@DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚧ The Finance Curse: How global finance is making us all poorer à eBook or E-pub free

Reading this just after Tom Holland s Dominion, about the role of Christianity in the making of Western values, the similarities are startling Left to its own devices, the world would be a really horrible place, with the mighty running roughshod over the weak.Not that it doesn t already happen, but there is at least some resistance and some pretence that things are not so bad.If you ve ever wondered why, for example, there is so much wealth inequality around, why monopolies are tolerated so muc Reading this just after Tom Holland s Dominion, about the role of Christianity in the making of Western values, the similarities are startling Left to its own devices, the world would be a really horrible place, with the mighty running roughshod over the weak.Not that it doesn t already happen, but there is at least some resistance and some pretence that things are not so bad.If you ve ever wondered why, for example, there is so much wealth inequality around, why monopolies are tolerated so much , why public services have been gutted the way they have been, then the over financialisation of modern economies is the answer Finance serves a very important function but the sector has grown too big in many countries and doesharm than good The Finance Curse is the reason I will not achieve my 2019 GoodReads Reading Challenge of 200 books, but it was worth it This is a very detailed review of the myriad ways the finance industry is undermining democracy, good government, and the economy It is a well known truism that resource dependent economies enrich those in power, impoverish the rest, and tend toward authoritarianism Russia and its oligarchy are a perfect example of a petrostate of corruption and authoritarian rule by corrup The Finance Curse is the reason I will not achieve my 2019 GoodReads Reading Challenge of 200 books, but it was worth it This is a very detailed review of the myriad ways the finance industry is undermining democracy, good government, and the economy It is a well known truism that resource dependent economies enrich those in power, impoverish the rest, and tend toward authoritarianism Russia and its oligarchy are a perfect example of a petrostate of corruption and authoritarian rule by corrupt leaders Nicholas Shaxson makes the argument that this happens in countries whose economices are dominated by finance as well and he proves his point.So what happens to economies that become financialized The finance, insurance, and real estate economic sectors explode, this is where finance happens, not in manufacturing The point of finance becomes extracting value, not creating it Companies are bought to take on debt, have their assets stripped, their employees laid off, and then allowed to go bankrupt Asset mining isprofitable than making things Worse, the ideology of finance become internalized in the culture, so people nod approvingly while their pockets are picked.Shaxon meticulously documents how finance became such an international juggernaut and how it has completely gutted many industries, shuttering newspapers and family farms along the way It seems they will roll through industry after industry, cannibalizing the productive side of the economy to feed the greed of financiers whose hunger for wealth is infinite.I think The Finance Curse is one of those important books everyone who cares about democracy should read I also think few will invest the time I am a fast reader and it took me two weeks to read this While nearly a fourth of its 384 pages are footnotes, the prose is dense with detail Then it is also so depressing that I had to put it down after each chapter to shake off the despair.What makes it evendespairing is that so little of the book is devoted to ways to address the plague of financialization and the suggestions are weak sauce Campaign finance reform is offered as this unversal panacea, but fighting financialization requires farthan getting money out of politics.Financialization is a cultural blight An entire section of every major newspaper devotes itself to the business of finance with the premise that what s good for finance is good for the country There is no such attention for labor or industry Finance is the be all and end all of the economy The health of Wall Street is proof the economy is working even though wages are stagnant, bankruptcies increase, and homelessness is rampant How the country serves the needs of finance has becomeimportant than how it serves the people, not just to the government, but to the public Farmers who have declared bankruptcy still think the economy must be good because the Dow broke a new record Finance has not just captured the government and the economy, it has captured the culture We need cultural weapons to fight a cultural cancer.I received a copy of The Finance Curse from the publisher through Edelweiss.The Finance Curse at Grove PressNicholas Shaxson on Twitterhttps tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre @DOWNLOAD E-PUB Þ The Finance Curse: How global finance is making us all poorer ⚜ Global finance is a system that works for the few and against the manyWe need finance but when finance grows too big it becomes a curse The City of London is the single biggest drain on our resources it