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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important fresh perspective
This short easy-to-read book contains a refreshing perspective on the world of money and finance, debunking many traditional myths that are systematically used in political discourse to justify suicidal austerity policies that have proven pointless and ineffective.
While it is not very rigorous and a clear political bias by the author is readily apparent, the book...
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer

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2.0 out of 5 stars What is money?
You've probably never asked this but..

What is money?

The author argues that it's not a commodity but a social construct based on trust that obligations will be met fairly and ethically.

Trust needs to be carefully regulated or it's lost.

This is a strange book. Perhaps it's me and and the mood I was in when I read it but I...
Published 2 months ago by Paul Simister


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important fresh perspective, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
This short easy-to-read book contains a refreshing perspective on the world of money and finance, debunking many traditional myths that are systematically used in political discourse to justify suicidal austerity policies that have proven pointless and ineffective.
While it is not very rigorous and a clear political bias by the author is readily apparent, the book still does a great job of explaining in very clear terms why many of the accepted premises of the public discussions of finance are just plain wrong. And if you seek a more rigorous and political neutral exposition of the topics, the author does a great job of referring you to the best literature on each of the topics covered. The bibliography alone would be worth the price of this book, with its summary of some of the best books ever written on macroeconomy
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5.0 out of 5 stars On the money, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
This is an important book. It explains how control of money has been taken away from democratic institutions and vested in unaccountable corporate ones, why austerity economics is pure superstition, and how claiming back social control of finance is possible -- but only if we can give up some major illusions about the nature of money itself.

All this and more needs to be said, persuasively and concisely, at a time when the clouds of financial and ecological crisis are gathering once more, when neoliberalism has secreted itself into our cognitive apparatus, and when the ideology of cutting the public sector has therefore falsely established itself as the 'common sense' solution to debt that guides policy thinking in these islands and across the world.

Ann Pettifor was a leading light in the influential Jubilee 2000 global debt remission campaign. In an earlier book and in other writings she anticipated the 'big crash' of 2008 that so-called orthodox economists and financiers missed altogether (while still managing to contribute to).
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2.0 out of 5 stars What is money?, 21 May 2014
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Paul Simister (Birmingham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
You've probably never asked this but..

What is money?

The author argues that it's not a commodity but a social construct based on trust that obligations will be met fairly and ethically.

Trust needs to be carefully regulated or it's lost.

This is a strange book. Perhaps it's me and and the mood I was in when I read it but I found it didn't flow smoothly from one sentence to another, from one concept to another. I also found myself agreeing with parts of it and disagreeing with other parts, pretty much in equal measure. Again that didn't help me to get into the flow.

Where the author and I agree is that we are in a mess and that's largely because the finance sector is out of control. The problems can be traced back to President Nixon's decision to break the Bretton Woods agreement of the link between the US dollar and gold which anchored the worldwide monetary system.

We also agree that extremely high interest rates are disgusting although I was surprised that the author described payday loans as affordable at one stage. These companies are the worst offenders at gauging the poor of what spare cash they have and spreading misery in their wake. Where we may differ is what interest rates are fair.

I have problems with the idea that there isn't a shortage of money under sound financial policies. In the old days, getting a loan was difficult because lending was responsibility. We can't resort to central banks printing money for governments to spend over the long term. That's the workings of banana republics heading for hyper-inflation.

Our politics don't match as she has been an advisor to Ken Livingstone. She quotes John Maynard Keynes a lot in this book which I don't have a problem with as I feel his ideas have often been twisted and misrepresented in his name. However she is keen on the "euthanasia of the renter" and therefore interest rates should be suppressed. That will stop people who try to live off their money without working.

This doesn't seem to represent modern society where you can think of us living through three stages:
1) the first 20 years when we are financially supported by our parents.
2) the next 40 or 50 years where we work to support ourselves and our children. Early on we borrow but as we get older we increasingly save for our old age.
3) retirement which may go on for another 20 or 30 years where we have to live off our accumulated savings and whatever pension the state can afford to provide. By this stage we have become "renters" to use Keynes' term.

Now we could leave responsibility for pensions to the government but I don't think that's sensible given the demographic trends and the rapid increase in government debt we've seen in the last decade and which will continue to grow at an alarming rate for the foreseeable future.

It's essential that our pension pots offer hope of growth to encourage saving and individual responsibility. Not only do we need savings rates to compensate for inflation but we need it to compound faster.

The author talks about the social contract of money, loans and interest rates but at the same time, I think she's in favour of inflating out of debt. Surely that breaches the trust of people who are lending money.

I fear the problems are much more complicated than the author pretends. After all there has to be a reasonable why nearly all academic economists and central bankers don't see the world as she does. You can understand private sector economists in the pay of the global leeches (and vampire squids) to see things differently and to push for policies that are advantageous to them but there doesn't seem to be a shortage of economists from the progressive side of politics.

I am struggling with this book. As I said earlier, I agree with some of the aims and accept that economics as a discipline is seriously broken. I'm very worried about this accumulation of massive debt, of growing inequalities, of environmental issues for both climate change and the exhaustion of essential commodities. I abhor the way politicians and big business and especially the financial services companies have cosied up.

