March 2, 2006
Little Money Book (Paperback)
What an ingenious little book about something we all use and need, love and disdain -- and it is at the root of the evil of the Bush Administration: Money.
BuzzFlash has got its hands on the first batch of the American publication of this marvelous, insightful book that manages to traverse the full range of considerations about money, from its economic origins to its abstract value to its real power.
You got to love a book that proclaims: "The trouble with money is that it isn't a very good measuring rod. It gives a high value to useless things (Dunkin' Donuts), to dangerous things (stealth bombers) and to fleeting things (Versace trinkets), but places very little value on the really important things like loving, caring human beings. Yet we give it central importance in the management of the world."
And few nations, if any, are as fixated on the accumulation of money as America. It is our national measurement of success in life. But, oddly, the richest people in the world accumulate wealth and money that is really nothing more than an abstraction, an accumulation of numbers in bank accounts or shares in stock or property. They may never even carry "real" money around. Aides pay their bills or they use credit cards.
Somehow this squat, eminently readable book manages to integrate consideration of the ills of globalization with the challenge of ethical investment.
Homo Sapiens invented money, yet it controls us.
There's something wrong with this picture.
As just one example of the lamentable ironies of the stranglehold on money international corporations now have, "The Little Money Book" offers this gem of an example: "Just 13 bread manufacturers now control a $5.4 billion industry producing airy nothingness with so little in it that it has to be injected with vitamins."
The author, who is British, offers some insight into the ruinous risk of unregulated globalization: "It is the dubious idea that business can make everyone better off by roaming from country to country with no restrictions -- in search of the lowest wages, the loosest environmental regulations, the most docile and desperate workers. That is a world of nomadic capital that never sets down roots, never builds communities, and leaves little behind but toxic waste and embittered workers."
Money. Do we control it, or does it control us?
Find out in "The Little Money Book."