This highly accessible and easy-to-read synthesis of complex subjects asks some of the obvious questions about money and finance that few of us stop to think about.
For instance, what is the real “value” of money? Well, astonishingly, nobody agrees. But most people seem to accept that it is lent into existence by the commercial banks. When you stash money in the bank, they must keep around 8 percent of that loan on deposit—in case there's a run on the bank—but all the rest is lent out again many times over. In other words, most of our mortgages and bank loans are created as if by magic by a stroke of the pen.
That's the strange truth behind modern money. We don't mine it, we don't find it on a beach, it bears no relation to anything real, but still some people have vast amounts of it and some people have none at all. And we hardly ever talk about it.
This is not just an important work in an emerging gay history, it is also a fascinating glimpse of a society remarkably like our own, coming to terms with massive social and technological change in the 1880s and 1890s. It explains some of the background to this massive social shift - a clash between purity campaigners and those, like Wilde, who believed he could live a new kind of life. It also finds the origins of the new law in the ferment of politics in Dublin, and the first fully-fledged sex scandal that erupted in the summer of 1884.
Scandal is also a voyage of discovery for the author into the secret world of his own great-great-grandfather, who fled Dublin at the height of the scandal - only to find himself forced to escape a second time, this time from London, ten years later. It was the revelation of this second escape, and just how widespread it was, that led to the research into this book.
Why are we still addicted to oil and petrol despite the disastrous consequences? Why, three generations after the Beveridge Report, are his Five Giants – Want, Disease, Idleness, Ignorance and Squalor – still so much with us? Why did teenage pregnancies go up despite the UK government spending up to £100 million over a decade to prevent them? Why do so few of the public clocks tell the right time or train lavatories have water in their taps?
There is a growing understanding, not that people are infallible, or that they are endlessly trustworthy and benevolent – but they are nonetheless what makes change possible. This book uses this idea to set out the Ten New Rules for organizations, reveals where they are working already – with the latest developments in ideas like system thinking and co-production. It explains the future in terms of the People Principle: If you employ imaginative and effective people, especially on the frontline, and give them the freedom to innovate, they will succeed. If you don't, they will fail.