I received this book couple of weeks back from Duane Mullin. And I was pleased to see the note by him saying ‘Thanks for your time
’ with his autograph. Actually now I need to thank him for all the time he has taken to write such a brilliant book. Sometimes I felt he spoke my mind. Absolutely!
There were many things that used to make me very uncomfortable when it came to money. Perhaps, because of my own experiences in the past in dealing with money or whatever, I was not comfortable and even now I am not all that comfortable when it comes to money matters. I feel that money is not the thing that is required for me to lead my life. And I dream of a life where nobody runs after money and where money just doesn’t exist.
At times I am totally disturbed by the way our economy works. Some questions just linger with me without any answers. Questions like why is it that having so much money in the economy and still we run into recessions? Why does money disappear all of a sudden? Why is it that there is not enough money to spend on Education or Health in India? How can cricket players get crores of rupees as prizes and why can’t a poor person get money for a meal? How can there be crores to spend on elections and why can’t the wealth be distributed to the needy? How can they spend thousands of crores on a moon mission and why charity institutions are still begging money for basic requirements? Why is it easy for a guy to be picked up by paying crores for a cricket team and why can’t anyone help an orphan child by spending very little? While these questions are specific to India, there are many technical questions that have kept me confused throughout my career. Some of them I do not even know how to ask.
The failing logic of money is an answer to all these questions. Duane Mullin has years of financial services experience as MD of a brokerage firm. And his analysis and research are absolutely mind blowing. The book answers some of the fundamental aspects of money and the demerits of a money based economy. The answers are very clear and the logic of money being a failure is addressed very bravely. As much as the problems’ sound very realistic, Mullin’s ideas/alternative solutions are too radical to accept. Some of the ideas sound like a dream but if carefully understood and implemented, we may see the light at the end of the tunnel for sure. It is the current system that is so completely tuned to money that is causing all the problems. As it is stated in the book “A money economy has never yet provided humans with a home, full employment, enough to eat and dignity. We have never achieved the impossible perfect equilibrium needed to solve human problems in our entire history, because it is just that, impossible under a money system.”
It was a delightful read for me to understand some of the fundamental facts about money, its evolution, and its power to conquer the world and leave it in such a bad state. We all know what some problems are but we just do not talk about it and we think what else can we do? And one fine day we perish. This is the rate at which we are following the system. And Mullin says “I have a plan for a better life”. This book explains how well we have done in achieving the objectives of any economy, which is to ensure the physical needs and material well being of people. This book also intends to propose and support a hypothesis that using money to achieve the aims of an economy is bound to create unsatisfactory outcomes.
The book is divided into three parts. First part talks about where we are?
– The current status of our financial system, compares developed and developing economies, the history of money, the current economic system, the impact of money on society, and how deeply rooted money is in the economy?
What are some of the factors that impact individuals and the political systems, and what made people greedy? Or why are rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer? Is technology helpful for humans in the monetary society or just assisting people to make more profits? How financial institutions are cheating people by making more profit for themselves? How can they create money out of nothing? One can only get traumatized with the way the cruel logic of money works after reading all the above sections in the book. The chapter on our current political options and how money controls all is an awful read that explains leadership and decision making based on the two ideas: Democracy and Authoritarianism. While concluding this first part, Mullin says “Our present way of distributing resources is unfit for the purpose. Where resources can be abundant it is obscene that a single child is hungry or a single adult sleeps through necessity. This inevitable consequence of our current money economy requires us to plan a new way of distributing goods and services, so that we can have a planned and orderly transition to a new kind of economy”.
In the second part of the book, Mullin proposes an alternative. An alternative answer to the failing model of money based economy. The term he has coined for this is ‘Earth Economics’. It is a modernized re-application of a very old way of living. Earth Economics is a system where resources are intelligently managed for the good of all. There are no profit driven corporations or individuals capable of holding back the interests of the community at large and no vested interests to protect. There is no money acting as a motivator for action in this system. The principle of Earth Economics described in this part of the book is idealistic (too good to even think of). The alternative proposed is explained through its impact on individuals, their careers, personal lives, as well as the impact on society and its many associated sectors. Mullin says “the Earth Economics combined with a new politics, would clearly address the issues of being human in a holistic, sustainable and intelligent manner. It would end the cruelties and divisions that we currently fabricate and usher in a genuine and sustainable golden age”.
The final part of the book obviously proposes the steps to make the radical ideas work. It answers some of the challenging questions like Can society change? Having analyzed the changes in the past and how they happened, Mullin proposes clear process for change. In doing so, what is it that we must change in ourselves, keeping in mind our personal responsibilities and the questions that we must ask ourselves to motivate ourselves to change? The thirty questions that are listed in this chapter challenge us. Perhaps there are more questions that we can add. Finally, the chapter explains in detail the set of actions that we must take on a day to day basis to make sure that we change our current feudal structure.
I do not know what the best system to follow but what I do know now is that we can always do better and change for our own good. I do know that the current money based economy is not the way for humans to lead their lives. I do not know whether Earth Economics will be a good model either. But it looks like a welcoming change, certainly away from a lot of problems. I think it is worth trying. The only challenge in front of me, after reading the citizens agreement given at the end of the book, is that how many of us do even think of such alternatives? That is, challenges in letting the world know and making sure that people read such books and entertain such radical thoughts. More than anything, implementing these radical ideas will be a great challenge in our lifetime.
Overall, It is an excellent book to understand the ‘failing’ logic of money and to learn ways to come out of some deeply rooted problems of the money based economy.
My rating: 7/10
Book: The Failing Logic Of Money
Author: Duane Mullin
Publisher: O book
Number of pages: 128
PS: Special thanks to BookRack for giving me an opportunity to read this book and write about it.