Sunday reading – Moneyland

I have done some book reviews in the past and I am back with another one. Combining 2 of my favorite things economics and investigative journalism. In this excellent book by Oliver Bullough , Moneyland , the shady world of the ‘off-shore’ industry is the subject, it has created a whole new paralel world where extremely rich people can hide money, assets and change citizenship while they are at it.

It has been fueled by the collapse of the former colonies, and communism. What started with the increasing desire not too pay taxes has grown into a monster where oligarchs , dictators alongside global company’s hide their profits from country’s.

It’s painfully clear that the growing inequality , outdated concepts like nation states and their laws are outpaced by instant global money transfers, a willing and able army of lawyers, accountants and other experts ready too advise some very shady people hide everything.

It’s like trying too outrun a formula 1 car. It’s time for a global overall in the way we think and act on these sorts of fraud. Because it maybe not fraud if you look at the letter of the law , but’s it’s sailing true giant omissions in the different laws in different country’s at the least. And fraud and criminality at it’s worse.

All written in a sharp and understandable way, it’s a pageturner and one I highly recommend if you want too have some insight in how money moves around the globe.

Book – Weapons of Math destruction

In every way we live our lives today we are targeted by algorithms, and we are mostly totally oblivious of the consequences. Which is well very dangerous. In the book weapons of Math destruction , mathematician Cathy O’Neil explores the world of modeling , algorithms and their effects on us humans.

The algorithms are programmed by humans and therefore contain much of their biasses , ideas and expectations. The algorithms when they scale up , and most do, generate hugh feedback loops which amount to self fulfilling prophecies. This goes from education, finance , policing our streets and disturbing our democracy.

In a very clear way Cathy O’Neil explains the different effects of these models and their feedback loops, fueled by entire industries who ‘help’ beat the models in turn reinforcing their outcomes. The worst part ? Their is no appeal , no legislation , no regulation and no transparency. Scary ? Yes? Simply a must read for anyone.

McMafia

One thing I am planning to do more is reading, used to do that a lot, but over the past few years less and less. Which isn’t a good thing.

So I picked up a book I started reading a few years ago but never finished. McMafia by Misha Glenny.

McMafia

It covers the rapid rise of global crime after the fall of most of the communist regimes at the end of the eighties. The fast pace in which money started to move around the globe and the connections between the underworld and politicians , banks and other legal entities.

The book is very well written and travels the globe to tell the story from different continents. It’s fascinating in how little time the criminal organizations seized the opportunities presented to them. The outcome however are very sad, people who fall victim of human smugglers is among one of the most saddening.

One of the main sources of income is still the drug trade, money made from it is invested not only in the ‘upper world’ but also in the arms trade , human trafficking and so on. A lot of people are beginning to realize the start to stop a lot of drug related crime is legalizing.

Because the war on drugs cannot be won , whatever you do.
Recommended reading.