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The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means Hardcover – May 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (May 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The London Times" "They're wrong about oil, by George: In short, the standard economic assumption that supply and demand drive prices is only a starting point for understanding financial markets. In boom-bust cycles, the textbook theory is not just slightly inaccurate but totally wrong. This is the main argument made by George Soros in his fascinating book on the credit crunch, "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets," launched at an LSE lecture last night."

About the Author

George Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and is the founder of a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several best-selling books including The Bubble of American Supremacy, Underwriting Democracy, and The Age of Fallibility. He was born in Budapest and lives in New York City.

More About the Author

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 12, 1930. He survived the occupation of Budapest and left communist Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. While a student at LSE, Mr. Soros became familiar with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound influence on his thinking and later on his professional and philanthropic activities. The financier. In 1956 Mr. Soros moved to the United States, where he began to accumulate a large fortune through an international investment fund he founded and managed. Today he is Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC.

Customer Reviews

I admire Mr. Soros for his philanthropy but I find this book disappointing.
Real Type 2 Diabetic
This book was pretty short, so whether you end up liking it or not, it's not like you will have wasted much time in reading it.
MOOP
Then Soros goes on to insist that Reflexivity predicts that it's not true markets naturally seek equilibrium.
B. Nielson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 186 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In August 2006 the risk manager of the home equity division of one of the largest banks in the United States collected his staff together and told them that the portfolio they manage had begun to exhibit dramatic losses. All the other banking institutions were beginning to exhibit similar losses he said, but that policies to be put in place will mitigate these losses and therefore "not to worry." He resigned his position only six months later, and at the time the mortgage losses throughout the nation were accelerating dramatically, forcing layoffs, resignations, panic in the financial markets, and aggressive action from the Federal Reserve.

Theories abound on why this turmoil is occurring, one of these being discussed in this book, which is written by one of most well-known financial speculators of all time. The tone of the book is general and philosophical, and the author refrains from indulging in mathematical considerations, but there are many concepts in the book that are interesting and merit further investigation. The author's intellectual honesty is refreshing, in that he admits the job he has taken on is a formidable one. Describing the workings of the financial markets is challenging, and has occupied the time of countless researchers and financial analysts.

The author wants to get rid of the "market equilibrium" paradigm in traditional economics and replace it with one that he has called "reflexivity". This concept is similar to a few that have been discussed in recent months, one holding that investor analysis and modeling activities actually serve to change the markets, rather than just "mirror" them. The author's idea is that humans have both a cognitive function and a "manipulative" one when they approach the financial markets.
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98 of 113 people found the following review helpful By G. D. Geiss on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I saw Mr. Soros testify before Washington State (home state of my favorite soccer goal keeper) Sen. Maria Cantwell's committee the other day (on TV, of course) concerning possible oil futures speculation. I was impressed with Senator Cantwell (although we'd agree on little, policy-wise) and with Mr. Soros (despite myself). So I picked up this book to see what he had to say on the central economic issue of the day.

I won't bash the book, exactly, but it was pretty rambling, pretty repetitive, and spent a considerably longer time trying to defend/explain his theory of "reflectivity" and bashing Republican politics than discussing the credit crisis. Still it offered some useful points and observations. It's personal account of worlwide historical financial events that Mr. Soros himself not only lived through but participated in as well as a concise account of the events that comprise the subprime mortgage meltdown were themselves worth, in my view, the price of admission.

In the end, though, the central theme of the book, it's overarching structure, is Mr. Soro's longstanding theorem about "reflectivity" in financial markets. He maintains that both the factual "reality" and the participants' resort to emotional facilities as a result of imperfect informational access interact with each other in a kind of feedback loop. As a result of this "reflectivity" serious degrees of uncertainty are injected into the marketplace that are not predicted by "classical" economic theories of "rationality" or "equilibrium". This, he says, invalidates market models based on those classic concepts. What to do about that, of course, he's not quite so clear about, except, perhaps, you should vote Democratic (his advice, not mine).
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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Izaak VanGaalen on July 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
George Soros thinks that the current credit crunch is the most severe financial crisis since the 1930s and that it marks the end of an era of credit expansion based on the dollar. In this book he argues that a new paradigm is urgently needed to better understand what is going on. The paradigm used until now by most economists was based on false premises.

The existing paradigm, often referred to as free-market fundamentalism, holds that markets are self-correcting, that they naturally tend toward equilibrium. Economists as far back as Adam Smith have argued against regulation or government intervention of any kind since it would interfere with the natural forces of the market.

Soros correctly argues the contrary. In fact government intervention has repeatedly saved the market. A few examples are the bankruptcy of Continental Illinois in 1984, or the failure of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, or the current bolstering of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (my example). The notion that the market deviates from an orderly path is the rule rather than the exception.

The new paradigm that is needed, according to Soros, must incorporate the theory of reflexity. Developed in previous works by himself and his mentor Karl Popper, reflexivity examines the relationship between thinking and reality, between the cognitive function and the manipulative function. In the investment world, this means that when investors are bullish on, say, housing or mortgage backed securities their values go up, not because they become intrinsically more valuable, but because everyone else is thinking they are more valuable. This is basically old-fashioned market psychology dressed-up in theory. The mechanism that allows the market to go up is self-reinforcing but ultimately self-defeating.
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