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The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New…

The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial… (original: 2008; edição: 2009)

de George Soros

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423745,986 (3.24)1
In the midst of the most serious financial upheaval since the Great Depression, legendary financier George Soros explores the origins of the crisis and its implications for the future. In a concise essay that combines practical insight with philosophical depth, Soros makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great credit crisis and its implications for our nation and the world.… (mais)
Título:The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Financial Markets
Autores:George Soros
Informação:PublicAffairs (2009), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 288 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

Detalhes da Obra

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means de George Soros (2008)


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Interesting thoughts about the recent economic situation. Some odd dabblings with philosophy mixed in, but the rest of the book is good stuff. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 29, 2013 |
Very much worth your time to read. His chapters---forecasting his view of what to expect in 2008 and, later, 2009, with a review of what he had right or wrong about his forecast for 2008 is even more pertinent and useful today than when he first wrote it.

This book is about many things of vital interest today in economics, finance and international politics. Reading it will provide invaluable insights for most people. ( )
  proximity1 | Feb 8, 2010 |
In an attempt to understand just what happened in the economy. To that end I added two books, one was by George Soros The Crash of 2008 and what it means which I happened to see at the library and picked up. The other was by Paul Krugman, The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 which I had to wait for a few months for my hold at the library to come through.

Having read them, I suspect I understand as much as I expect to, and that it is not really understanding what happened that is my problem, but really making sense of an economic system that is really only expanding or contracting and how that feeds into consumerism, to make sure it is expanding rather than contracting. Before I go on I should say that the Krugman book is vastly better for the understanding. The Soros book was mainly concerned with his personal theory of what he calls Reflexivity, at least that was the only thing that he really explained. He talked about a lot of other things including buying short and buying long, which I finally got the definition of in Paul Krugman's book.

The main idea of reflexivity is that it is really impossible to know what will happen when you buy and sell stocks, because the act of buying and selling stocks itself influences the market. At one point he goes so far as to compare it with the Physics principle of indeterminacy and say that it cannot be known.

Well, I think he overstates things to say that they can't be known. A lot of the unknowns that caused people to invest when they shouldn't have were deliberately hidden, and not the same as the idea that you can not know both the speed and the position of an atom. It also seems rather obvious. A lack of confidence that feeds on itself and causes the bank failure or currency failure or whatever that the lack of confidence is about is pretty well known. Krugman's book is a lot more specific in giving concrete examples of this, as for example when a credit failure by Mexico caused problems for Argentina (which had not been having probems at that point) simply because of over-generalization that what was true of one Latin American country might be true for another. One of Krugman's examples was how Soros manipulated the devaluation of the British pound. Soros did things like ostentatiously exchange British currency for other currency, and himself or others in his group started rumors and so on. It turns out this was probably a good thing for the British economy as a whole which allowed their exports to expand and so on.

Anyway, I wouldn't bother with the Soros book, if I were you. I continued reading after the first couple of chapter just because he is involved in the markets and I thought his experience might spill out. It did a bit.

Krugman, on the other hand writes in a much more accessible way. A lot of it is about the formation of bubbles, such as in dot coms, savings and loans, housing. He explains the idea of moral hazard - another thing Soros mentioned in passing - basically when the party taking risks is not the party that will pay if an investment doesn't pay off - either because funds are specifically guaranteed like bank accounts or because they are deemed too big to fail and end up being propped up by the government when they look like they are going to fail, or because, although not specifically guaranteed, the damage to ordinary citizens is such that government is not willing to allow it to happen and the person taking the risks counts on that.

He talks about the lessons learned in the depression, one part of which is the need to stimulate the economy and/or add to the money supply when a recession or constriction of the economy threatens. Another was the regulations put in place on financial institutions to prevent the kind of risks that led to the financial crisis before the depression. The first lesson is still taken to heart but various things happened to the second. There was overconfidence in how well the economy could be managed that caused people to agitate and allow a loosening of regulation. At the same time a lot of financial institutions were created that were not part of the regulated, public set - things like auction-rate securities and hedge fund management, which have become huge and are mostly unregulated.

Anyway, enough about that. I would recommend the Krugman book which does a good job of making sense of a lot of this, though still leaving me with a sense of the chaos and illogic of capitalism. Among other things I became aware of a number of world crisis, and also some efforts to over come them that I had not even known existed. ( )
  solla | Jul 2, 2009 |
George Soros has tried and, on his own account, failed to persuade the world of his philosophy before. This book is another crack of the whip, which he justified by reference to the credit crunch (as it was in March 2008, note - still a vigorous and persistent financial storm and not yet the apocalyptic hurricane it was to explode into in September of that year). Even as of March 2008 it was a situation of such unparalleled intensity that, Soros believed, fin-du-siècle laissez-faire orthodoxy of the last 25 years had finally and unequivocally been falsified.

The world order is broken, and we need a new model. Wherein lies Soros' optimism that, this time, the world will listen.

As a preliminary observation, therefore, those wishing to hear war stories and glean trading tips from the saddle of the warrior who conquered Sterling in 1992 will be disappointed: Lamont's vanquisher is in reflective mood. Some - including his son, it would seem - would say it doesn't suit him. Currency speculation, not metaphysics is George Soros' strong suit. George Soros, apparently, sees it rather differently.

