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  5. Finance and the Good Society - AbeBooks - Robert J. Shiller:

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.

Finance and the Good Society

Ultimately, Shiller shows how society can once again harness the power of finance for the greater good. Finance and the Good Society. Robert J. Finance and the Good Society Robert J. Improvements can be made, and when the serial crises are over in a few years, hopefully we can discourse intelligently on these improvements.

Shiller has made a good contribution to that discourse with this book. Shiller acknowledges the excesses, inequalities, and unfortunate incentives to sleaziness in the current financial system but says it doesn't have to be that way.

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An important book for those who seek change. After examining the often unappreciated value contributed by finance professionals, Shiller reminds us that finance has already helped build a better world through inventions like amortizing mortgages, and mutual funds. Finance is in need of a little redemption. In his priestly new book, Finance and the Good Society , Mr. He argues convincingly that finance can, should and usually does make the world a better place. As an advocate for the financial system. Shiller reminds us of the profound importance of finance to making our society work.

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This book will show them why finance is and should be a vital part of the good society's solution, rather than its problem. No other book does this with more authority or credibility. When he defends finance, we should pay attention. Recognizing the anger of many Americans--as evidenced in part by the rise of the Occupy movement--Shiller suggests that the way to fix our increasingly unequal society is through the 'democratization' and 'humanization' of finance. Shiller argues his case skilfully and persistently, and with a wealth of quirky and interesting examples.


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Shiller's sensible message demands urgent attention. Robert Shiller makes a bold but convincing plea to reform the present financial system and use its power for the benefit of society as a whole.

Book review Finance and the Good Society

Shiller has sought to prove what most of us were prepared to assume: finance may not be the great saviour that will create good society in the Utopian sense, but a society that truly seeks to be good will find in finance a willing partner that can help it achieve its goals. If you are looking for a social revolution, you will not find it in Finance and the Good Society but if you are planning a social revolution you should definitely read this book first.

Capitalism, Government and the Good Society

Unlike so many recent books stimulated by the financial disruptions that started in , it does not vilify the current system of financial capitalism but instead attempts to inform readers. Judging from the book, Shiller's students are very fortunate. The same sort of innovation might also work for government finance. Rather than raising capital by issuing fixed-value bonds and then defaulting if times get tough, governments could issue shares in their economies.

If the Greek government had raised money in this form, its financial obligations would have fallen with the onset of its troubles — which might have headed off a full-blown crisis.

Just as with mortgages, intelligent contracts could improve risk sharing between providers and users of capital. View all New York Times newsletters. Shiller applies similar thinking to other policy challenges.


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  6. Like mortgages and sovereign debt, government pension promises are specified as fixed entitlements. But the needs of the elderly must be balanced against the ability of younger generations to foot the bill; so Shiller suggests that pensions could be indexed to some indicator of taxpayer ability to pay, G.

    What is more, the world faces a rising challenge of inequality. Why not agree, in advance, what level of inequality a society is prepared to tolerate, and then devise variable tax rates that will deliver that target? The big point is that despite the popular revulsion at Wall Street, society needs more financial innovation, not less. But what is holding innovation back? Here Shiller offers two answers.

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    New financial instruments are attractive only if they can be bought and sold easily; they have to be widely adopted before people will want to adopt them widely. Shiller would like to solve this chicken-and-egg problem with government-supported tax incentives for market makers who kick-start trading in new instruments. One gulps at the prospect of yet another subsidy for too-big-to-fail banks.

    Finance and the Good Society - AbeBooks - Robert J. Shiller:

    The second reason for the shortfall in financial experimentation is that society has grown suspicious of it. New smartphone apps are celebrated in the popular culture; new derivatives for hedging risk are reviled as tricks to enrich hucksters. Shiller devotes a large part of his book to the assertion that this prejudice against finance is wrong.


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    • Shiller, R.: Finance and the Good Society (Hardcover) | Princeton University Press.

    Psychologists have established that the key to happiness lies not in riches but in social esteem; therefore, Shiller says, financiers face powerful emotional incentives to balance profit seeking with a social conscience. Just as it is impossible to extract much wealth from conquered countries, so it is impossible to extract much happiness from wealth earned unscrupulously.

    Some readers may suspect that Shiller, a Yale professor, underestimates the materialism of Manhattan and Greenwich.