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SuperCycles: The New Economic Force Transforming Global Markets and Investment Strategy Hardcover – February 4, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arun Motianey worked for Citigroup from 1987- 2008. His positions included managing director and head of macro research and strategy in the company’s Global Wealth Management division.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (February 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071637370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071637374
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arun Motianey is a mathematician and economist, educated at Cambridge University, who found that the two subjects make for a toxic combination. This book, SuperCycles, is the result of that recognition. But it was a recognition, not a revelation and so the argument needed to be made in the book that the idea of "equilibrium", so central to economic thinking needs to be dropped and replaced with something else.

His 20-year international career at Citi (earlier Citigroup) has helped. Fortuitously, but also fortunately, he was close at hand when most of the big crises hit the global economy -- from the Latin debt crisis in the 1980s to the Asian currency crisis of the 1990s to the shocks that have pounded the US economy over the last decade. Drawing a connection between these different crises, Motianey has presented something like a new organizing principle for understanding the global economy. He has no doubt there will be a few readers who will feel uncomfortable by his root-and-branch reformulation of how markets and economies work and they will attempt to dismiss this work as "speculative". The open-minded reader should, however, learn much from these ideas.

The investment implications of these ideas are pivotal to his larger intellectual interests. Much of the latter part of his career was spent in the investment management side of Citi and he thinks there is a framework where great investment opportunities can be exploited.

Motianey is now a full-time author and is setting up an independent economic consultancy. He will continue to be based in the Greater New York area.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of us been affected in some way by this recent economic crisis, and there could not be many who have not spent some time thinking about how this whole damn mess came about. And just when we thought it was over, and the pundits on CNBC were talking about a V-shaped recovery, we hear the economy is slipping down the slope again! So this book "SuperCycles" (which I first heard about when I read and enjoyed the author's long article on the Roubini Global Economics website) got me really interested because his solutions seemed to be a radical departure from what we hear about every day.
First, an important disclosure. I've had the book for just a few days and I've skimmed it quickly and then gone back to read the sections that caught my attention. The best way to read this sort of the book is to read it carefully because it is heavy with concepts - and these concepts build on the ones that came earlier. Since not many of us have the time to devote a whole week to a single book, I would suggest that the reader focus on the Introduction, Chapters 1, 2 3, 6, 7 and 8. Some of the chapters in the middle of the book that deal with the Gold Standard would appeal only to history buffs. The last chapter is on investment ideas for the three scenarios (deflation and two types of inflation) and would be of maximum interest to the general reader but to be quite honest you won't get that much out of it if you haven't understood how the Supercycle works and why the author believes that policymakers are going to be faced with nothing but really terrible choices. The two Appendixes, both quite long, can be omitted by most.
Is Motianey's thesis convincing?
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Format: Hardcover
The author warns us early on that we will be reading a major against-the-consensus view of why the global economy ran into trouble, and why we will struggle hard to get out of it. In the Introduction, he tells us that when the time came to write this book, everything he learned at Citigroup (where he held a senior research and strategy position), had to be thrown out the window because "they rationalize the industry's own feral behavior in herding investor capital into and out of these markets." This resonated well with me - as a retired Foreign Service Officer, I have seen the power of vested interests (and the damage it can do) all around the world. This mother of all financial busts began back here in the good old USA. Like many, I remain puzzled as to why only a handful of incompetent banks bear the blame.

Those hankering for a screed that would dump on the financial sector or the Washington political class will be disappointed. This is a serious work of analysis, written with a great amount of literary flourish. Although the reader can sense the author's outrage at various stages in the book his targets are not specific individuals, companies or countries. Motianey's conclusion is that the financial meltdown was an intellectual failure of the highest order - and until that is recognized and corrected we will remain thrashing around in the morass.

Happily, he does offer us a ray of hope at the end. Using the framework of the Supercycle, he points the way out, but on the basis of accepting much higher inflation than the central banks would wish. He worries that the need to encourage inflation will clash with the central bankers' need to stay true to everything they have been taught is right. Major ideological battles lie ahead for all central banks, including the Fed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Supercycles is a refreshing view of modern economics that draws richly from the author's knowledge of history and experience. Motianey questions the "science" of economics because it generally lacks verification. There are so many variables in most economic models that it is impossible to identify causality with any accuracy. As a result almost any conclusion can be explained using very different theories. Supercycles describes longer trends that suggest that violent moves in the global economy are seeded in longer term fundamental problems rather than a dotcom bubble or a subprime bubble. The bubbles are symptoms of the problem rather than the cause.

I think the book is written in a very readable format that is refreshing in its style and analysis. The book challenges the reader without the boring verbiage of typical economics texts or the fluff I would associate with the pop-economic books that have recently been written. It is thoughtful and well written. It is a unique analysis that explains much of the recent financial turbulence and unfortunately much of the turbulence that is expected to come.
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Format: Hardcover
Economics is not subject to causality. If prices go up demand tends to decline. It's never a certainty. The attempt to base market action on Newtonian like rules is doomed to failure. There are enough weasel words like "generally" to show that Motianey is ambivalent about what he writes. By necessity, a book that purports to treat market analysis as science must ignore behavioral economics.

The book is good on economic history, with an introduction to the concept of Kondriatev wave cycles. There's reference to classical theories of Smith, Mill, Keynes and others. He gives Friedman pretty short shrift. Especially interesting is the introduction to the contrarian ideas of Minsky and Koo in the appendix. The analysis of which equities perform best under which economic conditions might prove useful.

Starting with Chapter 4, this is worth reading.
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