In a nutshell, his view is this: market orthodoxy - that markets tend towards equilibrium; that event probabilities follow a normal distribution; that it is meaningful to act on assumptions that market participants ever have perfect information, rational expectations and unlimited choice, are flat out wrong. Any philosophy that proceeds on these assumptions is headed for disaster.

There is good evidence for this in the frequency of extreme market shocks. Assuming a normal "gaussian" distribution of events (on which conventional risk metrics such as VaR are based), a crash on the magnitude of October 13 1989 might be expected once in approximately 15,000 years of market trading; an event on the scale of the LTCM collapse is not statistically likely even in the entire history of the universe. Now either we're freakishly - reeeeeally freakishly - unlucky, or the Gaussian distribution is a bad measure.

Soros adopts the latter approach, and explains it by way of his "doctrine" of reflexivity. Markets are social things; they're comprised of human beings, who both observe and react to the markets, and participate (and therefore inform) them. There's a feedback loop, therefore - what Soros terms "reflexivity" - whereby the actions and aspirations of market participants in themselves have a compounding effect on the market level itself. The occurrence of one event by its very occurrence alters the probability of another such even occurring. Normal distributions don't have that "interrelated" quality.

About this much, George Soros is very compelling, though it must be said this isn't really news - Benoit Mandelbrot in particular has been banging on about this for years, and with a fair bit more rigour and detail.

Like fellow literary trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb, George Soros yearns to be taken seriously as a philosopher - a discipline in which he has little formal training - and perhaps by way of compensation therefor, he couches his theory in terms of "postulates", "constructs", "doctrines" and "hypotheses". This would be fine - if a little pompous - were the theory in other respects considered, organised, and contextualised within a prevailing stream of contemporary philosophical tradition. But is isn't. The New Paradigm for Financial Markets is distinctly short, lean on ideas, repetitive, haphazardly organised and overtly hurried into print - if this really was George Soros' great push to turn the world on to reflexivity, he's muffed it through haste and laziness in execution.

For all his personal commitment to reflexivity it remains poorly described - aside from the grandly labelled (but gingerly articulated) postulates, Soros doesn't really flesh out what reflexivity means let alone what it does or what practical use it has, other than undermining our faith in Gaussian distributions - which in itself is fair enough though hardly news (it did not escape the financial world's attention that LTCM wasn't meant to happen in this universe).

Reflexivity also suffers from philosophical illiteracy - surely a serious shortcoming for an aspiring philosopher. Just as, like Taleb, Soros hankers to be a philosopher, like Taleb, he hasn't spent nearly enough time actually reading it, and instead sees the laboratory of his own eventful life (featuring Nazi and Communist oppression on one hand; pistol-whipping Norman Lamont on the other) as all the empirical data and research he needs. This leads to a predictably idiosyncratic theory, and one shot through with incongruity: he pledges allegiance - repeatedly - to intellectual hero Karl Popper, yet titles his book after the central concept in Thomas Kuhn's subsequent theory, which did much to throw Popper's own paradigm of falsifiability into crisis, so to speak, in the philosophy of science.

The thing is, Soros *is* onto something, though better familiarity with the philosophical (and scientific) literature may have helped him to see that considerable work has already been done here. Not only have Mandelbrot, Taleb and others written extensively about power law relationships, but the reflexive loop - and its relationship through language with Goedel's undecidability theory - has received some in depth treatment from Douglas Hofstadter, Dan Dennett and Roger Penrose.

The introduction to the book was valuable and interesting, but the paucity of Soros' epistemology (some decidedly dodgy appeals to the correspondence theory of truth and what Soros perceives as a hard line between "truthy" physical sciences and "value laden" dismal ones like economics) and his tendency to repeat the same points over and over again - surely a bad sign in such a short book - leave this as being a disappointing experience. ( )
1 vote ElectricRay | Feb 8, 2009 |
We zitten midden in de ingrijpendste financiële crisis sinds 1929, maar nu al heeft George Soros er een analyse van geschreven die begrijpelijk maakt wat er fout is gegaan en wat er moet gebeuren om de rust te laten wederkeren. Zijn analyse is radicaal. We moeten onder ogen zien dat financiële markten níet uit zichzelf neigen naar evenwicht, maar juist naar extremen: in een tijd waarin arme Amerikanen hun huizen kwijtraken, maken investeringsfondsen winst als nooit tevoren. Het vraagt om een grondige mentaliteitsverandering, zeker in Amerika waar overheidsingrijpen taboe is. Het is onze enige kans om een wereldwijde economische - en daaruit voortvloeiende politieke - crisis te voorkomen.
  Documentatie | Oct 20, 2008 |
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In the midst of the most serious financial upheaval since the Great Depression, legendary financier George Soros explores the origins of the crisis and its implications for the future. In a concise essay that combines practical insight with philosophical depth, Soros makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great credit crisis and its implications for our nation and the world.

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Edições: 1586486837, 1586486993

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