sucks talent out of every sphere, it siphons wealth and hoovers up government time Yet to be competitive , we re told we must turn a blind eye to money laundering and appease big business with tax cuts We are told global finance is about wealth creation the reality is wealth extractionTracing the curse back through economic history, Shaxson uncovers how we got to this point He exposes offshore tax havens the uncontrolled growth of monopolies the myths around the Celtic Tiger and its low corporate tax rate the bizarre industry of wealth management the destructive horrors of private equity and the sinister Competitiveness AgendaNicholas Shaxson revealed the dark heart of tax havens long before the Panama and Paradise Papers Now he tells the explosive story of how finance established a stranglehold on society and points us towards a way outThis is a book that none of us can afford to ignore This is the fourth Financial Times 2018 best books that I ve read I have found all of them problematic and not especially worth recommending This is the worst of the four I ve read.It starts by by suggesting that just as there is a resource curse countries with abundant natural resources often do worse than countries without there is also a finance curse countries with oversized financial sectors do worse than countries with non oversized financial sectors The author is British a This is the fourth Financial Times 2018 best books that I ve read I have found all of them problematic and not especially worth recommending This is the worst of the four I ve read.It starts by by suggesting that just as there is a resource curse countries with abundant natural resources often do worse than countries without there is also a finance curse countries with oversized financial sectors do worse than countries with non oversized financial sectors The author is British and I believe the book was originally published in Britain So it is mostly targeted at British audiences and, based on the introduction, he seems to primarily arguing that Britain has been hurt by the outsized importance of London s financial district.Something similar is happening in Britain These top down wealth flows from the financial sector haven t exactly turned Britain into an authoritarian state but what has happened is that finance is often in conflict with other parts of the economy, and in these battles finance always seems to win out It is no coincidence that the decline of British manufacturing since the 1970s has been so much faster than in other industrial economies, at the same time as Britain s financial sector assets have grown so much larger as a share of the economy than in comparable Western nations Notice that phrase it is no coincidence where isn t supported by any data or arguments that s something we ll come back to later But even if the book is focused on Britain, I think everyone in every country should be at least a little concerned about the impact of the financial sector Maybe Britain is on the cutting edge and lessons can learnt from it and applied to wherever you happen to be living.So even though it is focused on Britain, I was still keen to read on As chapter after chapter passed I lost my excitement for the book The chapters follow a similar pattern a topic is introduced who relationship to oversized financial sectors is murky, we are treated to a long history of how things got to this point, and then there are a few unsatisfying lightweight analyses This is not a book with data or charts or references Going back to the introduction and that phrase it is no coincidence Wellhow do you know Prove it Don t just assert it Don t just say it is obvious Convince me Somehow With something.At times it feels like the author is just talking about any bad thing a business does, even if it doesn t seem to have much to do with oversized financial sectors One chapter is about how communities increasingly compete with one another to offer tax breaks subsidies to businessesand their recent search for HQ2 is mentioned But isn t part of the financial sector I don t like the practice but I don t see what it has to do with oversized financial sectors Likewise, there is another chapter on how old school anti trust doesn t seem very effective in the modern business climate This chapter is primarily about antitrust as practiced in the US Again, it is hard to see what this has to do with oversized financial sectors especially the oversized British financial sector.The chapters feel disconnected from one another If I skip the chapter on anti trust in the US, do I really miss out on anything in later chapters And most of these individual chapters have had entire books written about them Indeed, chapter 3, about Britain s tax havens has a book written by this author Not that you need book length treatment for everything it would be a bit ridiculous to say instead of reading this 1 book, go read these 11 other books But these aren t particularly compelling chapters, either.We ll be treated to an excerpt from a 1969 Bank of England memo but when it comes to modern day actions consequences it all tends to be fairly hand wavy A growing global wall of money is constantly seeking and finding new ways to burrow into the many nooks and crannies of our economy Okay but how much money are we talking about What are the effects Overall, I got the impression that the author was