understand human nature was one of the main causes of the crisis. The authors, who both serve as Conservative Members of Parliament in Great Britain, argue similar crises will happen again unless policymakers radically rethink their assumptions to accommodate the inevitable flaws and irrationality of individuals, banks, and the economy as a whole.

The Information Technology and Information Foundation (ITIF) will host a U.S. release event for Masters of Nothing from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Tuesday, May 28 at ITIF, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 610A. The event will feature a panel discussion with the authors and Joe Kennedy, former Chief Economist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will analyze the corporate and government policies, as well as the actions of organizations and individuals, that led to the collapse.

"Masters of Nothing provides an antidote to the neoclassical economic theories which led pre-crisis policy astray and continue to be inadequate in explaining the current global economic environment," notes Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF and moderator of the event. 

Matthew Hancock was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and currently serves as Britain's Minister of Skills. Nadhim Zahawi has also served in Parliament since 2010 and sits on the House of Commons' Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

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Register for the event.


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at