read online pdf Finance, Society and Sustainability: How to Make the Financial System Work for the Economy, People and Planet By Nick Silver –

One of the old jokes about actuaries is that they are flexible they are either right, or can prove it to be so.Nick Silver is right about many of the inter linking and reinforcing problems with our financialised economic system, especially around long term pension systems, investment and growth.Even if you disagree, he pulls together considerable evidence to demonstrate that what he is saying is true.Silver is not your typical actuary He has both the classical probability and risk skills allied with a big picture perspective honed by years as a managing director of Callund Consulting, which advises advised governments on pensions, social protection and developing capital markets He was also a founder and director of Climate Bonds, and has advised the UN, UK and EU on carbon markets and climate finance in developing countries Amongst other academic roles, he is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.Importantly, for the purpose of this book, he is a clear and sympathetic guide through the complexity of modern finance and changing shape of capitalism this is an economics book that has been written to be both easily understood but raise difficult questions.That makes it all the powerful for some of the key conclusions the book draws especially one, damning hard hitter Silver shows that the current system of pensions savings state backed or private does not deliver because returns are obliterated by a combination of historically unprecedented and lasting low interest rates, excess and opaque intermediary fees, and poor investment rationale short termist, not actually contributing to economic growth and product increasing lack of risk sharing and attractiveness The end result, he says, is that pension savers, he says, would literally be better off doing nothing.Silver s book is very much in the lineage of recent works by John Kay, David Pitt Watson and Andrew Smithers, all of whom he cites extensively in the book He stands out by drawing the probing strands of those authors together into his own cogent narrative, which comes into its own by weaving together a genuine desire for real economic growth and sustainability in harmony with the natural environment into a concept he calls flourishing.Disappointingly perhaps, but at least honestly, Silver says he doesn t know what the future of finance will be instead pointing to the underlying problem of employment and growth in a world where both are being robotised, along with financial planning and investment But maybe that is the power of this narrative in the hands of a top actuary they can tell you the likelihood of arriving or not at a certain outcome, but it is up to the actors in the system to work out what that means for action in re creating an economy and finance system with real purpose and sustainability at its core. This book is a critical analysis of the impact of the financial system on the economy, society and the natural environment It cuts through the noise to looks at its purpose, its activities, and what it does in practiceUnlike other books that cover the last financial crisis and the risk of another one this book is about the consequence of the financial system continuing in its current form It argues that the financial system is a construct of flawed economic theories, designed in the hope that the market will efficiently allocate societys capital Instead, the finance sector allocates savings and investment to maximize its own revenues, with resulting collateral damage to the economy, society and the environmentAlthough governments try to preserve and regulate the existing system, it is being replaced by a new system driven by technological innovation The book describes the opportunities this presents for a renaissance of the financial system to actually meet the needs of society, and to re engineer our economy to avoid environmental crisisThe book is for anyone who would like to understand the finance systems purpose, what it does in practice and its impact on the real world For those working in the industry it provides an overview of the system, their place within it, and how to bring about change For students and academics it provides a valuable critique of the financial system, and the theories on which it is based For financial policymakers and regulators it identifies key challenges in their activities I found this book fascinating it builds up from a number of angles into a strongly justified and defensible set of proposals I didn t find it easy reading, because the complexity of the topic and the arguments surrounding it are not easy, but I wanted to read and understand the whole and enjoyed doing so very much It may well have changed my view of the world somewhat. An excellent, thought provoking review of why the finance industry is unfit for the modern world and how it could be changed to ensure that finance, in a mature capitalist environment, ends up where it should, rather than in the pockets of financiers I thoroughly recommend it. In Finance, Society and Sustainability, Nick Silver puts our financial system in perspective He goes step by step through the many moving parts of finance and reflects on how we can reimagine and adapt finance for the betterment of society A fascinating and insightful read.