generallyinterested in telling the story of how things to how they are how British Virgin Islands became a tax haven, how Ireland got its low corporate tax rate, how Robert Bork convinced the world to change how anti trust was pursued than to really delve into the consequences circa 2019.Of course, it probably didn t help that many of these topics were things I already had at least passing familiarity with, so all of those history lessons were evenboring Maybe someone who is less familiar would find them interesting or eye opening I guess I just prefernumbers data in my financial non fiction and less storytelling I have never read a book that made me feel so angry Page after page of outrage, grinding my teeth, ranting at my poor family, and wondering why did I not know about any of this What s it about You may look at this book and think it is about economics, tax havens, private equity firms, millionaires, billionaires, monopolies and multinational corporations Which it is.This may immediately scream boring snoozefest to you, however, it is about much , about how all those things negatively impa I have never read a book that made me feel so angry Page after page of outrage, grinding my teeth, ranting at my poor family, and wondering why did I not know about any of this What s it about You may look at this book and think it is about economics, tax havens, private equity firms, millionaires, billionaires, monopolies and multinational corporations Which it is.This may immediately scream boring snoozefest to you, however, it is about much , about how all those things negatively impact your life.This book is about how you are being cheated, about how your money and taxes are effectively being stolen, and as a result how you, your family, your community and country are all being left poorer.This book is about the finance curse , which the author refers to as the idea that once a financial sector grows above an optimal size and beyond its useful roles, it begins to harm the country that hosts it Finance turns away from its traditional role serving society and creating wealth, and towards oftenprofitable activities to extract wealth from other parts of the economy It also becomes politically powerful, shaping laws and rules and even society to suit it The results include lower economic growth, steeper inequality, inefficient markets, damage to public services, worse corruption, the hollowing out of alternative economic sectors, and widespread damage to democracy and to society What is this book not It is not a door stop It is not about socialism It s not about the traditional left versus right in politics, or over simplified arguments about high tax versus low tax It s about having an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich Who is it for Everyone, although it seems to be writtenfor the UK audience, it is relevant to any country where the finance curse is in action The book is relevant for everyone as the ideas, ideology, politics and economics behind it are everywhere It should be taken as a warning of how not to run an economy.You don t need a background in economics or to be any good with numbers I am definitely not to understand this book It can get technical and there are too many abbreviations to remember BUT the outrage will keep you going I am serious about how this book made me feel and I would recommend you do not read it before bed, because anger does not generally help you get to sleep.If you are an economics student you should definitely read this, as it gives a powerful, well evidenced critique of the mainstream school of thought being taught at present, i.e neo liberalism.What does the book cover The book will take you step by step through the history of the finance curse, how it developed and why it is still so powerful today, despite its clear detrimental impacts to all of us It will tell you how the rich avoid taxes, explaining tax havens, charitable trust and regulatory loop holes The book also explains how the media, politicians, regulators, academia and the evidence they cherry pick are all twisted to keep the status quo There are in depth case studies, such as the growth and crash of the Irish economy, that clearly demonstrate how false current economic myths are The myths the book tackles and proves false include lower taxes are good for the economy, higher taxes will scare big business away, de regulating markets is good for economic growth, and there are no negative impacts from lowering taxes Clue it definitely looks that way if you only look at one side of the story and refuse to measure the negative impacts.This is an incredibly well researched book, 79 pages of notes and references at the end, with lots of evidence to back up its claims, and quotes and stories to keep it engaging The author also keeps it engaging by pointing the reader back to the negative impacts on daily life, from housing prices to train ticket prices As such there is a good balance between the abstract and impersonal, tax havens, with the deeply personal, the levels of care given to older people in their homes.Why should I read it The finance curse impacts every aspect of our lives and this book has so many answers to so many things we should all worry about If you worry about the level of care your Gran gets from her home visiting carers you should read this book.If you work as a carer and worry about