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Financial Whirlpools: A Systems Story of the Great Global Recession 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0124059054
ISBN-10: 0124059058
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This work applies ‘systems thinking’ (drawing on insights from economics, psychology, philosophy, ethics, and management) in order to analyze the dynamics of the global economic crisis that began in 2008. Unlike linear thinking, the systems framework takes into account such dynamics as feedback Loops, Lags between decisions and actions, Limits to systems such as the economy, and Levers for applying change in the most effective manner."--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013 "This book delivers revealing insights about how systems theory can inform the way we think about financial systems. It has the power to change the way we think about economic crises." --Luke Houghton, Griffith University, Australia "Financial Whirlpools insists that the economy must be studied as a complex whole that is capable of producing unexpected results and brings these insights to bear on the financial sector. The book is a welcome departure from the individualistic and mechanistic thinking that blinded a profession to the possibility of the recent financial crisis." --Mark Setterfield, Trinity College, US 

From the Back Cover

How do economists reconcile their expertise with their failures to predict and manage the 2008 financial crisis? This book goes a long way toward an answer by using systems theory to reveal the complex interdependence of factors and forces behind the crisis. In her fully integrated view of the economy, how it works, and how the economic crisis burst, Karen Higgins combines human psychology, cultural values, and belief formation with descriptions of the ways banks and markets succeed and fail. In each chapter she introduces themes from financial crisis literature and brings a systems-theory treatment of them. Her methodology and visual presentations both develop the tools of systems theory and apply these tools to the financial crisis. Not just another volume about the crisis, this book challenges the status quo through its unique multidisciplinary approach.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 1 edition (May 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0124059058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0124059054
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,765,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This new book by Dr. Karen Higgins is a treasure-trove of information and insight about the latest economic recession from a 'systems thinking' perspective.

Being a novice of the discipline of economics I had never heard of systems thinking and wondered: "what does it mean?", "why is it important?" and "how does it affect me?" In her well organized text I found answers to all my questions--and so much more.

Higgins explains systems thinking as a multifaceted tool which can be used to dissect and examine complex problems from a holistic approach. It opens a larger window of possibilities and opportunities to consider when we look for solutions. Through the window we can see the Big Picture.

She enters the intricate and complex economic arena and discusses the crisis which hit in 2008 after brewing for decades. She discusses historical elements which positioned the economic meltdown, the present situation, and future ramifications. She suggests implementing systems thinking perspective as a solution to prevent future crises.

With sensitivity toward people and the human condition she talks TO us and invites us into the conversation. Because I am included, I feel a greater sense of ownership, investment, and responsibility to do my part to ensure the economic welfare of ourselves and our progeny.

Dr. Higgins talks about what motivates people to do what they do, and examines motivators from the most pure and benign to the most unethical and corrupt. The motivation of greed is among the largest contributors to our economic woes.

She reviews all of the players, from the smallest to the largest, and the parts they played. Included are: first time home buyers, mortgage and other lending institutions, large corporations, and Wall Street.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an in depth study for the 2007-2008 financial collapse and ensuing Global Recession. Unlike many other books on the subject, the author spends a great deal of time looking at all the players: home buyers, mortgage brokers, banks, rating agencies and myriad others, all of whom played their part in the story.

Using a "Systems way of thinking" she lays out the perverse incentives and interactions that drove the economy to the brink. The reader will gain a good understanding of the crisis as well as an introduction to the basics of Systems Engineering.

The work is full of analogies and metaphors that help to explain the complexities of the crisis in laymen's terms. These are balanced with the "loops, lags, limits and levers" of a rigorous systems analysis of the collapse. By the end of the book, the reader will have a new understanding of what went wrong, and a new prescription of remedies to keep it from happening again.

The introduction to "Systems Analysis" will serve the reader well in his thinking of other issues facing us that require more than a linear approach if they are to be understood. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested in a thorough approach to the analysis of complex systems that affect us all.
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Format: Paperback
Joseph A. Maciariello
June 1, 2013
Dr. Karen Higgins has had a long and distinguished career of public service rising to the highest levels of the Senior Executive Service in the US Navy. She has demonstrated integrity and competence in her career as attested by her colleagues. Her extraordinary leadership background and deep expertise in systems thinking has led her to write a profound book examining the causes of the global economic crises we have been suffering through since 2008. Her purpose is to encourage thoughtful students, executives and those in business and government to think differently and comprehensively about our nation's political and economic system. She succeeds admirably. She identifies the human traits that have led to the problems and the potential points of leverage for making sure that we do better in the future with these and other complex problems. A reader of this book will come away with an understanding of just how fragile these systems are and with a methodology for attacking the root causes of our social, economic, and political problems. Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard historian Bernard Bailyn in his The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, captures the essence of my feelings after spending a day reading Dr. Higgins' book, Financial Whirlpools. He observes, "The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people...."
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Format: Paperback
The meltdown of the global economy, with the search for "why?" and "who?" left many fingers pointing in all directions. Like a "whodunit" novel, the author has carefully researched and laid out all the culprits and their needs, wants, and actions in the drama and how they interact upon the world stage. With her eye on the grand scheme and her expertise in using Systems Theory and integral thinking, she, like a sleuth, doesn't seem to miss a thing. In fact, she nails the very thing that most economists and politicians have either missed or chosen to avoid. The answer, at first, is complex, as she shares her conclusions and her advice for the future. However, as she painstakingly looks under and around all corners, one solution becomes more apparent than any of us want to admit. Most importantly, Dr. Higgins shows that using Systems Theory and an integral approach, we will find similar solutions to crises, both large and small, that we are sure to face in our future.

One can just see college students in any of the Social Sciences reading this book, as well as non-academics, being inspired to discuss and use Systems Theory in class and/or in their careers. It is a shame though, it won't let us weasel out of our role in the drama!
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