Monthly Archives: July 2013

Book review: Robert J. Shiller – Finance and the Good Society

First up, some links: here’s the book on (not an affiliate link), and here’s the homepage of Robert Shiller, the author. Here’s a review of the book by the NYTimes, which is much better than this post.

I found the book about a year ago via a disapproving review, the link to which I have lost, which painted it as a kind of naive apologetic for finance. That was interesting enough to grab my attention, so I bought the book, but held back from reading it for awhile because I thought it would be fairly horrid.

But it isn’t really. Schiller does come across as naive about the virtue of those working in the finance industry, but at its heart the book is actually a sophisticated critique of finance, which Schiller defines more broadly than usual. To quote the book:

But finance should not be viewed as inherently or exclusively elitist or as an engine of economic justice. Finance, despite its flaws and excesses, is a force that potentially can help us create a better, more prosperous, and more equitable society.

I can’t disagree with that! Continue reading