why you are being asked to visitandpeople in less time, for less pay you should read this book.If you wonder about all the shops closing in your town centre and whydoes not pay tax you should read this book.If you worry about the rising numbers of food banks, of the rising numbers of working people using food banks you should read this book.If you are interested in why Brexit happened and why Trump was elected you should read this book.If you ever wonder why, as UK tax payers, we are paying for the mistakes made by the finance sector you should read this book.If you ever wonder why no bankers or anyone from the finance sector went to jail, at least in the UK, after the last financial crash you should read this book.If you care about inequality, poverty, workers rights, global development you should read this book.If you are concerned about corruption in markets, corruption in politics and cross border organised crime you should read this book.If you care about national security, democracy, sovereignty, foreign influence on government you should read this book I have never read a book that made me feel so angry Page after page of outrage, grinding my teeth, ranting at my poor family, and wondering why did I not know about any of this What s it about You may look at this book and think it is about economics, tax havens, private equity firms, millionaires, billionaires, monopolies and multinational corporations Which it is.This may immediately scream boring snoozefest to you, however, it is about much , about how all those things negatively impa I have never read a book that made me feel so angry Page after page of outrage, grinding my teeth, ranting at my poor family, and wondering why did I not know about any of this What s it about You may look at this book and think it is about economics, tax havens, private equity firms, millionaires, billionaires, monopolies and multinational corporations Which it is.This may immediately scream boring snoozefest to you, however, it is about much , about how all those things negatively impact your life.This book is about how you are being cheated, about how your money and taxes are effectively being stolen, and as a result how you, your family, your community and country are all being left poorer.This book is about the finance curse , which the author refers to as the idea that once a financial sector grows above an optimal size and beyond its useful roles, it begins to harm the country that hosts it Finance turns away from its traditional role serving society and creating wealth, and towards oftenprofitable activities to extract wealth from other parts of the economy It also becomes politically powerful, shaping laws and rules and even society to suit it The results include lower economic growth, steeper inequality, inefficient markets, damage to public services, worse corruption, the hollowing out of alternative economic sectors, and widespread damage to democracy and to society What is this book not It is not a door stop It is not about socialism It s not about the traditional left versus right in politics, or over simplified arguments about high tax versus low tax It s about having an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich Who is it for Everyone, although it seems to be writtenfor the UK audience, it is relevant to any country where the finance curse is in action The book is relevant for everyone as the ideas, ideology, politics and economics behind it are everywhere It should be taken as a warning of how not to run an economy.You don t need a background in economics or to be any good with numbers I am definitely not to understand this book It can get technical and there are too many abbreviations to remember BUT the outrage will keep you going I am serious about how this book made me feel and I would recommend you do not read it before bed, because anger does not generally help you get to sleep.If you are an economics student you should definitely read this, as it gives a powerful, well evidenced critique of the mainstream school of thought being taught at present, i.e neo liberalism.What does the book cover The book will take you step by step through the history of the finance curse, how it developed and why it is still so powerful today, despite its clear detrimental impacts to all of us It will tell you how the rich avoid taxes, explaining tax havens, charitable trust and regulatory loop holes The book also explains how the media, politicians, regulators, academia and the evidence they cherry pick are all twisted to keep the status quo There are in depth case studies, such as the growth and crash of the Irish economy, that clearly demonstrate how false current economic myths are The myths the book tackles and proves false include lower taxes are good for the economy, higher taxes will scare big business away, de regulating markets is good for economic growth, and there are no negative impacts from lowering taxes Clue it definitely looks that way if you only look at one side of the story and refuse to measure the negative impacts.This is an incredibly well researched book, 79 pages of notes and references at the end, with lots of evidence to back up its claims, and quotes and stories to keep it engaging The author also keeps it engaging by pointing the reader back to the negative impacts on daily life, from housing prices to train ticket prices