I expect big changes over the next few decades but I don't think this book moves the debate forward.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An important perspective, 4 Feb 2014
By 
D. Smith (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
I'm interested in politics but don't have a good grasp of monetary theory and 'high finance'. This book provided me with a better understanding of the nature of money, the causes of the recent financial crisis, economic inequality and so forth. I've started re-reading it, since the issues it presents seem important and worth careful reflection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written clear explanation anyone can understand, 4 Feb 2014
By 
Emer O'Siochru (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
It takes a women to penetrate the arcane language of the economists and financiers to expose the simple (but startling) truths behind the money system. Ann Pettifor does just that in this book. It is not a treatise for revolutionary action along Marxist lines but instead offers practical, feasible changes that ordinary people can insist their politicians carry out. Politicians will not make the change without a grassroots movement that is wise to the self serving heresies of orthodox economics. Just Money is a proclamation nailed to the high church door that might well spark such a movement.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative to present economics without a revolution, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
Review of Just Money

The Queen famously asked the economists at the LSE why no one saw the crisis -often called the "Credit crunch" - coming. Ann Pettifor was one of the few economists who foresaw it although it took longer than she forecast. 'Just Money' is a fairly short and easy tp read book which does not just explain the way money is created but also analyses the shortcomings of the present system and gives proposals for reform. They are not new but principles which we used to know and which, she says, private finance capital has tried to marginalise through think tanks, private media and sponsored politicians. She also claims that many economists do not give the subject enough attention and many uncritically accept the classical formulations. Many academic economists focus on micro issues and extrapolate these to the macro level. However, this does not work. A family and firm may cut back to improve its economic position but if all do this the overall economy does not benefit as one person's spending is another's income. This was recognised by Keynes during the 1930s. His insights were in contradiction to those of the conventional economists of the time-as Pettifor's are to most today-but were proven right, or perhaps, a better model.

She has two aims. One is to attack the notion "there is no money". Credit comes from the Latin 'credo' - to believe. As long as people believe they will be paid, a currency is sound. One of the gains of civilization is create money which then can be invested. Bank money is not the result but the creator of economic activity. In this way the power of individuals with huge private wealth is limited. They could use their position as the holders of capital to influence investment and the shape of society, thus making the poor dependent on them. She sees the development of truly democratic institutions as a threat to the power of capital.
The second aim is to inform readers about the power of the private banking system to 'print money'. She quotes Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England, giving a figure of 95% of money being created as debt by the private banking system.
She also explains how the banks work in practice, rather than theory. Fractional reserve banking -our present system-creates money out of 'thin air' and lends it out at interest. She quotes previous economists like Keynes and Galbraith in support. I often read the comments posted by readers of the Guardian and Independent and my impression is that an increasing number of people are aware of the implications of this but I have never seen an article in either of those papers on the subject. Given the plausibility of a different system of banking, one does wonder if, indeed, vested interests play a role in suppressing such debate.
Pettifor says that at present the financial system is not investing in productive firms but buying existing assets from which they can draw rents. She gives the example of Manchester United being bought with borrowed money and and debts being put upon the club. Money borrowed to acquire assets can be set against tax. Thus the state loses revenue. She claims credit reflects-or should reflect- the social relationships of society but they have been 'commodified' and this extends into sport and art and most areas of society.
Easy money resulted in bad loans at high rates of interest. This led to the crisis and a huge overhang of edbt, much of which has still not been paid back or written off. She says society needs money to be lent prudently by the banking system into productive sectors at a low rate of interest. A new deal is required which would benefit both industry and labour. Both are ill served by the financial system.
Several times I have read the comments by readers of the above papers that Keynes can't work in a 'closed system'. I am not quite sure what they mean by this but Pettifor does say exchange controls and capital controls are needed. She cites the example of the postWW2 European recovery and the rise of Japan and China, where those controls were in place. She claims we have 'been bamboozled by the ideology of free trade' to discard them.
Despite the desire of Supply Side economists for a 'small state' (which Mr. Romney and Mr. Cameron have both said they believe in ), she indicates that the financial system depends on the state as the guarantor of deposits and, of course, they were 'bailed out' by them. She deplores the power of the 'bond markets' to influence policy and the results for less well people.
The sub title is the "How Society can Break the Despotic Power of Finance". This book, albeit analytical, is also written from a moral position. She feels women and environmentalists are particularly ill served by finance capitalism. There are hundreds of billions to bail out banks but not address social issues and natural resources e.g. Brazilian forest, are plundered to pay off debt.
However, one might feel about the morality, the argument stands or falls by how well it describes reality or prescribes workable solutions. She gives sources in support and my impression is that if she is right, then we do have a workable alternative and need to implement it and improve the lot of our fellow citizens as Keynes was able to do a few generations ago.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An understanding of what money is., 28 April 2014
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
I found this a short but fascinating book about the social construct which is 'money'. Viewed in this light, money became more real and understandable to me. The book's message is that we can break the Despotic Power of Finance, and about time too,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clear, insightful - everyone should read it, 21 April 2014
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Martina Weitsch "Martina Weitsch" (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
It is a book that explain how money works and why it's not a commodity but a social contract. If we all read and understood it, it could change the economy for the better.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ssues you need to understand, 11 Feb 2014
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L. Baker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Kindle Edition)
Unless you fully understand how money is simply created out of fresh air, by banks, then doled out to everyone else as debt, you do not understand the world you live in or you place within it. This book makes it all clear. If you're politician, an activist or a citizen, these are issues you need to understand.
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