Thursday, October 27, 2005

This review would put off most readers!

A review in the Nelson Mail on Thursday 20 October 2005 was fairly dreadful. Here it is:

A New Look at Money

This book deserves to be read and discussed, but that is an unlikely fate.

We like making money, spending money and having money in the bank. But when it comes to talking about money, most of us tend to go glassy-eyed. So money gets left to those who control it - and that, says Deirdre Kent, is a tragedy.

She argues that banks don't lend money that they borrow, but instead create it by making an entry on both sides of the balance sheet. Money based on interest is bad and she says measuring a nation's wealth by its gross domestic product is unhealthy.

Her reasoning is somewhat involved, but for those who get this far, she changes tack and reviews a list of alternative money systems.

Unfortunately, while many of these systems appear to have merit, for various reasons most have fallen by the wayside.

Writing a book such as this as if it were a dissertation for a PhD may not be the best way to win the public's hearts and minds. It badly needs a lighter touch for the general reader, and many more human interest stories to counterbalance the earnestness.

The latter chapters on non-banking institutions - such as the PSIS, building societies and credit unions - are more interesting. There is even a fleeting reference to plans for a Nelson bank that were shelved when Kiwibank came along.

Kent finishes the narrative (but not the book) with a gung-ho action plan. The book finishes with notes, references and an index that together take up more than 60 pages.

- John Ewan.

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