As such there is a good balance between the abstract and impersonal, tax havens, with the deeply personal, the levels of care given to older people in their homes.Why should I read it The finance curse impacts every aspect of our lives and this book has so many answers to so many things we should all worry about If you worry about the level of care your Gran gets from her home visiting carers you should read this book.If you work as a carer and worry about why you are being asked to visitandpeople in less time, for less pay you should read this book.If you wonder about all the shops closing in your town centre and whydoes not pay tax you should read this book.If you worry about the rising numbers of food banks, of the rising numbers of working people using food banks you should read this book.If you are interested in why Brexit happened and why Trump was elected you should read this book.If you ever wonder why, as UK tax payers, we are paying for the mistakes made by the finance sector you should read this book.If you ever wonder why no bankers or anyone from the finance sector went to jail, at least in the UK, after the last financial crash you should read this book.If you care about inequality, poverty, workers rights, global development you should read this book.If you are concerned about corruption in markets, corruption in politics and cross border organised crime you should read this book.If you care about national security, democracy, sovereignty, foreign influence on government you should read this book A good roundhouse kick on the triple woes of financialisation, deregulation, and tax havens and tax evasions, in good company with and sometimes liberally repeating Shaxson s own Treasure Islands, Oliver Bullough s Moneyland, or Rana Foroohars Makers and Takers.What I learned How big and corrosive tax evasion is That the deregulation of financial markets and creation of deregulated tax havens in British territories and tax avoiding trust funds interact and were both actively driven by the Ci A good roundhouse kick on the triple woes of financialisation, deregulation, and tax havens and tax evasions, in good company with and sometimes liberally repeating Shaxson s own Treasure Islands, Oliver Bullough s Moneyland, or Rana Foroohars Makers and Takers.What I learned How big and corrosive tax evasion is That the deregulation of financial markets and creation of deregulated tax havens in British territories and tax avoiding trust funds interact and were both actively driven by the City of London, against US resistance.That the political rhetoric of a global competition between nations is economically nonsensical but expedient for national economic incumbents who use it to capture regulators and make national markets less competitive for them.The further the book goes on, theit falls into ageneral anti capitalist critique.The main thesis supposedly holding the book together is the titular finance curse The idea is plausible and has merit Like the resource curse of developing nations rich in natural resources, a nation s financial industries can grow to a size where they hurt growth and innovation in other economic sectors and wellbeing across society, as it captures regulators, fosters corruption, and absorbs talent, capital, and effort into its profit but not value generating activities The book even reports an estimate of how much the oversized financial sector of the UK has cost the country, to the tune of several trillions of pounds as always, assess the numbers and underlying assumptions for yourself But this nice idea then isn t really developed convincingly as a main thread of the book that necessitates and integrates all its other parts It slike a preface to an overall decent collection of chapters The financial sector is inflicting a staggering cost on people how exactly this happens is what Mr Shaxson s book aims to explains The title is a witty assimilation with the resource curse , when resource rich countries stop bargaining with their citizens because all the money comes from one or two corrupt places democracy falls apart, living standards dive, lives are devastated That could very well be the future The books is a knowledgeable walkthrough into important economic ideas and The financial sector is inflicting a staggering cost on people how exactly this happens is what Mr Shaxson s book aims to explains The title is a witty assimilation with the resource curse , when resource rich countries stop bargaining with their citizens because all the money comes from one or two corrupt places democracy falls apart, living standards dive, lives are devastated That could very well be the future The books is a knowledgeable walkthrough into important economic ideas and instruments, such as the theories of Veblen, Hayek, neoliberalism as the source of most evil , the history of the Eurodollar trade in the City of London, fiscal paradises very interesting info here, Mr Shaxson has written a whole other insightful book about this , the Third Way Competitive agenda as political messages corrupting past decades, how Ireland became the Celtic Tiger and then went bust in 2008 Great Crisis, Basel rules, how CDO s came to exist, trusts, private equity s history, the City of London s very flimsy regulations, Big Four companies, tax cuts and the impossibility to judge their effectiveness The book is filled with great