Peter Koenigs book "30 lies about money" is a happenstance. In helpful shortness we find all central critique and misunderstanding of our monetary system. For anyone who wants to learn in one evening what is doubtful when it comes to money, this is the start.
The booklet reflects modern monetary critique. It does not repeat old errors and imprecisions of Helmut Creutz or Margrit Kennedy. It is written by someone who is interested in real education and
enlightenment who does not miss central aspects. Koenig particularly does not forget to challenge some popular monetary reformer's lies. The shortness together with the high standard of knowledge makes this book a treasure for beginners in monetary discussions. Koenig writes very fluently and with much humor. And he brings in important psychological aspects. For example it is not necessary to explain to Peter Koenig that money is created by commercial banks, that debts are not automatically "bad",
that not everyone can make profit simultaneously, that the quality of an economy is not measured by GNP and that money is not issued by governments.
I would like to hand this book to people who are interested in money. The 115 sparsely printed pages can be read in one evening. I find it liberating that this book is availlable: the full package on monetary
criticism in short form.
The thiry lies are the following:
1. The lie of many happy returns
2. Money is power
3. Debt is bad
4. You need a certain minimum amount of money to be happy
5. The best products and services make the most money
6. With money you secure and provide for your existence
7. Money is security
8. Money is created by governments and central banks
9. The money in circulation is created through minting coins and printing notes
10. Money is backed by gold or some other valuable commodity
11. The health of a country may be accurately judged by looking at its GNP and other economic statistics
12. The lie of where money is
13. The love of money is the root of all evil
14. The lie of the rich and the poor
15. Money is freedom
16. Work and earn money, to do what you want
17. You need money, a business plan, capital and a budget to start a project
18. Everyone can make profit
19. To sustain itself a business needs to make profit
20. The price of goods and services is mainly composed of the costs of providing them
21. Money is independence
22. Money is dependence
23. Your pensions and savings will guarantee you a peaceful old-age
24. The monetary reformers lie No. 1: Speculative transactions
25. The monetary reformers lie No. 2: Income from work is better than unearned income
26. Money comes when you give it away
27. The lies about abundance
28. Money is the problem, money is the solution
29. Money is not important...but makes life easier
30. Money is ... whatever you think it is
31. Men handle money better than women.
There's truth in these lies, 9 Jul 2004
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This is a thought-provoking foray into what money means, how it works, and more interestingly how it does not work. This is not a "how-to" or self-help or standard text that any student-of-life, or finance, or economics might expect. Nor is it a "sit-back" and take it all in styled reader.
Instead, it is a highly reader-participative text that contains a series of 30 simply expressed misconceptions the author calls "lies". The opening introductory chapter is the most reader-participative of all. It comprises a blank page where readers are invited to jot down what money means for them. The way the lies are visually presented also encourages readers to reflect, by leaving a blank page between each lie thus creating an occasion to pause for thought.
The author is at his best when he brings philosophy and psychology to inform us about the foundations of money, its capabilities, its incapabilities, our attitudes towards it, and our management of it. Amongst some of the best substantiated "lies" are "You need a certain amount of money to be happy", or "Money is security".
The author is rather less successful when he employs the disciplines of economics and finance. As a result, unfortunately, the 30 simply expressed misconceptions themselves contain more than the occasional misconception. For example, the role of money as a means of exchange in a trade transaction is sometimes confused with money having the ability to be easily transferred, but where no trade or exchange has taken place.
At best, these misconceptions keep the reader alert by creating the healthy need to question everything. At worst, certain financial institutions and certain financial instruments are unfairly portrayed, sometimes in a malign way. For example, banks appear to be magicians creating money out of nothing, and siphoning the rewards of their sleight of hand into their own coffers. Financial derivatives are explained as "unreal trades", whereas they perform an essentially efficient economic role in the allocation of resources by finely differentiating risk, "stripping" the different risks out, and finding a buyer [or holder] of that instrument who is prepared to accept that particular risk.
Whatever your preconceptions about money, money spent buying this book is well spent because many of the misconceptions outlined by the author are cogently argued and thought-provoking.