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Finance and the Good Society | [Robert J Shiller]

Finance and the Good Society

The reputation of the financial industry could hardly be worse than it is today in the painful aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. New York Times best-selling economist Robert Shiller is no apologist for the sins of finance - he is probably the only person to have predicted both the stock market bubble of 2000 and the real estate bubble that led up to the subprime mortgage meltdown. But in this important and timely book, Shiller argues that, rather than condemning finance, we need to reclaim it for the common good.
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Publisher's Summary

The reputation of the financial industry could hardly be worse than it is today in the painful aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. New York Times best-selling economist Robert Shiller is no apologist for the sins of finance - he is probably the only person to have predicted both the stock market bubble of 2000 and the real estate bubble that led up to the subprime mortgage meltdown. But in this important and timely book, Shiller argues that, rather than condemning finance, we need to reclaim it for the common good. He makes a powerful case for recognizing that finance, far from being a parasite on society, is one of the most powerful tools we have for solving our common problems and increasing the general well-being. We need more financial innovation - not less - and finance should play a larger role in helping society achieve its goals.

Challenging the public and its leaders to rethink finance and its role in society, Shiller argues that finance should be defined not merely as the manipulation of money or the management of risk, but as the stewardship of society's assets. He explains how people in financial careers - from CEO, investment manager, and banker to insurer, lawyer, and regulator - can (and do) manage, protect, and increase these assets.

He describes how finance has historically contributed to the good of society through inventions such as insurance, mortgages, savings accounts, and pensions, and argues that we need to envision new ways to rechannel financial creativity to benefit society as a whole. Ultimately, Shiller shows how society can once again harness the power of finance for the greater good.

©2012 Robert J. Shiller (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Drawing from history, economic theory, and keen observation of our economy, Robert Shiller brings a fresh perspective to a big issue - the role of finance in our society. He urges us to overcome the popular misperception that all finance is sleazy and to think broadly about how we can harness its power for the benefit of society as a whole." (Darrell Duffie, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

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    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 05-16-12
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 05-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A good intro to finance"

    R. Shiller draws a map of modern finance and connects the dots between our daily lives (and goals) and financial institutions, deals and innovations. The author, though he has warned of flaws in our system before, takes a hopeful tone here that the stakeholders in this society (we people) can innovate, nudge and wrestle finance into a better form for the future. (Sometimes the tone is almost cheery, making me chuckle as I can't help myself hearing the words as if spoken by the psychotic 1980's investment banker character Patrick Bateman in 'American Psycho,' making his absurdly cheery little speeches to dinner companions,) A fine companion book to this with different angles on the same topics is a deeply thought-out, yet amazingly clarifying, similar print book, 'Financing the Future' by F. Allen and G. Yago. It too is very worthwhile. If only I had read something like this in early college -- my life would have been different, as in, light-years ahead in understanding what's going on. Yes, one can criticise this approach and tone, but listening through this (finance's best case for itself) first would do a lot of people a lot of good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 01-23-13
    Amanda 01-23-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Listen for argument for "good""
    Would you consider the audio edition of Finance and the Good Society to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    It was inspiring to hear an argument for the good of society even if you do not agree with it.


    What about Walter Dixon’s performance did you like?

    Nicely read, seemed to understand the material


    If you could give Finance and the Good Society a new subtitle, what would it be?

    "To Expand Your Mind"


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sukemin singapore, Singapore 11-07-12
    Sukemin singapore, Singapore 11-07-12 Member Since 2009
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    "defending wall st."

    Investing is necessary for everyone. Otherwise we will be poor.
    This book shows the benefits of the markets despite the damages greed in Wall St has
    brought upon us. The book is unsatisfactory as it meanders.However there are some very enjoyable views on money and wealth and how we should deal with wealth.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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