information, which I ve not read elsewhere at times it s quite extreme, but it does not aim to be mild its message is that something is deeply rotten in the City, people should worry and act I ve read it after seeing the good review granted by Mr Martin Wolf, Financial Times chief economics commentator, who also included it in his 2018 Best Economics Books list he also said it s been an exceptional year for economic books, oh the joy I really wish I could give this book a better rating I dove in prepared to agree with the author and discover the nuance of what an overly robust financial sector does to economies, why, how and what to do about it Some of that Shaxson did deliver and there were a few chapters I found quite engaging and informative, for example, the ones where he talks about the Celtic Tiger and offshore finance makes sense, he authored an entire separate book on the topic of tax havens His breakdown of s I really wish I could give this book a better rating I dove in prepared to agree with the author and discover the nuance of what an overly robust financial sector does to economies, why, how and what to do about it Some of that Shaxson did deliver and there were a few chapters I found quite engaging and informative, for example, the ones where he talks about the Celtic Tiger and offshore finance makes sense, he authored an entire separate book on the topic of tax havens His breakdown of some key economic ideas of the previous century, neoliberal thought etc in the beginning of the book also struck me as quite fair and successful.However, the further I went into the book, thesensationalist, finger pointy and comical Shaxson s arguments and rhetoric became He is quick with exclamations of mock horror at companies facing a possible need to file US tax returns, inexplicably insists on using words like titan to describe hedge fund managers or junk bond fueled raiders and labels anything even remotely complex in the financial world squirrelly business Perhaps, I am just a jaded corporate drone, but a lot of his fist shaking leaves me shrugging my shoulders There are many destructive aspects to contemporary global finance oh wow, who knew , I am trying to learnabout them, not get an earful of moralistic sensationalizations about pension funds getting swindled and taxes being avoided Even when his general points are reasonable and true the tabloid language makes them next to impossible to absorb Here is an especially egregious example of what so irks me There s a third reason for all the snaking chains of corporate complexity, which brings that other large stakeholder into view the shambling, unloved, grouchy giant that invests in the roads, the courts, the education of workers, the sewage pipes under homes and office buildings, and the other essential things that underpin all of the titans profits Government After it has picked up the human flotsam from the lacerated pension pots and the layoffs, be they burned out journalists or the victims of rogue doctors, the government is at least supposed to get a payback in the form of tax levied on corporate profits.If this kind of delivery is you cup of tea, you doubtless will enjoy the book muchthan I did Shaxson does a fair bit of introductory explaining throughout the book, which some readers may find very useful, but I personally did not He is very clear and brief in these summaries, but goes a little too far, for example, breaking down what bank balances are, which seems redundant in a book not targeted at children I wish he spent time unpackingcomplex concepts mentioned in the book, such as different kinds of trusts or some typical ways to structure chains of offshore corporations, rather than focused on the simpler foundational terms Lastly, while I find the whole idea of the finance curse compelling and its existence demonstrable, I am concerned Shaxson stretches it too far, for example, concluding the book with a chapter on CAFOs Are they terrible Yes Are contemporary farming and agricultural practices horrid in general Yes Are they a manifestation of the finance curse I am not convinced The book does successfully demonstrate the bloat and questionable practices in the financial sector, but comes up short trying to expose its poisonous influence on the rest of the economy Again, I am already in agreement with the author s thesis, and I was hoping he would elegantly put relevant arguments into words, alas, he doesn t accomplish that in this book.Thanks to NetGalley for a digital ARC of this book I listened with great interest to what you had to say but I can assure you if you think Her Majesty s Government is ever going to prosecute people of my class, you are utterly mistaken We are a protected species So said the director of one high street bank to Rowan Bosworth Davies, after he had given a speech about money laundering within the City of London And of course he was 100% correct Shaxson takes a brave venture into the dark and disturbing world of financial, corporate and politica I listened with great interest to what you had to say but I can assure you if you think Her Majesty s Government is ever going to prosecute people of my class, you are utterly mistaken We are a protected species So said the director of one high street bank to Rowan Bosworth Davies, after he had given a speech about money laundering within the City of London And of course