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on 25 August 2012
I've read quite a few popular books on economics, e.g. David Smith, Edmund Conway, Paul Krugman, Joesph Stiglitz. I thought I had a fair understanding of the subject until I came across this little gem. I feel I've learnt more from this one book than from all the others put together.

From what I can gather, the author is not an economist (his PhD was on neural networks). However, he has cleary read widely about the subject and given it some deep thought. His explanations of the money supply and the pitfalls of fractional reserve banking are enlightening. He uses simple thought experiments to help shed some light on why things work the way they do. For example, he gets you to consider first how things would work in a simple barter economy, then looks at what happens once money and banks are introduced.

I can at last begin to grasp why our economic system has led us into the mess we find ourselves today. It's not necessarily anyone's fault. There are inherent weaknesses in the system that make "booms and busts" almost unavoidable. Until we can fully appreciate the weaknesses, we'll never make the corrections necessary for a more robust economy.

The author states that many of the points he raises are give only cursory discussion in most standard economics text books, and that most economists fail to realize the implications. Maybe that's why so many so-called experts are unable to provide a sensible explanation for why things have gone so badly wrong.
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on 22 September 2011
Michael Reiss's book contains some very important messages regarding productive and pseudo-investments, and how the heavy focus on artificially created value has led to the economic crashes of not just recent years, but those of the past.

While I don't agree with all the arguments and conclusions in this book, it does contain some very useful material and would be a great input to the debate on how we can go forward and improve the workings of national and the global economies.

The book begs the question "Why are world leaders and national governments focused on supporting the banking system in a format, and with the behaviours, that caused the dire circumstances we find ourselves in today?"

It's time for a re-think and "What Went Wrong With Economics" contains some useful ideas for driving this debate.
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on 17 March 2013
This book offers a good brief critique of our economic system. Reiss is able to construct simple models that are analogous to the many confusing complexities of our economic system. He makes very good job of exposing the fallacious nature of the current hegemonic capitalist theories
He points out how in many different ways the tail is now wagging the dog. In other words our market economy is now run for the benefits of the financial sector.
However he brings some leftfield solutions to the table that at this time are completely unrealistic. But until people begin to understand the weight of the folly that is served up economic theory there is little hope of change. A great example of this is his description of fractional reserve banking explaining how money is invented out of nothing. Such anomalies should become common knowledge so that the public is able gauge political claims about how the private sector is hampered by the state regulation. When in reality the financial industry would collapse without the construction of manufactured privileged legislation. The tiresome political rhetoric about how governments need to live in the real world where there is no magic money tree is proved to be nonsense in comparison. Still reiss does certainly not advocate more state spending.
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on 30 November 2011
At Uni I could never get my head around my friends Economics courses. I did science and could not get a good answer about how money works and why future economic events are a surprise.

It seemed to me Economics was BS and they could only explain events after they happened - not before!

So after recent discussions in the pub about recent economic events and why house prices got so high the last 10 years I was recommended to read this book. The author approaches economic theory in a fresh, curious way which is the way I looked at it too.

I found it useful in explaining the way things really work, such as banks 'creating' money via loans. The writing style is quite chatty and there are plenty of examples and 'thought experiments'.

It answers my questions about money supply and I now know a lot more about our economic system than I did before.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone looking to understand why we are in the economic mess we are in.
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on 15 February 2012
This is certainly not like any other economics books I have read! It's easy to read and breaks the subject matter down into managable chunks. It gives a completely different slant to what you are fed in the media. Definately worth a read.
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on 12 August 2011
Well tackled from a layman perspective. Probably flawed in places, but I think all the other books are too.
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