Circular quoting

So I’m writing about financialization. Kevin Phillips‘ prophetic book on the subject, Bad Money, is open on my desk. (He published it in early 2007, in advance of The Crash.) But it doesn’t contain the definitional quote that I need. So I turn to Wikipedia. There, in the Financialization entry, we are treated to this quote:

Financialization may be defined as: “the increasing dominance of the finance industry in the sum total of economic activity, of financial controllers in the management of corporations, of financial assets among total assets, of marketised securities and particularly equities among financial assets, of the stock market as a market for corporate control in determining corporate strategies, and of fluctuations in the stock market as a determinant of business cycles” (Dore 2002)

Nice, but there is no citation for Dore; just some “further reading”:

Dore, R (2000). Stock Market Capitalism: Welfare Capitalism: Japan and Germany vs. the Anglo-Saxons. Oxford: Oxford University PressISBN 0-19-924061-2.

So I go look that up, find it on Amazon, and look inside. I choose to search for “determinant,” a fairly rare word, and get five results. None are what’s quoted in Wikipedia. But, since Ronald Dore is a scholar, I figure he must have written that definition somewhere. But when I go to look, the results are a cascade of Wikipedia citations. Not the original Dore.

This drives me just as nuts as I get when I go to look up, say, a geographical feature and get pages of commercial businesses associated with the feature, but not the feature itself. Google Maps is one offender here. Look up “Comb Ridge”, and you get this: (Here are my own many shots of Comb Ridge.) The difference in this case is that I can still find Comb Ridge, while the provenance of the original Dore quote remains a mystery to me.

And, since I want to finish my book today, I’m not going to fool around any more with it. I’ll find some other definition. Still, I need to gripe a bit. Sloppy citing is a curse that keeps on cursing. Or causing it, anyway.


  1. Ron Schott’s avatar

    This immediately brought to mind Silver Fox’s quest, in which I played a part, to track down the origin of the famous quote attributed to Clarence Dutton likening the ranges of the Basin and Range province to caterpillars crawling/marching towards/out of (Old) Mexico: Ironically, our hero John McPhee seems to have gotten this quote past his famous fact-checkers (see “Checkpoints” in Silk Parachute) and included in Basin & Range, despite its murky provenance.

  2. Mike Warot’s avatar

    I know this feeling well, a few weeks ago the Chicago City Council decided that it was a bad idea to talk on the phone while bicycling, which caused quite a few stories about it, none of which linked to the actual ordinance in question…

    I blogged the link to the original text… which is a text file at

    I can understand not wanting to type URLs on a printed document, but not linking to something when it’s published as hypertext is a bit negligent.

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Tristan. When I dig into that book, I see it sources “Dore, (2002)” but doesn’t say what the book citing, exactly. A search for Dore brings up just two results, neither of which say what Dore wrote in 2002. Maybe the bibliography has it, and the bibliography wasn’t scanned, or searchable in Google Books. If I still had access to the Harvard Library, I could probably find it, but I don’t, so it’s a dead end. In any case, I used a different quote from Phillips in the book.

  4. Richard Salvador’s avatar

    Wow! Amazing how it all comes together with folk using the Internet to collaborate and piece together information. What would we do with the Internet!?! Great stuff.

  5. Richard Salvador’s avatar

    “without” the Internet, I meant to say! Sorry.

  6. Tristan Louis’s avatar

    Glad you found another quote to replace it. This ties into some of the issue around archiving too, as a lot of digital content seems to be disappearing and few people, outside of Brewster Kalhe and his merry crew of archivers, are paying attention to this phenomenon.

    I was recently trying to research some stuff about the early days of game development and found that many older resources are gone, with no archives or any trace of their existence: it’s a small window on a potential future where the net would not have much of a memory and resources like Wikipedia would end up in that circular mode where they quote things that may (or may not) have existed, making it difficult to assess veracity of certain statements.

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    And now that so much is going to “the cloud” or behind a paywall, expect to see much more disappear.

    Snow on the water.

  8. David Scott Williams’s avatar

    Hey Doc… did you try going to Kevin Phillips? The problem you point out, though, is definitely real…

  9. Bob Kalsey’s avatar

    The Google Books version of “Financialization and the US Economy,” (which is by Ozgur Orhangazi), is listed as an External Link in the Wikipedia article, and a search of the text on Google Books found the Dore (2002) quotation on Page 4. The quotation gives the page numbers 116-17 in the original source. In the bibliography, Dore (2002) is listed as “Stock market capitalism and its diffusion,” New Political Economy, 7 (1), 115-21. New Political Economy is a journal published by Routledge, and a check of that issue shows an article by Dore titled “Stock Market Capitalism vs. Welfare Capitalism” – not quite the title used by Orhangazi.

    Frustratin’ ain’t it?

    But a lovely way to spend an afternoon waiting for a client.

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