Learning from the Global Financial Crisis: Creatively, Reliably, and Sustainably

By Paul Shrivastava; Matt Statler | Go to book overview

7
Cassim’s Law

Henrik Schrat

Fairy tales can be considered a basic narrative grammar of society. The way they unfold and relate the actors can be used as metaphorical key to unlock a different understanding of what is going on today. In this chapter, Ali Baba and the forty thieves is used as a template to look at the financial crisis.

Ali hides up a tree as the thieves get closer in the forest. Watching them as they open Mount Simeli, he hears the magic code: “Open, Sesame.” After the thieves have left again, he tries his luck and takes a bit home from the stolen goods piling up inside the mountain. The story gathers up speed as Ali’s brother Cassim comes into play with his greed. We will see later how it develops.

To say it up front: the comparisons are open, but they all seem to make sense and create a fertile metaphorical ground for reasoning—whether some bankers are the thieves or the greedy brother, or whether the state makes an appearance or the personal egoism of all of us. My text is the corresponding speech at table in a pub: unjust, arrogant, and with a lot of pleasure. Thus, it understands itself as part of the narrative social discourse that it is dealing with.

And, I might be forgiven, there are irony and cynicism at play.


The Merchant and his Story

How is the Ali Baba text embedded in the management literature? It focuses on cultural markers rather than on data and suggests using a narrative processor to make sense of what is going on in the global economy. Reinhardt

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