"Tobin or not Tobin...?" En prövning av Albert O. Hirschmans reaktionsteori: Fallet Attac på ledarsidorna i fem svenska dagstidningar våren 2001

  • Maria Hedlund


'Tobin or not Tobin...?' A test of Albert O. Hirschman's theory of reaktion: the case Attac on the editorial pages of five Swedish newspapers in Spring 2001. Albert O. Hirschman has observed a specific pattern of reactions against any attempt to change society. According to Hirschman, the rhetoric of reaction is limited to three alternatives: either perversity, futility or jeopardy will be the unintended and unavoidable effects of attempts to make changes in society. Therefore, says the so called reactionaires, changes should not be realized. The objective of this study is to test the validity of the theory of Albert O. Hirschman. This is made by a case study of the media reaction of the call of the Attac movement for a currency transaction tax, the so called Tobin tax. The study comprises an argument analysis of the editorial pages of five Swedish newspapers during the first three months of the year 2001, selected to represent main political and geographical dimensions: Aftonbladet, Dala- Demokraten, Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet and Västerbottens-Kuriren. The result of the study is that all of the arguments are against the Tobin tax and that most of them follow the pattern of perversity, futility or jeopardy. Arguments that do not follow either of these patterns are irrelevant or marginal. The study gives no support to questioning the reaction theory of Albert O. Hirschman.
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