he was 100% correct Shaxson takes a brave venture into the dark and disturbing world of financial, corporate and political corruption, and beware this is a right cast of horrors, featuring some of the most awful people you could imagine, with almost every one of them fully protected from the law by their immense wealth and privilege.Shaxson pulls out some really fascinating historical details, starting back at the widespread corruption which swept through America in the 1800s in the era of the robber barons Wall Street planned, financed and executed the entire independence of Panama This episode brought down the Colombian government, created a new republic, shook the political foundations in Washington with corruption and gave birth to American imperialism in Latin America Essentially, Wall Street interest had harnessed their government s military resources to build and operate a mighty tollbooth at the choke point of one of the world s great trade arteries Of course the creation of Panama s shipping registry was the country s first major step towards the creation of a tax haven He goes onto talk about other forms of ugly corruption, such as the great American streetcar scandal, where a consortium of oil, bus, car and tyre companies came together to buy up streetcars and electric mass transit rail systems in 45 major US cities to kill them off.He explains how it was thanks to the excellent journalist Ida Tarbell who first exposed Rockefeller for his corruption After some shocking attempts to discredit and humiliate her Tarbell s investigative work resulted in Standard Oil being broken up into 34 different companies Although this proved to be short lived after a meeting in 1928 in the Scottish Highlands in a secret deal to carve up the world s oil industry Offshore, crime, money and politics aren t an aberration of the system they are the system Shaxson also discusses the resource curse, which is particularly bad in places like Angola, which is oil rich and diamond rich, yet their vast and lucrative natural resources attract the worst kind of people and result in the worst kind of circumstances where a tiny elite profit to excess at the expense of the vast majority He shows the ways that this same rule applies to the many tax havens scattered across the globe In the era of financialisation, the corporate bosses and their advisers, and the financial sector, have moved away from creating wealth for the economy, and towards extracting wealth from the economy using financial techniques Shaxson takes us back to the origins of the London s financial sector revolution Britain entered its greatest period of broad based prosperity and economic growth at precisely the moment the City of London was at its lowest ebb Bretton Woods allowed the UK government to impose strict regulations on the finance sector and high taxes on the rich.The finance industry wasn t happy about this and so launched the doomed Operation Robot Even though this was approved by the likes of Churchill, it still failed Despite the remarkable prosperity the boys in London wouldn t give up that easily, determined to overthrow the system, the answer arrived in 1956 when the Midland Bank began taking US dollars unrelated to commercial or trade deals This soon drew the avaricious US bankers who saw an opportunity to flourish without government interference The City establishment had quietly turned Britain into an offshore tax and financial haven We learn that between 1963 and 1969 US bank deposits in London rose twentyfold and then from 1970 to 1980 it expanded a further tenfold If we broke up the big banks tomorrow, would that end racism Would that end sexism So said Hillary Clinton in 2016, in a bizarre speech, during the campaign for her second failed presidential bid Not only does this sound like something Trump would say, but it also leaves us no doubt as to where the US is and how far removed from reality in terms of regulating the system it is.In 2017announced plans to build a second HQ and asked cities to submit bids with incentive packages At least 238 locations had bid, with the highest offer coming from Maryland, offering 8.5 billion in tax credits and other benefits for a project whichitself says will only cost 5 billion Elsewhere he discusses The New Deal, Mont Pelerin Society, Hayek, consultant culture, Charles Tiebout, Thorstein Veblen, Richard Bork who taught both Clintons at Yale , Luxembourg and Jean Claude Juncker, Charles Haughey and the Celtic Tiger, the Free rider problem and the Big Four, an elite group of accountancy firms which enjoy a shockingly disproportionate amount of power and influence Many other politicians have come to love neoliberalism because the verdict of the market absolves them of responsibility for making hard choices, helping them sidestep troublesome notions like fairness or justice Explaining the culture of many of the British tax havens, it basically boils down to You can trust us not to steal your money, but if you want to steal someone else s money, then you can also trust us to turn a blind eye This is an absolutely fascinating book It does get a little sluggish in the second half, but any writer who dares to write so frankly and clearly on any subject that traditionally thrives on opacity and secrecy will always get my attention Shaxson has written a powerful and devastatingly insightful piece of work