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The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means Hardcover – 15 May 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 162 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (15 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486839
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

This was a book that George Soros badly wanted to write. It is probably not what many of its readers expect to read. But it shows that in his deeper thinking about the way markets operate, Soros was several decades ahead of his time... His insights are clear and concisely expressed. They are worth reading for anyone interested in the topic. --Financial Times

Review

"Lots of commentators claim to have anticipated the credit crunch; Soros actually did, years ago. And he says we're `still walking towards the storm rather than away from it.'"

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved George Soros's approach towards the reasons people make decisions. It reminded me of the common sense argument put forward by John Lintner in the early 1960s. The opposite arguments increasingly look like lines from the fable about the Emporer's New Clothes.
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Format: Hardcover
As a previous reviewer states, this book seems as if it has been rushed into print. In addition to the poor quality of the graphs (they look like they have been photocopied) the short section where Soros provides a chronology of his recent trading decisions just read like a few pages of his diary have been added to the book to fill it out.

In addition, if you have read any of Soros' other books prepare to go over some familiar ground. As he fairly explicitly acknowledges a large motivation for him to write is to promote his conception of relexivity. If you are expecting and wanting to read this and discover trading tips, or very specific economic predictions you might as well save your money. Almost by its nature the concept of reflexivity does not lend itself to precision.

Having said that, the concept itself is an interesting one and can be applied widely, not just in markets, if only as a way to understand how views can affect the reality they seek to explain. One could argue for example that the War on Terror legitimised and reinforced the very thing it sought to oppose, and then in turn in doing so gave more strength to the argument that terrorism needed to be fought. On this point there is an excellent quote included in the book (can't remember if it is from Rummy or Rove) arguing that the US administration creates its own reality, which its critics are constantly struggling to catch up with an understand.

So personally I enjoyed the book more as a sort of scrapbook of what Soros is thinking right now, built around his concept of relexivity, rather than as anything particularly specific to the credit crisis.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a short and very insightful book regarding the ongoing financial crisis, but be aware that, as the title suggests, Soros' main purpose for rushing publication (April 2008 still in the midst of this crisis) was to put forward and test the validity and importance of the theory of reflexivity, a new framework or paradigm he is proposing for financial markets and social sciences in general. Part One of the book deals almost exclusively with the concepts and details of the refined version of his paradigm, which Soros first proposed in his 1987 book The Alchemy of Finance. He explains that reflexivity was his guiding framework during his very successful trading years, however his proposal was never taken seriously in academic circles. He is convinced that the ongoing international crisis will provided the opportunity for his proposed paradigm to finally be taken seriously and further developed by others.

Most of the book's content in Part One presents the rationale for this new paradigm but unfortunately most of the discussion is in the grounds of philosophy, and heavily influenced by the ideas of philosopher of science Karl Popper (see The Logic of Scientific Discovery and Open Society and Its Enemies) combined with theoretical concepts from social sciences, economics and some finance.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This slim volume of 160 pages and small format was written and published in haste something the author readily acknowledges and attributes to his desire to release the book during the current crisis in order to make an impact. It shows: the book lacks not only bibliography but also an index and contains only footnotes, headings in charts are barely legible, there are lose statements, his prose is dyspeptic while the coined and key word in the book namely reflexivity is awkward.

On the other hand the author presents concisely significant insights on the nature of financial markets, the causes of boom and bust cycles and the causes and nature of the present crisis which he characterizes as super-bubble, the most serious since the great depression and discusses its likely consequences.

The core postulates of the author are:our understanding of the world in general and of financial markets in particular is inherently imperfect because we are part of the system we seek to understand. People with imperfect understanding interact with reality in two ways. On the one hand they seek to understand the financial markets which he calls the cognitive function. On the other, they seek to make an impact and change the situation to to their advantage which he calls the manipulative function. The interaction of the two functions which compounds the uncertainty and indeterminacy, the author calls reflexivity (uncertainty relates to the participants' thinking, indeterminacy to the course of events).

The author contents that the prevailing paradigm that financial markets are self-correcting and tend towards equilibrium is fallacious.

Financial markets under ordinary conditions seemingly are in equilibrium with small random variations.
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