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Other People’s Money

The Real Business of Finance

By John Kay
13-minute read
Audio available
Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance by John Kay

Other People’s Money (2015) offers a detailed breakdown of the financial sector: how it functions, the effect it has on economies and what its purpose should ideally be – as opposed to what its current purpose is. Find out why the international financial sector has become a ruthless mechanism made up of rotten parts, and discover how these parts can be eliminated and, eventually, replaced.

  • Readers who want to know how the global financial system affects their lives
  • Entrepreneurs looking to understand how finance works
  • Students of economics, history, politics or sociology

John Kay is an economics professor and has been a fellow of St. John’s College at the University of Oxford since 1970. He is also a regular contributor to the Financial Times and the author of the books Obliquity and The Long and Short of It.

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Other People’s Money

The Real Business of Finance

By John Kay
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance by John Kay
Synopsis

Other People’s Money (2015) offers a detailed breakdown of the financial sector: how it functions, the effect it has on economies and what its purpose should ideally be – as opposed to what its current purpose is. Find out why the international financial sector has become a ruthless mechanism made up of rotten parts, and discover how these parts can be eliminated and, eventually, replaced.

Key idea 1 of 8

History shows that a healthy financial system can improve lives and strengthen economies.

These days, the global financial system has earned a reputation as one of the root causes of many of the world’s problems. But it didn’t start out this way.

Finance was originally intended to improve our quality of life by making it easier to conduct business.

The financial system allows us to buy the things we need to live comfortably and connects people who need money with those who can lend money. It also makes the insurance business possible, giving us the chance to protect ourselves from major disasters or emergencies, and allows us to organize our personal assets so that we can pass them along to subsequent generations.

Mortgages are another mutually beneficial part of finance. They make it possible for people to own property by taking out a loan, and subsequently making monthly payments with interest to the lender as a reward for supplying the loan.

On a larger scale, a healthy financial system can benefit society as a whole, which becomes clear when we look back at the progress we’ve made over several centuries.

It was a strong financial sector that allowed Britain and the Netherlands to become world powers in the early days of industrialization. As investments continue to pour into developing countries, it’s strong finances that allow this money to spread and improve the standard of living.

We can also see how the undynamic financial systems of communist countries lead to failure time and time again. In these centrally controlled systems, the money is unable to flow to businesses in need, which leads to fewer jobs and poor economic growth.

However, even though capitalist freedom has led to the kind of prosperous industrialization that became a cornerstone of modern society, not all of its financial innovations have been good. In fact, some of them haven’t been beneficial to us at all.

As it turns out, the financial industry has lost sight of what’s good and bad for the global population as a whole. We’ll get to the bottom of why this has happened in the blinks that follow.

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