004-2020 South African Economy

Title: Everyone’s Guide to the South African Economy

Author: Andre Roux

One topic that I regard highly is economics. And what is better than reading how the economy of your own home country works, because you learn the theory, and real-life application thereof. You can ‘see’ and understand how that theory works in your economy because you live the daily life in that country and notice these forces playing around you.

When I browsed through the book shelves in the book store before I left my home for an assignment in a new country, I found this book, and thought it may be interesting to see how economics was applied into my home country in the past and present. And that is also what the book wishes to teach the reader, to give the reader a look into the jargon and world of the economists and others of a country.

The topics the book discussed ranged from:

  • What is economics?
  • National Accounts (used to measure a GDP and GNI of a country)
  • Economic growth and development
  • Unemployment
  • Inflation
  • Money
  • Monetary Policy and Interest rates (vs Fiscal Policy)
  • The Balance of Payments
  • Exchange rates
  • Government Spending and taxes
  • South Africa in an international context
  • Africa
  • Economic challenges in South Africa

I will admit I did have economics as a subject in high school and university for two semesters. Therefore i had been pre-disposed to the science. However, the book delved more into how economics applied to South Africa at present and its past, and therefore the book was much better in that regard.

For any reader, if you wish to get a slightly better understanding in how your country’s economy works, get a book that gives you this intro.

Rating:

The book is well written, achieves the objective it set out for the South African, and any foreign readers. Rating i give is 4.4/5

003-2020 Fake

Title: Fake (The truth of Fake-Money, Fake-Teachers and Fake-Assets)

Author: Robert Koyosaki

This was the second book that I took to read from the author Robert Kiyosaki. The first book he published, and which has sold world-wide is ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ of which I have also previously written a review.

When I stood in the book store to look at a new book to read, my thoughts were with investing and whether there was a book that could explain how we can distinguish useful and true information/news in the media from the fake news, and thus use the true news to assist with making proper and informed investment decisions. That’s where I came across this book, which I believed to have just that.

However, it may not have held the information I was looking for at the time, it did give me valuable insight in another respect, which I am glad to have obtained from this accidental selection.

In the beginning he makes it clear that he wishes to teach the reader about three big lessons: 1) Fake Money, 2) Fake Teachers and 3) Fake Assets. The book breaks those lessons into the different chapters, but reference is made to those lessons continuously, that all three should be taken together to assist in the attainment of financial wealth.

1..Fake Money – He introduces you to the three forms of money that we currently have in the world today : Gold (God’s money), Currency (Government money) and Cryptocurrency (People’s money). The lesson he holds is that the government’s money is only worth so much as much the people have faith in the government. That the government is able to print more and more money (which could have severe economic consequences). If people (or the world economy) loses faith in the government, the demand for the currency drops, and the abundant supply in circulation makes it less valuable. This is all in the hands of the government, whereas God’s Money (Gold, Silver) is in your hands, and cannot be printed in more quantities by the government if it is in a difficult situation (as with paper money for Quantitative Easing or Troubled Asset Relief Programs).

2. Fake Teachers – He criticizes that the education that is taught in schools is only to produce people to become active members of the working society. This is definitely essential, of course, for a modern economy to function. However, it doesn’t teach anyone about financial education, which is also essential in any economy, which is mostly a driving force into a better age. Also, he distinguishes between true teachers and fake teachers, those who teach what they have experienced from the real world, and those that teach the theoretical aspect without having applied it themselves in the real world.

3. Fake Assets – Here he makes a clear distinction between what is an Asset and what is a Liability to your pocket. Not just that, but also what constitutes real Assets (tangible), and fake Assets (paper investments).

I have given the briefest of explanations of what was covered in the book for the three lessons, but there are many more in the book. Therefore, I would say that should you wish to get the true benefit of the lessons that he wishes to teach his readers, buy yourself a copy of the book instead of reading my short review. It has more, and explains it much better.

Three other things I wish to share with you, which I didn’t mention above, but thought truly fascinating to share were:

  • 1971 when Nixon took the Dollar off the Gold Standard (ie. a currency’s strength is not determined by the volume of gold reserves that are held in the country), and the government money was no longer backed by tangible Gold reserves. Government money was now only debt.
  • That one should use debt (with Government Money) only to buy real Assets, which generate recurring income
  • Tax should not just be seen from the perspective of the government taking money away to fund its activities, but also from the perspective that it provides incentives to individuals that take on projects for society, which benefits the people, thereby the incentive is tax deductible

Therefore, I definitely gained much more insight in many topics, and will be on the look-out for more of his books and teachings in the future.

Summary:

Terrific reading material, well-written, easily understandable and the knowledge gives every reader something to think about. As he closed off his first book (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) he said “every decision you make with every Dollar you hold today, will influence your future life” – not those precise words, but the message is clear. Rating I afford is 4.75/5 🙂

002-2020 Moneyland

Title: Moneyland (Why thieves &crooks now rule the World & how to take it back)

Author: Oliver Bullough

Whilst I was on my December holidays in Belgium I had opted to buy a day ticket to Brugge. It was here that, whilst I walked through the small town (still decorated in an old-style fashion) during the festive season, that I enjoyed a beer, home-made waffle, and located a small book store.

At first I thought I wouldn’t find anything since most of the books were in Belgian (obviously since i was in Begium). However, in the small English section I did find this book, which turned out to be an intriguing book.

If you look at the picture of the cover, it is of a US Dollar with another piece of currency that covers the lower part of the face (as the cowboys used to do in a bank heist). Basically, the picture suited the content of the story, namely thieving.

It starts off the first chapter in the Ukraine, with one of the prior high ranking government officials who was living a rich lifestyle that he should not have been able to afford with his government earnings. Yet, when it was investigated he didn’t own it, but the properties were owned by a company, which in turn was also owned by another company in another country. All around it goes and ends up back at him, after one had dug deep enough.

The book then delves into the time after the second world war decades, where off-shore banking was introduced into the modern world. As was well illustrated in the story, before offshore was introduced, wealthy individuals could not hide their wealth as easily since they had it with them in their home countries. But with offshoring, individuals took the opportunity to store their wealth in other jurisdictions, and amass more, all safely away from their home jurisdictions. Thus, wealthy individuals took the new concept to hide their wealth and amass even more, all in secret and hidden away from their local tax man.

Nowadays, a good term to describe countries that accommodated these wealthy individuals are called ‘tax havens’.

The book also explains other means which wealthy individuals, and government officials, used to improve their lifestyles, and within the protection of some legislation = diplomatic passports.

Every chapter gives terrific material, and is very insightful. Some of the concepts were already familiar to me, but the idea of how some of these proposals were utilized to hide away wealth, and the economic consequences of these actions were very new and definitely gave me food-for-thought. As they would say, I formed new connections within the nodes of my brain on how these means were used, other than the legal means meant to promote economic growth.

Summary:

To the layman who wishes for a good book to read, this should be on your list. For any academic and individuals interested in law and finance, this would be an interesting read not to miss. For every other individual that just wishes to fill their book rack with another great read, have this in your collection (like mine 🙂 ). Terrific book, well written, very insightful and well explained. The author did a great job in researching the topics he published in this work. I gladly give the book a rating of 4.8/5 (mainly because i wish he could tell me a bit more of this dark network, and stories from within).

Don’t pass this one up.