Princeton University Press | March 2012 | ISBN: 0691154880
The reputation of the financial industry could hardly be worse than it is today in the painful aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. New York Times best-selling economist Robert Shiller is no apologist for the sins of finance — he is probably the only person to have predicted both the stock market bubble of 2000 and the real estate bubble that led up to the subprime mortgage meltdown. But in this important and timely book, Shiller argues that, rather than condemning finance, we need to reclaim it for the common good. He makes a powerful case for recognizing that finance, far from being a parasite on society, is one of the most powerful tools we have for solving our common problems and increasing the general well-being. We need more financial innovation — not less — and finance should play a larger role in helping society achieve its goals. Challenging the public and its leaders to rethink finance and its role in society, Shiller argues that finance should be defined not merely as the manipulation of money or the management of risk but as the stewardship of society’s assets. He explains how people in financial careers — from CEO, investment manager, and banker to insurer, lawyer, and regulator — can and do manage, protect, and increase these assets. He describes how finance has historically contributed to the good of society through inventions such as insurance, mortgages, savings accounts, and pensions, and argues that we need to envision new ways to rechannel financial creativity to benefit society as a whole. Ultimately, Shiller shows how society can once again harness the power of finance for the greater good.
Harvard University Press | January 2011 | ISBN: 0262015455
(With Randall S. Krosner, edited by Benjamin M. Friedman) Over the last few years, the financial sector has experienced its worst crisis since the 1930s. The collapse of major firms, the decline in asset values, the interruption of credit flows, the loss of confidence in firms and credit market instruments, the intervention by governments and central banks: all were extraordinary in scale and scope. In this book, leading economists Randall Kroszner and Robert Shiller discuss what the United States should do to prevent another such financial meltdown. Their discussion goes beyond the nuts and bolts of legislative and regulatory fixes to consider fundamental changes in our financial arrangements. Kroszner and Shiller offer two distinctive approaches to financial reform, with Kroszner providing a systematic analysis of regulatory gaps and Shiller addressing the broader concerns of democratizing and humanizing finance. Kroszner focuses on key areas for reform, including credit rating agencies and the mortgage securitization market. Shiller argues that reform must serve to make the full power of financial theory work for everyone — bringing the technology of finance to bear on managing risk, for example — and should acknowledge the reality of human nature. After brief discussions by four commentators, Kroszner and Shiller each offer a response to the other’s proposals, creating a fruitful dialogue between two major figures in the field.